In Credit Default AMI Skirts Bankruptcy Filing

first_imgThe publisher said it entered into a forbearance agreement with lenders last week that prevents any potential bankruptcy filing until February 4.  In a separate statement, AMI said it will increase Country Weekly’s frequency from 26 to 52 times per year. The change will be effective with the March 2 issue.Concurrently, the publisher is lowering the magazine’s cover price from $3.49 to $2.49. As part of its quarterly financial report, American Media Inc. said it is has again extended its loan payment, which was originally due September 25, until January 26. The payment was previously extended until January 15.AMI reported net income for the two fiscal quarters ended September 30 was $1.01 million up from a $17.8 million loss during the same period in 2007. Operating revenue was $247.6 million, down from $253 million during the same period the prior year.AMI said it agreed with bondholders to offer up to $21 million of its 9 percent senior payment in kind (PIK) notes which are set to mature in 2013, combined with $300 million of its 14 percent senior subordinated notes also due in 2013 and 5.7 million shares of stock. AMI carries approximately $570 million in senior subordinated debt.last_img read more

Queen Elizabeth posts on Instagram for the first time

first_img This is how the Nazi Enigma machine works Now playing: Watch this: Queen Elizabeth II took an early tour of Top Secret: From Ciphers to Cyber Security, a new exhibit at The Science Museum coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the Government Communication Headquarters. Along with the letter from Babbage, the exhibit includes Alan Turing’s Enigma M1070. The Royal Family’s Instagram has more than 2,000 posts, but this was reportedly the first one the queen wrote personally. Her first post has gotten more than 42,000 likes and 836 comments so far.”Today, I had the pleasure of learning about children’s computer coding initiatives and it seems fitting to me that I publish this Instagram post, at the Science Museum which has long championed technology, innovation and inspired the next generation of inventors,” the queen wrote. Mobile Culture 4:44 Share your voice 0 Tags Queen Elizabeth visits The Science Museum in London. The Science Museum Computers are a part of our everyday lives, and we may not give much thought to their origins. In true royal fashion, Queen Elizabeth II has reminded us on Instagram.The queen posted on Thursday that she visited The Science Museum in London and viewed a letter in the Royal Archives written in 1843 by Charles Babbage. Babbage designed the “Difference Engine” and has been credited as the world’s first computer pioneer. The queen wrote that Prince Albert saw a prototype in 1843. Post a comment Instagramlast_img read more

