These sculptures by Gerry Judah for the Goodwood Festival of Speed are amazing. Here's how they made the Mercedes arch for this year's festival. (via ministry of type)Tags: art cars Gerry Judah video
These sculptures by Gerry Judah for the Goodwood Festival of Speed are amazing. Here's how they made the Mercedes arch for this year's festival. (via ministry of type)Tags: art cars Gerry Judah video
Cameroon’s national soccer federation has announced it will investigate whether its team threw a match to Croatia in the World Cup after a notorious match fixer predicted the score (4-0) and that a player would get sent off with a red card.
And sure enough, this happened in the match, leading to the ejection of star player Alex Song, who plays professionally for Barcelona:
Fans were shocked—it’s rare to see such a blatant foul in such an uncritical position in the play of the game. On the other hand, it makes sense if you’re trying to get sent off.
In a World Cup where one player bit another, perhaps we should expect anything on the pitch. Neither FIFA nor the players involved have commented on these allegations. But it’s not the first dispute between Cameroon’s players and their soccer federation—before they even left for the tournament, the players reportedly demanded their appearance fees in cash, part of a long history of disputes over payment.
The match-fixing prediction was made in Der Spiegel by Wilson Raj Perumal, a Singaporean man who has been convicted of fronting a global match-fixing syndicate seeking to take advantage of billion-dollar Asian betting markets. Among their most brazen efforts was a soccer tournament in 2011 between Estonia, Bulgaria, Bolivia, and Latvia, that was untelevised and held in empty stadiums in Turkey. Gamblers still bet millions on the games, and every goal came from penalties awarded by referees the syndicate hand-picked.
Despite recent arrests and publicity, little appears to have changed. “They have new people to do their work,” someone connected to the syndicate told the New York Times. “There is no stopping them.”
Photo courtesy Reuters/Murad Sezer
What's your best guess without looking: How many US states are at least partially north of the southernmost part of Canada?
(It's probably way more than you think.)
Ok, I'll give you two hints...
1. Wyoming is almost *entirely* north of the southernmost point in Canada.
2. Part of a state that borders Mexico is north of the southernmost point in Canada.
One more big hint: more than 25% of US states are entirely north of Canada's southernmost point.
So, here's the answer:
27 US states, more than half, are at least partially north of Canada's southernmost point. (via @stevenstrogatz)Tags: Canada geography maps USA
Since launching its original series two years ago, Netflix has stubbornly refused to release any ratings information on its shows.
Now, it turns out, not even the people behind the streaming service’s most successful (well, at least we think they’re the most successful) series, like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, have any idea how many people actually watch their programming.
“It’s like, ‘I’m a hit —I think,’” Orange is the New Black creator Jenji Kohan told The Hollywood Reporter. The lack of viewership metrics from Netflix “makes it hard to negotiate later,” she says, referring to the standing industry practice in which the stars and producers of hits shows leverage ratings success for significant raises in a show’s third or fourth season.
She’s not the only one left in the dark: House of Cards star Kevin Spacey and executive producer David Fincher have also not seen any concrete ratings data. “The fewer people [that] know, the better,” chief content officer Ted Sarandos said in November.
Instead, they—along with the rest of us—have to make do with enigmatic scraps of information from Netflix. CEO Reed Hastings said in Oct that Orange is the New Black “enjoys an audience comparable with successful shows on cable and broadcast TV.” Last month, he told shareholders that House of Cards’ second season attracted “a huge audience that would make any cable or broadcast network happy.” Of course, some cable networks would be overjoyed with an audience of just 2 million, while CBS wouldn’t crack a smile unless more than 10 million viewers tuned in.
In November, Sarandos did let slip that “tens of millions” had seen House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, but he did not indicate whether that figure was cumulative for both shows.
Netflix has long maintained that because they are not beholden to advertisers, they have no incentive to release ratings data. (“There’s no benefit to showing we’re beating said network—we don’t need to,” Ted Sarandos said in March.) Yet premium cable channels like HBO and Showtime, which like Netflix do not have advertisers and rely solely on subscriptions for revenue, have done so for years. (And in the process, have revealed that HBO’s stellar ratings for The Sopranos, Game of Thrones and True Detective—all of which cracked 10 million in their heyday—would indeed make even CBS proud.)
Netflix declined Quartz’s request to elaborate on its ratings strategy.
The only concrete information we do know is that Netflix continues to grow at a healthy rate. In the first quarter of 2014, it added 2.25 million paid streaming subscribers in the U.S. (for a total of 35.67 million) and 1.75 million internationally (for an international total of 11.76 million).
And if anyone can figure out how many of those subscribers are actually watching its original shows, please let Jenji Kohan and David Fincher know.
Follow Jason on Twitter @jasonlynch.We welcome your comments at email@example.com.
Every time you refresh your tweets, Twitter banks a tenth of a penny.
The company, which will issue its first quarterly earnings report next week, considers “timeline views” the best measure of how engaged its users are. It counts another view whenever* someone opens Twitter or requests to see new tweets. That happened more than 158 billion times in the third quarter of last year, or 685 timeline views for each of its 231 million active users.
Here are timeline views charted alongside the advertising revenue Twitter generates amid all that refreshing:
Advertisers like the idea that Twitter users are so engaged that they constantly click or swipe for more content. And each refresh is another opportunity for Twitter to serve up a sponsored tweet, which it has been doing more often lately.
