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11/7/2019: Business | Comment & Analysis: Time is ripe for NRI buyers to pick up property in India   


Bank of India) and the central government, like reduction in lending rates, cut in corporate tax, and the creation of a 200 billion rupee corpus for last-mile funding of stalled/ delayed units with the government contributing half this investment as...


Sprint reveals Q2 2019 earnings   



Sprint Corp. has released its Q2 2019 earnings results with some sad news. According to the report, the company lost 91,000 postpaid phone subscribers in the quarter alone. Research firm FactSet even expected the company to have a net loss of 145,000 subscribers.

For quite some time, Sprint has focused its time on pushing 5G connectivity. This year, the company has pushed the connection in nine cities. To increase its users, Sprint offered 5G as a bundle with Hulu and Amazon Prime. 

In addition to loss in postpaid phone subscribers, Sprint reported a $7.8 billion total net operating revenue, a number that has fallen from $8.43 billion. Analysts from Refinitiv projected that the company will have a revenue of $8.17 billion. 

As for the net loss attributable to the company, there is a loss of 7 cents per share, or $274 million in the quarter. Last year’s results showed 5 cents per share and a net income of $196 million. The analysts expected the company to have a loss of 2 cents per share. 

Read more about Sprint’s Q2 2019 earnings here.


Fujitsu and Rice Exchange Bring to Market First Global Blockchain Rice Trading Platform   


Fujitsu and Rice Exchange (Ricex) today announce that they are bringing to market the world's first global blockchain-based rice trading platform. This brings unparalleled security, transparency, efficiency, traceability and new levels trust to the $450 billion global rice market.


The worship of billionaires has become our shittiest religion   


Nobody should have a billion dollars, and those who do are something other than fully human.


China's upcoming Singles' Day predicts Alibaba stock could see a sell-off   


China's Singles' Day, the world's largest online shopping event will take place on Monday, Nov. 11, 2019. Originally started by e-commerce giant Alibaba 10 years ago, sales on Singles' topped $30 billion in 2018, making it bigger than online sales for Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. But some analysts believe sales growth expectations could be tempered.


pre-IPO round: Freshworks secures $150 million funding from Google, Sequoia, Accel Partners   


Valuing the company at $3.5 billion, the Chennai-based customer engagement software company, Freshworks, has secured $150 million in new round funding from its existing investors, the reports said. A report published citing to the sources in MoneyControl, an India-based business news site, said: “The new round funding was closed on Friday, saw the participation of […]

The post pre-IPO round: Freshworks secures $150 million funding from Google, Sequoia, Accel Partners appeared first on TechGraph.


Comment on Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese (Vegan, Nut Free, Soy Free) by Brittney    


My favorite!!!! I've made it a billion times. Delicious ♡


China Introduces Restrictions On Video Games For Minors    


Chinese officials are cracking down on youth online gaming, which they say negatively affects the health and learning of minors. Official guidelines released Tuesday outline a new curfew and time restrictions for gamers under 18.

Six measures were outlined in the guidelines, aimed at preventing minors "from indulging in online games." Among them is a ban on online video games for minors between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 8:00 a.m. Minors will also be restricted to 90 minutes of game time everyday except national holidays, when they are allowed a maximum of three hours.

Online microtransactions, which many view as lucrative and gouging, are also targeted. These purchases are capped monthly at $28 or $57, depending on a minor's age.

China's new directives implicate adult gamers too. A state spokesperson says that everyone, regardless of age, is prohibited from playing games that depict "sexual explicitness, goriness, violence and gambling."

Chinese officials will also require everyone to register accounts for online games using their real name and phone number, which will help government entities to regulate playing time.

"The State Administration of Press and Publication is working with the Ministry of Public Security to lead the building of a unified identification system, which would provide user identification services to video game companies, so that they can accurately verify the identity of minors," a government statement said. "We are also going to gradually perfect and enrich the functions of the identification system, to achieve gaming time data sharing across platforms, so we could know and therefore restrict the total time every minor spends on gaming across platforms."

It is not clear how offline single-player games factor into the new guidelines.

The regulations focus on furthering President Xi Jinping's continued anti-video game efforts. In 2018, Jinping called for officials to take action on the large amount of nearsighted children. In addition to heavy schoolwork and mobile phones, Jinping blamed video game addiction for the vast number of myopic children.

Video game addiction was officially recognized as a mental health condition by the World Health Organization in 2018. The criteria doesn't include a certain amount of hours played. Rather, a video game addict is described as someone with an inability to stop playing even though it interferes with other important areas of life.

Market research firm Niko Partners reported that digital game revenue in China will reach $33 billion in 2019, making the East Asian country one of the world's largest video game markets.

China's market power was perhaps underscored when Blizzard Entertainment suspended an esports player in October after he voiced support for the Hong Kong liberation protests, prompting many to accuse the American company of pandering to Chinese interests.

NPR's Huo Jingnan contributed to this report. Paolo Zialcita is an intern on NPR's Newsdesk.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit


'A Marvelous Life' Holds Stan Lee High As The Man Who Made Superheroes Matter    


In 2018, Marvel Studios released Black Panther. The film grossed 1.3 billion dollars and was nominated for 7 Oscars including Best Picture (a first time for a superhero film).

Beyond the money and awards, the release of Black Panther was a global event. The story of a super-powered African king, leader of the most technologically advanced nation on Earth, allowed the film to address racism and the history of colonial oppression in entirely new and unexpected ways. If anyone was still raising questions about comics mattering for culture, Black Panther meant the definitive end of the argument. Marvel comics and their characters were culture.

So how did we get here? How did superhero comics, the supposed realm of nerdy teenagers, end up conquering the world?

The answer, in many ways, comes down to a single name — Stan Lee. Across a lifetime of creativity, collaboration and endless hustle, Stan Lee saw possibilities no else could imagine and made them real. And if you want to understand how Lee and Marvel did it, Danny Fingeroth's new book A Marvelous Life is the place to start. As a lifelong fan of Spider-Man, The X-Men, Star-Lord and the rest, it was delightful introduction to a guy I'd never met but felt I'd known my whole life.

Fingeroth, who did his own award-winning time at Marvel, begins by laying out the contours of Stan Lee's early life as the son of a Jewish New York immigrant family (Lee was born in 1922 as Stanley Martin Lieber). Through the 1950s, Lee managed to build a solid if unimpressive career working in comics. But then in the late 1950s, the comics industry crashed as TV gave teenage boys a different venue for their interests. By 1960, Lee felt stymied and trapped. He was planning on quitting comics once and for all to do something "important." It was that frustration that led Stan Lee to what Fingeroth calls "a midlife crisis heard 'round the world."

Seeing that other publishers were having some success reviving superhero teams, Lee's boss tasked him with coming up with a new comic. Lee took the assignment, but he didn't just want to create just another group of costumed do-gooders. Instead, he set out to imagine a different vision what it meant to be a superhero.

In this and the work that followed, Lee asked himself what would happen if an ordinary person got superpowers. Would it make their lives better or would it make them harder? What Lee was picturing were superheroes who weren't gods from another world or perfect, infallible examples of human righteousness. Instead, he wanted stories of flawed men and women, full of neurosis and anguish, who suddenly found they could fly or stretch or punch their way through brick walls. What would happen then?

What happened was The Fantastic Four. And then The Hulk. And then Thor and Spiderman and Doctor Strange and Iron Man and The X-men. Over the next few years, Lee along with the equally legendary Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, managed to create a large fraction of what we now call the Marvel Universe. Many of the characters had huge, real-life challenges like Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) and his drinking problem. That meant these characters lived in a recognizable world. "I wanted to make it as realistic as possible" says Lee in an interview quoted in the book. "Instead of [superheroes] living in Gotham City or Metropolis, I felt I will have them live in New York City." Just as important, these new Marvel characters lived in the same world where they crossed paths, formed alliances (or broke them), had romances (and broke those too), all of which formed one, giant, seamless story.

It wasn't just the stories that were new. Lee saw something few others could recognize — a nascent adult audience for superhero comics. Rather than just a backwater of teenage fantasy, Lee understood that with the right stories, superhero comics could gain relevance in the rapidly emerging world of ever-present mass media. Then Lee went further. He not only saw the change coming, he understood how to become its personification.

Most folks only know Stan Lee through his charming and quirky cameos in modern Marvel films. But if you were serious about comics back in the day (for me "the day" was the mid-1970s when I was 11 years old), Stan Lee was a constant presence. One of Lee's great innovations in Marvel comics was to develop a relationship with his readers through the "Bullpen Bulletins." These were a kind of editor's news and information page where Lee drew back the curtain to let you see what was happening at Marvel's offices. And as Lee described it, something amazing was always happening including the occasional visit from a rock star or famous movie director who'd popped by to express their Marvel admiration.

That was Lee's genius. "Little by little [he] was making himself and Marvel into celebrities" writes Fingeroth. By becoming a regular presence within Marvel's pages Lee was "mythologizing what he and his peers did for a living, making himself and them as important as the characters whose stories they told." But Lee was making us, his readers part of that story too. He was convincing us that we, too, were part of something very important just by buying those slim volumes of The Avengers, Silver Surfer or Nick Fury and His Howling Commandos.

A Marvelous Life gives us strong insights into the forces that drove Lee and Marvel to success. But Stan Lee was also a complex man who could be both beloved and reviled. In particular, Lee's conflicts with collaborators, who felt he had stolen credit for their work, is also an important part of his story. This was particularly true for Jack Kirby. Fingeroth spends some time in the book unpacking Lee's long running dispute with Kirby and others. He also mentions abuse allegations previously noted by media. These sections were not particularly compelling to me, but they are an important part of Lee's legacy and Fingeroth handles them with grace.

One small criticism of the book is that it tells us very little of Lee's response to the founding and runaway success of Marvel Studios (beginning with Iron Man in 2008). That seems a strange omission given how much of Lee's later story is him trying to get Hollywood to pick up Marvel properties.

Taken as a whole though, A Marvelous Life is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how Stan Lee set Marvel on the path to world domination (in a good way).

Adam Frank is an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester and author of Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth. You can find more from Adam here: @adamfrank4.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit




Find more drawings on Instagram: @deanblakeauthor.



WhatsApp now lets everyone control who can add them to a group   


WhatsApp is updating a feature that allows users to control who adds them to group chats, and rolling it out to all 1.5 billion users around the world. 


Intelligent search platform Coveo raises $227 million at a valuation of over $1 billion   


Coveo, a platform that meshes search, analytics, and machine learning to unlock insights contained within big data for businesses, has raised $227 million.


Treasuries Regain Ground Following Recent Weakness    


After moving sharply lower over the three previous sessions, treasuries regained some ground during trading on Wednesday.

Bond prices initially moved higher and saw some further upside as the day progressed. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, slid 5.2 basis points to 1.814 percent.

Bargain hunting contributed to the early strength among treasuries, with the ten-year yield pulling back off its highest closing level in nearly two months.

Treasuries saw further upside after a report from Reuters said a meeting between President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping could be delayed until December.

A senior Trump administration official told Reuters discussions continue over terms of phase one of the trade deal and a venue for a meeting between Trump and Xi.

Sites in Europe and Asia have been suggested for the meeting, with Sweden and Switzerland among the possibilities, while Trump's suggestion of Iowa appears to have been ruled out, the official said.

The official said China's latest push for more tariff rollbacks was not expected to derail progress toward an interim deal but noted that it was still possible an agreement would not be reached.

Treasuries remained firmly positive after the Treasury Department revealed this month's auction of $27 billion worth of ten-year notes attracted above average demand.

The ten-year note auction drew a high yield of 1.809 percent and a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.49, while the ten previous ten-year note auctions had an average bid-to-cover ratio of 2.42.

The bid-to-cover ratio is a measure of demand that indicates the amount of bids for each dollar worth of securities being sold.

Looking ahead, the Treasury is due to announce the results of its auction of $19 billion worth of thirty-year bonds on Thursday.

A report on weekly jobless claims may also attract attention on Thursday, although traders are likely to remain focus on any news regarding a trade deal.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company -


Gold Futures Rebound, Settle Notably Higher    


Gold prices moved higher on Wednesday, rebounding from recent losses, as the dollar weakened a bit and equities stayed largely subdued.

Reports about the U.S. and China considering rolling back some tariffs, as they aim to finalize a partial trade deal, helped trigger some interest in the yellow metal.

The dollar index weakened to a low of 97.78 earlier in the day, and despite having recovered to 97.96 by mid afternoon, was still trailing its previous closing level.

Gold futures for December ended up $9.40, or about 0.6%, at $1,493.10 an ounce.

Gold futures for December had declined by about 1.8% on Tuesday.

Silver futures for December ended up $0.030, at $17.598 an ounce, while Copper futures for December settled at $2.6650 per pound, down $0.0355 from previous close.

In economic news, preliminary data from the Labor Department showed labor productivity in the U.S. unexpectedly edged lower in the third quarter, dipping by 0.3%, after spiking by an upwardly revised 2.5% in the second quarter.

The drop came as a surprise to economists, who had expected productivity to climb by 0.9% compared to the 2.3% jump originally reported for the previous month.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said unit labor costs soared by 3.6% in the third quarter after surging up by a downwardly revised 2.4% in the second quarter.

Economists had expected unit labor costs to jump by 2.2% compared to the 2.6% spike originally reported for the previous month.

In trade news, the U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are widely expected to sign phase one of the agreement sometime this month.

The two sides are working to narrow their differences enough to sign a "phase one" trade deal that could allow the U.S. to scrap tariffs on about $156 billion worth of Chinese imports currently set to take effect on December 15.

According to reports, both countries are looking for a location to sign the so-called phase one trade deal that would thaw tensions between the two economic powerhouses.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company -


Ten-Year Note Auction Attracts Above Average Demand    


After announcing the results of its auction of $38 billion worth of three-year notes on Tuesday, the Treasury Department revealed Wednesday that its auction of $27 billion worth of ten-year notes also attracted above average demand.

The ten-year note auction drew a high yield of 1.809 percent and a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.49.

Last month, the Treasury sold $24 billion worth of ten-year notes, drawing a high yield of 1.590 percent and a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.43.

The bid-to-cover ratio is a measure of demand that indicates the amount of bids for each dollar worth of securities being sold.

The ten previous ten-year note auctions had an average bid-to-cover ratio of 2.42.

Looking ahead, the Treasury is due to announce the results of its auction of $19 billion worth of thirty-year bonds on Thursday.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company -


Czech Industrial Production Decline Slows In September    


The Czech Republic's industrial production declined for the second straight month in September, albeit at a slower rate, figures from the Czech Statistical Office showed on Wednesday.

Industrial production fell 0.6 percent year-on-year in September, after a 1.2 percent decline in August. In July, production rose 0.1 percent.

Manufacturing output fell 0.4 percent annually in September.

Mining and quarrying output decreased by 9.6 percent and that of electricity, gas, steam and air condition fell 1.0 percent.

On a monthly basis, industrial production rose a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent in September.

New orders grew 2.7 percent year-on-year in September amid a 2.9 percent rise in foreign bookings and a 2.4 percent climb in domestic demand.

Separate data from the statistical office showed that the construction output rose 0.2 percent year-on-year in September, after a 2.4 percent drop in August. In July, construction output grew 3.6 percent.

On a month-on-month basis, construction output gained 1.8 percent in September.

Another data from the Czech Statistical Office showed that the trade surplus rose to CZK 25.1 billion in September from CZK 10.7 billion the the corresponding month last year. In August, trade surplus was CZK 9.1 billion.

Exports grew 8.0 percent annually in September and imports rose 3.4 percent.

On a monthly basis, the seasonally adjusted exports and imports increased by 1.7 percent and 1.9 percent, respectively.

The material has been provided by InstaForex Company -


SE WI segregation fueled by governments which need to address it    


11/5/19 update: I am adding to this post about environmental justice and government-enabled discriminatory planning in SE WI the schedule of an important television documentary about the destruction of African-American homes, business and neighborhood cohesion by I-43 construction from Milwaukee to the northern suburbs:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 5
    5 p.m. on Channel 10
    6 p.m. on Channel 36
  • Sunday, Nov. 10
    4:30 p.m. on Channel 36
[Updated from 1/8/19 - - with news of litigation alleging racial profiling in a traffic stop on a stretch of interstate highway reminiscent of another outburst in Waukesha County which ended in hate crime convictions.]

There should be widespread dissemination of yet another report focusing on Southeastern Wisconsin's worst-in-the-nation segregation, but let's add some history and information to the discussion - - especially with a new Governor more attuned to the needs of cities and their residents.

As I have noted often on this blog, the disparities have been fueled by multiple actions by multiple layers of government as far back as the 1950's - - and 50 years later - - and often involve transit, such the Robin Vos-led prohibition against regional transit authorities which can move people to jobs and housing across local jurisdictional lines, to repeated threats to the sparse bus connections which do link urban workers with suburban employers.

In fact, civil rights and public health organizations had to force the Walker administration via litigation to provide a welcome, but hardly restorative sum - - $13.5 million in a billion-dollar project - - for transit during Zoo Interchange construction that would put the work into compliance with federal law. 
The Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission urges better public transit financing. Photo included in recent SEWRPC report.

I am also calling attention to this 2008 item about regional segregation, and am reposting one summary from 2016, below:

State and regional governments keep Milwaukee, minorities isolated, part II

On Monday I posted some lesser known facts and history about race, economic justice and inequitable use of regional and state governmental power that have kept the City of Milwaukee poorer than its wealthier and whiter neighbors for more than 50 years.

A technical glitch on the blog duplicated the post, so what I want to do is put the text in one place, below, with a few updates.

*  I added a link to the most recent budget of the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission - - the seven-county, state-created agency located in Western Waukesha County that makes recommendations for the region in such crucial development-related areas as land use, transportation, water distribution and others - - but on which the City of Milwaukee has no designated seat, no authority to name a commissioner and thus relatively less influence on commission spending and policy-making than its whiter, more affluent, more suburban and still-rural neighbors. 

The six other counties outside of Milwaukee all have three commission seats, fewer minority residents and residents total than both the City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County - - yet while Milwaukee County with most of its residents living in the minority-majority city pays the largest annual share of the agency's budget.

Because City of Milwaukee residents are contributing roughly half of the Milwaukee County tax collections, I argue that city residents are taxed for SEWRPC purposes without representation.

*  I am also adding here a link to SEWRPC's most recent report on affirmative action, hiring and staffing, and note that, as it has in the past, the agency says in these reports that it continues to struggle attracting minorities to its most-senior positions.

And SEWRPC candidly includes this ironic, telling, all-encompassing reality about jobs and the Milwaukee-centered region which Scott Walker's anti-urban, anti-transit policies have made worse: 
Transit services have -- at least temporarily -- been terminated by Waukesha County to the Commission’s primary work place in the Waukesha area. Today 38 percent of Commission employees commute from Milwaukee County residences. The Commission has long recommended in its plans, and advocates strongly for improved transit service to job centers throughout the Region. The Commission has identified the severe transit funding problems in the Region, and the need for dedicated funding. Implementation of the Commission’s regional transit plans should provide reasonable transit access to the Commission’s present primary office location.
Echoing its 2012 affirmative action report:

In its 2011-2012 Affirmative action report - - click on the pdf at the bottom of this SEWRPC page - - SEWRPC says:
Transit services have -- at least temporarily -- been terminated by Waukesha County to the Commission’s primary work place in the Waukesha area.
Four-to-five years is "temporarily"?

The original post from Monday:
Media and others interpreting civil unrest in Milwaukee might want to dig deeper into a few issues:

*  Cities are creatures of the state in Wisconsin, and during the Scott Walker era, Milwaukee has lost state-supplied revenue - - the program dates back decades as a substitute for local income tax collections - - and also lost the ability to expand its budget above state-mandated limits.

*  The "hypersegregation" label applied to Milwaukee is regional, tolerated for decades.

Many of these issues and impacts have been studied and reported to death, but the state and region resist meaningful change.

*  The state put a permanent limitation on Milwaukee's growth, tax base, job market and citizen opportunities when it froze the city's borders in 1955 through the so-called anti-annexation "Oak Creek Law."

As a result, suburbanization around Milwaukee boomed, and with it also a proliferation of discriminatory housing local ordinances which, though ruled illegal years later, remain camouflaged through legal substitutes mandating expensive home construction site and interior dimensions (in Chenequa, in Waukesha County, for example) or Mequon's decades-long five-acre lot minimum, now eased, that effectively kept residency upper-income and predominately white in that Ozaukee County community.

No other Wisconsin municipality has had its borders - - and its future - - politicized, influenced and fixed by a special state law: 
Through the use of restrictive covenants, exclusionary zoning, and aggressive police patrols, these suburbs have over the years tried to keep the City of Milwaukee, as a real and symbolic embodiment of the “urban,” out of their self-styled sanctuaries. These policies, in turn, have had the effect of concentrating the poor, people of color, single moms, and unemployed young men in the City of Milwaukee itself. The new suburbs form what [historian John] Gurda calls the “iron ring” around the City of Milwaukee, and there is no obvious way to break through the ring.
Interestingly enough, the new suburbs are the very communities in which support for Governor Walker is strongest. 
*  The state created a seven-county Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission in 1960 made up of Milwaukee, Racine, Kenosha, Walworth, Ozaukee, Washington and Waukesha Counties.

