Business owners on the Kenai Peninsula spoke out against the ordinance during the meeting last night. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly unanimously voted down a proposal for a borough-wide excise tax on cigarettes and other tobacco products during their assembly meeting last night. Currently the state has an excise tax, or ‘sin’ tax, that are flat per-unit taxes that must be paid directly to the state government by the merchant before the goods can be sold. The proposal was for an excise tax of $0.05 on each cigarette brought into the borough beginning on January 1, 2019. Also, an excise tax of 10 percent of the wholesale price levied on other tobacco products effective January 1, 2019. Assemblywoman Kelly Cooper: “The people in the room told us what we need to hear. When we’ve tried to look at taxes, we at this table say we don’t want to target a small group, but the people in the room are small businesses and they are saying quit targeting small groups.” Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Charlie Pierce: “We may not need this, and yet, we are getting ready to pass a tax policy on individuals that we may not need. I appreciate the desire to balance budgets, and pay for costs going forward, but I’ll also have you know that we are going to continue making cuts and look for savings along the way.” Even though excise taxes are collected from businesses, virtually all merchants pass on the excise tax to the customer through higher prices for the taxed goods. The state collects an average of $474 in yearly excise taxes per capita, higher than 54% of the other 50 states.
Chicago-based Ebony and Jet publisher Johnson Publishing Company says Anne Sempowski Ward has resigned as president and COO. In a statement announcing the move, Ward indicated that she will be spending more time with her family and will join her husband in a business consulting venture.“During Anne’s tenure, we underwent significant restructuring and reorganization of the company,” chairman and CEO Linda Johnson Rice says in the statement. “Her contributions have helped to position the company for the future.”When asked if a replacement for Ward will be named, a Johnson spokesperson said: “We are continuing to assess our current internal staffing needs to enhance our senior-level management positions; and as such, we will determine our next steps following our evaluation.” The spokesperson went on to dispel reports that the company might be eying consultant Desiree Rogers for the job. “Ms. Desiree Rogers is not replacing Anne Sempowski Ward. As we’ve stated from the onset of her June 1 role, she serves as a strategic consultant for the company. She is not being considered for president and COO.”Ward [pictured] was named predient and COO in October 2008 after serving as president and COO of Johnson’s Fashion Fair, starting in October 2007. Before that, she served as assistant vice president of African-American marketing for the Coca-Coca Company, and spent more than a decade at Procter & Gamble, where she led several brands and categories.
0 Preview • X-mini’s Evolve Bluetooth headphone doubles as a wireless speaker (hands-on) Headphones X-mini Evolve Share your voice 45 Photos Best wireless Bluetooth headphones for iPhone XS, XS Max and XR Post a comment Tags The X-mini Xtlas Plus earphones offer great sound without costing too much. Aloysius Low/CNET X-mini is best known for its capsule speakers, but the Singaporean company took a new approach last year with new wireless and wired earphones. I’ve previously tried out the Evolve speaker headphones and liked them, but I wasn’t too sure how the company would fare outside of its comfort zone. Tuning a pair of tiny earphones is a lot different from engineering small speakers for loud sound, after all. But it appears the company’s bet for its Xtlas Plus line paid off. Weighing just 0.6 ounces (17 grams), the Xtlas Plus uses a triple-driver setup with two balanced armature drivers alongside a dynamic one. Pairing a dynamic driver with the armature driver gives it more oomph in the bass department — in theory, at least. And the Xtlas Plus sort of succeeds on that front. Braided cables help you avoid tangles. Aloysius Low/CNET X-mini’s sound tends to focus on the clarity of the trebles, and its earphones pretty much stick to the same formula. The company’s speakers usually try not to overdo the bass, and the Xtlas Plus is the same. There are times where you just want a strong bass, especially for electronic tracks, and the Xtlas Plus feels a tad too tame there. That said, put on tracks with strong vocals and the earphones really shine. The sound is clear and crisp, and you can hear plenty of detail. If you like listening to classical tracks, you’ll love how much clarity the Xtlas Plus delivers for each individual instrument. It’s also Hi-Res Audio certified.At S$130 in Singapore (about $95, £75 or AU$135 converted), the X-mini Xtlas Plus earphones are pretty good value for what they offer. There’s also a carrying pouch bundled and three pairs of ear tips for the right fit.