Yesterday the company announced a new plan for when mobile users reload their feeds: If there are no fresh tweets to show—a common problem for new and obsessive users alike—Twitter will display other content like suggested accounts to follow or notifications that people are talking about a TV show. It could charge for that placement in the future, according to a source.
In other words, Twitter is monetizing the compulsive refresh. It’s a behavior nearly as old as the World Wide Web: refreshing to see if there’s anything new, if the page has been updated. Then refreshing again. And again…
Newer web standards have diminished the need to refresh browsers—email, for instance, now arrives unsolicited—but the habit thrives on phones. Many mobile apps, including Twitter’s, load new information when first opened but then require users to manually refresh for updates. That helps conserve battery strength and data bandwidth. It’s also simply pleasurable, if also sometime soul-sapping, to swipe one’s finger down the glass-panelled phone in anticipation of new updates.
(Twitter, as it happens, holds a patent on the “scrollable refresh trigger,” better known as “pull to refresh,” that has become a ubiquitous gesture in mobile apps. It has vowed not to go after other companies that use the gesture, as part of a broader intellectual property détente.)
On Twitter, what matters most is what’s on top. Some users end up finding that hierarchy oppressive; others, confusing. But the tyranny of the new is undoubtedly what has made Twitter so addictive for so many people, accounting for those nearly 2 billion timeline views a day.
The company’s challenge, especially in countries like the United States, where user growth has already slowed, is to wring more money out of that user engagement. It most recently generated $0.97 in revenue for every thousand timeline views; Americans were more valuable, at $2.58. To boost those figures, Twitter needs to display more ads or charge more for the ones it already does it show.
Or it can tempt you to refresh just one more time.
* Note: There’s a flaw in Twitter’s measure of timeline views, which the company acknowledged in its IPO prospectus: It doesn’t count any usage by users of TweetDeck or Twitter for Mac. Those applications load new tweets automatically—one reason they are beloved by a small but passionate subset of users—so the notion of a timeline view doesn’t apply. (Twitter doesn’t show ads to those users, either.) It’s not clear how much data Twitter ends up missing as a result.
Taylor Branch, in the last pages of “At Canaan’s Edge,” the third volume of his trilogy on Martin Luther King, Jr., and his time, describes the frantic search for King’s killer in the days after his death. Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation doggedly chased leads like laundry marks and half-seen cars, the memories of store clerks, a photograph from a bartending school. “A comprehensive review of the murder investigation showed FBI agents capable of disciplined public duty alongside a numbing array of extra-constitutional bugs, vendettas, and crimes,” Branch writes. That array included an attempt to blackmail King into committing suicide with the threat of revealing his infidelities, and did not end with his death or the capture of his assassin, James Earl Ray; in some ways, it’s not yet over....read more
It’s no secret that Bollywood films pride themselves on having the most over the top special effects and gloriously cheesey scenarios.
With that in mind, the following 20 action sequences redefine the very laws of physics, crank the levels of ridiculousness to the extreme and will leave you in tears of laughter by just how utterly stupid and fantastic it all is.
Wouldn’t it be great if more ofHollywood’s blockbusters exhibited the same sense of humor? Do let us know which are your personal favs, also be patient some of these may take a short time to load.
VCs are still giving Path money?
It’s been a bumpy road for Dave Morin’s Path, as manic rumors over the last year have pegged the “private” social network at once as the subject of lagging growth, shrinking staff and potential acquisitions, while at the same time raising a mega $50 million round at a $500 million valuation.
Today, the company’s long path to a Series C appears to finally have come to an end. Having recently revealed an additional revenue stream with the launch of premium subscription plans and product additions like private sharing, over the last quarter, Path has been making moves that appear to have reassured investors of its long-term prospects.
Tonight, Kara Swisher reports that Path has raised $25 million and added at least one new investor in Indonesia’s Bakrie Global Group, bringing its total funding to $65 million.
Morin, who is also an ex-Facebooker, also told Swisher that, while the company closed a smaller round than its $30 million Series B, it was in fact an “up round.” As Path was reportedly valued at $250 million for its Series B, if it’s an up round, the company’s value has increased since April 2012 in the eyes of investors and it could be as high as $400 million.
What’s more, in November, TechCrunch Co-editor Alexia Tsotsis heard from sources that Path was closing a round of over $7 million that also included Morin’s friend and former Facebooker, Dustin Moskovitz. TechCrunch has again heard from sources that this is true — that Moskovitz is an investor in Path’s Series C — as we reported at the time.
Swisher also reports that Path’s existing investors, which include Greylock Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Index Ventures, Insight Venture Partners, Redpoint Venture Partners and First Round Capital, also participated in the round.
As to why Path opted for an Indonesian lead investor for its Series C? Morin explained in an interview with Re/code that he “was always looking” for a strategic investor in Asia, particularly in Southeast Asia. Morin said that Southeast Asia is one of the regions where Path’s traction is strongest, saying that it was even stronger “than people understand.” Bringing on Bakrie as its lead investor gives Path a partner that understands the market and can help it strategically expand and increase its footprint in Southeast Asia.
While it’s difficult not to see the raise (and improved valuation) as a positive sign, saying that it’s a sign where Path wants to be, particularly in the U.S., would be unfair. In conversation with Swisher, Morin admitted that Path still had a number of “challenges in the U.S. market” that it needs “to focus on.”