[Updated] SEWRPC, with staff and headquarters in Western Waukesha County that is far from Milwaukee, literally and philosophically - - and not even on a transit line - - prepares influential studies, provides technical assistance to governmental agencies in matters such as housing, water and transportation, and has the power to approve certain highway projects paid for with federal funds.

All effect job creation, access, distribution, and economic opportunity.

The commission's makeup, focus and output is heavily suburban and exurban.

Each of the counties has three commission seats. For most of its existence, the commission had no African-American members.

Most of the region has higher incomes and housing values than does Milwaukee.

Commissioner appointments are controlled by the Governor and the counties.

The City of Milwaukee, with a population larger than all the non-Milwaukee counties, and by far the largest number of transit dependent, minority and low-income residents in the region and state, has no designated commission seat or appointing authority.

Yet the commission's budget comes 100% from taxes, so the city of Milwaukee and its residents are taxed without representation for commission purposes.

More financial unfairness: Milwaukee County, which has the same number - - three - - of commissioners as do the other six counties, including far smaller and still rural Walworth, for example, picks up 33% of the counties' annual tax contributions to SEWRPC, according to the agency's most recent, and relatively stable budget.

I noted SEWRPC's disconnect from minorities in this blog's first month in February, 2007, and have covered its activities repeatedly in the intervening years.

The Wisconsin ACLU, from its Milwaukee offices, has rightly told the Southeastern Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission that the agency is moving far too slowly with the formation of a task force on environmental justice.

SEWRPC has had months to get this outreach effort underway but has not made task force appointments and is not aggressively getting input on appointees from communities to whom this long-overdue outreach effort is aimed, the ACLU says in its new release.

With its laissez-faire approach, SEWRPC is skating on thin ice with watchdog groups like the ACLU, and federal regulators who could use federal civil rights to light a fire under SEWRPC, as the ACLU further reminds SEWRPC by letter.

The Pewaukee-based agency already has minimal credibilty with large sections of the region because of its pro-suburban history, and giving the task force formation a low priority only reinforces SEWRPC's negative image.

At this very moment, SEWRPC and other entities are discussing major changes to transit and water management policies that will guide development in the region for generations, and will therefore profoundly impact low-income residents.

Yet those residents are regularly shut out of many of these policy discussions - - a problem the environmental justice task force could help remedy.

If SEWRPC had a comprehensive planning strategy and a more inclusive mentality, it wouldn't need an environmental justice task force in the first place: its commissioners and multiple committees would have integrated genuine environmental justice principles and goals into all their work as a matter of routine.

For example, if environmental justice were an important thread in SEWRPC operations, its last housing plan for our heavily-segregated region wouldn't have been done in 1975, and SEWRPC would have been a champion for transit expansion, not $6.6 billion in new, suburb-serving freeways lanes.

It's a disgrace that community groups representing low-income and minority populations had to demand a task force in the first place, and reprehensible that SEWRPC continues to drag its feet on its implementation.

In recent years, the commission did establish a task force on economic justice, but only after initial resistance from the top and successful pressure from citizen and civil rights organizations.

The same kind of pressure recently led to federal civil rights litigation which forced the state to add a relative pittance - - about $13 million dollars worth of temporary transit services - - to a billion-dollar regional highway expansion at Milwaukee's western border with more affluent, faster-growing Waukesha County which the state is building at the recommendation of the commission.

More billions have been spent and will be added in future years to the same freeway expansion principally serving white, affluent areas in the region without  transit extensions.

*  Waukesha County, GOP state legislators, and then-GOP Gov.Tommy Thompson blocked light rail connections between the City of Milwaukee and Waukesha County then went further and blocked light rail development within the City of Milwaukee.

A summary story about light rail, regional politics and disparities and SEWRPC, here.

Some years later, Waukesha County officials pulled the plug on a jointly-funded bus line - - Route 9.

The line had connected the two counties, but its cancellation sent an anti-urban message regionally and deprived Milwaukee residents without access to a car - - one documented tally some years ago out the figure at 87,000, or about 15% of the total city population - - of one option for reasonable access to out-county jobs who.

*  As has been par for the course, the state just helped win for the City of Waukesha a jobs-and-growth guaranteeing diversion of water from Lake Michigan.

Let's take a bit of a closer look at how all this works.

SEWRPC had already recommended Lake Michigan water transfers to communities, including Waukesha, before the Great Lakes states accepted the city's diversion application first green-lighted by and then strongly backed across the Great Lakes region by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

Matt Moroney, an attorney representing regional builders, was a forceful member on the SEWRPC's water advisory committee. 

That body endorsed Lake Michigan diversions beyond the Great Lakes basin and the SEWRPC commission formally adopted those recommendations.

Moroney became the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Natural Resources after Scott Walker won the governorship in November, 2010, and now serves as a special assistant on Walker's staff. 

No Milwaukee individual has had that kind of suburban-development enabling impact on local, regional and state development.

State and regional policies have for decades kept Milwaukee and its residents land-locked, economically stunted, disconnected from neighboring wealthier, whiter areas and thus segregated - - regionally - - by race and economic status.

*  Add in Walker's failed job-creation policies, his scandal-ridden and failed job-creation agency, his refusal to allow the minimum wage to rise above the poverty-enforcing level of $7.25/hr. and his deletion of tens of thousands of poor people from food stamp roles - - summary posting, here - - what do you think the ripple effects have been and will continue to be in the Wisconsin city with the largest number of low-income and unemployed people?

This blog has covered these issues for nearly ten years. There are hundreds of posts with supporting documentation. Use the index box at the upper left.

if we're going to have a discussion about segregation, let's look at the bigger picture.


Breakfast links: Future transit options?   


Time to fix I-66

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe wants to spend $2-3 billion to ease congestion along I-66 between the Beltway and Haymarket. State Options include a Metro extension, light rail, BRT, more lanes for cars, and other options. (Post)

Columbia Pike to roll forward

The Arlington County Board will authorize building the Columbia Pike streetcar faster and without federal funding tomorrow, thanks to the state’s contribution. The two streetcar opponents remain opposed despite state funding. (ArlNow)

Gondola funding hits roadblock

The idea for a gondola from Georgetown to Rosslyn won’t get funded for a study from the Council of Governments, but the Georgetown BID still hopes to get the money elsewhere for a study by the end of 2015. (InTheCapital)

Marijuana in public housing?

The DC Housing Authority is funded primarily by the federal government, which considers marijuana possession to be illegal. Now that marijuana is decriminalized in DC, how will DCHA adjust? (City Paper)

No new CaBi bikes

New bikes and docks are not likely this year for any Bixi-based bikesharing systems. This will halt Capital Bikeshare’s expansion and move Charm City Bikeshare’s launch into next year. (Streetsblog)

DC’s Scooby-Doo Ghost Town

L’Enfant Plaza and the cluster of concrete federal buildings around it seem quite ugly. Buzzfeed mocks the area, which it calls “DC’s Scooby-Doo Ghost Town,” and its architecture.

Will driverless cars encourage sprawl?

A Toyota scientist thinks that if driverless cars making driving easier, people will just live farther away. Tolling could help, but will face political opposition. (Streetsblog)

Schools or transit, not both

A bill in North Carolina would ban counties from adding local sales taxes for both education and transit. This would likely make education advocates oppose any transit funding proposal and vice versa. (NewsObserver)


Can Arlington and Alexandria agree on the future of their transitway? (WAMU) … How is it “privatization” to set aside spaces for Zipcar-like services while parking your private car on the street is not? (Streetsblog) … It’s legal, and increasingly popular nationwide, to build apartments out of shipping containers. (WBJ)

Top image: Photo by Doug Kerr on Flickr.

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U.S. shale pioneer Chesapeake Energy warns it may not be able to outlast low gas prices   


A decade ago, Chesapeake was a US$37.5 billion company led by the energetic Aubrey McClendon. On Tuesday, its market value was US$2.6 billion


053 Why Your Cat Brings You Dead Mice and How to React, & Your Dog Could Bite Someone – How to Prevent It.   


Does your cat bring you dead mice it kills or various rodent body parts? I’ll explain the current theory for why cats do this and the best way to react. It’s probably not what you think.

Then, if you are like many other dog owners, you don’t like to think that your dog could ever bite someone. The reality is that any dog – no matter the breed, can bite and injure someone. My guest, Melissa Berryman, is a dog bite prevention expert, creator of the People Training for Good Dogs dog handling program, and author of the book by the same title. In today’s episode, she talks about how we can take more responsibility for preventing dog bite injuries by better understanding our dog’s point of view and needs and expectations of us, and shares some of the innocent human actions that cause some of the most common bites.

Plus, in the special feature, “Where Did That Expression Come From?” we’ll take on the phrase, “barking up the wrong tree” and then how one of America’s most popular foods, a sandwich eaten by the billions each year, got its name.

Congratulations to Ann from Woodburn, Oregon for winning a free large bag of NutriSource dog food. She did so, by being randomly selected from those that sent in a question about their pets that they wanted covered in the podcast. Her question, that we answered, was about why cats leave “gifts” of dead mice for her family.  You can be selected as well and receive a free bag of pet food. Write me at

Additional Resources for the show.

Source for story about why cats leave dead mice and how to react. Why Does My Cat Do That? By Catherine Davidson.

Melissa Berryman’s “People Training for Good Dogs” Program Website.

Amazon link to order the book “People Training for Good Dogs: what breeders don’t tell you and trainers don’t teach.” By Melissa Berryman.


Source for Stories about where hot dogs got their name. National Hot Dog and Sausage Council Website


SoftBank Group shares slide over 4% after massive quarterly loss   


Shares of SoftBank Group fell more than 4% in early trade on Thursday after the Japanese conglomerate reported a $6.5 billion (£5.06 billion) quarterly loss, its first such loss in 14 years, dragged down by a massive hit at its giant Vision Fund.


UPDATE 4-Xerox in $33 billion bid for HP -sources   


U.S. printer maker Xerox Holdings Corp has made a roughly $33 billion cash-and-stock offer for personal computer maker HP Inc, a company more than three times its size, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.


French lottery valued more than $3.3 billion in IPO prospectus   


France's state-owned lottery operator Française des Jeux (FDJ) is worth more than 3 billion euros ($3.32 billion), according to the prospectus for its stock listing released on Wednesday.


UPDATE 3-U.S. SEC enforcement activity hits second-highest level ever in 2019   


Enforcement activity by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in fiscal 2019 resulted in $4.3 billion in fines and disgorgements, up from $3.9 billion a year earlier, the regulator said on Wednesday.


Xerox in $33 billion bid for HP - sources   


U.S. printer maker Xerox Holdings Corp has made a roughly $33 billion (£25.68 billion) cash-and-stock offer for personal computer maker HP Inc , a move on a company more than three times its size, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.


UPDATE 3-Xerox in $33 billion bid for HP -sources   


U.S. printer maker Xerox Holdings Corp has made a roughly $33 billion cash-and-stock offer for personal computer maker HP Inc, a move on a company more than three times its size, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.


Public-Private Conservation Partnership Preserves 937 Acres in Coyote Valley   


Today, the San José City Council unanimously approved the purchase and permanent protection of 937 acres in the North Coyote Valley through an innovative public and private partnership among Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST),  Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority (the Authority) and the City of San José. This conservation transaction secures a critical “last chance” wildlife linkage between the Santa Cruz and Diablo mountain ranges. This irreplaceable landscape features natural floodplains and wildlife habitat, mitigates wildfire impact and builds climate change resiliency for the citizens of the tenth-largest city in the nation.

“Our preservation of Coyote Valley for future generations makes good on our collective obligation of stewardship of our — and more importantly, their — planet,” said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo.  “I’m proud of our work, together with the Authority, POST, landowners and many community stakeholders over the last four years, to negotiate agreements, build a public campaign, pass Measure T at the ballot box and ultimately deliver on our promise to the voters.”

Liccardo further added, “While consistent with the vision of many predecessors to protect our greenbelt for posterity, Coyote Valley’s conservation today also enables San José to become more resilient to a host of climate-related perils, from wildfires to floods to drought.”

The Transaction

The largely undeveloped area lies along the southern edge of San José city limits (see map below). The transaction includes land purchases from two willing sellers, the Sobrato Organization (335 acres) and Brandenburg Properties (572 acres). An additional 30-acre property, already owned and protected by POST, will be transferred to the City to complete the 937-acre deal. 

Purchase details and sale agreements were approved today in an 11 – 0 vote by the San José City Council. The land purchases are expected to close by the end of November.

One of the largest “natural infrastructure” transactions in the country, the deal reflects a growing trend by cities to invest in natural floodplain protection as a more responsible fiscal alternative to incurring the human and financial costs that natural disasters such as floods have on communities. The $93.46 million deal is funded in part by $46.3 million from Measure T, a $650 million infrastructure bond approved by San José voters in November 2018. POST is providing $42.16 million in cash and real property that includes significant contributions from private foundations and individuals, including Mark and Debra Leslie, and Andrew and April Bosworth. The Authority is contributing $5 million. POST and the Authority are also working to secure significant funding from other public agencies.

“San José is taking an enlightened and fiscally astute approach to land use by putting jobs and housing where today’s workforce wants to be and discouraging the sprawl that both exacerbates traffic and pollution and interferes with the natural functions of the land itself. Optimizing land use in this way aligns perfectly with POST’s mission,” said Walter T. Moore, president of POST. “Clean air, fresh water, a healthy functional ecosystem and easy access to recreation are just some of the many benefits people and wildlife will experience as a result of a protected Coyote Valley.”

The History

Previously slated for up to 6.6 million square feet of industrial development, the North Coyote Valley is the critical landscape linkage between the Santa Cruz and Diablo mountain ranges. It contains the South Bay’s largest remaining freshwater wetland, Laguna Seca, and natural floodplains upstream of San José. All of these constitute significant natural assets for supporting flood risk reduction when fully restored.

A scientific analysis published by the Authority in 2017, the Coyote Valley Landscape Linkage Report, describes the importance of Coyote Valley to wildlife movement, water resources, and environmental adaptation, so critical in this era of climate change. The report was the result of an eight-month collaboration by 18 local scientists and conservation managers that integrated new scientific findings, local expertise and previous connectivity analyses to develop a vision for the preservation of biodiversity in and around Coyote Valley.

The linkage report identifies North Coyote Valley as the critical landscape linkage between the Santa Cruz and Diablo Mountain ranges, allowing wildlife to migrate and adapt to a changing climate. It is the key link in connecting more than $3 billion of open space investments made in the neighboring mountain ranges, where there are 1.12 million acres of core habitat. Additionally, strategic conservation in Coyote Valley provides significant new opportunities for outdoor recreation and supports local agriculture.

“We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to protect and restore this last chance landscape for its open space benefits including helping to build a climate resilient future for our urban and natural communities,” said Andrea Mackenzie, general manager for the Authority. “The Authority is honored to partner with the City and POST to deliver a greener future for Coyote Valley.”

The permanent protection of North Coyote Valley from industrial development follows years of coordinated efforts by a community of conservation organizations and their supporters to raise public awareness and galvanize civic action. Leading partners in this effort include the Committee for Green Foothills and Greenbelt Alliance, among many others.

Next Steps

Once the transactions are completed, the Authority will assume responsibility for managing, stewarding and opening these lands to the public. They will coordinate with the City, POST and other key stakeholders to lead a public planning process to define the future of Coyote Valley and open it to the public. The plan will inform how to restore these lands to enhance the ecological, economic and quality-of-life benefits that they uniquely provide. During the planning process, which is expected to take three to five years, the Authority will provide organized educational events and volunteer opportunities to introduce Coyote Valley to the public. Details on how to get involved can be found at

"I commend Mayor Liccardo, the City Council, POST and the Open Space Authority for securing this landmark deal. Our natural environment is our first line of defense against climate change and this investment in Coyote Valley will be used as a model for climate-resilient infrastructure across the state,” said Ash Kalra, California State Assembly member for the 27th District. Kalra introduced Assembly Bill 948 in the California State Legislature to designate Coyote Valley as a landscape of statewide significance and create the Coyote Valley Conservation Program. “Along with the signing of Assembly Bill 948, this is a game-changing effort towards ending the decades-long urban sprawl mentality and speaks to the broad support for preserving and restoring precious resources throughout California.”

POST is working to raise $20 million in private funding in support of the North Coyote Valley transactions; details are available at


About the Peninsula Open Space Trust

POST protects open space on the Peninsula and in the South Bay for the benefit of all. As a private nonprofit land trust, POST has been responsible for saving more than 77,500 acres over the last 40 years. POST works with private landowners and public agencies to connect people and nature. Visit for more information.

About the Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority

The Open Space Authority was created by CA state legislature in 1993 to conserve the natural environment, support agriculture, and connect people to nature, by protecting open spaces, natural areas, and working farms and ranches for future generations. The Authority has protected over 25,000 acres of open space, preserving the region’s scenic beauty, protecting open space, wildlife habitat, water resources and agricultural land, and providing outdoor recreation opportunities for Santa Clara Valley residents. Visit for more information.

About the City of San José

With more than one million residents, San José is one of the most diverse large cities in the United States and is Northern California’s largest city and the 10th largest city in the nation. San José’s transformation into a global innovation center has resulted in one of the largest concentrations of technology companies and expertise in the world. In 2011, the City adopted Envision San José 2040, a long-term growth plan that sets forth a vision and a comprehensive road map to guide the City’s anticipated growth through the year 2040.

About Measure T

Measure T is a $650 million infrastructure bond measure approved by San José voters in November 2018 with almost 71% support. Measure T will upgrade 911 communications and facilities, prevent flooding and water quality contamination and repair critical infrastructure and also includes up to $50 million for land acquisition for natural flood and water quality protection, focused primarily on Coyote Valley.

About Assembly Bill 948

Signed into law on September 27, 2019, AB 948 creates a Coyote Valley Conservation Program to be administered by the Open Space Authority, that designates Coyote Valley as a landscape of statewide significance for its natural infrastructure benefits including flood risk reduction, wildlife protection and climate resilience. More information can be found here.


High-resolution photos, video footage, maps of Coyote Valley and other media resources available at Or, contact or (415) 604-8959.



Craig MacLellan

Landis Communications Inc. for POST

(415) 604-8959


Alisha Maniglia

Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority

(669) 210-9590   

Jim Reed

Office of Mayor Sam Liccardo

(831) 707-4993


Class 2 LGV Driver – Weekdays - Permanent   


Salary: £27,000 + Excellent Company Benefits. Location: . Class 2 LGV Driver - Weekdays | Permanent Tamworth, Coventry | £27,000 + Excellent Company Benefits We currently have an exciting opportunity for a Relief Class 2 LGV Driver at our Coventry site. Reporting to the Transport Manager and operating in a competitive market you will be the face of the business on a daily basis when delivering to our customers. Who We Are: We are a leading $14 billion global product supplier spanning chemicals, pharmaceuticals, food ingredients and cosmetics serving more than 80,000 customers across 100 countries. Class 2 LGV Driver Key Responsibilities and Tasks: The role would suit a competent individual with experience of working multi-drop deliveries, and the role requires working to high standards in all aspects of their duties and the capability to work alone. You will be serious about safety in everything you do and happy to be a team player. You will be required to flexible about your working patterns to suit business needs, confident in communicating with customers and it is essential that you are self-motivated and focused on customer satisfaction. We Are Looking For: The successful candidate will have good communication skills, excellent attention to detail and be flexible with work times. It is essential that you are self-motivated and willing to learn. You will have high standards in all that you do and possess excellent customer service skills. An ADR certificate (Classes 2,3,4,5,6,8,9) and up to date CPC would be a distinct advantage when applying for this role. What we offer in Return: + 33 days holiday + Generous pension scheme + Death in service benefit + Discounted private healthcare + Discounts with 1,000+ retailers We are a great team of people, a great place to work and offer all the benefits you’d expect from the world leader at what we do. Come and join us in a business with a global focus where your quality can make a real difference! Interested? Apply here for a fast-track path to the Hiring Manager


Business Development Manager - Home-Based   


Salary: Competitive Salary + Company Benefits Package in Company Car. Location: . Do you have a passion for selling, a desire to be successful, and the ability to build strong relationships internally and with customers? If so we have a great opportunity for a Business Development Manager within our UK Food business. Business Development Manager - Food Ingredients. Global Leader Midlands Region Home-Based | Competitive Salary + Company Benefits Package in Company Car We are the Food Ingredients division of an a leading $14 billion global product distributor spanning chemicals, speciality consumables, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics serving more than 80,000 customers across 100 countries. The Business Development Manager Role: In order to accelerate the growth of our market leading UK Food Ingredients business an opportunity has arisen for a field based Business Development Manager covering the Midlands Region. The successful candidate will be responsible for sales into customers in the Midlands and will have ownership of delivering the GP AOP for this region. The person talking on this role will manage an existing customer base and will be expected to develop new business and deliver targeted growth. We are looking for someone with a strong work ethic and someone who wants to sell and who can deliver self-determined growth An ability to understand the functional aspects of our portfolio is essential. Key Responsibilities and Tasks: + Ability & desire to sell value and work as ‘one team’. + To maintain the base business, control customer sales attrition and grow the business via new sales opportunities + Open new accounts + Activity management – demonstrates a desire to want to be in front of customers as much as possible + Be able to build relationships with our customers + Results orientated + Demonstrate excellent sales behaviours and be self-motivated + Carry out specific sales projects + Salesforce (CRM sales tool) update and maintenance. + Q (Pricing tool) update and maintenance. We Are Looking For A passion for selling, a desire to be successful, and the ability to build strong relationships internally and with customers. Willingness to work hard and to make a real difference. If you are the successful candidate you will show the necessary desires to learn to be a highly skilled sales person. Ideally you will have experience of managing existing accounts and identifying and gaining new business. The ability to work effectively within all levels of the organisation is essential. Having the flexibility & positive attitude towards team work is also a fundamental requirement. You must be organised and able to prioritise with effective time management skills. The individual must also be proficient at handling multiple tasks with a high degree of accuracy & attention to detail. What we offer in Return: + 33 days holiday + Generous pension scheme + Death in service benefit + Discounted private healthcare + Discounts with 1,000+ retailers + Company car We are a great team of people, a great place to work and offer all the benefits you’d expect from the world leader at what we do. Come and join us in a business with a global focus where your quality can make a real difference! Your Background / Previous Roles May Include: Field Sales, Sales Development, Business Development, Account Management, Technical Sales, Food Manufacturing, Food Ingredients, Chemicals Interested? Apply here for a fast-track path to the Hiring Manager Application notice... We take your privacy seriously. When you apply, we shall process your details and pass your application to our client for review for this vacancy only. As you might expect we may contact you by email, text or telephone. Your data is processed on the basis of our legitimate interests in fulfilling the recruitment process. Please refer to our Data Privacy Policy & Notice on our website for further details. If you have any pre-application questions please contact us first quoting the job title & ref. Good luck, Team RR.