Apple TV Plus is the ultimate test of Apples brand magic

first_img Apple Event Crutchfield HBO Disney Amazon Hulu Netflix Apple 43 It’s showtime for Apple’s streaming service Now playing: Watch this: Aug 26 • Every Apple TV Plus show announced so far Now playing: Watch this: Apple teases its original shows in new trailer While Apple will have you believe it’s breaking new ground, the truth is it’s just one of myriad players going after cord-cutters. There are a host of services including HBO, Hulu and YouTube all going after subscription dollars, while another highly anticipated option from Disney, which will tie together kids programming, Star Wars and Marvel content, will launch this year. Apple’s option to bundle different subscriptions like HBO and Starz through its Apple TV Channel app, meanwhile, looks a lot like the Amazon Prime Video Channels program offered to Prime subscribers. One advantage that Apple seems to be pushing: a focus on privacy and a safe space away from advertisers. If there’s one theme the company hit time and time again, it’s that these services would respect your personal information.  It’s tough to discount Apple entirely. After all, Apple Music came out of nowhere to capture the No. 2 spot behind Spotify. Then there are the myriad of hit products, from the game-changing iPhone to the iPod and MacBook Air. The company is hoping history repeats itself with video. But without a price yet (the service launches in the fall in more than 100 countries), it’s still unclear what the demand will be. “Apple’s advantage is certainly that they have such large resources — they showcased today that they can line up big Hollywood stars to make this happen,” said Gartner analyst Annette Zimmerman. “And maybe even more important — they gave a hint towards the themes they want to address with their own shows/movies, not light and easy topics but rather societal issues that not only the US-based users can relate to.” Apple waited until the end to show off its lineup of celebrities and projects for its Apple TV Plus.  Apple Between Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Sofia Coppola, Apple showed off a star-studded lineup for its newly unveiled Apple TV Plus service. Consistent with the Apple way of building up its products and services, the superlatives poured forth from CEO Tim Cook. “It’s unlike anything that’s been done before,” he said at an event on Monday at the company’s Cupertino, California, headquarters’ Steve Jobs Theater.  Given the talent signed on to Apple, you might be under the impression that this is a groundbreaking, must-have service. After all, who are we to question Oprah? See It Best Buy Apple Event Aug 29 • New iPhones, Apple Watch and more: Apple’s September event preview $179 Oprah joins the Apple family with two new documentaries Mentioned Above Apple TV 4K (32GB) 2:45 Comments Tags See All Killer app: Privacy While celebrities lined up to sing Apple TV Plus’s praises, we saw little footage from the individual projects aside from a sizzle reel at the end. For now, it’s not enough to get people excited about the prospect of spending more money, despite the star power. One recurrent theme at the event was Apple’s focus on privacy. The company noted that article recommendations from Apple News Plus would happen on device, so the company won’t know what you like to read.  Another perk for the News service: Advertisers won’t track you. Cook calls the App Store, “A safe and trusted place for users to discover and download apps.” Apple has spent the last few years talking up the privacy aspects of its products and services but ramped up its focus in the last few months as other tech titans have fumbled with how they’ve handled the personal information of their users. Stumbles by Google and Facebook have raised questions about how seriously the tech world considers our information.  It’s a nice story for Apple to present. But time will tell if its fans tune in for the exclusive stories on its TV service.  For now, competitors like Netflix aren’t sweating too much — even with Apple’s storied history of success.  Originally published March 25, 11:54 a.m. PT. Update, 2:25 p.m. PT: Adds analyst comments. Update, March 26 at 4 a.m. PT: Adds additional background.  3:03 Aug 30 • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11R and 11 Max: Price, specs and features we expect on Sept. 10 1:36center_img Review • Apple TV 4K review: The best TV streamer keeps getting better See It $179 But if you wanted to get HBO with your Hulu, you need to sign up for its cablelike live-TV service known as Hulu + Live TV, which starts at $45 monthly and then requires an additional $15 a month for the premium network. And then there are things like AMC Premiere. The Walking Dead’s network offers fans the option to pay an extra $5 a month to stream its shows without any of its ads and watch certain shows two days before they air, but you need to already be paying for AMC through a typical pay-TV provider. That headache-inducing complexity of navigating online video subscriptions could play in Apple’s favor, at least in the US. The company is touting Apple TV as a simplified hub for streaming services and cable channels. Big spenders Apple was long reported to have kicked off its original programming mission with a $1 billion budget, but the company has flown past that. BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield estimated Apple’s budget has swelled to $2 billion a year. While that seems big, especially for a gadget giant with barely any background in programming, it pales in comparison with Netflix. The streaming company, operating the world’s biggest subscription video service by members, spent $12 billion on content last year. That budget could surpass $15 billion this year, according to BMO Capital Markets analyst Daniel Salmon. But Netflix’s big spending is unprecedented for a company that doesn’t touch live sports. Netflix’s head of content, Ted Sarandos, once said the company was trying to become HBO before HBO could become Netflix. Purely based on budget, Netflix passed that point long ago. Research firm Kagan estimated that HBO spent $2.5 billion in 2017, compared with the $6 billion Netflix spent then. (HBO’s spending is sure to rise in 2019: John Stankey, the new head the unit that oversees the premium channel, said one of AT&T’s plans as HBO’s new parent company would be to boost the network’s programming budget.) Even Amazon was expected to spend $5 billion in video content last year, according to JPMorgan’s Doug Anmuth.  But Apple’s legendary track record with products may not automatically equate to success elsewhere. For one, Hollywood is a tough business and one that Apple has little experience in. Spending an estimated $2 billion on A-list talent garners a whole lot of buzz, but it’s no guarantee of success. Its first forays into original programming — Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps — flopped.  (Note: Carpool Karaoke originally emerged out of the The Late Late Show on CBS, the parent company of CNET.) So Apple TV Plus represents the biggest test of whether its loyal fanbase will hoover up all of its services like it lines up at its stores for the latest iPhone. The company’s focus on services, which include newly unveiled Apple News Plus and Apple Arcade, as well as a revamp of its Apple TV app, comes as the company attempts to transform itself into a company that’s less reliant on the iPhone, which provides two-thirds of its revenue. There are 1.4 billion Apple devices out there, an ideal platform for its services business, which in the December quarter jumped 19 percent to a record $10.9 billion. CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Apple TV 4K Now playing: Watch this: Share your voice 97 Photos More from the Apple event What will it cost? Want to stir up some internet rage? Announce a price hike to a beloved streaming service. Netflix found that out the hard way once after dropping a sudden 60 percent hike on customers, driving away members in droves. Since then, Netflix has become an expert at tapping its prices gently higher every couple of years. It announced its latest price increase earlier this year. In the US, Netflix’s plans range between $9 and $16.  Its cheapest plan received the first bump in almost eight years. For now, Apple remains mum on the pricing for Apple TV Plus. The company has a history of pricing its hardware at a premium, but its Apple Music service, at $10 a month, is in line with Spotify. Peter Stern, Apple's vice president of servicesPeter Stern, Apple’s vice president of services, talks about the different services on Apple TV.  Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET The other side of the streaming video coin is Apple TV Channels, which bundles different services like HBO and Starz with livestreaming TV services like DirecTV Now and PlayStation Vue. Cable and satellite companies like Charter and DirecTV will integrate their services into Apple TV, while Optimum and Altice will join later this year. Having a hub for all of your shows makes a lot of sense. Consulting firm PwC notes that consumers increasingly want a single source for programming. But Apple hasn’t talked about pricing for the channels, although you can look elsewhere for clues. HBO as an Amazon Channel, for example, costs $15 a month for people who already subscribe to the $119-a-year Amazon Prime service, the same price you’d pay if you signed up directly for HBO Now. Starz costs $9 a month — again, the same price as for an online customer. But the more you look at competitive pricing, the more confusing it can be. Hulu, for example, would compete with Apple by offering both video-on-demand for exclusive originals as well as its giant library of programs from giant networks like NBC, ABC, Fox, FX, Bravo and others. That starts at just $6 a month with ads or $12 a month if you want to pay to strip them out. Aug 30 • Apple will launch iPhone 11 on Sept. 10 in Cupertino $179 TV and Movies Digital Media • See It Apple Everything Apple announced Apple TV Channels streaming service is here, wants to run the show All the Apple TV shows and series announced Apple introduces new Apple Card, a virtual credit card See all our Apple event coverage Kumail Nanjiani talks up new show, Little America reading • Apple TV Plus is the ultimate test of Apple’s brand magic $169 See it Preview • Apple TV 4K: New $179 Apple streamer adds HDR, better gaminglast_img read more