Kapil Sharma Show castTwitterKapil Sharma will soon be embracing fatherhood. His wife Ginni Chatrath is currently in her second trimester and recently, the couple had flown to Canada for their babymoon. And now, his co-star, who plays an important role on The Kapil Sharma Show, is also planning for a baby. Rochelle Rao, who played the role of Chingari on The Kapil Sharma Show, had recently pariticipated in the celebrity dance show Nach Baliye 9 along with her husband Keith Sequeira. However, the couple were eliminated from the show after they received the least number of votes from the audience among other celebrity couples.Their elimination surely came as a shock to their followers but the couple has now a given their fans a reason to rejoice. Keith, who married Rochelle last year in a beach ceremony, has now revealed that they will be planning for a baby soon.Though the couple is excited to extend their family, Keith said that he is always into two minds whenever he discusses about the topic with Rochelle.”Every time I bring up the topic, I am like into two minds. I am like well let’s travel some more, let’s relax some more. But actually, I know it’s going to be really soon. We will be planning to extend the family soon. It’s about that time,” Keith Sequeira told The Times Of India. Rochelle Rao, Keith SequeiraInstagramRochelle and Keith’s romance bloomed like a flower when they entered the Bigg Boss 9 house in 2015. By the end of the show, they realised that they are meant for each other. They soon got married and are currently in a happy phase in their marriage.
Ayah 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.”
Challenging the popular notion that men are more fit for exercise of all sorts, a new study has shown that women have a natural capacity to process oxygen more quickly than men during aerobic exercises, making them more athletic. The findings showed that the faster processing of oxygen enabled the cells of a woman’s body to undergo less strain especially during aerobic exercises – such as cardio, spinning, running, swimming, walking, hiking – which require oxygen to help produce energy.”The findings are contrary to the popular assumption that men’s bodies are more naturally athletic,” said lead author Thomas Beltrame, Professor at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.”We found that women’s muscles extract oxygen from the blood faster, which, scientifically speaking, indicates a superior aerobic system,” added Richard Hughson, another researcher at the varsity.The study, published in the journal Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, compared the oxygen uptake and muscle oxygen extraction between healthy and active young men and women of similar age and weight during a treadmill exercise.Women were found to consistently outperform men with around 30 per cent faster oxygen handling throughout the body during the exercise.These women were also less likely to accumulate molecules linked with muscle fatigue, effort perception and poor athletic performance.
Goway offers savings with 2017 Europe EBB Travelweek Group Tags: Goway Travel << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by TORONTO — Goway is taking 10% off many of its most popular Europe tours for departures next year.“This is a great offer. These tours sell out quickly, especially in Ireland, so booking in advance is key,” says Goway’s Europe Product Manager, Nadya Phelan.Featured destinations include Provence, the Loire Valley, the Amalfi Coast, Cinque Terre, Andalusia, the Cotswolds, the Dalmatian Coast, Bavaria and the Ionian Islands.The average group size is 12, with a maximum of 18, says Phelan. Travellers dine in authentic restaurants and have the opportunity to meet traditional producers and mingle with locals. The deal is valid for new bookings and tours must be paid in full by Sept. 30, 2016. See goway.com. Friday, August 19, 2016 Share
Here’s Looking at You, KidBy Doug Hornig, Senior EditorLovers of liberty have seemingly had a good bit to celebrate over the past two weeks.First, there was an unprecedented outpouring of negative public sentiment about the Congressional bills SOPA (House) and PIPA (Senate); they are legislation that would have thrown a large governmental monkey wrench into the relatively smooth-running cogs of the Internet. Millions of Americans signed online petitions against the bills (I did) after seeing websites’ various protests. Google shrouded its search page in black; Wikipedia, and Reddit went dark entirely (although Wikipedia could be accessed if one read the information available via clicking the sole link on its protest page); Facebook and Twitter urged users to contact their representatives; and many other core Internet businesses also raised their voices in opposition.Such was the outpouring of dissent that even Washington, D.C. had to listen. The bills, which a week earlier had seem assured of swift passage, suddenly turned to poison. Supporters, forced to concede that the public really was pissed off this time, fled. Leadership in both houses tabled the legislation, pending further review and revision.But before we get too self-congratulatory, however, it’s wise to note that this victory dish is probably best enjoyed with a serving of caution. As Casey Extraordinary Technology editor Alex Daley summed up the situation for us here at Casey Research: “Be sure this will come back again, likely post-election, and snuck through as part of a bigger package. It arrests power from the judiciary, and the legislature likes nothing more than to thumb its nose at those ridiculous judges and all their due process this and Constitution that. It will eventually pass, just not like this.” We can’t now go to sleep on this one.Second, on Monday the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 that police may not attach a GPS tracking device to a suspect’s car without a search warrant. This is a landmark decision, to be sure, but one that was carefully circumscribed by the justices. The placing of the device constituted