Govt to upgrade Pakistan Refinery Limited with $1b cost   


The government is planning to upgrade Pakistan Refinery Limited with an estimated cost of one billion dollar aims at achieving self-sufficiency in the refining sector and bringing down the oil import bill.

Official sources told …


Amazon Drops on Earnings News But Cramer Says Buy Soon   


(AMAZON) sorely disappointed analysts’ expectations in its latest earnings report, and now it has cost the company roughly $40 billion of market value. But at least one analyst still sees the stock as a buy.


LA Clippers arena clears major hurdle as judge throws out lawsuit by Inglewood residents group   


Mayor James T. Butts Jr. calls ruling a "tremendous victory" for the city and the Clippers' plans to build the $1.2 billion arena by 2024.


Buy First Grade Counterfeit for all currencies online   


We are the best and Unique producer of HIGH QUALITY Undetectable counterfeit Banknotes. With over a billion of our products circulating around the world. We offer only original high-quality counterfeit currency NOTES. We also print and sell Grade A ban...


Green Party sets out ambitious plan to rid the UK of fossil fuels   


It will turn the UK carbon neutral by 2030, with plans to hike corporation tax by 5 per cent in an attempt to service the £900 billion investment needed.

The post Green Party sets out ambitious plan to rid the UK of fossil fuels appeared first on The London Economic.


One whale is worth a thousand trees   


One whale is worth a thousand trees
Marco Magrini looks at the carbon capturing power of the ocean’s giants

In the mid 19th century whales were on the route to extinction. Albeit hunted for a very long time, whales had become the main source of the oil rich Americans used to illuminate their homes. Whaling rapidly rose to an industrial level, with a fleet of nearly 800 ships, taking a tremendous toll on the world’s biggest animals.

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Thankfully, the cetacean species were spared by the almost concurrent invention of the kerosene lamp (in 1857) and the discovery of the first oil field in Pennsylvania (in 1859). Petroleum smelt better and did not spoil on the shelf, as whale oil did.

We now are at odds with what happened thereafter, when crude oil powered the most radical economic and social change in human history. Just today, the world will have consumed an average of 100 million barrels, or 15.9 billion litres. If we add other fossil fuel usage – coal and gas – we get the resulting emission of (a record) 37.1 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide spewed into the atmosphere last year. Oil saved the whales, yet it is endangering the entire planet.

Now, it turns out that we would be best off restoring whale populations to pre-whaling times. ‘When it comes to saving the planet,’ reads a recently published International Monetary Fund study, ‘one whale is worth thousands of trees.’ The equation is simple. Whales accumulate carbon in their bodies during their lifespan of 60 years. On average, each great whale sequesters 33 tons of CO2, which ends up at the bottom of the ocean when the animal dies.

But there’s more. Phytoplankton thrives on the iron and nitrogen found in cetacean excrements. ‘These microscopic creatures not only contribute at least 50 per cent of all oxygen to our atmosphere, they do so by capturing an estimated 40 per cent of all CO2 produced [by mankind],’ the study argues. In other words, having the original five million whales defecating in our oceans (instead of the current 1.3m) would be a blessing.

The IMF’s authors suggest an urgent world moratorium on whaling, to be compensated with international financial mechanisms. Emmanuel Macron said, at the (failed) UN Climate Summit in New York, that France will not strike trade deals with non climate-abiding countries. To be more effective, he should have told countries still engaging in whaling to simply stop killing the creatures.

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Do marine protected areas help or harm local communities?   


Do marine protected areas help or harm local communities?
Marine Protected Areas are designed to benefit the marine ecosystem and human coastal populations, but are they actually achieving both?

There are currently nearly 17,000 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) across the globe. Broadly defined, they are patches of ocean in which human activities, often including tourism and fishing, are managed to ensure sustainability. Though large in number they only cover 11 million square miles – about eight per cent of the world’s ocean, according to Protected Planet, an online interface for the World Database on Protected Areas.

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Organisations such as the WWF are now calling for 30 per cent of the ocean to be protected by 2030, a target which it says will ensure the most complete benefits for marine ecosystems and people. It is the latter that have generally been left out of the picture. While the conservation effectiveness of MPAs has been demonstrated in several ecological studies, their impact on coastal communities is less clear. The research that has been carried out in this area largely focuses on an MPA’s economic impact for these people, something Dr Morena Mills, a senior lecturer in conservation science at Imperial College London, recently discovered.

Working as part of an international research team, she helped examine 118 previous studies – mainly covering tropical MPAs in Asia and Europe – and separated out the positive and negative impacts identified for local people. Favourable impacts came just out ahead at 51 per cent of the total.

The bulk of these positive effects related to community involvement, increased income and a measure known as CPUE, or ‘catch per unit effort’, which refers to the number of fish caught in surrounding areas. Though it might sound counter-intuitive that MPAs (which often limit or prohibit fishing) result in increased catch, there’s a simple reason why. ‘Fish are different to us because the more they grow, the more eggs they produce,’ says Mills. ‘So if fish in no-take zones are allowed to grow bigger and produce more eggs, they start to spill over to the adjacent areas.’

These findings tally with a recent report commissioned by the WWF that points to huge net benefits for humans if ocean protection is extended to cover 30 per cent of the world’s ocean waters. The report predicts benefits in the range of $490billion and 150,000 full-time jobs in MPA management, (in some cases numbers reached as high as $920billion and more than 180,000 jobs).

But while this is a positive sign, Mills notes that this field of research is still limited. ‘There are very few studies that look at impacts on cultural diversity or mental health or other areas that we know are really important,’ she says. In addition, there are also the negative impacts to deal with. In particular, conflict within communities increased in 79 per cent of MPA cases examined and, although it was only analysed in 13 studies, the cost of fishing increased in every one.

As a result of this mixed bag, Mills now believes there needs to be more experimental or quasi-experimental studies to ensure that MPAs help both marine animals and humans. ‘Before and after impact control experiments are so important because they show you the real impacts of management.’

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Defending the Perimeter Isn’t Enough on Election Hacking   


Defending the Perimeter Isn’t Enough on Election Hacking(Bloomberg Opinion) -- The U.S. is now just a year from the 2020 presidential election. In 2016, we saw foreign interests influence the outcome of a presidential race when Russian hackers infiltrated the computer networks of officials in both parties, and then selectively disseminated the emails of Democrats. Is the nation in better shape to counter such threats this time around?It doesn’t look like it.For example, Microsoft recently reported an attack by Iranian hackers on the emails of current and former U.S. government officials, journalists covering political campaigns, and accounts associated with a presidential campaign. There is reason to believe that the attack, which consisted of more than 2,700 attempts on targeted email accounts, was backed by the Iranian government.According to security researchers and intelligence officials, hackers from Russia and North Korea have also begun targeting organizations that work closely with 2020 presidential candidates.Foreign enemies continue to see U.S. elections as an opportunity to subvert the will of the American people and exert control over our governance at the highest level. This most recent Iranian attack is a reminder that both political organizations and private enterprises face significant cybersecurity risks.Unfortunately, the legacy electoral systems most voters and organizations rely on do not offer sufficient protection in the modern digital landscape. When facing nation-state adversaries with billions in funding and information resources to rival the U.S. National Security Agency, Americans have to think beyond the popular two-factor authentication protocols. We need to protect not only the voting systems themselves, but the email, file-sharing and other communication systems of ancillary campaign groups, local officials and plenty more.What can we do to defend ourselves better? In my military and cyber experience, the operating principle is that the sophisticated attacker will eventually find a way through any perimeter defense. As supreme allied commander of NATO in the late 2000s, I pushed to strengthen the alliance’s nascent Cyber Defense Center in Tallinn, Estonia — but saw firsthand how easily Russian hackers penetrated our digital perimeter.Protections must be designed so that even if the attacker succeeds in getting to the target, the target remains safe. To do so, we need to think in terms of four core principles for secure communication systems that will be resilient to the inevitable breach.First, systems must employ end-to-end encryption. (Disclosure: I serve on the board of an information-security firm, Preveil Llc.) If we assume that attackers will be able to exploit vulnerabilities in server software or the defense mechanisms that guard it, then the only way to keep information secure is to make sure that it’s never exposed, even while on the server. With end-to-end encryption, data is only accessible to the sender and the recipient — it isn’t accessible en route to the server or on the server. Even if the server is compromised, the data is not. Think of this as the difference between working in an Ebola environment in a body suit, which will eventually weaken at the seams, and being vaccinated against the disease. The perimeter defense is far from worthless, but the vaccine — the internal protection — is vastly better. A second concern is the vulnerability of anything in the system that becomes a juicy target. While end-to-end encryption eliminates the server as a single entity that can be compromised, if the system has administrators with global access, a high-yield single target for attackers remains. To solve this problem, access to large amounts of sensitive user data should be granted only after being approved by several trusted individuals. Similar to the systems used for nuclear-launch codes, encryption cryptography can break up individual user keys into fragments that are distributed among multiple people. Therefore, administrative access to users’ accounts is achieved only when all key shards are present, so there is no single administrator who attackers can compromise to gain access.Third, it’s time to do away with passwords. According to the report of the 2019 Verizon data breach investigations, 80% of hacking-related breaches involve compromised and weak credentials. Rather than depending on fallible passwords, secure communication systems should now grant account access using a private encryption key. A 256-bit encryption key has a lot of different possible combinations of characters — nearly 10 to the 78th power, the same as the number of atoms in the universe — and is not crackable with existing computational power. Because the key is stored only on the user’s physical device, remote access isn’t possible.Finally, it is important to protect the most sensitive communications from socially engineered phishing and spoofing attacks. Traditional digital communications provide an opening for impostors to trick users into clicking on dangerous links or leaking information. When only known users are able to communicate with each other about an organization’s most confidential information, that risk of “lookalike” accounts is eliminated. The strongest security systems don’t depend on users to be perfect, or to always exercise good judgment. They make sure that data is safe even when humans are flawed. Getting at this “insider threat” is crucial.Security is a serious matter for organizations of all types, not just political parties during an election season. Organizations should rethink their security preparedness with a deeper understanding of the adversaries’ capabilities. They need to make the shift to secure systems modeled around these four core principles — including adopting ready-to-use encrypted communications systems for email and file-sharing.Between now and Nov. 3, 2020, there should be few higher priorities than improving security to stop hackers and foreign powers from threatening American democracy itself.To contact the author of this story: James Stavridis at jstavridis@bloomberg.netTo contact the editor responsible for this story: Tobin Harshaw at tharshaw@bloomberg.netThis column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.James Stavridis is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist. He is a retired U.S. Navy admiral and former supreme allied commander of NATO, and dean emeritus of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He is also an operating executive consultant at the Carlyle Group and chairs the board of counselors at McLarty Associates.For more articles like this, please visit us at©2019 Bloomberg L.P.


Seattle race between socialist and Amazon-backed candidate too close to call   


Seattle race between socialist and Amazon-backed candidate too close to call* Amazon funneled $1.5m into city council elections * Egan Orion currently ahead of incumbent Kshama Sawant Egan Orion poses for a photo at his headquarters in Seattle on 28 October 2019. Photograph: Elaine Thompson/APA Seattle city council race between socialist Kshama Sawant and business-backed Egan Orion that saw unprecedented financial contributions from the local corporate giant Amazon and some of its top executives was too close to call early Wednesday – although Orion was ahead in early counting.Amazon funneled $1.5m into the local city council elections by way of the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce’s political action committee, which backed Orion and six other candidates considered to be business-friendly. In 2015, the tech corporation and its employees only contributed about $130,000 to the city council candidates, according to the New York Times.With about half of Seattle’s ballots counted, incumbent council member Sawant trailed Orion by about eight percentage points. But given that later voters in the city often lean far left, it was difficult to predict in the early hours of Wednesday which candidate would ultimately prevail.Orion said he was excited about the initial results and while he thought the funds from Amazon may have had a very minor impact, he considered them unnecessary.“From my perspective, I think that the Amazon money was a big distraction when we were trying to make our closing arguments with voters,” said Orion.Some top local-based global giants such as Amazon, Boeing and Microsoft also contributed to Orion’s campaign. Kshama Sawant speaks at City Hall in Seattle. Photograph: Ted S Warren/AP“We have run a historic grassroots campaign, with working people, community members rejecting Amazon and billionaires’ attempt to buy this election, and that doesn’t mean we’re going to win every battle against the billionaires,” said Sawant..“What matters is the political clarity that the billionaires are not on our side and that this is going to be a struggle.”At a time when many Seattleites are already critical of Amazon’s influence in the city – with many pointing to the role it has played in Seattle’s rising cost of living and growing income inequality – the contributions left an unsavory taste in some residents’ mouths.Sarah Champernowne, 29, a tech worker in Seattle who is a strong supporter of Sawant, said she was concerned about the corporation contributing this type of money in the election.“It’s supposed to be a democratic process and it’s not a democratic process when Amazon can contribute that much to basically a small election,” she said.Sawant, a member of the Socialist Alternative party and former tech worker, has long been a fierce critic of big business and its influence on the city. After winning a council seat six years ago and becoming the first socialist on the Seattle city council in almost 100 years, she soon helped lead the push to bump the city’s minimum wage to $15 an hour (a first for a major US city). She also helped secure better protections for renters, such as barring landlords from increasing rent on substandard homes.But her battle against the influence of big business came to a head with her push last year for the Head Tax. The proposal would have implemented a per-employee tax on corporations making more than $20m each year to fund housing and services for the homeless in a city that has the third largest homeless population in the US, according to a 2018 federal report. With about 45,000 workers in Seattle, Amazon would have probably had to pay millions each year through the tax.The nine-member council unanimously approved the tax. But after Amazon, another locally based global giant, Starbucks, and other companies contributed financially to the campaign to kill it, called No Tax on Jobs, all but two members of the council then quickly voted to repeal it. Sawant and Democratic council member Teresa Mosqueda, who is not up for re-election this year, were the only two who voted for the tax.Sawant has said that if she were re-elected, she would push for the tax again. She has also been very vocal about the need for rent control in Seattle (it is currently banned in the city), and recently proposed a plan in which rent increases each year would not be allowed to outpace inflation.Orion, an LGBTQ community leader and huge advocate of small businesses who considers himself a progressive liberal, does not support the Head Tax or rent control. Instead, he proposed plans that involve landlords being prohibited from increasing rent more than about 10% annually and a partnership between Seattle and King county to create 1,500 units of permanent supportive housing.


SinglePoint (OTCQB: $SING): Direct Solar Signs MOU with SchollyME an International Sports Recruiting App Linked to High Schools Across the Nation   


SinglePoint (OTCQB: $SING): Direct Solar Signs MOU with SchollyME an International Sports Recruiting App Linked to High Schools Across the Nation

PHOENIX - November 4, 2019 ( Newswire) Direct Solar of America, a subsidiary of SinglePoint Inc. (OTCQB:SING) is pleased to announce it has signed a MOU with SchollyME. Direct Solar and SchollyME will collaborate on marketing Direct Solar through the schools that SchollyME is currently working with. The collaboration will put Direct Solar into the high school programs as a partner with SchollyME. This marketing strategy has already seen major success in driving new business for both companies.

SchollyME is based in California and is the fastest growing sports recruiting app for all 32 NCAA sports. SchollyME is a social media network, sports recruiting application for high school students to showcase their talents. The platform is the first social media network to be adopted in China. Learn more at SchollyME Sports Recruiting App Lands Billion Dollar Partnership in China From the release – "Kenneth Chang of the CECC and Ascent Sports is requiring all Esports gamers and athletes to pay an annual subscription fee to the use of SchollyME. The deal is estimated to be worth $1.4 billion within 24 months, thus making SchollyME the largest recruiting app in the country."

"We have seen major success in working with local high schools. We are currently working with 47 schools throughout Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth, Austin and are seeing amazing returns. We had our largest sales day to date Thursday closing seven deals for approximately $250,000. This partnership will give us access to high schools across the nation," states Pablo Diaz Founder, CEO Direct Solar.

This partnership will assist schools and their athletic programs through giving back a percentage of sales to help support and fund the local high school programs.

"We wanted to partner with the best solar company that can service all the schools we are currently involved with. SchollyME felt that we were more than just athletes. Our athletic community should care about the environment and give our younger generation a chance at a much longer life. Direct Solar and SchollyME is just a great partnership. We are both interested in the kid's futures!" states Mel Nunnery Founder of SchollyME.

Direct Solar and SchollyME are currently working to define which markets to launch and in what capacity to do so. Supporting the local communities and high schools' programs will be the driver for this successful partnership. Working with the school to establish a presence for education on solar and renewable energy and what it means for future generations of kids' is elemental in building longevity for both companies.

Direct Solar America via its Direct Solar Capital Division currently finances commercial solar projects for multiple private equity funds throughout North America. With the SchollyME and Direct Solar America partnership we will be collectively raising capital to continue funding projects throughout North America.

The solar market has been growing at its fastest pace in recent history. According to Solar Energy Industries Association, "The U.S. solar industry now has the largest pipeline of utility-scale solar projects in history, signaling promising future prospects for solar energy development." And with new legislation being presented the American Energy Opportunity Act which aims to make the process easier to obtain solar we expect to see continued growth in the sector.

Furthering the growth in the solar market, California has Incorporated solar into state codes & standards, including implementation of the Building Energy Efficiency Standards (BEES) for solar on new homes, developing BEES for commercial buildings with solar and storage, and preventing problematic siting & permitting requirements for utility-scale solar. The state continues to invest and grow the solar footprint. Which SchollyME being based in California this puts Direct Solar instantly in the largest solar market in the United States.

SchollyME has been working with thousands of students securing over 300 scholarships. The interactive app continues to develop and grow. SchollyME Inc. is an incredible sports social network which gives fans a front row seat in the lives of their favorite athletes and coaches while connecting with fans across the globe. For high school and jr. college athletes, SchollyME encourages you to market and promote yourself to college coaches across the globe. SchollyME empowers you to go from discovered to offered with one click.

Beyond just high schools there are numerous opportunities through partnering with SchollyME. Intros to international markets such as China where Pablo Diaz and Mel Nunnery recently traveled on an "invite only" trip to attend the Chinese Electronic Chamber of Commerce conference. Being one of the world's most prestigious conferences, there were many attendees that are highly interested in seeing the collaboration of Direct Solar and SchollyME succeed as there is much business to do outside of the U.S. and expanding into international markets.

Direct Solar and SchollyME determine the best-case scenario to develop and bring to market the first application to buy solar online or through a mobile device from inception to financing and closing. The future of residential solar will follow the path of other large purchases such as cars through Tesla and Carvana. Consumers are becoming comfortable making these large purchases online with the right education and trusted partner. Direct Solar of America will guide consumers through the entire process providing any assistance needed along the way through implementation of AI and customer service agents available to answer any questions. Overall the company looks to create and launch an industry changing way to purchase solar.