Facebooks message to video creators Lets make more money

first_img Post a comment Share your voice 0 Now playing: Watch this: Is Facebook spying on you? On Tuesday, Facebook also said that a slice of money from any subscribers who sign up after this year will be diverted to Facebook. Early pages that tested subscriptions, thus far, didn’t need to share any revenue except the 30% bit that Apple and Google take of all media subscriptions that happen as in-app purchases in Facebook’s mobile app. But starting with any subscribers who sign up beginning Jan. 1, Facebook will take 30% of revenue from desktop subscribers. It’ll take 15% of revenue paid by mobile subscribers but only starting in the second year of a subscription. The social giant said its ad-breaks feature would be introducing ways for creators to specify when a midroll commercial cuts into their video. Brand Collabs Manager, an interface that helps online video creators connect with sponsorships, will be enhanced with more analytics. Facebook’s subscriptions option, which lets fans pay creators on a monthly basis, will be expanding to let creators offer supporter-only groups as a benefit to subscribing, so superfans and creators can interact in a more intimate forum. The company is also testing Stars, little stickerlike icons mostly for gaming-video fans that pay a creator a penny whenever you send one his or her way. Similar to the Bits Emotes on Twitch, viewers can send Stars while watching live gaming streams.  Tags Facebook will be taking a cut of money headed to video creators. Claudia Cruz/CNET Facebook is giving videos on its social network more ways to make money, pulling inspiration from other platforms to let you throw cash at your favorite video creators in the form of subscriptions or tokenized “stars” that pay them a penny. It’s also going to start taking a cut of the money that superfans send to creators in paid subscriptions.Facebook announced the new developments ahead of VidCon, the world’s biggest conference for online video creators. VidCon runs Wednesday through Saturday in Anaheim, California. The approach follows a proven Facebook strategy of borrowing features and tools that smaller social networks have rolled out to popular appeal. In the last three years, Facebook made big investments in video as a central part of its service, aiming to eat some of YouTube’s lunch and take a bite of the television ad dollars migrating to digital video. But some of its efforts, like broadcasting original scripted series, have failed to break through to mass audiences. Facebook didn’t provide any hard numbers about how many people are making money on its platform with any of its early-stage money-making tools like ads and subscriptions. Generally, tens of thousands of pages are using ad breaks in videos to make money, the company said. The number of pages earning $10,000 a year with ad breaks has grown since Facebook began testing them about a year ago, but the company wouldn’t provide specifics.  1:39 Mobile Digital Media Facebooklast_img read more