a physical intrusion on the suspect, they wrote, and thus was impermissible. Left unruled upon was the larger question of tracking someone’s movements when there was no physical violation, as would be the case when, say, police access signals from a GPS-enabled smartphone. Though it wasn’t directly addressed, the concurring opinions strongly suggest that the justices might be more sharply divided on that issue.A lapse of vigilance in these matters would be a mistake.Since both of them are tech-related, and also since it’s January, this is probably a good time to review how individual freedom fared over the past year vis à vis the technology of surveillance in general.But before I do, I need to make a couple of things clear.Where We StandAt Casey Extraordinary Technology, we are not technophobes. We don’t think that it would be a good thing to retreat to the woods and live out our days spearing game and cooking it over fires. Quite the contrary. We’re technophiles who appreciate what tech has done to improve human living conditions, and we believe that it holds the key to the solution of many, if not all, of our present problems. We like to err on the side of hope.In addition, we understand that society has a powerful interest in maintaining a certain level of order. It’s intolerable that personal disputes should be settled by gun battles in the streets or that serious infringements on the rights of others – whether it be physical crimes such as robbery, rape, or murder, or non-physical ones like fraud – should be ignored. The most ardent libertarian would generally agree that a government ought to have the authority to prevent or punish the aggression of one individual upon another and to enforce contracts freely entered into. Thus tradeoffs with our basic right to do as we see fit must be made if man’s worst impulses are to be deterred.That said, the tricky part is deciding where to draw the line between reasonable and overzealous laws and enforcements. Surveillance technology is at the center of this debate. It’s good and getting ever better. Even the most law-abiding of citizens have been subjected to steadily increasing levels of governmental – as well as private sector – watchfulness over their daily lives. That has occurred with no indication that the public is yet prepared to say, “Enough. This is where we draw that line in the sand.”The past year was no exception. I won’t go into developments I’ve already written about, such as the growth of the TSA’s VIPR operations, last summer’s lemonade-stand busts, the ghastly E-Verify proposal , and the Fed’s Social Listening Program. But the sad truth is that there are plenty more from which to choose. Space considerations permit a close examination of only a few, but a liberty-oriented legal foundation provides a quick overview of the year.It‘s a Bird, It‘s a Plane, It‘s…… a drone.Remote-controlled drone aircraft, like the famed Predator, have become a staple of the nightly news. We see them launching missiles against terrorists, conducting spy missions over Pakistan, patrolling the borders looking for drug smugglers and alien infiltrators. Now we’re going to have to get used to seeing them in the skies over, well, all of us.Yes, those same Predator drones are being used increasingly by local law enforcement in the US.That was unknown to most Americans before late last year, when the great North Dakota cattle-rustling incident hit the press. It seems that back in June, six neighbors’ cows had the misfortune to wander onto a 3,000-acre farm in eastern North Dakota owned by the Brossart family, whose members allegedly belong to the Sovereign Citizen Movement, an anti-government group that the FBI considers extremist and violent.When the sheriff attempted to reclaim the cows, the family refused to give them up, ordering him off its property at gunpoint. A 16-hour standoff ensued, with the sheriff requesting the usual reinforcements: state highway patrol, a regional SWAT team, a bomb squad, and deputy sheriffs from three other counties. But he also called nearby Grand Forks Air Force Base and asked for help from a $154 million MQ-9 Predator B drone, normally used to secure the Canadian border for the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).Long story short, the drone silently surveilled the farm from two miles up, relaying information from its sophisticated sensors as to what the Brossarts were doing. When the surveillance showed that the family members had put their weapons down (yes, it can see that well at that distance), the authorities moved in, neutralizing the Brossarts and making the first known, drone-assisted arrests of US citizens.Law enforcement was pleased, perhaps rightly so. No blood was spilled. Another Ruby Ridge was avoided. The cows – street value $6,000, but now rather a bit more costly – were recovered.But that was just the beginning. Local North Dakota police say they have used the Grand Forks Predators to fly at least two dozen surveillance flights since June. The FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration have also used Predators for domestic investigations, officials admit. And Michael Kostelnik, a retired Air Force general who heads the office that supervises the drones, says that Predators are flown “in many areas around the country, not only for federal operators, but also for state and local law enforcement and emergency responders in times of crisis.” [emphasis mine]Who knew?Apparently not Congress, for one. Spokespersons for Customs, which owns the drones, claim there is legal authorization for this usage because it was clearly indicated in the purchase request for the Predators that one purpose was “interior law enforcement support.” But those four words sailed right by Congresswoman Jane Harman – Chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee at the time the drone purchases were approved – who insists that “no one ever discussed using Predators to help local police.” So this expanded civilian use of military surveillance hardware came about with