About Direct Solar of America
Direct Solar of America is a subsidiary of SinglePoint Inc., a technology and acquisition company. (OTCQB:SING). Direct Solar America is America's Solar Energy Brokerage with more than 3,500 home installations, which has enabled residential solar customers to shop for options in order to find the best option for the home. Like Rocket Mortgage or Lending Tree, Direct Solar representatives provide homeowners with a variety of financing and service providers; this has made the process of buying solar much easier for homeowners. Direct Solar is operational in eight states and continues to expand its residential solar footprint. Direct Solar Commercial serves customers that own and/or manage commercial properties. Along with Direct Solar Capital, an alternative energy financing solution, commercial projects have access to $50,000 to $3 million in funding for solar installations.

About SchollyME
SchollyME is hip for Scholarship Me and born out of the need to allow athletes to be discovered by coaches all over the country in one click.
Each year there are 7.6 million high school athletes playing sports and only 142,000 athletic scholarships available. On SchollyME, athletes can use the app much like other social networks. The difference is athletes can upload full game film, official transcripts and receive a talent evaluation from current athletes for college coaches.

Connect with Direct Solar of America:

For more information visit:

Corporate Communication
Direct Solar of America

About SinglePoint, Inc.
SinglePoint, Inc (SING) is a technology and investment company with a focus on acquiring companies that will benefit from the injection of growth capital and technology integration. The company portfolio includes mobile payments, ancillary cannabis services and blockchain solutions. Through acquisitions into horizontal markets, SinglePoint is building its portfolio by acquiring an interest in undervalued companies, thereby providing a rich, diversified holding base. Through SingleSeed, the company is providing products and services to the cannabis industry.
Connect on social media at:
For more information visit:

Forward-Looking Statements
Certain statements in this news release may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of Rule 175 under the Securities Act of 1933 and Rule 3b-6 under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, and are subject to the safe harbor created by those rules. All statements, other than statements of fact, included in this release, including, without limitation, statements regarding potential future plans and objectives of the Company, are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements.
Technical complications, which may arise, could prevent the prompt implementation of any strategically significant plan(s) outlined above. The Company undertakes no duty to revise or update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of this release.

SinglePoint (SING) is a featured stock on

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Offer - - New York   


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Eco-GENOCIDE: 11,000 scientists sign order demanding globalists ELIMINATE billions of humans from planet Earth   


(Natural News) For the last five years, we’ve been warning that scientists are using the climate change hoax to pursue a planetary depopulation agenda that aims to eliminate billions of humans from planet Earth. The assertion has been predictably mocked by the CIA-run fake news media as a “conspiracy theory,” even as those same media… […]


The FCC has approved the $26.5 billion T-Mobile & Sprint merger   


Following the green light given by the Department of Justice, the FCC has officially approved the $26.5 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. The FCC approval was the last major hurdle Spring and T-Mobile needed to clear for the merger to go through, but there’s still a chance that lawsuits from various state attorneys general ...


Grocery Wars: Walmart's Great Value vs. Target's Good & Gather   


If you shop for groceries at Target, you've no doubt noticed the rapid rollout of Good & Gather, the retailer's newest line of store-brand products. Get used to it. Target expects to have some 2,000 private-label grocery items under that banner by the end of the year, ranging from organic produce and quick meals to snacks and drinks.

Store brands are big business. Supermarkets saw $75 billion in private-label sales in 2018, a 1.5% uptick from the previous year, according to a study by the Food Marketing Institute. Sales for mass merchants, including Target and Walmart, soared to $5 billion, up 7.4%.

The launch of Good & Gather is squarely aimed at Walmart and its popular (and dirt cheap) Great Value store brand. How's Target competing on price so far? To find out, we shopped Walmart and Target stores in Northern Virginia to compare private-label prices on an assortment of grocery staples. Here's what we found.

SEE ALSO: 21 Best and Worst Things to Buy at Aldi


Five reasons why mental health first aid training can fail   


With mental health costing the UK economy between £74 billion and £99 billion per year, many businesses are looking for ways to improve the mental wellbeing of their workforce...


Supply Chain Transparency Critical to Slowing Down the Amazon Deforestation   


Supply Chain_Transparency_Amazon

As the magnitude of the Amazon fires has now reached a level in which scientists are confirming that the ongoing destruction can have catastrophic consequences for Brazil and the world, businesses are beginning to reconsider sourcing their supplies from the area in response. 

Over the last months, the Amazon deforestation rate was an area of Manhattan every day, following reports that farmers were clearing land for crop fields and cattle ranches, as the new Brazilian government was opening up the region to economic activity. According to the country’s National Institute for Space Research, Brazil (the world’s largest beef exporter) had over 72,000 fire outbreaks this year, with more than half of them located in the Amazon. This number represents an 84-percent increase compared to last year.
The Amazon is the largest rainforest in the world, a home to one million native people and three million species of plants and animals. The rainforest covers an area about half the size of Europe and is a vital source of carbon that helps to slow down the pace of global warming, absorbing millions of tonnes of carbon emissions every year. With deforestation, the rainforest’s capacity to absorb carbon emissions is reducing and the carbon they are storing is released into the atmosphere. Non-profit organisation Mighty Earth estimates that globally there are 1.6 billion acres of degraded land for agriculture to expand without deforestation, however the Amazon continues to be cleared for beef production. 
Earlier this month, H&M announced that they stopped purchasing leather from Brazil over concerns that the country’s cattle industry is the main contributor of the Amazon deforestation. Other companies such VF Corporation, the parent company of North Face, Vans and Timberland followed. While these companies play relatively small roles in the area with VF Corporation sourcing around five percent and H&M one percent of their leather from Brazil, businesses sourcing from the area are increasingly focus on reviewing their supply chains.
In a recent statement, Mars announced that they are developing action plans for raw materials linked to deforestation, such as beef and palm oil, and the company’s targets for reducing emissions include the impact of agriculture and land use change. Nestle, which sources meat, palm oil, soy and cocoa from Brazil, has also announced that they are monitoring their suppliers and would immediately cease sourcing from suppliers found to be linked to Amazon deforestation.
The situation is not only critical in the Amazon, but also in many other parts of the world like Africa, this is a positive step toward raising awareness and taking steps to protect the environment and fight climate change. 
Research suggests that avoiding or at least reducing meat and dairy products is the single most effective way to improve our environmental impact on the planet. With the world’s population increasing, the growth in food demand is predicted to reach between 59 to 98 percent by 2050, and as a result, agricultural markets will be impacted – farmers will have to increase agricultural land and enhance productivity, however this still might not be quick enough to meet the growing demand. In addition, climate change-driven water shortages, rising global temperatures and extreme weather changes will play a key role. To address this, a new approach to food is necessary and according to the UN, switching to a plant-based diet can reduce the burden on the environment and help to fight climate change.


Julianna Margulies e Corey Stoll nel cast di Billions 5 – Tutte le notizie del 6 novembre   


Julianna Marguleis e Corey Stoll in Billions Non potrebbe esserci errore più grande che considerare una serie alla quinta stagione sul viale del tramonto. Soprattutto se la serie in questione è Billions di Showtime (in Italia su Sky Atlantic) con Paul Giamatti e Damian Lewis. Nella quinta stagione entrano nel cast Julianna Margulies e Corey […]

L'articolo Julianna Margulies e Corey Stoll nel cast di Billions 5 – Tutte le notizie del 6 novembre proviene da dituttounpop.


Swiss Re exploring possible investment in China Pacific Insurance   


Swiss Re has confirmed that it is exploring a potential investment opportunity with China Pacific Insurance Company (CPIC), after partnering with the company earlier this year. Sources at Bloomberg reported earlier today that CPIC was angling to take a $2 billion stake in Swiss Re, through which it could expand its foreign partnerships. In turn, […]

The post Swiss Re exploring possible investment in China Pacific Insurance appeared first on


Google to Acquire Wearables Manufacturer Fitbit for $2.1 Billion   


Google LLC is expected to close its deal to acquire Fitbit on a to-be-determined date in 2020. The deal is an expansion of Fitbit's year-and-a-half-long partnership with Google that centers around Fitbit's utilization of Google's Cloud Health interface to further integrate its services into the healthcare sector. Fitbit CEO James Park has already said that privacy and security will remain top priorities under Google leadership and that Fitbit will never sell or incorporate its user data into Google ads.


Organic Food Products Market Will Generate About USD 303 Billion At A CAGR Of 15.4% From 2019 To 2024 | Radiant Insights, Inc.   


“Radiant Insights, Inc.” According to new report available with Radiant Insights, the global Organic Food Products Market report provides in-depth analysis of market by production, share, size, demand, economic trends,


Global Ski Equipment & Gear Market is Estimated to Value USD 1.6 Billion By 2025: Grand View Research, Inc   


Grand View Research, Inc. – Market Research And Consulting. According to report published by Grand View Research, The global ski equipment & gear market size was valued at USD 1.4


Entramos en el rascacielos más delgado del mundo   


The 1,428-foot tower on Manhattan's Billionaires' Row is 24 times taller than it is wide and has only one residence per floor.


Judge shields OxyContin-maker Purdue from litigation until April   


Purdue Pharma LP and the company's Sackler family owners will be shielded until April 8, 2020, from sprawling opioid litigation to give the maker of OxyContin time to try to reach a legal settlement the company says is worth $10 billion.


Judge shields OxyContin-maker Purdue from litigation until April   


Purdue Pharma LP and the company's Sackler family owners will be shielded until April 8, 2020, from sprawling opioid litigation to give the maker of OxyContin time to try to reach a legal settlement the company says is worth US$10 billion.


Brazil oil auction raises disappointing US$17 billion: Official   


Brazil's auction of drilling rights to four deep-sea oil fields raised a disappointing $17 billion on Wednesday, officials said, well short of expectations for the highly-anticipated mega sale.


An extra 15-minute daily walk could boost global economy: Study   


The world economy could be boosted by as much as US$100 billion a year if employers successfully encouraged their staff to meet World Health Organization guidelines on exercise, according to an analysis of the economic impact of activity.


Britain's AstraZeneca launches US$1 billion China investment fund with CICC   


AstraZeneca said it is launching a new fund with China International Capital Corporation (CICC) to invest US$1 billion in China's healthcare sector, as it expands its research work in the country.


Monckton interviewed by Adam Spencer   


Monckton interviewed by Adam Spencer

Christopher Monckton was so annoying when interviewed by Adam Spencer that Spencer hung up on him before finishing the interview later on. The Australian was so impressed by Monckton's performance that they posted a partial transcript. Moth at New Anthropocene corrects many of Monckton's misrepresentations, so I'll just cover what was in the transcript posted by The Australian -- presumably they think those are his strongest points.

Spencer: Can I just clarify sir, are you a member of the House of Lords?

Monckton: Yes, but without the right to sit or vote.

Spencer: Because the House of Lords, when you've made that claim before, have repeatedly asked you to stop calling yourself as such, haven't they?

Monckton: No they haven't because they have not yet repealed the letters patent creating the peerage and until they do I am a member of the House as my passport records. It says I'm the Right Honourable Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, so get used to it.

Christopher Monckton told to stop claiming he is a member of the Lords:

The House of Lords has stepped up its efforts to make Lord Monckton - climate sceptic and deputy leader of the UK Independence party - desist in his repeated claims that he is a member of the upper house.

The push comes as Buckingham Palace has also been drawn into the affair, over his use of a logo similar to parliament's famous portcullis emblem.

Last month Michael Pownall, clerk of the parliaments, wrote to Lord Monckton, a hereditary peer, stressing that he should not refer to himself as a member of the House of Lords, nor should he use any emblem representing the portcullis. ...

The House of Lords said today it strongly rejects Monckton's interpretation. A spokeswoman said: "Lord Monckton is not and never has been a member of the House of Lords. The clerk of the parliaments has written to Lord Monckton, confirming that he has no association with the House and advising him to stop branding himself as such."

Back to the interview:

Spencer: Are you a Nobel Laureate as is claimed on many websites?

Monckton: No website that I control says any such thing. It is, however, quite clear that after a seminar that I had given, Professor of Physics David Douglas kindly presented me with a little prize pin which I wear from time to time.

That's what we on the centre-Right would call "a joke". It is something you on the Left at the ABC might not fully understand.

Later in the interview Monckton directs listeners to where it states that he is the Chief Policy Advisor and that

His contribution to the IPCC's Fourth Assessment Report in 2007 - the correction of a table inserted by IPCC bureaucrats that had overstated tenfold the observed contribution of the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets to sea-level rise - earned him the status of Nobel Peace Laureate.

Now it is possible that is a joke, but only if the rest of Monckton's biography there is a joke, along with all his writings on climate science. If so, I think it's time he let us in on the jape. Update: Barry Bickmore adds:

In April of last year, I personally informed Bob Ferguson (president of SPPI) about his organization's complicity in Monckton's résumé padding in an e-mail conversation.

Spencer: J. P. Abraham presented to you a list of dozens of them, including Dr [Ola] Johannessen for example.

Monckton: Right. Now can you please tell me what I got wrong in Dr Johannessen's paper?

Allow me. See slide 76 of Abraham's presentation. Monckton put up a slide asserting "Greenland ice sheet is just fine" citing Johannessen et al 2005 and said:

Here is a paper by Johannessen et al, a very diligent Danish researcher using laser altimetry and what he found was that from 1992 to 2003 the average thickness of Greenland's ice sheet increased by 2 inches a year.

Johannessen is Norwegian, not Danish. His study used radar altimetry, not laser altimetry. And most importantly, the area studied did not cover the entire ice sheet so you cannot conclude from the study that the ice sheet is "just fine". Johannessen et al clearly state:

First, we cannot make an integrated assessment of elevation
changes--let alone ice volume and its equivalent sea-level change--for
the whole Greenland Ice Sheet, including its outlet glaciers, from
these observations alone, because the marginal areas are not measured
completely using ERS-1/ERS-2 altimetry (see Fig. 1).

Monckton was just repeating a misrepresentation of Johannessen's work made by the CEI and refuted back in 2006.

In the interview Monckton offered this defence:

What so-called Professor Abraham had said was that I had not mentioned a paper published by Ola Johannessen in 2009 -- that's a different paper -- in which 273 billion tons, he said, had gone from the Greenland ice sheet into the ocean. I didn't because that paper hadn't reached me, partly because it hadn't been published at the time I gave the talk because he made his criticism of me eight months later.

The paper referred to was not published by Johannessen but rather was sent to Abraham by Johannessen when Abraham asked Johannessen if Monckton had accurately presented Johannessen's work. While it was published after Monckton's talk, Abraham cited four more papers, all published before Monckton's talk and all showing Greenland losing ice. Monckton continued with:

I calculated that was 6 inches of the two feet of ice that had accumulated had gone back over the next few years, swings and roundabouts, into the ocean and that would have caused sea level to rise globally by exactly 0.7 mm. And that is the point Abraham held against me. Had he talked to Professor Johannessen? Not as far as I know.

The paper did not say that the total ice loss was 273 gigatons, but that the total from 2000-2008 was 1500 gigatons and the rate after 2006 was 273 gigatons per year. And again, Johannessen's earlier paper did not cover the entire ice sheet so you cannot say that 2 feet of ice had accumulated on average over the whole sheet. Abraham had contacted Johannessen -- the email form Johannessen was even included in his presentation.

The Conversation has created a Monckton Watch page to correct Monckton's misinformation.

tlambert Sat, 07/09/2011 - 09:54


The Common Law History of Section 230 with Brent Skorup (Ep. 208)   



The Common Law History of Section 230 with Brent Skorup (Ep. 208)



Brent Skorup (@bskorup) is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. His research areas include transportation technology, telecommunications, aviation, and wireless policy.

He serves on the FCC’s Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee and on the Texas DOT’s Connected and Autonomous Vehicle Task Force. He is also a member of the Federalist Society’s Regulatory Transparency Project.

The White House, the FCC, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and a dissenting opinion at the Illinois Supreme Court have cited his research. In addition to economics and law journal publication, he has authored pieces for National Affairs, Reuters, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Wired, Air Traffic Management magazine, Regulation magazine, and elsewhere. He’s appeared as a TV and radio interview guest for news outlets like C-SPAN, NPR, CBS News, ABC News, and CNBC Asia.

Brent has a BA in economics from Wheaton College and a law degree from the George Mason University School of Law, where he was articles editor for the Civil Rights Law Journal. He was a legal clerk at the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunications Bureau and at the Energy and Commerce Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. Before joining Mercatus, he was the Director of Research at the Information Economy Project, a law and economics university research center.



Mercatus Center


The Erosion of Publisher Liability in American Law by Brent Skorup and Jennifer Huddleston (Mercatus Center, 2019)


News Roundup


Zuckerberg, Facebook under mounting pressure over political ads


Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is set to meet with civil rights leaders this week after his company has maintained its policy to leave up political ads containing false statements by politicians. The company has applied the policy unevenly, first allowing Donald Trump to maliciously post an ad with false information about Joe Biden; then leaving up an Elizabeth Warren ad containing false information designed to illustrate the absurdity of Facebook’s ad policy.  During a hearing, Zuckerberg also admitted to Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez that if she were to place a false political ad, that the company would probably leave it up. 


But Facebook is inexplicably removing false ads placed by Political  Action Committees. One notable example is an ad placed the Really Online Lefty League – ROLL – a Political Action Committee co-founded by Adriel Hampton – which falsely claimed that Lindsey Graham supports the New Green Deal. Hampton, an experienced marketing and political strategist, responded by filing to run for governor of California. Then gubernatorial candidate Hampton posted a false political ad and Facebook took it down, saying his campaign wasn’t legit—that it was just a ploy to place a false ad to see what Facebook would do. Even though Hampton says he fully expects to win the governorship, Facebook hasn’t reinstated the ad.


It’s a mess.


Top officials from the NAACP, National Urban League, and the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights are scheduled to meet with Zuckerberg this week to express their concerns with Facebook’s political ad policy, which the company now says has been extended to the UK.


Facebook sued for age, gender bias in financial services ads


A plaintiff in San Francisco filed a potential class action federal lawsuit last week claiming that Facebook discriminates against users based on age and gender in determining who can see financial services ads.  The lawsuit comes 7-months after Facebook agreed to tailor its platform to avoid discrimination on the basis of age, gender and zip code for job, credit, and housing ads.


US launches Tik Tok investigation


The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) has launched a national security investigation into Tik Tok, which is owned by the Chinese firm Bytedance. A bipartisan cohort of lawmakers including Democrat Chuck Schumer, Republican Marco Rubio, and Tennessee Democratic Congressman Bart Gordon have all expressed concern about how the Chinese government uses TikTok’s data. TikTok’s growth has been outpacing the growth of incumbent social media companies in the U.S.



Snowden: Facebook as untrustworthy as the NSA


Whistleblower Edward Snowden, who is exiled in Russia for blowing the lid off the National Security Agency’s mass data collection practices six years ago, told ReCode’s Kara Swisher last week that Facebook is as untrustworthy as the NSA when it comes to privacy. But he didn’t limit his remarks to Facebook. He said that all tech companies are looking to exploit our personal data no matter the consequences. He also said that, on the surface, users may appear not to be concerned about how big tech companies handle their data but that, in reality, users are very concerned but feel powerless.


Five people shot and killed at Airbnb rental


Five people were shot and killed at an Airbnb rental Northern California during a Halloween party on Thursday. The rental listing on Airbnb prohibited parties and the renter claimed it was renting the space for family members who were suffering from smoke inhalation from the fires in the Los Angeles area. A witness reported to Buzzfeed that the shooting occurred with apparently no provocation. Airbnb has banned the renter from the platform.


China launches 5G network


Chinese officials announced last week that it would roll out 5G to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, and Hangzhou 2 months ahead of schedule. The country also announced plans to roll out 5G to over 50 cities by the end of this year. While U.S. telecom companies have begun their 5G roll-out, it’s largely been rolled out on higher frequency bands than the 5G service that’s being rolled out in China. The lower frequency bands that China’s using cover a larger surface area, while the higher frequency bands U.S. companies are using are more powerful but cover less ground.


Corey Booker introduces bill to ban facial recognition in public housing


Senator Corey Booker has introduced a bill to ban facial recognition in public housing. The Senator cites the disproportionate impact that facial recognition technology threatens to have on the nation’s most vulnerable communities. The No Biometric Barriers to Housing Act targets public housing that receives funding from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.


Apple pledges $2.5 billion for California affordable housing


Apple announced that it will invest $2.5 billion to address California’s affordable housing shortage. Some of those funds will be applied statewide. Others will be allocated for projects in the Bay Area. Three hundred million dollars will go towards affordable housing on Apple-owned property.