One Of Houstons Traffic Hotspots Is Getting A Big Makeover

first_img– / 14Construction will begin in February on a $259 million project to redesign the congested interchange where I-69/US 59 meets the 610 West Loop. Texas Department of Transportation currently ranks it as one of the state’s biggest traffic choke points.Dignitaries were on hand Monday for a groundbreaking ceremony on the Southwest Freeway HOV lane. Mayor Sylvester Turner was there along with Congressman John Culberson and members of the Texas Transportation Commission.As for what the project entails, one-lane connector ramps will be upgraded to two lanes. TxDOT District Engineer Quincy Allen said the big thing they hope to eliminate is sudden lane changes.“Somebody has to stop and weave, or needs to weave, usually their first reaction is to take their foot off the accelerator and slow down,” said Allen. “When we rebuild these ramps we’re going to improve the operational efficiency of them. How much time you have to make a decision when you change lanes.”Other improvements include shoulders for the 610 West Loop bridge. Also detention ponds will be added to help keep water off the mainlanes. TxDOT said vertical clearances will also be increased.The work is scheduled to take between five and six years but TxDOT hopes to finish sooner. Allen said lanes of traffic will be kept open through the construction zone while that work is underway. He added crews will work on a seven-day-a-week schedule, and if they have to close the mainlanes at any point they’ll do it at night or during the weekend.  Listen X .@TxDOT District Engineer Quincy Allen: US 59/610 most clogged interchange in Texas @HPMNews887 #hounews pic.twitter.com/7rodYz1hX3— Gail Delaughter (@Gail_HPM) November 20, 2017 To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share 00:00 /00:59 Mayor @SylvesterTurner speaks at groundbreaking for US 59/610 interchange, says project includes stormwater detention, crucial for hurricane evac @HPMNews887 pic.twitter.com/F7bnCr5gNy— Gail Delaughter (@Gail_HPM) November 20, 2017 Pack your patience! US 59/610 @TxDOT project estimated to take six years @HPMNews887 pic.twitter.com/b2dbS0l6KB— Gail Delaughter (@Gail_HPM) November 20, 2017 Getting ready for the @TxDOTHoustonPIO groundbreaking for new US 59/610 interchange @HPMNews887 #hounews pic.twitter.com/XGL7DvmBcT— Gail Delaughter (@Gail_HPM) November 20, 2017last_img read more