no new law, no public discussion, not even a written regulation… just a few words buried in a budget request that no one in charge of approving it noticed.There will be mission creep here, as there always is. Expect drones to gather data on any large political demonstration, for example – only, to be fully accurate, you won’t be noticing them above you. They fly too high and are too silent for that.Internet SurveillanceIn addition to SOPA/PIPA, there is PCIP. SOPA/PIPA were about shutting down Internet sites that the federal government deems offensive. PCIP is about gathering information.As is so often the case with “well-meaning” legislation, the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 (H.R. 1981, or PCIP) is allegedly aimed at something about which all agree. Nobody argues against shielding kids from pornographers.Not that the problem addressed isn’t real. The Internet has proven to be a fertile stalking ground for sexual predators. As a society, we have already agreed to a certain level of cyber-entrapment, allowing police to run online sting operations against those who are actively targeting kids. If that catches some innocent people in the net, so be it. The public majority is willing to accept such collateral damage so long as the real bad guys are found and put away.And yes, H.R. 1981 also contains some non-controversial provisions. Stricter punishment for interstate commerce transactions that promote child porn? Sure. Bolstering laws to protect child witnesses? No problem.But, as always, the details are alive with devils. PCIP is also about pre-crimes – i.e., it entails gathering evidence before any crime is committed… perhaps even before said crime is contemplated. The goal is that, in the event of an arrest, supporting online records can quickly and easily be subpoenaed.In order to accomplish that, everyone must be considered a potential criminal. Everyone.What PCIP will mandate is that Internet providers keep detailed records about each one of us, including: name, address, bank account numbers, credit card numbers, all Internet activity for the previous 12 months (something sure to be extended after the first successful busts), and any IP addresses assigned to you – without a search warrant, court order, or even the slightest suspicion of criminal activity.In other words, the government is proposing to expand the ranks of de facto private-sector cops, the same way that banks are now forced to report any “suspicious financial activity.” The legislation would enlist – nay, require – ISPs to compile detailed dossiers on every citizen, and to have them readily accessible for whatever “crime-fighting” or other purposes authorities want them. This thereby saves federal government officials the trouble and expense of doing it themselves. It’s breathtaking. You almost have to admire the elegance of their solution to the universal ‘Net surveillance problem that’s vexed them for some time.No wonder the Electronic Frontier Foundation has scornfully tabbed this the “Data Retention Bill,” warning that the stored data “could become available to civil litigants in private lawsuits – whether it’s the RIAA trying to identify downloaders, a company trying to uncover and retaliate against an anonymous critic, or a divorce lawyer looking for dirty laundry.” And in a grotesque illustration of the law of unintended consequences, the EFF adds: “These databases would also be a new and valuable target for black hat hackers, be they criminals trying to steal identities or foreign governments trying to unmask anonymous dissidents.”H.R. 1981 sailed through the House Judiciary Committee in late July of last year but is yet to be voted on (although it was slated for “expedited consideration” in mid-December). Will it provoke the kind of public outcry directed against SOPA? Don’t count on it. What politician in his or her right mind would dare oppose legislation that “protects kids from pornographers?”Reverse SurveillanceMeaning: when we turn the cameras on the government.In a sense, we are all now street journalists. Most famously, the name “Rodney King” would mean nothing to anyone today but for a bystander with a cell phone camera. As these devices have become all but ubiquitous, we ordinary citizens now have an unprecedented ability to record crimes in progress, regardless of what side of the law the perpetrators are on.Or do we?While police understandably have welcomed citizen recordings that help them with their cases, they are again understandably not so sanguine when they themselves are the potential lawbreakers. And they’re hitting back. People filming unfolding events are routinely ordered away from the scene by the police, even if they happen to be standing on their own private property – and threatened with arrest if they don’t put the camera away.Considering the First Amendment to the Constitution, that’s been a bluff… at least until recently.Now authorities are asserting their right to charge video- or audiographers of police events with crimes ranging from obstruction of justice to eavesdropping to illegal wiretapping.So far, to their credit, the courts have been mostly unsympathetic. In August, a jury acquitted a Chicago woman who used her cell phone to secretly record a conversation with police investigators about a sexual harassment complaint she was filing against the department. Also in August, the US Circuit Court of Appeals in Boston ruled in favor of the defendant in a case involving a complaint filed by a Boston man who filmed the scene of an October 2007 arrest on his cell phone, only to be arrested himself and charged with a violation of Massachusetts wiretapping laws.In Illinois in September, a judge threw out five eavesdropping indictments – which carried maximum penalties of 15 years in prison on each count – against a man who had recorded conversations with local police officers who he claimed were harassing him on his own property. In a stinging rebuke to the prosecution, the judge wrote, “A statute intended to prevent unwarranted intrusions