Following Katie Hill’s resignation, Democrats push for revenge porn law


Thirty-five democrats in Congress sent a letter to the House Judiciary Committee to pass a federal revenge porn law that would criminalize the nonconsensual posting of sexually explicit images online. The letter followed Congresswoman Katie Hill’s resignation from Congress after someone posted nude images depicting her and others as well as accusations that she was having inappropriate relations with campaign and congressional staffers. Hill blames her husband, whom she is in the process of divorcing, for posting the photos.



MIT president acknowledges discrimination against minorities and women on campus


Finally, Massachusetts Institute of Technology president Rafael Reif acknowledged last week that women and people of color often face exclusion and belittlement on campus and that it’s something the university is trying to improve. The development follows revelations of Jeffrey Epstein’s ties to the university.


Why we Need Engineers   


Ninety-nine percent of everything people interact with daily, is man-made. By man-made, I mean nearly everything is: 

  • the result of a technology innovation either created or applied by an engineer.
  • built, manufactured or generated by value-add processes both developed and managed by engineers.
  • shipped and handled by thermodynamic miracles invented and improved by engineers.
  • powered by energy generated by petrochemical, nuclear and natural wonders like wave and wind energy harnessed by engineers.
  • used by people fed, clothed, housed and cared for via mechanised agricultural and industrial systems, including healthcare, characterised by continuously improving productivities and advances which reward us with generous free time, greater health and longer lives.

We need more Science Technology Engineering and Mathematically (STEM) educated people in every field, as a technology-driven society and innovation-based economy, it is a given.

For example, for every R1 of economic value directly generated by engineering intensive innovation and value add processes there is approximately R20 generated downstream in other fields such as law, banking, real estate, insurance. 

If we are to accommodate billions more people on the planet and address issues such as waste or material limits, we need more and more engineers and others to make it happen. We need all the engineers we can get. Even if we successfully meet all the current demand and then generate an army of unemployed engineers, an unemployed, bored engineer will literally make their own opportunities, and we will all benefit. 

Views and analysis
An example is global warming which is often the impetus for people to take up engineering. So, let me pen down my views and analysis.

Engineering marvels have enabled us to attain better food security by improving the yield per area for farming. Engineering marvels have helped us have a better quality of life in terms of both health and wellness overall by providing us with access to better equipment. Engineering feats are what have enabled us to communicate with each other from virtually anywhere.

These are not the feats of a single individual nor a small group of individuals. To get to these points we had to build upon the knowledge of the known and research and collaborate among millions of the brightest minds. But as we progressed, the scale of problems also increased exponentially.

To tackle these problems, we need more numbers of people collaborating and working together on these issues. So yes, to tackle these problems, we need more engineers, just to boost the odds of solving the problems.

If we successfully meet all the current demand and then generate an army of unemployed engineers, an unemployed, bored engineer will literally make their own opportunities, and we will all benefit.

Two-person economy
As for the other professions such as law, accountancy, or even entertainment, I agree they are important, they just don’t push the frontiers of humanity to a better level. In my opinion, we as an organism, can afford entertainment only after we have secured the safety of our existence. I read a story that may help to illustrate this. Consider a two-person economy.

One-man fishes with a rod and line and suppose he catches two fish per day. The other man chops down trees and makes firewood. They exchange, each day, one fish for one bundle of firewood.

Now suppose the fisherman invents a net which allows him to catch ten fish per day. Then, because he has always had a good relationship with the lumberjack, he decides to pay two fish for the same bundle of firewood.

After the invention, both men are richer: the fisherman has eight fish and a bundle of firewood, and the lumberjack now has two fish (and of course his firewood). The world needs more engineers because they invent the nets. Every engineer is compensated based on his or her ability to build something new or improve upon something that already exists. They optimise, research, and improve everything, constantly.
The world doesn’t just need engineers, it desperately needs them.

William A Hadley


Delusions of grandeur   


I decided for some masochistic reason to take a look at the National scarce skills list - top 100 
occupations in demand that was gazetted for public comment on 24 April 2014. There was considerable energy spent at the time (from 2012) during which this list was compiled involving various voluntary groups assembling at workshops to find a sensible way to construct such a list. After many meetings and refinements, the documents were submitted to the Minister who promptly asked for comment from the persons who had compiled the report! That seemed pretty pointless as the onus was then on the Ministry and the DHET to come forth with suggested solutions to enable the recommendations of the report to be implemented. Predictably, it lies in limbo, no doubt gathering dust with all the other reports that have been the result of studious research and plain hard work.

According to the SONA in 2012, the President announced that over the next three years SA would spend R840 billion on the 18 SIPs projects making up much of the early part of the National Development Plan (2010-2030). Well, fast forward from 2012 to 2016. Any signs of progress? At the time they were announced we asked what metrics are to be used to measure the progress of projects against the plan.

Clearly we seem not need them as it is intuitively evident that not much has happened. More recently the Phakisa maritime development programme was announced and so far, looking at the planned deliverables, not much is evident there either.

What is it that drives this national characteristic to have endless indabas, conferences, issuance of plans, green, white and all colours of papers that results in nothing actually being actioned? The Durban to Gauteng pipeline is years overdue and has escalated from an initial cost of R9 billion to R23 billion, and nowhere near complete. Look at Medupi and Kusile - enough said.

There seems to be one apparent factor that pervades all these projects as well as countless late or failed municipal and provincial projects : the quality of the Owner’s team. If the Owner’s team is deficient, one can rest assured that the project will be a failure.

If we consider the renewables projects, they seem to have generally been successful. However, the
technologies have been developed overseas and proven in similar environmental circumstances. They are essentially procure and construct, hardly placing much load on the local management knowledge and initiative.

With the current expectation of a nuclear development with generation 3 reactors do we really think we can produce any better results than our national projects are achieving now? Concern over the impact of corruption on this programme is real based on the endemic status that corruption has acquired in this country on so many big cap projects.

Our gazetted scarce skills top 100 list covers about every engineering discipline we have. It is fascinating that the Ministry has targeted "30,000 additional Engineers by 2014”. The list is still stuck in a 2014 time warp as no further dated actions are evident following its publication for comment.


The “must” country that rarely delivers   



For all the “must” talk in which those in government indulge, very little actually gets actioned. If there have been intentions to make it easier for small business to flourish, then they seem to fall into the category of rhetoric only. I learnt only this week of a new product line that the manufacturer has introduced into some 105 countries over that last five years, and who has stated that SA has been the most difficult, bureaucratic and plainly obstructive of all, as though the intention is to prevent the business from proceeding. And it is one which would enable the self-owned business or entrepreneur to develop and grow with little investment other than time, hard work and focus.


We are all tired of reading the usual “speeches” by officials at the interminable conferences and congresses about what we “must” do. Most of it is simply common sense that does not need a Minister to harp on about as though it were new rocket science level discovery. “We must improve our science and maths at schools” stuff as though it was news to us. All interminable talk, little action.


Now there are the new entry requirements for potential immigrants and tourists. Ministerial prerogative finds it acceptable to defy the objections from the airline industry, employers seeking specialized skills, tourists and business in general. The vulnerable falling Rand and investment rating downgrades do not encourage foreign skills currently on Dollar, Euro and Pound rates seeking a Rand equivalent in SA to get accepted. It’s too high for local industry.


The “reality” dashboard shown last month continues to see the pointers moving further into the red. Is it believable that the policy makers can be so disconnected from the reality of an economy in crisis? The “cleva people” as defined by Zuma are noticeably and more audibly astonished and frustrated by the lack of concern and action. Do they really think that the NDP is going to save the country? Please, Mr Minister of Finance, do answer the question we have been asking for the last 3 years: from whence cometh the R840 billion to do the 18 SIPs projects (in three years - your own claim) and where will the required skilled engineering resources, placed in the right structures at the right time, come from? You will also need to rescue Eskom first.


Shortly, a presentation on the most recent exercise on scarce engineering skills will be presented at Ministerial level. It has taken note of years of ineffective action and will make some radical proposals to get skills development moving properly. The SAIMechE input made it evident that candidate phase training needs to be taken seriously by both employers and the SETAs with the SAIMechE providing a facilitating role to enable the collective participation by Candidate, Employer, Mentor and Supervisor focusing on the criteria of the outcomes by which the programme is assessed. Those industries that are the likely participants in the SIPS/NDP will be asked to identify the resource needs at a job specification (not generic) level so that training in those disciplines can be actioned.


I would like to ask one question of the Minister of Higher Education. Do the subsidies that are paid to universities for the students in the Faculties of Engineering and the Built Environment get used fully for that purpose, or are they diverted to other “non-engineering” causes?


Will the NDP actually start happening?   


We have been subjected to the National Development Plan for some time now with various degrees of emphasis. Government, or at least in reality the ANC, continues to use it as a manifesto item typical of political posturing presumably to convince the public (and the voters) that the country is all set to have an era of great investment, new projects, employment opportunities, export improvements, and reversal of the fiscal deficits amongst many attributes. The better life for all stuff. The alliance continues to nitpick at it and academic and research organisations find flaws in the numbers and the statistics as though it is all an exact science. It has taken on the form of a sort of hallucinating drug that one places one’s faith in when faced with the current economic reality. It all depends on what is one’s own perspective of current reality.

Engineers would be inclined to agree on the need for the NDP, the 18 Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SIPs) and the spin off from the designing, planning, constructing, commissioning, maintaining and operating of all these projects. These will use all the engineering capacity that we have, and more. Never mind from where the investment funds are to come from, that remains all smoke and mirrors and it’s hard to believe that the country will suddenly find R800 odd billion and then spend it over three years on completed projects.

Perhaps closer to the Engineer’s concern is, if we had all that money, where are we going to find the sufficient number of engineering resources to spend it (properly)? We will avoid contemplating the potential behind the corruption that is now endemically entrenched in our country with very little accountability. The efforts to ascertain the available engineering resources by the PICC/SIPs/DHET/ECSA/Volunteer committees will presumably produce some results but so far the numbers do not seem more than high level estimates. I believe it was an exercise to find out what we already knew: we have a scarce skills problem. My own evaluation is that the systems and processes used cannot measure the extent of the scarcity in a meaningful way if the time frame is that of the SIPs programme. This is an example of breaching a very fundamental engineering ethos: if you cannot measure it, you do not know much about it. Clearly, if the metrics used to measure the scarcity do not take this into account, the process while necessary, is insufficient.

The 18 SIPs projects are reasonably well defined at a high level. From this a start should be made to identify the required resources by a reasonable relationship between project size and type. The reality is however, that those who will need the resources normally specify the needs at a granular level, not a generic level that emerged from this committee. Efforts of the SAIMechE to propose a model to measure the needs, to locate as many as possible from the existing market and to focus Candidate Engineer development in those scarce areas are met with a sort of glazed, unconvinced response by the “authorities”. After all, we have to find ways to spend R800 billion effectively, but it would appear that to spend a few million on getting knowledge of the course to take to manage the scarce skills issue is considered either too expensive or unnecessary. The real reason is uncertain as the response has been nil. If the proposed model were to show a return on investment, it would only have to save about one thousandth of one percent of the programme budget to cover its cost. It’s a no-brainer when one realises the costs, delays and consequences of the scarce skills impact on projects. Take a look at Medupi and the Durban-Jhb pipeline as examples. Consider the impact on infrastructure service delivery alone.  There are legendary other cases out there that show the result of technically incapacitated owners’ teams alone.

But then that makes the assumption that the NDP actually is going to happen. If history is anything to go by, we may still be talking about it this time next year. With elections over and “won”, why hurry? At least it may all work as a dream forming drug.


SAIMechE’s suggested contribution to solutions for the scarce skills challenge   


At the recent workshop held by the Department of Higher Education (DHET), the President’s Infrastructure Coordination Committee (PICC) and the Council for the Built Environment (CBE), the objective was to assess the status of the scarce skills in South Africa by assembling Occupational Teams (OTs) that would be assembled largely from the voluntary engineering organizations and academia. Two days were spent following the earlier work done by the PICC/DHET/CBE team to prepare a list of what was determined by the 18 Strategic Infrastructure Projects (SIPs) to be the scare skills for this programme. This list covered the management, professional and trades identified as such by the Organising Framework for Occupations (OFO) model.

The 18 SIPs are identified at a very high level, for example SIP1 being "Unlocking the Northern mineral belt with the Waterberg as the catalyst”. For what was alleged to be "security” reasons, not much else is published on this SIP to expand on the detail, but it can be reliably gathered that a large component will be for coal mining development to take up the supply that is dwindling in the Witbank/Middelburg area.

The projected list of scarce skills, when reviewed on the basis that it should enable some effective action to commence, is in my view a rather useless piece of data insofar as the Mechanical Engineers are concerned. It simply shows "about 500” needed at a scarcity level of "20-50%” whatever that may convey.

The SAIMechE team filled in their answers to the OT list on the wide spectrum of questions and these will then presumably be assembled and evaluated for action with all the others. Most of the questions we have been addressing for years that seem to do no more than lead to the next conference or workshop. One simply comes away with the feeling of perpetual talk and no perceived action.

The first concern the team had was that the workshop called for voluntary conveners to fill variety of time consuming roles, and this just seemed to illustrate a poor business model. Here we have the National Development Programme (NDP) with its first 18 projects worth hundreds of billions of Rand in total installed value (TIV) that has no funds to pay for a properly structured resource development team that would comprise a fraction of a percent of the TIV cost. It simply illustrates the importance given to this role in the success of the programme. There is no contracted leverage with voluntary teams.

The SAIMechE team made three constructive, actionable suggestions. Firstly, establish a top level professional resources team who would be paid to get the scarce skills issue measured and solutions developed, and which would be in a position to advise the SIPs owner’s teams on the appropriate resources required at owner’s level that could be seconded from the profession in a similar way that the accounting profession does for state bodies.

Secondly, develop a model for evaluating availability of scarce skills to identify the scarce resource with the relevant, engineering specific attributes. It is based on the Engineer’s credo that you do not know much about anything until you can define and measure it. Scarcity needs to have two references to be measureable: what you have and what you need. Accordingly SAIMechE could offer to facilitate working with professional engineering resource recruiting bodies to create a large and well configured, best-in-class, dynamic database of engineering resources for these and other South African projects. By simply stating that we need a number of Mechanical Engineers does not resolve the issue. The only time the real scarcity is known is when the employer specifies the need at granular level of definition. For example one can search on Mechanical Engineers and get hundreds, but then ask for those with the specifics such as 10 years of coal plant processing experience or conveyor and coal chute design, one may be lucky to find a few if any under today’s dwindling expertise that largely exists in near retirement age groups or who may have emigrated.

Thirdly, with this information and working with the employers undertaking the projects and who issue the job specifications with these details, we can identify those who should be taking on the Candidate Engineers that wish to do their training under the SAIMechE Professional Development Programme. SAIMechE would be the paid conduit to provide information on scarce skills to the PICC or the CBE on an on-going basis enabled by the dynamics of the model. We need to ensure that the expectation of perpetual voluntary work by professionals is not presumed. It’s a business reality to pay for value. It would it addition be of value to be able to second experts from the Membership, exploiting the immense, collective intellectual capital of the Institution and effectively meeting the essence of the mission statement.


The realization on scarce resources   


After many months (years?) of no apparent action following the publication of the National Development Plan, various bodies are now awakening to the reality of the resource requirements in order to be able to effectively manage and spend the billions on infrastructure projects.

It was always going to be a tough challenge: R800 odd billion over three years. Someone was smoking something to actually believe that this was viable. Dwell for a minute on the realities of project spend patterns. Firstly, no spending pattern is ever linear, or in terms of Rand over time, would it ever represent a consistent average from start to finish. Thus represented, it is the area under the curve that amounts to the total project spend.

Forward to reality: project spending patterns have the s-curve feature: they rise slowly as concept, design, procurement occurs and then start to climb steeply as deliveries and construction follow. It then tails off at commissioning and handover. The essence of this that there is a peak, and for the area under the curve to meet the project budget, the peak is considerably higher than the average.

What does this mean? Most likely it means that resource needs are not linear and have the same peaking nature. So when estimates are produced reflecting the numbers of resources needed, are these factored by the time axis? Most times not, and we invariably get the classic multi-tasking that is imposed on the scarce resources. This then adds to the potential delay in due performance dates being met. Multi-tasking creates its own delays, and anyone who believes otherwise should attend a few workshops that demonstrate this admirably.

Let’s then add another classic activity that for some pernicious reason remains the foundation of project planning: critical path scheduling. How many projects ever give consideration to the only development that has had the most time and cost saving successes on projects over the last 50 years? It’s called critical chain scheduling. As an aspirant believer in this process, it continues to amaze me that management does not know that it even exists let alone how it works. Far worse is the regular experience one has in presenting the process to the potential users, who most times praise the fundamentals that define the process, but return home only to be faced with the common response - business as usual.

Well, the NDP could do a lot worse than, once the reality of limited skilled and experienced resources has sunk home, have a good look at adopting a critical chain scheduling philosophy. It may just assist in preventing the project durations and costs to emulate the dreadful experiences we seem to have with most major projects such as Medupi.

The usual responses continue to be heard to using such a significant variation to standard procedure. It is too difficult: management won’t understand it. Perhaps then we need to study the experiences of major USA and Japanese projects as examples that have proved the point. The main changes occur in the human behavior of project management due the discipline imposed by critical chain principles: prioritising projects, assuming most durations are overestimated, aggregation and buffering of the safety before it’s lost, starting on time and measuring progress in time and not money. It not only sounds sensible, but it actually works.


The gathering storm   


Engineering practitioners are feeling the pinch that is engulfing most of the citizens of South Africa. We observe daily the reaction to the rising cost of living, the almost demonic rise in basic expenses that far exceed the published inflation figures. We indulge in the ritual of finding reasons, and it being such an emotional issue, we collectively are failing to rationally respond to finding solutions. Let’s firstly take a look at one of the typical, evident symptoms.

The generation and distribution of electricity must without question be an absolute and necessary condition to enable a country to build a modern economy. A quick review of the history over the last two decades reveals that Eskom did not build any capacity into the system until the load-shedding crisis of 2007-2008 made it blatantly apparent that we were in big trouble. The projections by energy experts and Eskom themselves since 1997 were not heeded by government. It thought it would rely on the emergence of independent power producers and not did listen to the warnings that such players only took part if the investments made sense. Eskom had built many modern 6 pack stations that were considered world class and lead the way with large units, the use of pithead locations and the use of high-ash content coal. Eskom had developed a well versed owner’s team with a top level intellectual memory and capacity that knew about power generation, transmission and distribution. Their model was to design and install stations that did not try to experiment with untested technology and politically dictated management structures. It knew the need for experienced skills.

Fast forward to today. Our now infamous political interference habits are coming home to bite us. Eskom, on top of a few bouts of knockout increases in tariffs, then requires a 16% price adjustment per annum for at least the next five years. The surpluses that had been generated were taken by the new government for other uses instead of providing for a sinking fund. Lovely cash cow. Who worries about the future capitalization? This is then compounded by "removing” the retained intellectual memory and replacing it with an inexperienced owner’s team. This team manages to mess with maintenance as well, so that the reliability of the installed capacity is compromised.

Then the message hits home: we must build two new stations: Medupi and Kusile. We are not that good at estimating, especially as we decide to go for bespoke specifications instead of, under the pressure of the circumstances, relying on the experience of established project structures and know-how. The projected costs of Medupi rise from (well who really knows?) anything from R87 billion to now R105 billion and counting, and the date of first synchronization has moved from 2011 to 2014. The messages from the site are scary: you do not know it all. Be aware, things are bad.

So we connect the dots and what does it reveal? It takes no rocket scientist to figure out root cause. I have never indulged in that horror practice of being politically correct, and whilst I will say this, it is now the almost universal opinion in a noticeable crescendo.

Transformation without education.

If that is not readily apparent, then one should not be surprised at the dangers of a gathering storm.


The steady decline to lowest common denominator   


I guess we have to criticize the laws of the universe, those annoying and inviolate laws of science and the basic engineering fundamentals for not taking account of the inability of those "leading” the functions of the built environment development and essential skills training in South Africa to achieve the standards required to meet these laws. Why uphold compliance with nature’s laws when it is much easier to change the need for them by a politically driven relaxation? It is clearly far easier to decide to set regulations for practitioners and contractors to use the surplus numbers of unqualified persons to be awarded government contracts for purposes of building the infrastructure.

After all, with this policy and approach we can meet the necessary political targets which seem to be far more important than ensuring compliance with structural, life-cycle and safety standards that have evolved over decades of proven engineering practice. We must learn to be satisfied with our new-found decrees from those that rule, and we can even indulge in some self-praise when we comment "……that bridge was nearly strong enough……… we were quite close really”.

So, in keeping with the above aspiration to continue our acceptance of adjusted standards and drive for the common denominator leading to "a better life for all”, the Minister, ably assisted by the cidb, has recently decreed the following”

"The key amendments include the removal of the requirement for contractors to have registered professionals in their permanent employ; this is to be removed as it is not viable to have such professionals in a contractor’s full-time employ". "The requirement for the Registered Professional is therefore being moved from a contractor registration requirement to a contract management requirement as a condition of contract”.