What You Need To Know About The New Documents On The 2016

first_imgTimothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty ImagesNew records released by the Senate Judiciary Committee offer the most detail yet about a June 9, 2016, meeting at Trump Tower between top Trump campaign aides and a delegation of Russians after an offer of help in the contest against Hillary Clinton.The Senate Judiciary Committee unleashed a new tranche of records on Wednesday that offered the most detail yet about one of the most important subplots in the Russia imbroglio.The more than 2,500 pages in the trove add the most context yet about the meeting that took place on June 9, 2016, in Trump Tower between top Trump campaign aides and a delegation of Russians after an offer of help in the contest against Hillary Clinton.The document dump also helps put the meeting into the broader context about what is known about the Russian attack on the 2016 election and the ongoing investigation about whether any Americans were involved with it — and what still isn’t known.Here’s a look at three big reasons the Judiciary Committee release was important.1. The Russians apparently tried hard to collude with the Americans. But there’s no airtight case that the Americans reciprocated.By the time Donald Trump Jr. received emails that described an offer of help from Moscow in June, Russians had been drilling pilot wells into the Trump campaign for months.The Russian government had a long-standing relationship with Trump’s top national security aide, retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn. Russian agents had made overtures to foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos in London in March 2016, according to court documents. Another Russian reached out via the National Rifle Association in May, according to one congressional report.In fact, the overture that Trump Jr. received in June 2016 wasn’t even the only such outreach of that month. Another request for a meeting came into the campaign via another avenue about the same time that Trump Jr. received his now well-known email on June 3. The message described, via intermediaries, an offer of help for the Trump campaign from Russia’s top federal prosecutor, Yuri Chaika.After all the earlier Russian attempts to get through, here was finally one known to have worked: “If it’s what you say, I love it, especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. wrote to the intermediary who pitched him the meeting. He told Senate investigators that what he “loved” was the prospect of getting damaging information about Clinton.Trump Jr. invited his brother-in-law Jared Kushner and then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to host attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya, lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, real estate dealer Irakly Kaveladze and others.But Veselnitskaya didn’t bring high-powered “dirt” on Clinton that Trump Jr. had been promised, according to the accounts of people in the Judiciary Committee material. Instead, the tip she offered was about investors Dirk and Robert Ziff, who she alleged might have funneled money improperly out of Russia via Cyprus to the Democratic National Committee.That nugget didn’t impress Trump Jr. and the other Americans, according to their accounts, and evidently they did not express any desire to do the additional investigating that Veselnitskaya said would be necessary to substantiate and use it as a political weapon against Democrats.So although Trump Jr. did get something from his Russian guests, it was not the dirt on Clinton he was first promised, and not dirt sufficient for him to have made any kind of reciprocal commitment to Veselnitskaya or the others — at least according to his own testimony.Trump Jr. and Kushner say that ultimately, the meeting was of no consequence. Trump Jr. later released, on his own, the emails that set the process into motion that culminated in the meeting.For at least one other person inside this orbit, however, that move raised eyebrows. The Judiciary Committee released an email to Kaveladze from a redacted sender that referenced Trump Jr’s 2017 decision to unveil those messages: “Why did he release this email admitting to collusion?”2. It still isn’t clear what happened after the Trump Tower meeting.So one of the Russian pilot wells finally struck oil. The Russian government gets a meeting and conducts one, albeit — according to the Senate Judiciary Committee material — not along the lines of the initial premise as represented to Trump Jr.Why, though? And what happened next?It has become clear the Russian government was working to disrupt the election and that it was doing so to Trump’s benefit. But what role did the Kremlin envision Trump and his campaign playing in that scheme? Was the goal to enlist them in a cooperative effort and — assuming the accounts are accurate — did Veselnitskaya just botch the job?Or was the Russian goal of sowing chaos and mistrust within the United States more important to Moscow at that time than the goal of electing Trump? That’s what former CIA officer Daniel Hoffman has suggested: that this was about poisoning the well for everyone and planting a trap that was meant to be discovered.The meeting, in this view, was meant only to ensnare and embarrass the Trump camp in the way it has, according to Hoffman’s thesis, and thus befuddle Americans as to what went on behind the scenes in the presidential election.Why, then, would the Russians then arrange for WikiLeaks to begin releasing stolen emails that embarrassed the leadership of the Democratic National Committee the following month?Why wage such aggressive social media agitation against Clinton and in support of Trump? And why release emails later on to embarrass Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, hours after the appearance of the infamous Access Hollywood recording?There isn’t enough public evidence now to make the full story make sense. If people in Trump world used the June meeting in Trump Tower as the baseline to establish clandestine ties with the Russians, that would be significant — but there is so far no public evidence they did.Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/AFP/Getty ImagesDonald Trump Jr. arrives at Trump Tower in New York for meetings with then-President-elect Donald Trump on Nov. 17, 2016.President Trump, Trump Jr. and everyone else in the campaign denies there was any such conspiracy with the active measures the Russian government continued waging against the election. The House intelligence committee’s Republican majority has cleared Trump’s campaign of any wrongdoing.There were, however, continued contacts between people in Trump world and Russian officials. Manafort’s long-standing relationships with powerful Ukrainians, and through them powerful Russians, eventually were his undoing as campaign chairman.Then-Sen. Jeff Sessions met with Russia’s then-ambassador to the United States. A junior foreign policy adviser, Carter Page, traveled to Moscow twice as the year wore on. And Kushner and Flynn met or communicated with Russian officials after Election Day as well.The Senate Judiciary Committee material released on Wednesday increases the amount of noise about the story but does not help with distinguishing a new signal in the midst of it.3. How much did Donald Trump Sr. know about all this?President Trump has said different things at different times about what he accepts about Russia’s attack on the 2016 election — his latest position is that it took place but he will defend future elections strongly. Trump has been largely consistent, though, that he did not know in real time in June 2016 that his oldest son, son-in-law and campaign chairman hosted a foreign delegation bearing an offer of help from overseas.Trump Jr. stuck to that in the interview he gave to the Senate Judiciary Committee.Records show that Trump Jr. made a series of phone calls at the time he was setting up the meeting in Trump Tower. Two of them were to a blocked number. Trump Jr. was asked whether those calls were to his father. He said he couldn’t remember. Other witnesses have told the congressional committees that Trump uses a blocked number.If law enforcement investigators could substantiate that Trump Jr.’s calls did go to Trump Sr. during this period, that might undercut the president’s denials that he was aware of the Russian outreach.When asked about the process by which he and the White House crafted the initial statement about the meeting — a statement that did not accurately represent what the principals knew about it — Trump Jr. also told the committee he didn’t deal with his father. Instead, he said, he talked with then-White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, and he wasn’t aware of what she might have discussed with the president.In fact, Trump Jr. said, Hicks asked him whether he wanted to speak to the president and, in Trump Jr.’s telling, he said no: “I chose not to because I didn’t want to bring him into something that he had nothing to do with.”Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/. 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St Lukes Appeals Loss of Heart Transplant Medicare Funding