into a citizen’s privacy cannot be used as a shield for public officials who cannot assert a comparable right of privacy in their public duties. Such action impedes the free flow of information concerning public officials and violates the First Amendment right to gather such information.”So far, so good. Still, these kinds of busts are on the rise nationwide. Even if they’re all laughed out of court, the mere threat of arrest (and the potential concomitant bodily harm) is often enough to make most people think twice about the wisdom of challenging a police order.And, truthfully, would you trust the current Supreme Court – a majority of which has consistently supported government rights over that of citizens – to rule correctly on this?Target: Casey Research!One of the most ominous developments for us personally crawled out from under its rock in November. Again without any public debate, DHS unleashed its National Operations Center’s Media Monitoring Initiative. Yep, it’s exactly what it sounds like: The NOC’s Office of Operations Coordination and Planning is going to collect information from news anchors, journalists, reporters, or anyone who may use “traditional and/or social media in real time to keep their audience situationally aware and informed.”Thus Washington, D.C. unilaterally grants itself the right to monitor what you say. Doesn’t matter if you’re the New York Times, Brian Williams, a basement blogger, an online whistleblower, or known government critics like ourselves. They’re gonna take note of your utterances and file them away for future use.Journalists are not the only targets, by the way. Also included among those subject to this surveillance are government officials (domestic or not) who make public statements; private-sector employees who do the same; and “persons known to have been involved in major crimes of Homeland Security interest,” however large that umbrella might be.At Casey Research, we’re not about to engage in self-censorship just because some bureaucrat somewhere has nothing better to do than watch what we’re saying. They’re welcome to it, and we’ll save them the trouble of archiving it; most of it’s preserved on our website, anyway.The larger speculation is: what’s the endgame here?Data Storage CapacityBack in 1997, I wrote an article entitled Here‘s Looking at You, which examined the ways in which big government was encroaching upon our private lives. The piece was published in February 1998 in a very popular national men’s magazine. (In my defense, I hasten to add that these glossy periodicals were among the very few public outlets, before Casey Research was born, for journalists who wrote about such “fringe” topics.)As I was writing this piece you are now reading, I couldn’t help but take a look back fourteen years. It seems almost like a prehistoric era… before 9/11, the PATRIOT Act, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, drones, “free-speech zones” at political conventions, wall-penetrating radar, iPhones, and wholesale government monitoring of email and phone conversations, among a zillion other things. Heck, even the Internet was still more or less a novelty: I found that I had cautioned readers to be mindful of an insidious newfangled thing called “cookies.”The tech of today is light-years more advanced. But even back then, I was concerned. And I predicted where I saw the trend heading. Naturally enough, not all of my predictions came to pass – I was certain for instance that by now we’d have a national ID card – but unfortunately, most of them did.The reason I bring this up here is not to tout myself as particularly prescient. It’s to note something of actual importance. In 1998, I could still maintain that our saving grace was that data-storage capabilities were way insufficient for the total surveillance of hundreds of millions of Americans and probably would be for a long time to come.How wrong I was.It is already technologically feasible for governments to record nearly everything that is said or done within their borders – every phone conversation, electronic message, social media interaction, the movements of nearly every person and vehicle, and video from every street corner.Before long, it’ll also be financially feasible to archive it, according to a sobering report published last December by the Brookings Center for Technology Innovation.The report concludes that: “Plummeting digital storage costs will soon make it possible for authoritarian regimes to not only monitor known dissidents, but to also store the complete set of digital data associated with everyone within their borders. These enormous databases of captured information will create what amounts to a surveillance time machine, enabling state security services to retroactively eavesdrop on people in the months and years before they were designated as surveillance targets. This will fundamentally change the dynamics of dissent, insurgency and revolution.”Emphasis mine. Consider the implications.The key, according to the Brookings report: “Over the past three decades, [data] storage costs have declined by a factor of 10 approximately every 4 years, reducing the per-gigabyte cost from approximately $85,000 (in 2011 dollars) in mid-1984 to about five cents today.” Using GPS, mobile phone and WiFi inputs, “identifying the location of each of one million people to [a 15-foot] accuracy at 5-minute intervals, 24 hours a day for a full year could easily be stored in 1,000 gigabytes, which would cost slightly over $50 at today’s prices.” Fourteen cents a day to archive the collective movements of any selected million of us.Phone calls? “The audio for all of the telephone calls made by a single person over the course of one year could be stored using roughly 3.3 gigabytes. On a per capita basis, the cost to store all phone calls will fall from about 17 cents per person per year today to under 2 cents in 2015.”Video storage takes far more space, of course, and there are also major logistical problems involved in managing such a huge amount of