With Morin confirming that Path is now at 23 million customers, the challenge may not be a lack of traction, but stemming a leaky user base in the face of the changing social market and the explosion of young mobile social networks like Snapchat.
We have reached out to confirm all of the above with both Morin and Path and will update as soon as we learn more.
People are strange.
You might remember our stories that took you deep inside a sex doll factories of California and China, unearthed the most terrifying mannequins of all time and even revealed a 20 year-old girl who altered her appearance to look like a Barbie doll. However, they pale in comparison to ‘Secrets Of The Living Dolls’ a bizarre new UK documentary that takes an in-depth look at the peculiar world of crossdressing, latex outfits and creepy rubber masks.
“I have noticed that when I’m a sexy female, I get treated completely differently.” – Masker Dominique.
It’s an expose on the men of Britain, who relish the opportunity to transform themselves into living dolls by wearing wigs, freakish masks and adopting different female personas. Interestingly enough, those featured don’t describe themselves as transgender, gay or bisexual – they just love a bit of rubber role play.
You can find out how to watch the entire documentary via the Channel 4 website, in the meantime here’s a few teasers….
Via Channel 4
We’re only 3 days into 2014, but already we have a contender for the strangest video of the year.
Performance art, by its very nature is often very divisive. It’s created to challenge the boundaries of what we collectively define as “art”. You could raise a stuffed cat above your head in the middle of your local street, whilst covered head to foot in honey and yell out “HOLY MOTHER OF CHRIST!” 50 times in a row and you could pass yourself off as a “performance artist”.
But is that considered art? Or just being slightly eccentric and verging on mad?
But one thing we do know for sure, in order for something to be accepted as “art” the right people need to deem it so. If you had that same stuffed cat above your head and you did that exact same act The Museum of Modern Art in New York – you’d get a wildly different reception. And therein lies the dichotomy, who should have the say on what is and what isn’t consider art?
Ultimately, it’s down to you the viewer. Which begs the question, is the following video a ground-breaking and visionary work of art, or merely one of the most nonsensical and weirdest videos you’re likely to see all year? We “think” it’s somehow related to handicapped individuals being frustrated with their sex lives and being unable to perform. Although our interpretation could be entirely wrong.
To give you an idea of just how odd this clip truly is, there’s no other “related videos” associated with it.
It truly is an original….
Was 2013 a “lost year for technology?,” as an article in Quartz recently proposed? Hardly. Yet I can understand, to some extent, both why there’s a growing ennui with tech among some observers, and why stating that overly simply angered other technology enthusiasts. It’s not necessarily due to a bored or cynical tech press that this feeling arises. It’s just that there’s this sense of waiting for the other shoe to drop. Technology caught mid-breath, as it were.
2013 wasn’t so much of a lost year for technology, but a transitional one.
“The first week I had this new iPhone, I wanted to throw it across the room,” my stepmother told me during my parents’ annual holiday visit. She then added that, after a week of struggling, she learned how to use the phone, and was now enamored of the thing.
Clearly, my aging parents are what the industry would call late adopters. They are not particularly tech-savvy. They barely manage email. They don’t use Facebook. But they’re thrilled to now own a device where they can not only accomplish a variety of basic computing tasks – email, web surfing, navigation – but excel at them.
For some, that passing comment about technology’s frustrations would annoy. I imagine teenagers rolling their eyes at the complaints of the “olds” like these – those who are embarrassingly and annoyingly behind. Their delay to adapt to the ever-quickening changes in computing had for years placed them in a different class of online citizenry. While everyone else was liking and commenting on photo albums, they were getting an email or physical prints via the postal service. As the world began learning to speak their queries to Google and Siri, they were sitting at dilapidated, creaking Windows desktops, clicking keys and printing out Mapquest maps for upcoming trips.
But now, as 2014 arrives, they are iPhone users.
To me, this is a personal moment of victory. Not that they selected the iPhone over Android, mind you, but rather that they’ve finally joined the present day.
The story of my parents is just an illustrative example of what’s taking place around the world. The playing field is becoming more level. It’s no longer “us,” the technically savvy (“those who do computers” as my dad – god, dad! – would say), versus “them,” the mainstream. In terms of mobile’s potential target market, it’s all of us. It’s everyone. And it’s many more yet to come.
My parents, late as they may be, are not alone.
Though the smartphone market in the U.S. may be near saturated at this point, people elsewhere in the world are now picking up these small devices and finding themselves similarly amazed at what technology can do, and what it can be, for the first time.
This, I remember, as my stepmom AirDrops photos to my phone, is a marvel.
Humans have built a web of information and connectivity, the sum of human existence in 1′s and 0′s, and it’s finally being delivered in a format – and in a form factor – that anyone can manage. And soon – maybe – anyone, anywhere, as well.
Case in point: The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and others have funded a project that uses human urine to generate electricity to power commercially available smartphones via Microbial Fuel Cells. The scientists, explains a release, believe that the technology could one day be installed in bathrooms to “harness the urine and produce sufficient electricity to power showers, lighting or razors as well as mobile phones.” That’s some serious eco-computing! And it goes a long way to further democratize access to mobile technology.
Or, in other words, here come the late adopters.
It’s a group of users I’m especially fond of, maybe because I’m living among them, far away from crazy dreams of separate nation-states or floating mini-cities aimed to isolate the technologists and engineers further from the real world.