first_imgBaylor St. Luke’s Medical Center is appealing the loss of federal funding for its heart transplant program.The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) canceled reimbursement funding for the program after a Houston Chronicle and ProPublica investigation revealed high rates of patient deaths and other problems within the transplant program.“We do not believe CMS’ recent decisions reflect our ongoing progress and accomplishments to improve the quality of our care, and we look forward to presenting the facts so that heart transplant reimbursements can be reinstated,” St. Luke’s president Gay Nord said in a statement. The hospital said the loss of funding only affects its heart transplant program. Its kidney, liver, and lung transplant programs, as well as other heart surgery programs, remain funded.St. Luke’s appeal will be heard by a Department of Health and Human Services appeals board. Sharelast_img read more

Verizon Promotes STEM Courses Careers Among Girl Scouts

first_imgAyah Syeed and Sakina Ahmad of Girl Scouts Troop 920 discuss their award-winning robotic design during the Verizon panel to promote STEM among girls. (AFRO/ Photo/Shantella Y. Sherman)A group of local Girl Scout troops heard firsthand about the benefits of embarking on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM careers from female employees of Verizon’s operations, wireless, and state government affairs departments.Karen I. Campbell, vice president of State Government Affairs for Verizon D.C. said the partnership between Verizon and the Girl Scouts helps open a dialogue between professional women and the girls they hope will join their ranks in coming years.“STEM teaches you how to think analytically and to take the really complicated stuff and narrow it down,” said Campbell, who holds a bachelor’s degree in engineering management and a minor in engineering psychology. “Helping girls understand that in a room of 25 engineers, only three would be women and that 80 percent of the jobs in the future will require science, technology and math, means making them aware of the benefits and opportunities open to them.”Lidia Soto-Harmon, CEO of Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital, said that the introduction of STEM careers, and even STEM merit badges, follows a tradition established in 1915 by Girl Scouts founder Julliette Low.“Girl Scouts is 102 years old and its founder created the first aviator badge in 1915 even before women were allowed to drive cars. She was thinking very early about how we get girls interested in non-traditional jobs,” she said. “It’s really all about shattering that perception that science, technology, engineering, and math are men’s jobs.”The panel and mentor sessions with professional women in the STEM industry reinforces the Girl Scouts’ mission of opening possibilities to girls, and according to Soto-Harmon will help girls enter an employment sector consisting of 75 percent men.The Girl Scouts STEM Program currently consists of introducing girls of every age to STEM experiences relevant to everyday life.Ayah Syeed and Sakina Ahmad of Girl Scouts Troop 920 said that their interest in STEM grew primarily from a love of robotics and the challenge of trying to join an all-boys science team in school.“The boys really didn’t want girls in their club, so I decided that the girls should have one of their own,” Syeed said. “We were really dedicated to figuring out how to craft the best products and it was cool to do something a lot of boys thought we couldn’t.”The girls’ team triumphed with a 3rd place showing in a recent competition, which also convinced other girls to consider science fun.“I have always been interested in robotics and I was able to convince a group of girls that it was cool,” said Ahmad. “It’s really cool also that the Girl Scouts is introducing girls to different experiences that we never thought of as careers so we can see how something that is really awesome can also be our profession.”last_img read more