data. But the point is made. Technological innovation will provide the tools. And as soon as government can do something, they invariably will do it.InvestingThese few examples, winnowed from hundreds of others I could cite, testify to a mushrooming new industry in the US, what some have called the cyber-industrial complex.It’s big business. How big we don’t know, because much of it is shrouded in either government or corporate secrecy. The Washington Post‘s Dana Priest, twice a Pulitzer winner and one of the few true investigative journalists in America still working inside the mainstream media, published some groundbreaking work on the subject in the summer of 2010. If you haven’t read it already, you should. The website is dynamic, with regular updates posted on the subject and reader input invited.Several other recent probes also have opened the shadowy surveillance world to a little more light. You can check out some of the latest techniques and which companies are implementing them at The Surveillance Catalog published by the Wall Street Journal and The State of Surveillance: The Data,published by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.Perhaps in your browsing you’ll find some publicly traded companies that will attract your investment interest. For our part, at Casey Extraordinary Technology we prefer to seek out companies that are engaged in changing our world for the better rather than the worse. Those are the ones you’ll find in our portfolio.In the end, we must acknowledge that technological advancement, especially at the rate we’re experiencing it in the present era, is bound to spawn evil applications along with the good. But we’re optimists here. We believe humanity is in a long-term uptrend, with technology setting torches on the path to a better life.But that all depends on keeping people free. That’s why we will continue to expose – and oppose – government efforts to stifle innovation, creativity, and personal liberty. I’m not holding my breath but perhaps eventually Washington, D.C. will get the point, and follow our lead.Bits & BytesPolice Frisking from a Distance (Technology Review)In keeping with the surveillance and Big Brother theme of today’s issue, heres a story about how the NYPD is developing a device with the Department of Defense that could essentially frisk people from up to 75 feet away. The device measures terahertz waves (the radiation that fills the slot in the electromagnetic spectrum between microwaves and infrared), which are naturally emitted by people and objects and pass through nonconducting materials like clothes, so scanners sensitive to them can reveal guns and other hidden objects. Obviously, the announcement by the NYPD that it is developing such a scanner – and plans to mount them on cars to capture images of basically everything within a certain range – has sparked privacy concerns since its general use would seem to be a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.Apple Astonishes Again (Apple)Apple announced financial results for its fiscal 2012 first quarter yesterday, and the numbers shattered what could have been considered lofty expectations. The stock is currently up 6.3% from Tuesday’s close. Record quarterly revenue of $46.33 billion smashed the Street’s expected $39.14 billion by more than 18%. Meanwhile, net income rang in at $13.06 billion, which translated into earnings of $13.87 per diluted share, or nearly 37% above the consensus estimate EPS of $10.16. Apple’s run over these past few years has been nothing short of remarkable. This is a company that now has a market capitalization over $415 billion, and it just posted quarterly revenue growth of 64% sequentially and 73% year over year. That kind of stuff just doesn’t happen. Eventually, growth will slow; it has to. But that doesn’t mean that 2012 won’t turn out to be a great year for the consumer electronics juggernaut given its recent gains in smartphone market share, an announcement about the iPad 3 coming soon, the iPhone 5 perhaps arriving by summer, and an iOS-based TV launch maybe at the end of the year.Hacking the Hackers (Technology Review)An innovative security software company called Mykonos is taking a new approach to protecting PCs and websites. Instead of acting like a locked door to shut hackers out, Mykonos Software instead invites hackers in through a fake entrance and plays tricks on them until they give up. The idea is to take a lot of the automated tools hackers often use out of the game and waste the assailant’s time, thereby changing the economics of attacking websites, according to company CEO David Koretz. “We have the ability to hack the hacker,” says Koretz.
While nuclear power continues to be vilified politically, its economic realities remain unchanged. With many nations already dependent upon nuclear energy for a significant portion of their base load energy requirements and others building and planning new nuclear power plants, those economic realities point to a blossoming boom in uranium. Casey Research Chief Energy Investment Strategist Marin Katusa explains it all in this interview with Uranium Investing News. While the news looks very rosy for investing in the uranium sector, not every company is well positioned to take advantage of the opportunities that are developing now. To make the most of them, energy investors need to focus on only the best of the best players in this sector; and they need to understand the international dynamics involved. To help accomplish this, Casey Research has brought together some of the best minds in the uranium sector and natural-resource investing today, including policy makers of some of the most important countries. They include: Lady Barbara Thomas Judge, Spencer Abraham, and Rick Rule. The resulting webinar, titled The Myth of American Energy Independence: Is Nuclear the Ultimate Contrarian Investment? premiers Tuesday, May 21 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern time. It is a must-see presentation. Learn more and sign up for the webinar now.