After all, what madness comes from never looking outside your own experiences of how people relate to technology? Maybe something like Google Glass, pitched as a consumer-facing product? While Glass clearly has potential in several vertical industries where headgear of some kind could aid in specific tasks, the idea that consumers would flock to the gadget the way they adopted smartphones is funny to me. Glass, as consumer eyewear, serves only to re-establish the “us vs. them” line that mobile technology had until now so well smudged and blurred. You’re literally walking around with a statement about your geekiness directly on your face.
The late adopters will be super late to that one, I’d wager.
And it’s something I can’t find it in me to evangelize. That’s telling.
You see, what initially drew me into technology (I.T.) was the problem-solving it involved. Your typical “day at the office” was never typical – there was always something new to learn, difficulties to overcome. But what kept me here through the years was a core belief that technology had the potential for bettering our existence, and adding value to our lives.
Back in the day, among a variety of sysadmin duties, I used to also host small classes for new sales staff where I sneaked in training on basic computing skills along with how to use the business’s software programs. Some attendees learned there how to click a mouse or use a web browser for the first time. They learned to scroll through a webpage, and draft a letter in Microsoft Word. This, as ridiculous as it may seem, was among my most valuable work to date. Learning about technology and how to use it was important, I believed. It mattered.
I would also evangelize new technology for those who would hear it during the Web 2.0 era. I installed Firefox on people’s machines. I invited friends to Facebook before the mass Myspace exodus really began. I blogged on TypePad and Blogger, and clamored for a Gmail invite. I even “plurked,” whatever that was. I was passionate about technology – consumer technology. In many ways, I still am.
But with a cursory glance, it’s easy to look at the end products of 2013 consumer tech and feel that something was lacking. For instance, Snapchat is great, but not yet a revolution against the web’s permanence. Nest is lovely, but it’s a thermostat. That’s, um, great. And Google Glass, really? Oh, and no Apple TV set as promised, bah! (Yes, I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek here.)
Meanwhile, the biggest leaps happening right now, and some of the most interesting work, is falling outside the scope of consumer tech/consumer web. As Om Malik alluded to in his takedown of that above-mentioned Quartz post, there are hardware breakthroughs to behold, sensors and wearables, robots, cloud computing advances, and more. There are also 3D printers, and new digital currencies being explored. Some of these things will make their way to the mainstream, and some will do so indirectly. Others will be discarded along the way.
But it’s still the consumers – you know, the people on the other end of the screen – who interest me. I’m watching the Born-Digitals, the iGeneration, and, most of all, these “late adopters” to see what they’ll do as they come together on an even field. Here, first-time computer users – the ones who web giants like Facebook and Google have both stated they’re targeting for their future growth – will join us via tablets and mobile and help reshape the web.
These late-adopting Internet users may not need a class to learn how to click a mouse or surf the web. They may master the basics of computing in only a matter of days, like my stepmom did with her iPhone. And they will soon outnumber those of us old enough to remember things like punch cards, floppy disks, dial-up, and Geocities.
They will arrive with a different set of needs, some regionally or culturally specific, but others universally human, yet still unaddressed by those wasting time iterating by adding tiny flourishes to existing services. For the next billion Internet users, the smartphone will be the bank, the teacher, the doctor, the newscaster, the connector, the farm hand, the librarian, the storefront, the community, and much more.
So you can look back at 2013, and see only things like messaging apps, half-baked wearables and slightly improved iPhones and Androids. But you were only scratching the surface. Look again. It’s not the products, it’s the coming of the people who will soon participate in the Internet’s transformation. The sea change that’s already underway. 2013 was not a lost year for tech, but the period in between the fading of one era and the start of a new one.
I’m looking forward to it.
Happy New Year.
[image credits: Flickr user Vilseskogen; Google; smartphone eye exam, AdaFruit; MakerBot]
Say hello to Josephus Daniels, former secretary of the US Navy and namesake of the proverbial cup of joe.
Joe is, of course, short for Joseph. And in American English, “joe” can refer to an average guy, a soldier, or—somewhat strangely—coffee. A popular chain in New York, for instance, is called Joe the Art of Coffee.
As it turns out, the use of joe as slang for coffee dates to the World War I era. It was then that Daniels, who started his career as a newspaper publisher in North Carolina, became secretary of the Navy under president Woodrow Wilson. As recounted in a new biography, Daniels tried to imbue the navy with a strict morality. He increased the number of chaplains, discouraged prostitution at naval bases, and, most controversially, banned the consumption of alcohol.
“As a substitute, stewards increased their purchases of coffee, among other beverages,” writes Lee Craig in the new book, “and Daniels’s name became linked to the daily drink of millions around the world. A cup of coffee became disparagingly known as ‘a cup of Joseph Daniels,’ and as legend has it, this was soon shortened to a ‘cup of Joe.’”
Tremor Video filed the paperwork to kick-start a public stock offering in the coming months, revealing a lot of red ink and plans to turn it black with the help of some $86 million of investor money. Credit Suisse and Jefferies are the co-lead underwriters.
The company is the largest independent digital video ad network, with access to 500 digital and mobile platforms. Its value-add is proprietary analytics to help clients, which include the top ten automakers, target consumers more effectively. In 2011, the company lost $21 million; last year, losses narrowed to $16.4 million due to increasing revenue and improving margins.
Filing for an IPO when you’re losing money isn’t completely unusual for a start-up; GroupOn lost $456 million the year before its 2011 IPO, although that’s not the ideal comparison for any company. Tremor justifies its IPO because it expects massive growth in its sector. Last year, companies spent $2.9 billion on digital video advertising, which Tremor predicts will increase to $8 billion by 2016.