Essentially, the roles of the Professional Engineer, Technologist and Technician will now effectively be subservient to that of the registered Construction Manager on matters where professional engineering judgment is required. I guess with the comedy of the self-inflicted war games that have been played out between ECSA and the CBE over the important subject of Identification of Engineering Work (IDoEW), not much more could have been expected. Those unregistered Engineers or at least those practicing as such can continue to act without any fear of liability as the rules that govern registration, ethics and safe practice do not apply to them. The IDoEW deliberations commenced in 2006. It’s now 2013 and we are still counting. The profession has messed about arguing while we witness a steady entropic decline in the built environment.

On the topic of training of young Engineers in industry, I thought I would recall some gems that arose in 2012 whilst endeavouring to persuade certain employers to consider taking on basically good candidates and provide some development and experience to assist feeding talent into the skills pool.

"We do not have the time, the money or the systems to train anyone. Just find us a qualified and experienced Engineer. We need a PDI between 30 and 35, with 15 years experience as an Engineering Manager”. (Allowed cost to company will remain undisclosed here to protect the guilty.)

"We do not have time to train or develop anyone into this specialized role. Please find us fully qualified candidates who can hit the ground running”. No acceptable candidates have emerged to date.

Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed that the ANC policy is to spend R845 billion on infrastructure in the next 3 years. I found that his recent TV interview conveyed blind optimism and was most unconvincing. I can only assume that he does not know that he does not know what is needed to do that properly. Professional government and provincial owners’ teams and supply contractor capacity appear not to feature in his model.

Anyone who cares about developing professional engineering skills should be made aware of the new candidate training curriculum that will be instituted by ECSA and the Voluntary Engineering Associations in April 2013. It identifies the exit level outcomes that define the professional and will be the fastest and most effective route to competence and registration that can be envisaged.


Bio-engineering: Calories vs Nutrition   


Bioengineering can be defined as the "application of concepts and methods of physics, chemistry, mathematics, and computer science to solve problems in life sciences using engineering’s own analytical and synthetic methodologies”. (Wikipedia) So Mechanical Engineers, bred on a diet of root cause studies, problem solving, analysis, synthesis and ultimately constructing working and sustainable devices, are becoming more involved in the sciences of bioengineering. An especially important application is the analysis and cost-effective solutions of problems related to human health.

Of concern is the dominance of symptomatic solutions in the medical profession. In a crude sense, similarity may be illustrated by putting thicker oil in a noisy gearbox. It may deaden the noise but it will not repair the defect or remove the root cause.

For Engineers to know about materials and their behaviour, analysis will normally reach grain structure level, where for example, we can study the formation of the smallest components of the material that affect its behaviour and properties. Neglecting a material in use could mean over stressing or corrosion, resulting in inter-granular separation. Such damage is not reversible unless the material is returned to its molten state and recast. The damage is evident by reduced strength, visible and invisible fractures and possible eventual failure.

In a bioengineering analogy, we see the human frame in a similar light. Well cast in its original form, but through bad use and overstress, it exhibits damage which is exposed by illness, fatigue, disease and eventual cessation of life. Medical science has developed various repair procedures but many are largely the treatment of the symptom only. How many can actually benefit the process at cell level, the equivalent grain level of engineering materials?

Recent statistics from the USA reveal that the general health level of the population is steadily decreasing. The metrics are essentially the incidences of non-communicable diseases, obesity and malnutrition. This results in the growing cost of breakdown maintenance or more precisely, the cost of sickness care, which is escalating at a rate that is now becoming unaffordable and adding substantially to the social debt crisis in the USA. This is big business for the pharmaceutical companies and the medical profession, who appear to resist any move to change from breakdown maintenance to what Engineers would call a preventive maintenance regime, or in social terms, a wellness care regime. In a year 350 million Americans use some 4 billion medical prescriptions.

The research has also determined that the main culprit in deteriorating health levels is a result of, most surprisingly, malnutrition! Of concern is the significant drop in natural nutrient levels of food products over the last two decades which is attributed to the practices of mass farming, synthetic fertilisers, toxic spraying, early harvesting, processing and storage. An orange for example from this process in 2000 contained about 70% of the nutrition value of your naturally grown and harvested orange in 1970. A continuous decline is still occurring. Processed food is regularly enhanced with synthetic supplements, most of which we are unaware.

Enter science with an engineering mindset. Is there a correlation between deteriorating health levels and modern food nutrition levels, and if so, in what way does this affect the system? As the essential nutrients have decreased, our cells have been deprived of most of the sugars needed for them to thrive and support their immune and communication functions. Synthetic supplements and vitamins do not provide the deficiency, and if one cares to study how synthetic vitamins are made, you would be brave to use them again. It is estimated that over 80% of the population in the USA consume synthetic vitamins. Science has now developed a process of extracting the missing nutrients from real plant food based supplements that can provide the cell support role. Many cases, failed or abandoned under conventional medical treatment, have shown remarkable turnaround success. It seems evident that if the cells are in design condition, the rest of the structure will behave and even restore itself reliably. Big pharma and big food are trying to suppress this development for obvious reasons.

Will we see a move towards a wellness care regime internationally, or will we continue to pursue a sickness care regime? It is effectively preventive vs breakdown maintenance. Glyconutrient technology is leading this change, and should be supported by an informed and concerned public.


The mad scramble is on again (Mar 2011)   


It may be safe to announce that the recession insofar as the planning and startup of big projects is over, and this is particularly so in the mining industry. Driven by commodities demand, it is evident by the day that the scramble for the limited capacity of engineering resources with experience in mining and mining engineering is on again. And it is not only in South Africa. Africa, South America, Australia are all in the market seeking the whole range of resources needed for mining projects. Traditionally, the next actions in the supply chain are the manufacturers, fabricators and suppliers of equipment and services. Very good for growth and employment generally. Accompanying all this however will be the pain of finding the right resources and the escalation in remuneration demands across the board. For Engineers, it is your time in the sun.

It represents an odd but understandable dichotomy: we have a serious unemployment problem with little realism prevailing as to how to solve it, mainly because it is the creation of historical stupidity in skills development only exceeded by the stupidity of the belief that we suddenly "create jobs by government decree”. But we have a serious shortage of the right skills and experience. The demographics show that the bulk of the best skills in the project development industry are in the age group 50 upwards right into the 70s. Whilst this phenomenon is replicated to a degree elsewhere in world, it is particularly skewed here in SA by the active "expulsion” of a lot of our talent through affirmative action. Studies show that many of the eligible emigration group, below 45 years of age, have readily left SA for options in foreign lands. A South African is the CEO of BHP Billiton in Australia and there are many SA's in the ranks of the engineering resources right throughout that company. The same applies to many other mining companies in other parts of the world.

The young feedstock to the industry is relatively inexperienced and the problem is that the mentoring capacity is so thin that this is almost non-existent. While local mining is growing, faster development is taking place outside SA, and economists that follow the trends are concerned that SAs' mining regulations, talk of nationalization, nepotism in the ranks etc is diverting investment elsewhere. BHP Billiton has $80 billion to invest in new ventures: none of it is going to SA new mining projects because it considers there are lower risk levels elsewhere.

Where does all this leave us? For my money, living in the engineering resources supply business daily, it needs some concerted and urgent action, not more conferences and debates. Firstly, the practical training and development of graduate engineering resources (Engineers, Technologists and Technicians of all disciplines) need to be able to engage in structured and well managed training schemes including time (6 months) in an engineering boot camp facility that will teach trainees the essential competencies and practicalities of (mechanical) engineering at the pit-face so to speak. Then 2 to 3 years in a structured and fund assisted professional development programme in industry. The PDP now being developed and honed by SAIMechE will be ideal, as it will focus on the 11 competencies required for registration with ECSA and align with the legalisation of identification of engineering work. Industry has to come to the party with proper supervision of the trainees.

As for funding, there may be light at the end of the tunnel. It appears (but do not hold your breath) that NSF funding for engineering training may shortly be available in realistically large quanta. The PDP committee will have met with other parties by the time this article is published and we can only hope that this expectation will be met.

Insofar as training and development of engineering resources is concerned, it is essential that this be provided and managed via the profession and the active involvement of the Voluntary Associations with funded programmes and mentorships. To the government, I say with confidence, we have the tools; provide the funds now seriously from the skills levy to let us do the job.


The Patel Puzzle (Jan 2011)   


"Government is targeting the training of at least 30,000 additional engineers by 2014” was announced by Economic Development Minister Patel last month. One has to "interpret” the meaning of this as it conveys many possible options. It also pre-supposes that required national projects will be activated (R800 billion in infrastructure in 3 years?) as the current project load is dismal.

  1. The Minister wants 30,000 more graduates on the market in 3 years time.

Since engineering is at least a 4 year course, then somehow he is "arranging” to have 30,000 more 2nd year students enter the tertiary system in 2011, or find 30,000 additional pass-capable students in the current streams. Since graduates are not useful Engineers until they have completed the 3 year EIT period, does he mean Engineers or graduates? Pass to next option.

  1. The Minister wants 30,000 new entrants to the first year of the engineering course.

He should drop in on Blade Nzimande and place an order for 30,000 extra maths and science higher level school leavers without delay. Then check the capacity of the secondary school teachers and tertiary institutions to accommodate this. If impossible, pass to next option.

  1. The Minister wants 30,000 employable Engineers to enter the labour market.

The Minister together with the cabinet and ANC policy makers must scrap affirmative action, employers wake up to the fact that 60 plus year olds are as good as Engineers as you can get (which would also mean scrapping the useless HR departments staffed with 20 plus year old non-technical somethings) and putting the retrenched and early retired Engineers back into the system to both run jobs and mentor the new graduates in structured EIT programmes to achieve the training. Possible, but improbable. Pass to next option.

  1. The Minister recognises that most of the 30,000 should be employed by government, parastatal and provincial sectors to enable these bodies to be able to deliver projects to the citizens of SA. Capacity at state "owner's team” level is so low that it is virtually dysfunctional. Ask SAICE, CESA and SAFCEC.

But this means cadres have to be removed, and if any of these are good at anything at all, they should be employed as road repair gangs, and using the chain-gang system would be appropriate as they are guilty of wasting taxpayers' money, doing nothing for service delivery, and failing to execute the required operations and maintenance of the country's assets while occupying cushy salaried positions that only qualified engineering resources should have had. However, this is clearly not seen as necessary by ANC politicians (until service delivery protests, riots and citizen management reach nationwide crisis levels). Pass onto next option.

  1. The Minister is not certain where the training should happen but believes there is a need.

That at least would be a realistic option. One would think that he has observed that the supply of Engineers takes place along a long-term and well established supply chain. It starts at the age of about 6 when the prospective Engineer has the inclination, interest and role models to guide him or her into it as a career move. It is probably in the genes of those that adopt the profession successfully. Making up numbers with feedstock that has no inherent, natural inclination and desire to be an Engineer just wastes the supply chains' resources.

  1. The Minister's intentions are well meant and he intends to consult with the engineering profession in order to address the real issues.

The Minister may wish to identify the real shortages and remove the pointless political policies (BBBEE for one in its present form) where points for skills development count less than having a figurehead black director on the company letterhead. The NSF's unspent money can be directed via programmes managed by the Voluntary Engineering Associations to up-skill new engineering graduates, technologists and technicians. The need is agreed, but the action is lacking. At least the Minister has realised one thing: skills are in a major crisis, largely created by his own party's idealism and inability to educate or train for the required, competent national capacity. Industry must also wake up and get training instead of expecting the perfect resources to be eternally waiting for their call. Can the profession please be consulted on how to get this training done as it needs to be developed right through the supply chain?


Infrastructural Entropy (Jun 2010)   


I guess it would be futile to try and educate politicians about the concept of entropy because it is a scientific and engineering term that would immediately send them off on their next overseas trip to rather pursue some pointless and costly party interest. How else does one get the message across to them that unless they put some energy into the closed system called the county's infrastructure consisting of engineered assets, constructed facilities and orderly management, then the system will continue to lose any contained energy until it reaches equilibrium with nature's random "chaos”?

A disturbing recent commentary from the civil engineering profession contains a number of serious issues that illustrate the growing loss of skills and institutional energy from the infrastructure. Consider some of these:

SAFCEC (The SA Federation of Civil Engineering Contractors) says a large number of contract awards are being postponed by all tiers of government, while technical expertise is also lacking at government level to make the necessary decisions on project scopes and the awarding of tenders.

It is not that government does not have the money – it is that they are not spending it.

Overall, the tender adjudication postponement rate for the government sector on the whole, across all tiers, increased from 10% in the fourth quarter of 2008 to 23,2% in the fourth quarter of 2009.

Where it should take around three months to award a tender, it can now take up to a frustrating six months, which means skills and capacity in the industry lie dormant.

This is not about government not having the money – it is about not having the capacity to make decisions.

A recent report on municipalities says the combination of poor payment and higher levels of postponement suggest either a funding or management issue, both implying capacity constraints. Evidence of this is the latest municipal financial report, ending December 2009, which shows a debtor analysis in excess of 70% at 90 days or more, across all municipal departments.

One infrastructure agency had access to R27-billion in credit, but used only R300-million.

Institutional decay is fast becoming a massive drag on delivery.

SAFCEC adds that there is too much political involvement in decisions that should be driven by business principles, especially at local municipalities and parastatals. Corruption in the awarding of tenders is also a cause of concern. In fact it is rampant.

We know that the civil engineering profession tends to be a leading indicator of the project spend pattern. How will this impact on the mechanical and electrical professions? When local skills capacity lies dormant it will seek work outside the country, and coupled with the general skills shortage across most sectors, even in the unlikely event that the politicians do understand the second law of thermodynamics, then they will find that the source of providing the required energy has left home. The Local Government SETA's own scare skills list shows "absolute scarcity” ranking in all disciplines of engineering. Yet when one develops a programme to assist in the relief of this skills need, bureaucracy, politics, finger trouble and plain stupidity reign supreme.

I would to know if the Planning Commission which has taken so long to get its own planning act together, if at all is actually aware of the impact of a declining infrastructure and what they plan to recommend. The evidence now becoming common knowledge is the number of municipalities where the residents are forming their own bodies to run the local authorities' affairs, and it now indicates the response to the growing service delivery protests as political spin achieves no solution. As institutional memory and capacity decline, the citizens will take over to maintain any sense of stability and control. This is a vital trend raised in the Dinokeng scenarios. The ANC may just realise in due course that this is not good for voter support, and entropy cannot be reversed by denial and inactivity.

In the end, engineering skills will be the essential midwife to help with the birth of a new dispensation for the reversal of the energy loss. It is really that which creates the built environment.


60s Futurism   


The housing situation in California is too complicated even for the margins of this blog post, but Steve Jobs built a big round suburban office park with 14,000 parking spots not near transit and whatever precisely led to that, it's pretty hard to unshit that bed.
New York (CNN Business)Apple announced a $2.5 billion financial package to help address the housing crisis in California, which has worsened in part because of the rapid growth of tech companies.

The company laid out a five-point plan, including $1 billion for an affordable housing investment fund, $1 billion in mortgage assistance for first-time home buyers and opening some Apple-owned land valued at $300 million for development. The remaining $200 million will go toward a San Francisco housing fund and to support vulnerable populations.
In San Francisco, roughly 7,000 people are homeless. There is a shortage of affordable homes across the Bay Area, which is pushing out middle and low-income workers like teachers and restaurant employees. Critics say the influx of tech companies and their well-paid workers has contributed to the ongoing housing crisis.
Despite the (not quoted) headline they aren't going to "spend $2.5 billion" as much of this is just credit support.


How to Use Mobile Learning to Drive Employee Engagement   


Employee disengagement is a battle that companies across all industries are fighting. Each year, at least $500 billion is lost to employee disengagement, with an estimated 20% of employees considered “actively unengaged.” Mobile Learning LMS Technology Employee Training

Brought to you by: eLearning Learning


Facility Customer Service Coordinator II - Sherwin-Williams - Montreal-nord, QC   


Sherwin-Williams is the largest paints and coatings company in the world. With $15.8 billion in sales, more than 4,100 stores, and 140 manufacturing and…
From Sherwin-Williams - Mon, 29 Jul 2019 15:47:58 GMT - View all Montreal-nord, QC jobs


Google-Fitbit deal: Should Apple be wary?   


San Francisco-headquartered activity trackers and wearables maker Fitbit is being acquired by Google's parent company Alphabet, which is paying $7.35 per share in cash for the company, valuing it at about $2.1 billion.


Macaulay Culkin nos acerca a la Navidad en su divertido spot para Happy Socks   


Macaulay Culkin nos acerca a la Navidad en su divertido spot para Happy Socks

Si tenemos a Macaulay Culkin en la tele y no para de sonar Mariah Carey en la radio, es que la Navidad ya está aquí. La última campaña de Happy Socks para estas fiestas navideñas cuenta con el actor americano, que nos viene alegrando las Navidades desde 1990. Un spot que nos pregunta si nos vamos a portar bien o mal.

El particular estilo de Macaulay Culkin se completa con los divertidos diseños de calcetines de la firma Happy Socks.

Si eres de los que ha visto Solo en Casa cientos de veces y nada te recuerda más a la Navidad, te encantará ver al actor en este spot en el que presume de jersey feo (muy adecuado para esta época del año). Happy Socks nos pregunta si nos portaremos mal o bien con su campaña Naughty or Nice.

Happy Socks

Así que si quieres regalar algo típico pero también muy original, cae en todos los tópicos navideños con esta colección de calcetines de diseños alegres y coloridos.

Happysocks Fw19 Macaulay Culkin Smac01 6500 13 95 Euros

En homenaje a Bunny Ears, el sitio web y podcast de Culkin dedicado a la sátira y la cultura pop, en los diseños aparecen conejitos esponjosos y divertidos descansando en hamacas, hincándole el diente a barras de caramelo o posando en retratos surrealistas.

Sitio oficial | Happy Socks

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La noticia Macaulay Culkin nos acerca a la Navidad en su divertido spot para Happy Socks fue publicada originalmente en Trendencias Hombre por Chloe .


Bashing billionaires shows the depth of Jeremy Corbyn's ignorance   


Jeremy Corbyn and even the more moderate Labour campaigners such as Sir Keir Starmer must believe they are on to an obvious vote-winner by viciously attacking British billionaires.


'Dieselgate' scandal seems to be behind BMW, as it boasts 11.5% profit rise   


BMW has reported that net profit increased 11.5 per cent from a year ago to €1.6billion (£1.3billion) in the third quarter.


Judi Slot Online And The Game Of Numerical Skills   


Traditional poker is being replaced by online poker nowadays. Since the 2000s online poker is becoming famous. It is played over the internet via websites. Now players do not need to go to a casino for playing poker. This business is generating money in billions. All over the world, it is being played by adults, Read More


The Role of Natural Killer Cells in Atopic Dermatitis   


Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a chronic, inflammatory skin disease characterized by itchy, red, scaly rashes. In the United States alone, AD affects 6-10% of the population and costs $5.3 billion dollars annually in medical treatment. The main pathogenic factors in AD appear to be impaired skin barrier function and inflammation. Specifically, AD-associated inflammation is driven by a type 2 inflammatory module involving T helper type 2 cells, group 2 innate lymphoid cells, and the type 2 cytokines. Therapeutic approaches currently focus directly on barrier restoration and immunosuppression. However, whether some aspect of the immune system might be impaired or required to regulate the aberrant inflammatory response observed in AD is less clear. AD patients do have an enhanced susceptibility to exacerbations of viral skin infections such eczema herpeticum and molluscum contagiosum, though the mechanisms underlying this susceptibility have yet to be fully defined. We demonstrate that AD patients harbor a deficiency in blood natural killer (NK) cells, key cellular mediators of antiviral immunity. Low numbers of blood NK cells have both diagnostic value for AD and improved along with clinical parameters and biomarkers in response to therapy. Over the past decade, NK cells have emerged as a complex and heterogeneous population characterized by a diverse repertoire of receptors and functional capacities. We therefore undertook multidimensional mass cytometry analysis and RNA profiling of blood NK cells, which revealed aberrant activation and susceptibility to cell death that was associated with a loss of mature NK cells from AD patients. Taken together, these findings indicate that NK cell reduction is a central feature of AD that may serve as a diagnostic and treatment-responsive biomarker. In addition to antiviral immunity, we hypothesized that NK cells may provide important inhibitory signals that are lost in the setting of AD-associated inflammation. Previous studies have indicated that NK cells and NK cell-derived cytokines can limit type 2 inflammation in other systems. In agreement with this, we found that NK cell deficiency in a murine model of AD was associated with enhanced type 2 inflammation in the skin, suggesting that NK cells play a critical immunoregulatory role. Based on these findings, we tested an NK cell-boosting cytokine superagonist as an immunotherapy treatment and found marked improvement in AD-like disease in mice. These findings implicate a systemic NK cell reduction in AD pathology and reveal a new treatment paradigm in which NK cells can be enhanced in order to restrain pathogenic type 2 inflammation and improve disease.