The Ridiculous Thing One Congressman Said About SelfDriving Cars

first_img Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now Enroll Now for Free This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. November 25, 2013center_img 5 min read Economists and others who warn of the business impact of excessive regulations are often derided as Chicken Littles and proto-anarchists who put corporate profit over public safety. I should know, since I’m often on the receiving end of such screeds.But it isn’t Laissez-Fairy-dust dreams that drive such vigilance. Rather, it is people like Rep. Albio Sires.Last week showed why some regulatory schemes can be downright scary – and need to be killed in the crib.During the first congressional hearing over autonomous cars, much of the regulatory concern surrounded the issue of liability. In the event of a fender-bender or worse, who is on the hook to pay? It is a legitimate issue for these cars, now being developed by a range of companies, from Google to Daimler-Benz. After all, most regulations come down to who has to pony up cash when a violation occurs. With autonomous, of self-driving, cars, is it the driver (who isn’t driving, by the way), the auto manufacturer, or the creator of the SkyNet computer that is behind the wheel?All good questions, which no doubt will be resolved, and are being handled on a state-by-state basis.Related: A 3-D Printed Electric Car That Can Drive Across the U.S. on 10 Gallons of GasYet, autonomous cars may crash and burn for other reasons. Here’s one: Will driverless cars be so advanced that they will put people out of work?Yep, that question was actually raised at last week’s hearing, by Sires, a New Jersey Democrat. As the Competitive Enterprise Institute points out, Sires is afraid that today’s hard-working auto mechanics just won’t be up to the job of fixing these darned newfangled things that the kids today are making.“You’re going to have to send these cars back to the shop,” he said. “I can’t see anybody doing work on these things. I mean, you have to be so sophisticated. And I guess that’s where we’re headed. So can anybody tell me if we’re going to put people out of work?”Um…There are a number of problems with this view. First, all technology implements change of some kind. The flat-panel television made obsolete the need for someone who knew how to swap out vacuum tubes in the back of your TV. Advances in slot-machine technology went from the mechanical to the digital, requiring a whole new breed of service technicians. Video killed the radio star. Why is it worth any conversation that someone more comfortable to an ’80 Malibu be protected against this big, bad menace of a job destroyer?Second, it fails to understand workplace dynamics and the resilience of the American worker. We adapt pretty well to new technologies, which almost always create, rather than destroy, jobs. Sires need only talk to his mechanic friends in West New York to see this. Cars themselves have become so advanced that the way we fix them has changed dramatically. You don’t tinker with an engine anymore. Instead, you do a precision diagnostic check, aided by computers that monitor what works and what doesn’t. Rather than put people out of work, it has attracted a whole new breed of auto-repair technicians, less grease monkey than tech junkie. Advances like a self-driven car are an opportunity, not a challenge. Mechanics can and — if past be prologue – will adapt, and they probably would cringe if you suggested they were somehow not “sophisticated.”Related: Mind Control Technology, Elon Musk’s James Bond Submarine and a Real-Life Bionic ManLastly, and perhaps more scarily, is the idea that regulations, rather than protecting safety, can have different purposes from a policy perspective. Given the horrendous state of employment right now, Congressmen like Sires want to “do something.” So, hey, we’re sitting in this hearing, let me throw out the jobs card. The folks back home in Hudson County will love me for it. (One should probably be thankful that, given Hudson County’s political-criminal record, Sires didn’t inquire whether an autonomous car would be allowed to vote, and how much that vote would cost.) When you throw out a completely unrelated issue like jobs, and suggest you may want that included in whatever laws come out of the hearing, you are adding needless complexity and burden to an issue that may well need some legislative oversight, opinion and guidance. You might as well have asked whether the self-driving technology could be used to save Obamacare.Autonomous cars, whenever the hell they get here, will be here to stay. And they will benefit the economy in huge ways. Morgan Stanley recently said autonomous cars would create $1.3 trillion in savings to the U.S. economy alone. That amount of money will no doubt trickle down into jobs for people.There is no evidence that this exciting and disruptive technology will make legions of folks be tossed out of their jobs. All Sires’ musings do is ensure that I get to keep mine.Related: Options for Deducting Your Company’s Auto Expenseslast_img read more