That’s a lot of market to corner, and AllThingsD reports that competitors YuMe and Adapt.tv are also considering IPOs this year. Tremor will also have to compete with ad networks at Hulu and Youtube, which is owned by Google.
Should the IPO go off successfully and end with TRMR on the NYSE board, the big winners will be Cannan Partners, a venture capital firm that owns 19% of Tremor, along with 10% owners W Capital and Masthead Ventures. Tremor’s founders, Andrew Reis and Jesse Chenard, left the company in 2009; in 2010, the company acquired ScanScout and imported most of its management team, including current CEO Bill Day.
Most of those claims have been anecdotal. The most prevalent voice came from Josh Miller — co-founder of competing social startup Branch — whose argument hinged mostly around the behavioral habits of his teenage sister. Despite a lack of hard evidence, this somehow reinforced just how passe Facebook supposedly is.
Alas, as of Tuesday, we now have a study to bolster the claims. Teens are expressing “waning enthusiasm” for Facebook, according to a recent study from the Pew Research Center. Teens, according to the study, are tired of all the “drama,” the stress of managing their online reputation on the network, and are “annoyed when their Facebook friends share inane details.”
Contrast that waning enthusiasm with an increase in teen Twitter signups over the past two years. Nearly a quarter of online teens use the microblogging service, according to the study. Fascinating, considering the “inane details” Facebook complaint; it wasn’t so long ago that many dismissed Twitter as “the service for letting people know what you had for breakfast.”
As the report states, teens took some time to warm up to Twitter, a service that was first colonized by adults. Today, however, “teens are now migrating to Twitter in growing numbers, often as a supplement to their Facebook use.”
Indeed, the teens queried in the study aren’t leaving Facebook. Rather, they feel burdened by it, a necessity of existing online in the 21st century. “While Facebook is still deeply integrated in teens’ everyday lives,” the report stated, “it is sometimes seen as a utility and an obligation rather than an exciting new platform that teens can claim as their own.”
Perhaps that’s why Facebook Home — the fully Facebook-ed version of an Android phone — doesn’t seem to be taking off. Or maybe that’s why Poke — Facebook’s Snapchat clone aimed squarely at the teen audience– was dead in the water just weeks after launch. Perhaps, at least with teens, Facebook isn’t desirable as every part of our connected experience, but rather as relegated to one part of it: Our identity.
Which, admittedly, isn’t the end of the world for the social giant. Facebook wants to be an online directory of people, making it possible to look up profiles as you would thumb through a phone book of yesteryear. And with Facebook Connect, you can take that online identity across the Web to sign in to any number of commenting systems, applications and partner sites.
Still, losing mindshare and desirability from the young audience today isn’t good for the long term. Today’s kids will be tomorrow’s adults, folks with jobs and a willingness to buy the things they see in the Facebook ads served to them.
Teen or not, Facebook wants you to be delighted to visit its site, not obligated. Perhaps the company can spur that feeling in teens again someday — drama not included.
Image courtesy of Flickr/Ei Katsumata
This originally appeared on LinkedIn. You can follow Daniel Goleman here
A Chinese friend writes that last week President Xi, the new national leader, told a graduating class that Emotional Intelligence is “more important than IQ,” and a competence that should be pursued in the workplace.
The news made the front page of Chinese newspapers.
I want to add a few details. First, let’s be clear: for workplace success, IQ matters, too—just not in the same way that EI does. IQ remains the best predictor of which level of job someone can hold. For the professions (medicine, teaching, accounting and the like) you need an IQ roughly a standard deviation among the norm—that is, around 115 or higher.
But once you are in that position, IQ does not guarantee that you will be outstanding in your performance, nor that you will emerge as a leader. A main reason IQ no longer predicts success once you are on the job is that everyone you are competing with is about as smart as you. That’s when emotional intelligence adds great value.
The workplace competencies that independent studies have identified as distinguishing outstanding performers and leaders from the average are largely based on emotional intelligence—and as you go higher up the organizational ladder, they have greater and greater value.
I have a suggestion for China—and any other country that recognizes the value of emotional intelligence for its people and its workers. Teach these life skills in school, beginning in early childhood and continuing to university.
A meta-analysis of more than 200 separate studies that compared students with emotional intelligence-based programs and those without them found that positive behavior increased 10 percent, negative went down 10 percent, and academic achievement scores jumped up 11 percent.
These programs, called “social/emotional learning,” or SEL, take little or no time from the standard academic topics, yet let children learn better. Singapore is the first nation to mandate that all children there receive SEL.
These are the competencies that distinguish star leaders from average. Teaching these life skills in schools could turn them into leadership academies.
And the good news: if you didn’t master in earlier life the emotional intelligence abilities you need for your job, it’s never too late. Get a coach.
ProPublica’s job is to report the news rather than to make news ourselves, but sometimes we find an article of ours to be itself a subject of public debate. Last week was such a time, when two articles we had published back in December and January became the subject of significant attention in light of the uproar over IRS oversight of the process for granting tax exemption to so-called “social welfare” groups under section 501(c)(4). We triggered that attention, with a third article we published on May 13, setting out everything we knew about the circumstances of our previous stories.