Multi-Level Neural Dynamics under Visual Perturbations and Motor Learning   


Composed by hundred billion neurons with nonlinearities, the brain consists explicit connection paradigms and exhibits collective dynamics. Also, both high computational flexibility and robustness are crucial for species. How then do biological systems balance the need for both variability and robustness?Mounting evidence suggests that evolution leads neural networks of cerebral cortexto a critical point between order and disorderand yield an optimal trade-off between the robustness and accuracy that biological machinery demands.A rigorous understanding of brain dynamics and function composes multiple levels of organization, suchas neural compartments, neural spiking and network-level population activity. To study thestability of trade-off between robustness and flexibility, we explored whether multi-level neural dynamicschangeor preserveunder visualperturbations and motor learning.We studied neural dynamics under various visual perturbations (visual stimuliand monocular deprivation), and across motor learning in motor cortex.We conducted statistical analysis and used model investigations. We found multiple dynamics changed under perturbation, such as neural connectivity, neural representations, et. al. On network level, criticality either serves as a set-point or constraint. Together, these results contribute to understanding of connection paradigms and collective dynamics in the brain under visual perturbation and motor learning.


Healthcare data breaches will cost industry $4 billion by year's end, and 2020 is poised to be worse   


Providers continue to be the most targeted organizations for industry cybersecurity breaches, with nearly 4 out of 5 breaches. Source: – Healthcare data breaches will cost industry billion by year's end, and 2020 is poised to be worse

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President George W. Bush speaks at AAPEX 2019 grand opening session   


George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States and Founder of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, joined AAPEX 2019 on Nov. 5, offering his thoughts on eight years in the Oval Office, the challenges facing the nation in the 21st century, and the power of freedom.

Bill Rhodes, chairman, president and chief executive officer, Customer Satisfaction, AutoZone, had the honor of joining the president in his conversation with the AAPEX audience. Throughout their discussion, President Bush emphasized the importance of the principles that defined his presidency: freedom, opportunity, responsibility and compassion.

President Bush was sworn into office on Jan. 20, 2001, and served as Commander in Chief for two consecutive terms. Before his presidency, he served for six years as Governor of the State of Texas.

As Commander in Chief, he worked to expand freedom, opportunity, and security at home and abroad. His Administration reformed America’s education system with the No Child Left Behind Act, restored robust private-sector economic growth and job creation, protected the environment, and pursued a comprehensive strategy to keep America safe after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Since leaving office, President Bush and former First Lady Laura Bush have focused their attention on developing the George W. Bush Presidential Center at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. The Bush Center is home to the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the George W. Bush Institute, a nonpartisan public policy and leadership development.

President Bush is the author of three bestselling books: Decision Points (2010), 41: A Portrait of My Father (2014), and Portraits of Courage: A Commander in Chief’s Tribute to America’s Warriors (2017). 

The AAPEX keynote address was preceded by the annual Automotive Aftermarket State of the Industry presentation by Bill Hanvey, president and chief executive officer of the Auto Care Association, and Paul McCarthy, president and chief operating officer of the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA).

AAPEX represents the $1 trillion global automotive aftermarket industry and runs from Nov. 5 – Nov. 7, at the Sands Expo in Las Vegas.

With more than 2,500 exhibiting companies, AAPEX is the showcase for the latest products, services and technologies that keep the world’s 1.3 billion vehicles on the road. More than 48,000 targeted buyers are expected to attend, including automotive service professionals, auto parts retailers, warehouse distributors, service chains, automotive dealers, fleet buyers and engine builders. Approximately 162,000 automotive aftermarket professionals from 126 countries are projected to be in Las Vegas during AAPEX and the SEMA Show.

AAPEX is a trade-only event and is not open to the general public.

AAPEX is co-owned by the Auto Care Association and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA), the light vehicle aftermarket division of the Motor & Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA). For more information, visit or e-mail: On social media, follow AAPEX at #AAPEX19.

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<p>George W. Bush, 43rd President of the United States and Founder of the George W. Bush Presidential Center, joined AAPEX 2019 on Nov. 5, offering his thoughts on eight years in the Oval Office, the challenges facing the nation in the 21st century, and the power of freedom.</p>
<p>AAPEX 2019, George W. Bush, speech, president,</p>


Goldman-backed chat app Symphony unlocks access to WeChat users through partnership with Tencent   


Symphony Communications Services, a cloud-based messaging start-up for global markets professionals, is teaming up with Chinese tech giant Tencent Holdings to integrate WeChat into its system, opening it up to the one billion users on China’s dominant chat app.Symphony, which is backed and used by some of the world’s biggest financial services companies including Goldman Sachs, will allow its users to connect via a QR code and chat with WeChat users in China and across the world while complying…


Chinese face recognition firm Megvii denies report it is mulling delay of Hong Kong IPO after US blacklisting   


Chinese artificial intelligence start-up Megvii Technology dismissed a report that it is considering a delay in its Hong Kong initial public offering over US trade blacklist concerns.The IPO, which could raise as much as US$1 billion, is expected to herald the debut of China’s AI start-ups on secondary markets at a time when the country’s AI ambitions are at the forefront of a trade war with the US.The denial comes after Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that the Beijing-based company is discussing…


Kentucky Republicans blasted for using FEC to boot Mitch McConnell critic off his sports talk show   


Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has long regarded the Federal Election Commission’s every attempt to police corrupt campaign finance as an assault on billionaires’ right to freedom of speech. But this week, McConnell’s allies in the Kentucky GOP turned to the FEC to actually silence the political speech of an opponent. On Wednesday, the […]


Real Python: When to Use a List Comprehension in Python   


Python is famous for allowing you to write code that’s elegant, easy to write, and almost as easy to read as plain English. One of the language’s most distinctive features is the list comprehension, which you can use to create powerful functionality within a single line of code. However, many developers struggle to fully leverage the more advanced features of a list comprehension in Python. Some programmers even use them too much, which can lead to code that’s less efficient and harder to read.

By the end of this tutorial, you’ll understand the full power of Python list comprehensions and how to use their features comfortably. You’ll also gain an understanding of the trade-offs that come with using them so that you can determine when other approaches are more preferable.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to:

  • Rewrite loops and map() calls as a list comprehension in Python
  • Choose between comprehensions, loops, and map() calls
  • Supercharge your comprehensions with conditional logic
  • Use comprehensions to replace filter()
  • Profile your code to solve performance questions

Free Bonus: Click here to get access to a chapter from Python Tricks: The Book that shows you Python's best practices with simple examples you can apply instantly to write more beautiful + Pythonic code.

How to Create Lists in Python

There are a few different ways you can create lists in Python. To better understand the trade-offs of using a list comprehension in Python, let’s first see how to create lists with these approaches.

Using for Loops

The most common type of loop is the for loop. You can use a for loop to create a list of elements in three steps:

  1. Instantiate an empty list.
  2. Loop over an iterable or range of elements.
  3. Append each element to the end of the list.

If you want to create a list containing the first ten perfect squares, then you can complete these steps in three lines of code:

>>> squares = []
>>> for i in range(10):
...     squares.append(i * i)
>>> squares
[0, 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, 64, 81]

Here, you instantiate an empty list, squares. Then, you use a for loop to iterate over range(10). Finally, you multiply each number by itself and append the result to the end of the list.

Using map() Objects

map() provides an alternative approach that’s based in functional programming. You pass in a function and an iterable, and map() will create an object. This object contains the output you would get from running each iterable element through the supplied function.

As an example, consider a situation in which you need to calculate the price after tax for a list of transactions:

>>> txns = [1.09, 23.56, 57.84, 4.56, 6.78]
>>> TAX_RATE = .08
>>> def get_price_with_tax(txn):
...     return txn * (1 + TAX_RATE)
>>> final_prices = map(get_price_with_tax, txns)
>>> list(final_prices)
[1.1772000000000002, 25.4448, 62.467200000000005, 4.9248, 7.322400000000001]

Here, you have an iterable txns and a function get_price_with_tax(). You pass both of these arguments to map(), and store the resulting object in final_prices. You can easily convert this map object into a list using list().

Using List Comprehensions

List comprehensions are a third way of making lists. With this elegant approach, you could rewrite the for loop from the first example in just a single line of code:

>>> squares = [i * i for i in range(10)]
>>> squares
[0, 1, 4, 9, 16, 25, 36, 49, 64, 81]

Rather than creating an empty list and adding each element to the end, you simply define the list and its contents at the same time by following this format:

new_list = [expression for member in iterable]

Every list comprehension in Python includes three elements:

  1. expression is the member itself, a call to a method, or any other valid expression that returns a value. In the example above, the expression i * i is the square of the member value.
  2. member is the object or value in the list or iterable. In the example above, the member value is i.
  3. iterable is a list, set, sequence, generator, or any other object that can return its elements one at a time. In the example above, the iterable is range(10).

Because the expression requirement is so flexible, a list comprehension in Python works well in many places where you would use map(). You can rewrite the pricing example with its own list comprehension:

>>> txns = [1.09, 23.56, 57.84, 4.56, 6.78]
>>> TAX_RATE = .08
>>> def get_price_with_tax(txn):
...     return txn * (1 + TAX_RATE)
>>> final_prices = [get_price_with_tax(i) for i in txns]
>>> final_prices
[1.1772000000000002, 25.4448, 62.467200000000005, 4.9248, 7.322400000000001]

The only distinction between this implementation and map() is that the list comprehension in Python returns a list, not a map object.

Benefits of Using List Comprehensions

List comprehensions are often described as being more Pythonic than loops or map(). But rather than blindly accepting that assessment, it’s worth it to understand the benefits of using a list comprehension in Python when compared to the alternatives. Later on, you’ll learn about a few scenarios where the alternatives are a better choice.

One main benefit of using a list comprehension in Python is that it’s a single tool that you can use in many different situations. In addition to standard list creation, list comprehensions can also be used for mapping and filtering. You don’t have to use a different approach for each scenario.

This is the main reason why list comprehensions are considered Pythonic, as Python embraces simple, powerful tools that you can use in a wide variety of situations. As an added side benefit, whenever you use a list comprehension in Python, you won’t need to remember the proper order of arguments like you would when you call map().

List comprehensions are also more declarative than loops, which means they’re easier to read and understand. Loops require you to focus on how the list is created. You have to manually create an empty list, loop over the elements, and add each of them to the end of the list. With a list comprehension in Python, you can instead focus on what you want to go in the list and trust that Python will take care of how the list construction takes place.

How to Supercharge Your Comprehensions

In order to understand the full value that list comprehensions can provide, it’s helpful to understand their range of possible functionality. You’ll also want to understand the changes that are coming to the list comprehension in Python 3.8.

Using Conditional Logic

Earlier, you saw this formula for how to create list comprehensions:

new_list = [expression for member in iterable]

While this formula is accurate, it’s also a bit incomplete. A more complete description of the comprehension formula adds support for optional conditionals. The most common way to add conditional logic to a list comprehension is to add a conditional to the end of the expression:

new_list = [expression for member in iterable (if conditional)]

Here, your conditional statement comes just before the closing bracket.

Conditionals are important because they allow list comprehensions to filter out unwanted values, which would normally require a call to filter():

>>> sentence = 'the rocket came back from mars'
>>> vowels = [i for i in sentence if i in 'aeiou']
>>> vowels
['e', 'o', 'e', 'a', 'e', 'a', 'o', 'a']

In this code block, the conditional statement filters out any characters in sentence that aren’t a vowel.

The conditional can test any valid expression. If you need a more complex filter, then you can even move the conditional logic to a separate function:

>>> sentence = 'The rocket, who was named Ted, came back \
... from Mars because he missed his friends.'
>>> def is_consonant(letter):
...     vowels = 'aeiou'
...     return letter.isalpha() and letter.lower() not in vowels
>>> consonants = [i for i in sentence if is_consonant(i)]
['T', 'h', 'r', 'c', 'k', 't', 'w', 'h', 'w', 's', 'n', 'm', 'd', \
'T', 'd', 'c', 'm', 'b', 'c', 'k', 'f', 'r', 'm', 'M', 'r', 's', 'b', \
'c', 's', 'h', 'm', 's', 's', 'd', 'h', 's', 'f', 'r', 'n', 'd', 's']

Here, you create a complex filter is_consonant() and pass this function as the conditional statement for your list comprehension. Note that the member value i is also passed as an argument to your function.

You can place the conditional at the end of the statement for simple filtering, but what if you want to change a member value instead of filtering it out? In this case, it’s useful to place the conditional near the beginning of the expression:

new_list = [expression (if conditional) for member in iterable]

With this formula, you can use conditional logic to select from multiple possible output options. For example, if you have a list of prices, then you may want to replace negative prices with 0 and leave the positive values unchanged:

>>> original_prices = [1.25, -9.45, 10.22, 3.78, -5.92, 1.16]
>>> prices = [i if i > 0 else 0 for i in original_prices]
>>> prices
[1.25, 0, 10.22, 3.78, 0, 1.16]

Here, your expression i contains a conditional statement, if i > 0 else 0. This tells Python to output the value of i if the number is positive, but to change i to 0 if the number is negative. If this seems overwhelming, then it may be helpful to view the conditional logic as its own function:

>>> def get_price(price):
...     return price if price > 0 else 0
>>> prices = [get_price(i) for i in original_prices]
>>> prices
[1.25, 0, 10.22, 3.78, 0, 1.16]

Now, your conditional statement is contained within get_price(), and you can use it as part of your list comprehension expression.

Using Set and Dictionary Comprehensions

While the list comprehension in Python is a common tool, you can also create set and dictionary comprehensions. A set comprehension is almost exactly the same as a list comprehension in Python. The difference is that set comprehensions make sure the output contains no duplicates. You can create a set comprehension by using curly braces instead of brackets:

>>> quote = "life, uh, finds a way"
>>> unique_vowels = {i for i in quote if i in 'aeiou'}
>>> unique_vowels
{'a', 'e', 'u', 'i'}

Your set comprehension outputs all the unique vowels it found in quote. Unlike lists, sets don’t guarantee that items will be saved in any particular order. This is why the first member of the set is a, even though the first vowel in quote is i.

Dictionary comprehensions are similar, with the additional requirement of defining a key:

>>> squares = {i: i * i for i in range(10)}
>>> squares
{0: 0, 1: 1, 2: 4, 3: 9, 4: 16, 5: 25, 6: 36, 7: 49, 8: 64, 9: 81}

To create the squares dictionary, you use curly braces ({}) as well as a key-value pair (i: i * i) in your expression.

Using the Walrus Operator

Python 3.8 will introduce the assignment expression, also known as the walrus operator. To understand how you can use it, consider the following example.

Say you need to make ten requests to an API that will return temperature data. You only want to return results that are greater than 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Assume that each request will return different data. In this case, there’s no way to use a list comprehension in Python to solve the problem. The formula expression for member in iterable (if conditional) provides no way for the conditional to assign data to a variable that the expression can access.

The walrus operator solves this problem. It allows you to run an expression while simultaneously assigning the output value to a variable. The following example shows how this is possible, using get_weather_data() to generate fake weather data:

>>> import random
>>> def get_weather_data():
...     return random.randrange(90, 110)
>>> hot_temps = [temp for _ in range(20) if (temp := get_weather_data()) >= 100]
>>> hot_temperatures
[107, 102, 109, 104, 107, 109, 108, 101, 104]

You won’t often need to use the assignment expression inside of a list comprehension in Python, but it’s a useful tool to have at your disposal when necessary.

When Not to Use a List Comprehension in Python

List comprehensions are useful and can help you write elegant code that’s easy to read and debug, but they’re not the right choice for all circumstances. They might make your code run more slowly or use more memory. If your code is less performant or harder to understand, then it’s probably better to choose an alternative.

Watch Out for Nested Comprehensions

Comprehensions can be nested to create combinations of lists, dictionaries, and sets within a collection. For example, say a climate laboratory is tracking the high temperature in five different cities for the first week of June. The perfect data structure for storing this data could be a Python list comprehension nested within a dictionary comprehension:

>>> cities = ['Austin', 'Tacoma', 'Topeka', 'Sacramento', 'Charlotte']
>>> temps = {city: [0 for _ in range(7)] for city in cities}
>>> temps
    'Austin': [0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
    'Tacoma': [0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
    'Topeka': [0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
    'Sacramento': [0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0],
    'Charlotte': [0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0]

You create the outer collection temps with a dictionary comprehension. The expression is a key-value pair, which contains yet another comprehension. This code will quickly generate a list of data for each city in cities.

Nested lists are a common way to create matrices, which are often used for mathematical purposes. Take a look at the code block below:

>>> matrix = [[i for i in range(5)] for _ in range(6)]
>>> matrix
    [0, 1, 2, 3, 4],
    [0, 1, 2, 3, 4],
    [0, 1, 2, 3, 4],
    [0, 1, 2, 3, 4],
    [0, 1, 2, 3, 4],
    [0, 1, 2, 3, 4]

The outer list comprehension [... for _ in range(6)] creates six rows, while the inner list comprehension [i for i in range(5)] fills each of these rows with values.

So far, the purpose of each nested comprehension is pretty intuitive. However, there are other situations, such as flattening nested lists, where the logic arguably makes your code more confusing. Take this example, which uses a nested list comprehension to flatten a matrix:

matrix = [
...     [0, 0, 0],
...     [1, 1, 1],
...     [2, 2, 2],
... ]
>>> flat = [num for row in matrix for num in row]
>>> flat
[0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2]

The code to flatten the matrix is concise, but it may not be so intuitive to understand how it works. On the other hand, if you were to use for loops to flatten the same matrix, then your code will be much more straightforward:

>>> matrix = [
...     [0, 0, 0],
...     [1, 1, 1],
...     [2, 2, 2],
... ]
>>> flat = []
>>> for row in matrix:
...     for num in row:
...         flat.append(num)
>>> flat
[0, 0, 0, 1, 1, 1, 2, 2, 2]

Now you can see that the code traverses one row of the matrix at a time, pulling out all the elements in that row before moving on to the next one.

While the single-line nested list comprehension might seem more Pythonic, what’s most important is to write code that your team can easily understand and modify. When you choose your approach, you’ll have to make a judgment call based on whether you think the comprehension helps or hurts readability.

Choose Generators for Large Datasets

A list comprehension in Python works by loading the entire output list into memory. For small or even medium-sized lists, this is generally fine. If you want to sum the squares of the first one-thousand integers, then a list comprehension will solve this problem admirably:

>>> sum([i * i for i in range(1000)])

But what if you wanted to sum the squares of the first billion integers? If you tried then on your machine, then you may notice that your computer becomes non-responsive. That’s because Python is trying to create a list with one billion integers, which consumes more memory than your computer would like. Your computer may not have the resources it needs to generate an enormous list and store it in memory. If you try to do it anyway, then your machine could slow down or even crash.

When the size of a list becomes problematic, it’s often helpful to use a generator instead of a list comprehension in Python. A generator doesn’t create a single, large data structure in memory, but instead returns an iterable. Your code can ask for the next value from the iterable as many times as necessary or until you’ve reached the end of your sequence, while only storing a single value at a time.

If you were to sum the first billion squares with a generator, then your program will likely run for a while, but it shouldn’t cause your computer to freeze. The example below uses a generator:

>>> sum(i * i for i in range(1000000000))

You can tell this is a generator because the expression isn’t surrounded by brackets or curly braces. Optionally, generators can be surrounded by parentheses.

The example above still requires a lot of work, but it performs the operations lazily. Because of lazy evaluation, values are only calculated when they’re explicitly requested. After the generator yields a value (for example, 567 * 567), it can add that value to the running sum, then discard that value and generate the next value (568 * 568). When the sum function requests the next value, the cycle starts over. This process keeps the memory footprint small.

map() also operates lazily, meaning memory won’t be an issue if you choose to use it in this case:

>>> sum(map(lambda i: i*i, range(1000000000)))

It’s up to you whether you prefer the generator expression or map().

Profile to Optimize Performance

So, which approach is faster? Should you use list comprehensions or one of their alternatives? Rather than adhere to a single rule that’s true in all cases, it’s more useful to ask yourself whether or not performance matters in your specific circumstance. If not, then it’s usually best to choose whatever approach leads to the cleanest code!

If you’re in a scenario where performance is important, then it’s typically best to profile different approaches and listen to the data. timeit is a useful library for timing how long it takes chunks of code to run. You can use timeit to compare the runtime of map(), for loops, and list comprehensions:

>>> import random
>>> import timeit
>>> TAX_RATE = .08
>>> txns = [random.randrange(100) for _ in range(100000)]
>>> def get_price(txn):
...     return txn * (1 + TAX_RATE)
>>> def get_prices_with_map():
...     return list(map(get_price, txns))
>>> def get_prices_with_comprehension():
...     return [get_price(txn) for txn in txns]
>>> def get_prices_with_loop():
...     prices = []
...     for txn in txns:
...         prices.append(get_price(txn))
...     return prices
>>> timeit.timeit(get_prices_with_map, number=100)
>>> timeit.timeit(get_prices_with_comprehension, number=100)
>>> timeit.timeit(get_prices_with_loop, number=100)

Here, you define three methods that each use a different approach for creating a list. Then, you tell timeit to run each of those functions 100 times each. timeit returns the total time it took to run those 100 executions.