A San Francisco federal jury unanimously agreed on Tuesday that Roundup caused a man’s cancer — a potentially massive blow to the company that produces the glyphosate-based herbicide currently facing hundreds of similar lawsuits. After five days of deliberation the jury concluded the weed killer was a “substantial factor” in causing non-Hodgkins lymphoma in Edwin Hardeman, a 70-year-old Sonoma County man. The verdict is the second in the U.S. to find a connection between the herbicide’s key ingredient, glyphosate, and the disease. In August, another San Francisco jury determined Roundup had caused cancer in a former groundskeeper. It also decided Monsanto, the company that developed the popular weed killer, deliberately failed to warn consumers or regulators about the product’s risks. In that case, jurors awarded the plaintiff, Dewayne Johnson $289 million. However a judge later slashed the damages payout to $78 million. The German pharmaceutical and chemical giant Bayer bought Monsanto in June. In a statement Tuesday, the company said it is disappointed with the jury’s decision “but we continue to believe firmly that the science confirms glyphosate-based herbicides do not cause cancer.””We are confident the evidence in phase two will show that Monsanto’s conduct has been appropriate and the company should not be liable for Mr. Hardeman’s cancer,” Bayer added. The jury in Hardeman’s case is now tasked with determining liability and damages. More than 750 cases Roundup cases against Bayer have been consolidated in San Francisco’s federal court. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
Happy World Backup Day! And What the Heck Is World Backup Day? –shares 4 min read This story originally appeared on PCMag If you work in technology, you may have heard about World Backup Day. Founded in 2011, World Backup Day was designed by Ismail Jadun, a digital strategy and research consultant, to boost awareness for businesses and individuals that may not recognize the importance of regular data backups. The goal, according to the World Backup Day website, is to use March 31 as the date each year to reach those who have never backed up their data, and even people who might not have ever even heard about data backup.”World Backup Day started out when someone on Reddit lost their hard drive and wished someone had reminded them to back up,” said Jadun. “I thought it was a wonderful idea … it’s wonderful to see people and schools around the world promoting the importance of backing up our data.”One of those companies promoting World Backup Day is Datacastle, an analytics and endpoint protection services company. President and CEO Ron Faith said his company endorses the new occasion because he often finds that small businesses don’t truly understand the threats from ransomware, data loss and data breaches. “It is important for small businesses to be honest with themselves that they don’t know what data is on all their company laptops, tablets and smartphones,” he said.What you need to know about data lossDon’t think of data loss as something that only happens to massive companies or to individual employees who drop phones in swimming pools. Jadun and Faith want you to know that any company or individual can fall victim to data loss and theft. Business Email Compromise (BEC) attacks are incredibly simple ways that hackers target companies, without having a massive army of coders on their side. An excellent example of a BEC attack is a fraudulent email sent from someone pretending to be the company’s CEO to the company’s human resources (HR) manager. Without realizing that he or she is being scammed, an HR manager willingly sends personal employee data to the scammers. Since 2013, more than 7,000 of these attacks have occurred, totaling losses exceeding $740 million according to FBI data.Not protecting your company’s data can be a costly decision. The average global cost per stolen confidential record in 2016 rose from $154 to $158. Last year, there were 38 percent more attacks on companies than there were in the previous year, and most attacks stay dormant within a company’s system for over 140 days before the company even realizes they’ve been infiltrated. Attacks are happening more often, they’re more sophisticated and they’re becoming more and more expensive for businesses. Or, as Faith said, the cost to the company’s reputation “is far greater from an embarrassing data loss or data breach incident than the cost of most [backup and protection] solutions.”How to stay safeFaith advised businesses to create a simple, company-wide, data protection policy that will automatically back up the endpoint data to the cloud. He said the solution “should be friction-free for the employees and not really require the employees to do anything.” If your company doesn’t have the resources to dedicate to a corporate-wide backup, Faith said companies should start with the executives’ laptops. “It is a smaller group with the most sensitive data. This enables the executives to lead by example on protecting endpoint data,” he said.Jadun said it is crucial for companies to audit the data they produce. This includes customer data, product data, HR data and sales data, among many other examples. By doing this, companies can fully understand the stakes of any data loss incident. Once you’ve audited your data, he advised companies to determine the potential ways data could be lost and then create a data protection plan to protect those assets.”Depending on how much downtime your organization can handle, you can then set about looking at various data protection and backup solutions. Your business should strongly consider creating local backups as well as backups in an offsite location. Then, go about setting up protocols to both automatically back up and test those restore regularly.” Add to Queue Next Article If you haven’t secured your data yet, then take the World Backup Day pledge today. Technology Juan Martinez Senior Editor, Business Image credit: World Backup Day 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Apply Now » The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. March 31, 2017