Largely ignored in a public outcry last week—radio rants, Twitter storms, congressional, presidential and prosecutorial posturing-- were the following:
Our pieces in December and January raised very serious questions about whether six different “dark money” political groups seeking tax exemption had made false statements on their applications. Those applications are signed under penalty of perjury . If any false statements were made knowingly, the groups— including Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS —may have committed a crime. There is no indication, however, that either the IRS or the Department of Justice has done anything since January to investigate whether such crimes were indeed committed. The groups in question happen all to be conservative. Not one congressional Republican has, to my knowledge, expressed any concern about this possible criminality.
Even more remarkably, leading public figures have asserted as fact that they know how we came to receive nine documents in the mail—statements that appear to have little basis (and in some cases, no basis at all).
The former acting Commissioner of Internal Revenue said on May 17 that the agency’s inspector general had found that the disclosure to us was “inadvertent”—we had requested the applications, but they should not have been sent to us before they were approved. The IRS followed later the same day with a statement to the same effect—but then refused to answer questions about who had made the mistake, and why they should be believed when they denied having acted intentionally (and thus likely denied committing a crime).
What really seems to have happened at the IRS in Cincinnati, across the last three presidencies (a Democrat, then a Republican, then a Democrat), and across two turns of the partisan screw in the House of Representatives, from Republicans to Democrats to Republicans again, is that the agency has been starved of resources, and badly mismanaged.
But while it took the IRS four long days to tell people about their conclusion of “inadvertence” and the same four days for ProPublica to report out the dysfunction , people like Rush Limbaugh, and their followers and fellow travelers on Twitter and in the fringe press, rushed headlong to judgment. Here’s what Limbaugh said about the mid-level federal employees at the IRS in Cincinnati on Tuesday: “The people at these government agencies have been stocked with leftists for decades now, and they’re all activists.” What evidence did he offer for this? None. How could he know that someone in a large bureaucracy, shuffling thousands of pieces of paper, didn’t make a mistake? He couldn’t, and he didn’t.
Well, you might say, that’s Limbaugh. But it wasn’t just Limbaugh. Stephen Moore writes for the Wall Street Journal (where I worked for 15 years, and where Mr. Rove also writes). Yet, he called the documents we were sent “ illegally leaked .” He knew nothing more than Limbaugh. “What is the motivation,” Moore asked, “for leaking these documents? The answer is that the left is trying to dry up the money of tea party and conservative groups by intimidating donors.” He noted that another group, in another case, had its donor list released. But in our case, there were no donor lists, and we had redacted the limited financial information on the forms we published. Moreover, these applications are completed with the expectation that they’ll eventually be made public—because they are when they are approved. Never mind all that; presumably no need to mention it.
And what of the investigators? Congressional committees leapt into action. The inspector general for the IRS had apparently already investigated. The President demanded another investigation; the Department of Justice said it had commenced a criminal inquiry.
Knowing that such is the way in Washington, we waited at ProPublica for someone to send us a subpoena, show up on our doorstep, or maybe just call. Nothing. Nothing since December 13, when we told the IRS we had these documents they weren’t supposed to have sent us—or since the next day, when we published that fact. Nothing before the inspector general reached his conclusion, nothing before the congressional hearings started televising their demands for answers and their righteous indignation, nothing since.
In point of fact, the investigators would have found out that we have nothing of value to them. But the fact that they didn’t even ask tells you a lot. And it reinforces the point that much of the heat generated last week on this subject is just the latest expression of Washington cynicism and its consequences—that the talk show hosts and their fellow travelers, and the representatives and senators and officials in the executive branch, aren’t really looking for answers here. They’re just putting on a show.
Today Wired magazine released their June digital edition, "The Connective: Mass Transmit," a mobile magazine connected to live data that refreshes each time you open it. Featured content also includes crowd-sourced editorials put together over a 48-hour period at the Wired offices curated by the Wired team.
The digital edition connects readers to the "Internet of Everything (IoE)," inspired by the brand position of Cisco Systems, where people, process, data and things communicate with one another. The publication is the product of a combined effort between Cisco, Wired and its creative and media agencies, Goodby Silverstein & Partners (GSP) and Mindshare.
Goodby Silverstein & Partners created the branded ad experience within "The Connective: Mass Transmit."
Says Jon Randazzo, GSP's creative director: "This isn't just a brand idea for Cisco, who is connecting the IoE, it's a demonstration how Cisco is enabling connections today and inspiring tomorrow."
View The Connective: Mass Transmit spot
Download The Connective: Mass Transmit
Google used to divine good design through data. Fred Gilbert, the lead designer of Google’s social products, says that when he joined the company in 2006, as an intern, and again in 2007, as a designer for Google Maps, “You had to pass tech interviews and be a good front-end coder to be a designer at Google.” The result, he added, was that “You had a homogenous bunch of folks who were largely left-brain.” This was the Google that infamously tested forty-one shades of blue to determine which one should be used in a toolbar; the Google that lacked any sense of common design language across its dizzying and disparate array of products, from YouTube to Gmail to Google News; the Google that, as late as 2009, according to its first visual designer, Douglas Bowman, was “without a person at (or near) the helm who thoroughly understands the principles and elements of Design.”...read more
One of our favourite Twitter hashtags is #1stworldproblems a cheeky reference to that fact it isn’t easy being a privileged citizen of a developed nation.
So it wasn’t going to be long until someone decided to combined some of the most superficial & narrow-minded tweets into a visual series. It’s amusing, depressing & dumbfounding in equal amounts. It might suck that you don’t have wifi right now, but none of us should ever lose sight of the fact there are scenes like this happening every day in 3rd world countries.