As the code demonstrates, the biggest difference is between the loop-based approach and map(), with the loop taking 50% longer to execute. Whether or not this matters depends on the needs of your application.


In this tutorial, you learned how to use a list comprehension in Python to accomplish complex tasks without making your code overly complicated.

Now you can:

  • Simplify loops and map() calls with declarative list comprehensions
  • Supercharge your comprehensions with conditional logic
  • Create set and dictionary comprehensions
  • Determine when code clarity or performance dictates an alternative approach

Whenever you have to choose a list creation method, try multiple implementations and consider what’s easiest to read and understand in your specific scenario. If performance is important, then you can use profiling tools to give you actionable data instead of relying on hunches or guesses about what works the best.

Remember that while Python list comprehensions get a lot of attention, your intuition and ability to use data when it counts will help you write clean code that serves the task at hand. This, ultimately, is the key to making your code Pythonic!

[ Improve Your Python With 🐍 Python Tricks 💌 – Get a short & sweet Python Trick delivered to your inbox every couple of days. >> Click here to learn more and see examples ]


Commercial Broker Professional Rejoins Fredericksburg Office   


Commercial Broker Professional Rejoins Fredericksburg Office FREDERICKSBURG, VIRGINIA, October 29, 2019 – Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer is pleased to announce Thomas Raines has rejoined their Fredericksburg office where he will focus on commercial property sales and leasing. Prior to joining Thalhimer, Thomas was a business specialist for Apple Retail in Hampton Roads, Virginia and most recently worked with Marand Builders managing commercial retail and office construction projects throughout the Washington, DC metropolitan area. Mr. Raines, originally from Richmond, Virginia, is a 2009 graduate of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia. He is also a veteran, having served in Operation Enduring Freedom with the 459th Air Refueling Squadron based out of Joint Base Andrews. About Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer Thalhimer was founded in 1913 and currently has offices in Richmond, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Fredericksburg, Roanoke, Charlottesville, and Lynchburg, VA; and Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville, SC. The company has over 100 broker professionals and employs over 400 associates. Thalhimer represents, on behalf of its clients, a property portfolio of over 56 million leasable square feet, and management of over 30 million square feet of commercial property, and over 8,000 multifamily units. In 2018 Thalhimer completed nearly 2,000 transactions with a transactional volume over $1.3 billion. Thalhimer is the region’s leading provider of comprehensive commercial real estate services. The firm offers comprehensive commercial real estate services including corporate services, investment sales, tenant representation, project management, asset management, and the sale and leasing of office, industrial and retail properties. To learn more, visit or follow @Thalhimer on Twitter. Independently Owned and Operated / A Member of the Cushman & Wakefield Alliance About Cushman & Wakefield Cushman & Wakefield (NYSE: CWK) is a leading global real estate services firm that delivers exceptional value for real estate occupiers and owners. Cushman & Wakefield is among the largest real estate services firms with approximately 51,000 employees in 400 offices and 70 countries. In 2018, the firm had revenue of $8.2 billion across core services of property, facilities and project management, leasing, capital markets, valuation and other services. To learn more, visit or follow @CushWake on Twitter. For Further Information Contact:Virgil G. Nelson, CCIMSenior Vice President, Managing Broker+1 540 322


Britons are groaning under the weight of credit and we now borrow £330million every DAY    


Car finance deals, credit cards and personal loans are fuelling a £330million-a-day debt binge in Britain with industry figures showing nearly £10billion was borrowed in September.


Xerox in $33 billion bid for HP: sources   


U.S. printer maker Xerox Holdings Corp has made a roughly $33 billion cash-and-stock offer for personal computer maker HP Inc, a company more than three times its size, people familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.


Comment on Shell Blog by Theo Benschop    


I know for sure the following. A former director of Royal Dutch Shell had said: it is a simple problem with the Black Gold that we are digging up and selling. All what the government has to do is fix the price of the Black Gold at a level nobody will notice. Maybe add something. But there you have the money to pay for the transition to a more sustainable energy. So actually what everybody wants in the agreements in Paris. Also I know for sure that beloved sister Rep. Ilham Omar was perfectly right in her conclusion that a few guilty criminals did something to create the chaos of nine eleven, so not the rest of the world. So that about 7 Billion simple descendants of the first human beings not being a monkey are supporting her for keep on being the one and only first president of all sovereign or not sovereign United Nations.


UPMin wants P12.1B additional budget for infra   


DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 6 Nov) – The University of the Philippines-Mindanao hopes to get an additional budget of P12.1 billion to be spread across five years starting next year to fund more infrastructure projects within its expansive 204-hectare campus in Tugbok District here. Dr. Larry N. Digal, university chancellor, said during the Wednesdays at […]


Two more food/alcohol delivery services target Denver   


A week after I wrote about the many food-delivery services launching in Denver eyeing a billion-dollar market (see story: "Local food delivery in Denver grows to capture $9 billion market," The Denver Post, May 26, 2015), I heard from two more. Denver-based GoBistro will unveil its ordering app next Tuesday, but it's available as of [...]


Yes Bank's asset-quality woes to continue: Report   


Mumbai: Emkay Global Financial Services has said in a recent report that Yes Bank's asset-quality woes may continue.

After Yes Bank reported a weak set of results last week, the report said that the company needed "regular capital dose to thrive".

Emkay said that Yes Bank's fresh NPAs "were sky-high at Rs 59 billion", adding that the bank's "current aggression in retail without proper risk management systems in place could be risky".

However, it also stated that "heavy capital injection, if any, may ease the current pressure on the capital front but unabated stress flow will keep the P/L bleeding and call for prolonged dilution risk for investors".

The report further said that the incoming capital "may help survive but the bank needed more to thrive".

Yes Bank had said in an exchange filing that the bank had received strong interest from multiple foreign as well as domestic private equity and strategic investors.

The lender said that it has now received a binding offer from a global investor for an investment of $1.2 billion in the bank through fresh issuance of equity shares, subject to regulatory approvals and conditions as well as the bank's board and shareholders' approvals.


'A Marvelous Life' Holds Stan Lee High As The Man Who Made Superheroes Matter   


Stan Lee attends the premiere of "Captain America: Civil War" at Dolby Theatre on April 12, 2016 in Hollywood, Calif.
Stan Lee attends the premiere of "Captain America: Civil War" at Dolby Theatre on April 12, 2016 in Hollywood, Calif.
Jason LaVeris / FilmMagic

In 2018, Marvel Studios released Black Panther. The film grossed 1.3 billion dollars and was nominated for 7 Oscars including Best Picture (a first time for a superhero film).

Beyond the money and awards, the release of Black Panther was a global event. The story of a super-powered African king, leader of the most technologically advanced nation on Earth, allowed the film to address racism and the history of colonial oppression in entirely new and unexpected ways. If anyone was still raising questions about comics mattering for culture, Black Panther meant the definitive end of the argument. Marvel comics and their characters were culture.

So how did we get here? How did superhero comics, the supposed realm of nerdy teenagers, end up conquering the world?

The answer, in many ways, comes down to a single name — Stan Lee. Across a lifetime of creativity, collaboration and endless hustle, Stan Lee saw possibilities no else could imagine and made them real. And if you want to understand how Lee and Marvel did it, Danny Fingeroth's new book A Marvelous Life is the place to start. As a lifelong fan of Spider-Man, The X-Men, Star-Lord and the rest, it was delightful introduction to a guy I'd never met but felt I'd known my whole life.

Fingeroth, who did his own award-winning time at Marvel, begins by laying out the contours of Stan Lee's early life as the son of a Jewish New York immigrant family (Lee was born in 1922 as Stanley Martin Lieber). Through the 1950s, Lee managed to build a solid if unimpressive career working in comics. But then in the late 1950s, the comics industry crashed as TV gave teenage boys a different venue for their interests. By 1960, Lee felt stymied and trapped. He was planning on quitting comics once and for all to do something "important." It was that frustration that led Stan Lee to what Fingeroth calls "a midlife crisis heard 'round the world."

Seeing that other publishers were having some success reviving superhero teams, Lee's boss tasked him with coming up with a new comic. Lee took the assignment, but he didn't just want to create just another group of costumed do-gooders. Instead, he set out to imagine a different vision what it meant to be a superhero.

In this and the work that followed, Lee asked himself what would happen if an ordinary person got superpowers. Would it make their lives better or would it make them harder? What Lee was picturing were superheroes who weren't gods from another world or perfect, infallible examples of human righteousness. Instead, he wanted stories of flawed men and women, full of neurosis and anguish, who suddenly found they could fly or stretch or punch their way through brick walls. What would happen then?

What happened was The Fantastic Four. And then The Hulk. And then Thor and Spiderman and Doctor Strange and Iron Man and The X-men. Over the next few years, Lee along with the equally legendary Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko, managed to create a large fraction of what we now call the Marvel Universe. Many of the characters had huge, real-life challenges like Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) and his drinking problem. That meant these characters lived in a recognizable world. "I wanted to make it as realistic as possible" says Lee in an interview quoted in the book. "Instead of [superheroes] living in Gotham City or Metropolis, I felt I will have them live in New York City." Just as important, these new Marvel characters lived in the same world where they crossed paths, formed alliances (or broke them), had romances (and broke those too), all of which formed one, giant, seamless story.

It wasn't just the stories that were new. Lee saw something few others could recognize — a nascent adult audience for superhero comics. Rather than just a backwater of teenage fantasy, Lee understood that with the right stories, superhero comics could gain relevance in the rapidly emerging world of ever-present mass media. Then Lee went further. He not only saw the change coming, he understood how to become its personification.

Most folks only know Stan Lee through his charming and quirky cameos in modern Marvel films. But if you were serious about comics back in the day (for me "the day" was the mid-1970s when I was 11 years old), Stan Lee was a constant presence. One of Lee's great innovations in Marvel comics was to develop a relationship with his readers through the "Bullpen Bulletins." These were a kind of editor's news and information page where Lee drew back the curtain to let you see what was happening at Marvel's offices. And as Lee described it, something amazing was always happening including the occasional visit from a rock star or famous movie director who'd popped by to express their Marvel admiration.

That was Lee's genius. "Little by little [he] was making himself and Marvel into celebrities" writes Fingeroth. By becoming a regular presence within Marvel's pages Lee was "mythologizing what he and his peers did for a living, making himself and them as important as the characters whose stories they told." But Lee was making us, his readers part of that story too. He was convincing us that we, too, were part of something very important just by buying those slim volumes of The Avengers, Silver Surfer or Nick Fury and His Howling Commandos.

A Marvelous Life gives us strong insights into the forces that drove Lee and Marvel to success. But Stan Lee was also a complex man who could be both beloved and reviled. In particular, Lee's conflicts with collaborators, who felt he had stolen credit for their work, is also an important part of his story. This was particularly true for Jack Kirby. Fingeroth spends some time in the book unpacking Lee's long running dispute with Kirby and others. He also mentions abuse allegations previously noted by media. These sections were not particularly compelling to me, but they are an important part of Lee's legacy and Fingeroth handles them with grace.

One small criticism of the book is that it tells us very little of Lee's response to the founding and runaway success of Marvel Studios (beginning with Iron Man in 2008). That seems a strange omission given how much of Lee's later story is him trying to get Hollywood to pick up Marvel properties.

Taken as a whole though, A Marvelous Life is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand how Stan Lee set Marvel on the path to world domination (in a good way).

Adam Frank is an astrophysics professor at the University of Rochester and author of Light of the Stars: Alien Worlds and the Fate of the Earth. You can find more from Adam here: @adamfrank4.

Story does not include AP content Books Arts Normal


When Canadian Investors Must Report Investments (including those in Canada!) to the SEC   


On September 17, 2019, the Financial Post reported that British Columbia Investment Management Corporation (BCIMC), one of Canada’s largest pension funds, inadvertently failed to report to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) $2.46 billion of its holdings in 98 Canadian companies, accounting for more than 20 percent of the investments required to be reported...


‘Ill-Health’ Stalls Maina’s Trial In Alleged N2bn Fraud Case   


A file photo of Abdulrasheed Maina.   The trial of the former chairman of the defunct Pension Reforms Task Team (PRTT), Mr Abdulrasheed Maina, in an alleged N2 billion fraud has suffered a setback. Maina’s trial was stalled on Tuesday at the Federal High Court in Abuja due to his sudden ill-health and confinement to …


Authorities Seized and Destroyed $1 Billion Worth of Illegal Marijuana in CA   


  According to reports, a joint effort between the FBI and the California Department of Fish and Wildfire saw the seizure and eradication of roughly 100 million marijuana plants covering 459 acres in Arvin, CA. The plants were said to be grown for industrial hemp but the investigation proved otherwise. The LA Times reports that …


FCC publishes approval of merger of T-Mobile and Sprint   


After last month's closed-door vote, the FCC publishes its formal approval of the $26 billion deal.


Merchandiser - NE Arizona (Holbrook/Winslow Areas & Flagstaff   


Discover the power of one and all at Core-Mark Come join the team that has been empowering customers, investing in people and serving communities for 130 years. The Power of One. Strengthen By All.

Job DetailsDescriptionCore-Mark (Nasdaq CORE) www.core-mark.comCore-Mark is a Fortune 300 company that continues to grow for over 130 years as an industry leader in fresh and broad-line solutions to the convenience retail industry. Our reputation of empowering customers, employees, and communities has allowed us to build over $16 Billion in revenue. Through our 32 distribution centers, we offer a full range of products, programs, and solutions to customers across the U.S. and Canada.At Core-Mark, you will discover a culture that enables you to grow, challenges you to achieve, and embraces you as family. Show us your power and come explore your opportunities with Core-Mark.THE POWER OF ONE. STRENGTHENED BY ALL.Position Summary:As a Merchandiser, you will work independently and be responsible for maintaining product displays in stores, rotating product, invoice check-in, and overall merchandising. You will be the first line of customer service and a partner in ensuring that customers reach their sales and profitability potential. A successful candidate will be able to assess customer sales and identify opportunities to maximize value. Your professionalism and business execution are critical contributions to driving business forward for our customers, vendors, and ourselves. This Merchandiser is responsible in servicing customers in Holbrook/Winslow areas and Flagstaff, Arizona.Position Responsibilities:
  • Checking-in with customers at each designated account and serving as company liaison.
  • Gathering information from divisions, key account teams, vendors, and category managers.
  • Communicating daily with mangers and notifying them of customer concerns.
  • Identifying and reducing out-of-stocks on shelves.
  • Ensuring products are fresh and within date code parameters.
  • Attending to customer needs and concerns in a timely manner.
  • Ensuring plan-o-gram, marketing best practices, and compliance in stores.
  • Identifying display opportunities and maximizing display positioning.
  • Ensuring that products are properly displayed, priced, and identified.
  • Finding solutions to possible customer challenges with assistance.
  • Performing other tasks and duties as assigned.Skills & Experiences:
    • High School Diploma or General Educational Development (GED) certificate.
    • Ability to drive to customer locations using personal transportation (mileage and gasoline reimbursement will be provided).
    • Must have a valid driver's license, clean driving record, reliable vehicle, and proper valid insurance.
    • Must have valid insurance that meets minimum requirements per state law.
    • Ability to communicate effectively.
    • Ability to use and understand store plan-o-gram and set instructions.
    • Ability to learn how to operate a hand-held inventory control device, calculators, and computer.
    • Ability to effectively use Microsoft Office programs such as Excel and Outlook.
    • Ability to perform math calculations.Physical Demands &Working Conditions:
      • Physical ability to lift, unload, and carry totes and bundles up to 30 lbs. repetitively and up to 60 lbs. occasionally, push up to 50 lbs., and move a dolly loaded with up to 250 lbs.
      • Physical ability to maneuver loaded hand carts over a variety of inclines and surfaces.
      • Physical ability to stand and walk frequently, and be able to drive for a significant period of time.
      • Physical ability to occasionally bend, kneel, crouch, or crawl.
      • Exposure to a variety of environmental conditions: weather, temperature, lighting, and noise as determined by circumstances at accounts within assigned territory.Core-Mark Benefits:At Core-Mark, we know your power comes from your overall well-being and the well-being of your family. That's why we offer a comprehensive benefits package that supports the health of you and your family. As a part of our family, your benefit offerings include:
        • Highly Competitive Medical, Dental, & Vision Coverage
        • Health Savings & Flexible Spending Accounts
        • Core-Benefits: Life,Disability,& Employee Assistance Program paid by Core-Mark
        • Work/Life Balance: Sick Leave, Vacation Time, Holidays, & Tuition Reimbursement
        • Financial Wellness:401(k) Plan with a 50% match on the first 6% contributed, Group Voluntary Benefits, Pet Insurance, Commuter Benefit, Employee Discounts, & Scholarship Opportunities for children of employeesAt Core-Mark we are a family. We are committed to creating an environment that embraces and enables all to reach their full potential. It is through empowering every employee to bring their full self and full power to work that makes Core-Mark collectively stronger.THE POWER OF ONE. STRENGTHENED BY ALL.


General Manager   


Description:McDonald's Works for Me.
I?m going places. I want a satisfying career with good benefits and great opportunities for advancement. I have a lot to offer and I want to grow.
The Job for Me ? Get a job that inspires your best and moves you forward. Choose your hours. Pursue your education. Build your skills and be yourself.
The Team for Me ? Our people want to say YES ? to working with energy and purpose, finding new talent, providing coaching and direction, honing their leadership skills, and helping to run a business that serves up delicious food and feel-good moments. Does this sound like you? You?ll fit right in.
The Company for Me ? From here, you can go further than you thought possible. Reach your goals and build your future with college tuition assistance, valuable job training, and retirement benefits.
Let?s talk. Make your move.
Requirements:The General Manager is responsible for running a profitable restaurant and for making sure the restaurant meets McDonald?s critical customer standards of Quality, Service, and Cleanliness. These standards are high, so this is a big job! The General Manager works with his/her leader to set the restaurant?s goals and creates a plan to achieve the goals.
To meet restaurant goals, the General Manager doesn?t work alone. He or she leads a team of Department Managers that has specific responsibilities in the restaurant. This means helping the Department Managers to set their own goals, following up on their progress, and providing coaching and direction to improve their Departments. By improving the Departments, the restaurant improves!
The General Manager may also be responsible for hiring and developing Department and Shift Managers to make sure that the restaurant has the right team to lead into the future.
Ideal candidates should have previous General Manager experience running high volume locations. A background in quick service restaurants is strongly desired, or experience in hospitality or retail. You must be 18 years or older to be a manager in our corporate owned and operated restaurants.
Additional Info:Along with competitive pay, a General Manager at a McDonald?s Corporate owned restaurant is eligible for incredible benefits including:? 15-25 days paid vacation? 10 paid holidays, anniversary splash and 8-week sabbatical every 10 years? Education through Archways to Opportunity including opportunities to earn a High School degree, college tuition assistance and English classes as a second language? Medical, dental and vision coverage? Pre-tax flexible spending accounts? Short- and Long-Term Disability, life and accident insurance? Paid Leaves of Absence? Service awards? Employee Resource Connection? Adoption Assistance? Matching gifts program
This job posting contains some information about what it is like to work in a McDonald?s restaurant, but it is not a complete job description. People who work in a McDonald?s restaurant perform a number of different tasks every day, and this posting does not list all of the essential functions of this job.
McDonald's Corporation and McDonald's USA, LLC (the "Company") are committed to a policy of Equal Employment Opportunity and will not discriminate against an applicant or employee of a corporate-owned restaurant on the basis of age, sex, sexual orientation, race, color, creed, religion, ethnicity, national origin, alienage or citizenship, disability, marital status, veteran or military status, genetic information, or any other legally-recognized protected basis under federal, state or local laws, regulations or ordinances.--Applicants with disabilities may be entitled to reasonable accommodation under the terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act and/or certain state or local laws.--A reasonable accommodation is a change in the way things are normally done that will ensure an equal employment opportunity without imposing an undue hardship on the Company. Please you need assistance completing any forms or to otherwise participate in the application process or to request or discuss an accommodation in connection with a job at a McDonald?s corporate-owned restaurant to which you are applying.

Company Description:

McDonald---s is proud to be one of the most recognized brands in the world, with restaurants in over 100 countries and billions of customers served each year. As the global leader in the food service industry, we have a legacy of innovation and hard work that continues to drive us. Today, we are growing with velocity and are focused on modernizing our experiences, not to make a different McDonald---s but to build a better McDonald---s.We are a people business just as much as we are a restaurant business. We strive to be the most inclusive brand on the planet by building diverse teams who create delicious, feel good moments that are easy for everyone to enjoy. Joining McDonald's means thinking big on a daily basis and preparing for a career that can have impact around the world.

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