Kick back, relax and prepare to shake your head at 140 characters of self-indulgent first world problems.
Via Sad And Useless
Almost fifteen years ago, in a book called “Chance, Development, and Aging,” the gerontologists Caleb Finch and Thomas Kirkwood described a truly elegant study of biology: a batch of roundworms, all genetically identical, raised on identical diets of agar. Despite having identical genetics and near-identical environments, some worms lived far longer than others. The lesson? The classical equation of “life = nature + nurture” had left out chance.
Of course, that was just worms. This week, a team of German researchers, led by Gerd Kempermann, built on a similar logic and announced in Science that they had raised forty inbred mice that were essentially genetically identical in a single complex environment, and used radio-frequency identification (RFID) implants to track every moment of their lives. Nobody could ever ethically run that sort of controlled experiment with humans, but Kempermann’s study provides convincing evidence that—in a fellow mammal with which we share a basic brain organization—neither genetic identity nor a shared environment is enough to guarantee a common fate. Different creatures, even from the same species, can grow up differently, and develop significantly different brains—even if their genomes are identical, and even if their environments are, too....read more
It’s amazing what can be achieved when nobody is fighting over who takes the credit isn’t it?
Here’s a story of one such scenario, it began when a civil engineer, two visual artists, a PR professional and an architect formed an art collective called Boa Mistura in Spain. Their name actually translates into ‘good mixture’, a reference to all the individuals and their professions within the group.
They recently headed to one of the poorest and long forgotten house estates in Panama City called El Chorrillo with a goal to restore a sense of pride, vitality, community and creativity to an area which had long fallen into disarray, a concrete blight in a discarded neighbourhood.
They opted to injected some much-needed vibrancy into the house block, working closely with locals, they painted the entire facade in rich tones and eye-popping colours. What’s even more impressive is the fact those colours were selected by the tenants themselves and then moulded into one unified design. A multitude of colours, chosen and painted by a community of individuals with their own unique stories.
The final design spells out the phrase “Somos Luz” which means ‘We Are Light’ – a shining example that by working together, we can make the world a better place for every individual.
If you weren’t connected to the correct Twitter tubes this weekend, there’s a chance you may not have spent every waking moment playing GeoGuessr. So let’s put that right now.
Anton Wallén’s clever repurposing of Google’s Street View magics dumps you in the middle of somewhere, and you have to try to figure out where that is. You can move around in Street View as you might expect, but obviously you can’t zoom out to see the map you’re in. Once you’ve wandered about, hunted down clues to a location, and feel pretty sure of where you are, you drop a pin somewhere in the world on the map top right, and you score points based on how close you were. And then you keep doing that until you’ve forgotten to go to bed tomorrow night.
There’s already quite a few awesome parents out there, but creative mother of two Nina Levy takes it to a whole new level. She’s a photographer, illustrator and sculptor based in Brooklyn and for the past 6 years she’s been inking incredible cartoons and popular characters onto the lunchtime napkins for her two sons.
I usually get requests, although they are sometimes hard to fulfill “I want Nightwing and Kid Flash blowing up the Brotherhood of Evil while Batman and Superman watch.
Our napkins usually come back home along with all the uneaten food. My younger son actually uses them for their original purpose, while the other tells me, “oh, I only use the napkin to get attention, I just wipe my hands on my clothes.
Probably one of the most exciting things of being a kid (aside from getting to go home at the end of the day) was discovering what was in your lunchbox – but for these two, they get the added bonus of some amazing art as well. To date, she’s singled handily created a staggering 2,000 unique custom napkins – which she’s listed right here on her Daily Napkins blog
Below are a few of our personal favs, talk about being an awesome mum.
Via Daily Napkins
When Maker’s Mark announced in February that it was reducing the alcohol content of its famous bourbon, customers raised a ruckus. But they also headed to stores to hoard what they believed to be the last remaining bottles of 90-proof Maker’s, leading the brand and its parent company Beam Inc. to their best quarter ever.
“This was not the typical quarter for Maker’s Mark,” Beam CFO Robert Probst said today on the company’s conference call after reporting a 45% jump in first-quarter profit. Sales of Maker’s were up 44% from the same quarter a year prior. By comparison, the company’s cheaper bourbon, Jim Beam, saw a 2% decline in sales.
Maker’s Mark had initially said it would water down to 42% alcohol by volume, or 84 proof, and insisted that customers wouldn’t notice. But after a week of outcry—”consumer passion” is how Beam CEO Matthew Shattock described it today—the spirits brand reversed course. A small amount of 84-proof Maker’s was shipped to bars and liquor stores before the change of heart.
“There’s no doubt that with the change of the proof and then the reversal of that decision, we did see sort of a buying forward from consumers,” company officials told analysts, warning not to expect 44% growth in the future.
The surge in sales is ironic because the company maintains that it doesn’t have enough supply of Maker’s Mark to meet demand, which is why it watered down the drink in the first place. Bourbon, a form of American whiskey distilled from corn and other grains, is increasingly popular in the United States and some overseas markets like Germany, Australia, and Japan. But Beam sales fell slightly outside the US last quarter while surging among its loyal American customers.
One day in the spring of 2011, Kian Jek spotted something odd in the data archive of the Kepler space telescope. Kepler’s job is to identify planets orbiting stars beyond the sun, and it’s been wildly successful: since its launch in 2009, the telescope has identified nearly three thousand candidates, including several Earth-size worlds circling alien suns. But the mission’s software had rejected this particular signal, deeming it unworthy of follow-up.
The software was wrong. There was, in fact, a planet orbiting this particular star—or rather, stars. The planet, now known as Kepler 64b, orbits a pair of closely spaced stars at once, and this odd solar system has two more stars, much further out, orbiting the whole thing—a quadruple star system. It was much too complicated for NASA’s computers to figure out. But Jek, who lives in San Francisco, and a man named Robert Gagliano, from Cottonwood, Arizona—neither of whom is part of the Kepler mission, or even a professional astronomer—had access to the most powerful pattern-recognition computer in the world: the human brain....read more
The human mind is incredibly averse to uncertainty and ambiguity; from an early age, we respond to uncertainty or lack of clarity by spontaneously generating plausible explanations. What’s more, we hold on to these invented explanations as having intrinsic value of their own. Once we have them, we don’t like to let them go.
In 1972, the psychologist Jerome Kagan posited that uncertainty resolution was one of the foremost determinants of our behavior. When we can’t immediately gratify our desire to know, we become highly motivated to reach a concrete explanation. That motivation, in Kagan’s conception, lies at the heart of most other common motives: achievement, affiliation, power, and the like. We want to eliminate the distress of the unknown. We want, in other words, to achieve “cognitive closure.” This term was coined by the social psychologist Arie Kruglanski, who eventually defined it as “individuals’ desire for a firm answer to a question and an aversion toward ambiguity,” a drive for certainty in the face of a less than certain world. When faced with heightened ambiguity and a lack of clear-cut answers, we need to know—and as quickly as possible....read more
Norway is not what you would call a hotbed for hedge funds. Due to restrictive regulatory requirements and an almost uniformly long-only focused investor-community, there are only a handful of hedge funds managed out of Norway.
Despite this, Norwegian Warren Short Term Trading (WST) is one of the best performing hedge funds in the world. Since the fund’s inception in November 2011, its return has been 46.7% with a net 2012-return of 29.1% after fees (pdf).
WST hedge fund manager Peter Chester Warren explains how this works:
Our hypothesis is that most of what happens in the markets during a single day is noise created by orders, rumors and other temporary influences and that there is no informational value in this. Unlike our other funds, we do not try to separate the signal from the noise in WST but accept it for being just noise. … Time is instead spent on creating mathematical and statistical models meant to uncover short-term human behavior.
This is a significantly different strategy than that of most other hedge funds, which typically own assets over a period of time. WST rarely owns assets longer than a few minutes or sometimes even a few seconds.
And every day when the asset manager goes to sleep, he holds zero assets. Then, when he gets back in to the office the next day, he starts from scratch again, looking for tiny opportunities in the markets using a combination of correlations, math and experience.
If the fund was tracked by hedge fund-tracking firm SYZ—which most but not all funds are—it would have been the 10th best performing hedge fund in the world last year, according to a recent report. HSBC’s hedge fund tracking report yields a similar result. In non-hedge fund-speak, the fund is running on very low risk (the fund has a sharp ratio of 5.8 and an annualized standard deviation of 4.7%), but still providing excellent returns.
Life as a hedge fund manager is not what it once was. Back in the early ’90s, it was not uncommon to see funds with above 30% returns every year. People like George Soros and Julian Robertson offered mind-numbing returns, in some years around 100%.
Then the market got crowded. This year there are a little over 11,000 hedge funds, all chasing some version of the 11 different investing strategies (pdf). This has caused the average returns for hedge funds to drop. Last year the average hedge fund returned only 6.2%. That is down from almost 20% in the heyday 1990s.
“At the moment, the demand to become an investor in the fund is so great that we have had to soft-close it. The reason for this is that we are still figuring out what the capacity of our strategy is, so we are hurrying slowly,” Warren said.
You can follow Sverre on Twitter at @finansakrobat. We welcome your comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a loyal Quartz reader and you visited the business news site on your PC or tablet last night, there’s a chance you might have noticed something different: A design tweak that made Quartz’s no-frills look even sparser.
Or maybe you didn’t notice it. The Quartz team told me about the change in advance, and even I have a hard time seeing much difference. The biggest change is that a black bar that used to run across the top of the site and then shrink down as you scrolled down is now just preshrunk.
You can see, sort of, by comparing some “before” shots (clicking the images should enlarge them):
And an after:
The more interesting thing to note about Quartz’s overhaul is that it is one of dozens of changes Atlantic Media’s newest property has made since it launched seven months ago. Quartz editor Kevin Delaney says the site has pushed 73 code chages since Quartz first debuted, most of which have to do with the way the site’s guts function.
The reason Quartz can do that, Delaney argues, is because of its decision to rely on an HTML5 design that essentially serves up the same page to every reader, no matter what device they’re using to access the site. If you want to change the way an HTML5 site looks or behaves, you can simply change it — no need to monkey with an app that’s already downloaded to someone’s iPhone or Android.
That runs counter to a lot of current digital distribution thinking, which holds that every Web distributor — from newspapers to Facebook to Netflix — needs to be thinking app-first.
No need to beat the debate into the ground — it’s really only relevant to a few thousand people, and it can take on a religious overtone — but it is worth noting that it seems to be working for Quartz. Delaney said his site is now attracting two million users a month.