Apply Now » 3 min read Nina Zipkin While the payload of SpaceX’s inaugural test flight of the Falcon Heavy Rocket — Elon Musk’s red Tesla roadster carrying a dummy outfitted in a spacesuit — was initially headed for Mars’s orbit, the rocket’s third burn was so effective that the vehicle kept going to the asteroid belt in between the red planet and Jupiter.Third burn successful. Exceeded Mars orbit and kept going to the Asteroid Belt. pic.twitter.com/bKhRN73WHF— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) February 7, 2018It seems that even though the trajectory is not what was planned, the vehicle, which was outfitted with a special message for anyone who might come across it — “Made on Earth by humans” — the payload could end up paying off back on its home planet.Sandy Rubinstein, the CEO of DXagency, tells Entrepreneur that the idea to have a Tesla vehicle be the payload was a brilliant one. “The amount of web traffic [and] consumer excitement from the images of the vehicle ascending and the amount of earned media he garnered from news outlets all over the world will absolutely exceed the costs of the endeavor,” Rubinstein says. “The stock is up today and the forecast is tremendously positive. This stunt will continue to pay dividends to Tesla for years to come.”Deb Gabor, the CEO of SOL Marketing, says that while it is tough to calculate, the financial value of the stunt would likely be less than the $90 million Musk spent. But the move was incredibly valuable nonetheless from a brand awareness perspective.Related: Elon Musk and SpaceX Just Made History With Successful Falcon Heavy Launch”With this event, Musk harnessed an opportunity to express his two flagship brands’ beliefs and values through the clever narrative of ‘the car that went to space,’ capturing his audience’s imagination and indelibly imprinting on their hearts,” Gabor says. “Brand strategies like this highlight the magic of Tesla’s ‘no-marketing’ marketing strategy that’s propelled them to brand leadership without investing significant dollars in advertising.”While the reach for the stars was an inventive one from the perspective of trying to engender some goodwill, the company is still struggling. The question remains of how safe Tesla car factories are for employees and how effectively and fairly the company handles the aftermath of on-the-job injuries.And while Tesla’s stock was up by 3 percent on Wednesday morning ahead of the release of its 2017 fourth quarter earnings, the company is still dogged by not meeting its production goals for the Model 3, making only half the number of cars that it was expected to manufacture in December. The SpaceX launch of the Tesla payload was a success, but the car company still has struggles to work through. 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List –shares Entrepreneur Staff Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. February 7, 2018 Elon Musk The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Next Article Elon Musk Found Out That $90 Million Isn’t Too Much to Pay for Priceless Publicity Add to Queue
This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine Add to Queue Image credit: Jeff Chiu — AP PayPal Next Article 2 min read PayPal to Drop Purchase Protection for Crowdfunding Projects May 9, 2016 –shares David Z. Morris Effective June 25, PayPal will drop Purchase Protection coverage for backers of crowdfunded projects, the Verge reports. The move comes as awareness of the risks of crowdfunding grows, but while less protection may sound like a bad thing for platforms like Kickstarter, the change may actually help prevent a repeat of some recent frustrating episodes.Last year, Kickstarter funded a University of Pennsylvania study that found 9 percent of projects on the platform failed to deliver rewards. They also commissioned reporter Mark Harris to do a deep dive into one of the most high-profile failed projects, the Zano drone. More recently, the Coolest Cooler project ran out of cash before delivering its product to all backers.But while failed projects frustrate everyone, the Zano case shows how PayPal’s Purchase Protection actually added to the heartache. As Harris reported, Torquing Group, the creator of the Zano, did ship a few hundred of the drones before entering liquidation in failure. But they went to backers who pledged directly through Torquing’s website using PayPal, not to Kickstarter backers.The reason was PayPal’s policy of holding pre-order payments until a product is delivered, to back up its Purchase Protection service. That means that projects offering add-ons or preorders outside of Kickstarter found themselves financially pressured to send products to those customers first.That understandably enraged many who pledged through Kickstarter — which, importantly, does not allow PayPal payments, and expects backers to shoulder all the risk for failed projects.PayPal’s new policy might help avoid similar foulups in the future, by releasing funds to projects more quickly, and making it easier for projects to serve early Kickstarter backers first. If that leads to higher overall satisfaction for Kickstarter funders, it would be a boon to the crowdfunding model at a moment when it’s starting to show cracks.
Integrated Platform Offers Enterprise Merchants Ability to Drive Recurring RetailBigCommerce, the leading SaaS ecommerce platform for fast-growing and established brands, announced a partnership with Ordergroove, the leader in relationship commerce, to give enterprise-level merchants a better way to establish deeper relationships with customers. Through this partnership, enterprise merchants on the BigCommerce platform will be able to better accommodate and anticipate their customers’ repurchasing experience, resulting in a more effective way to secure ongoing customer relationships.“Through this partnership with BigCommerce, enterprise merchants will now have access to the turnkey and market-tested enterprise scalability of both organizations to enhance their brands.”Using Ordergroove’s Relationship Commerce Cloud platform tightly integrated with BigCommerce, merchants can offer a wide range of recurring revenue programs, including subscriptions, SMS reordering, memberships, and committed programs. Furthermore, Ordergroove’s Anticipate AI engine, coupled with deep data insights and consumer expertise, delivers the ability to match incentives and the timing of offers to individual consumer needs. With these capabilities and more, BigCommerce customers can earn more lifetime value (LTV) from the customers they have worked hard to acquire and have access to the engine that has helped a majority of Ordergroove customers achieve a greater than 60% incremental revenue boost1.Marketing Technology News: SRAX Receives $1 Million Investment to Launch BIGtoken Asia, Increasing Access to Over 1 Billion Internet Users to Own and Earn from their Data“Fortune 2000 brands trust Ordergroove to transform their shopping experiences from transactional to recurring, and as such, we’re committed to helping retailers bring these programs to market in a way that complements their existing investments in commerce technology,” said Greg Alvo, CEO at Ordergroove. “Through this partnership with BigCommerce, enterprise merchants will now have access to the turnkey and market-tested enterprise scalability of both organizations to enhance their brands.”Marketing Technology News: Malicious and Disruptive Ads Account for 1 in Every 100 Impressions According to New Confiant Research“Online subscriptions have become a primary strategy used by brands to cement long-term customer relationships and differentiate their direct-to-consumer shopping experience. By integrating Ordergroove, we equip BigCommerce merchants with the market-leading enterprise solution for product-based subscriptions,” said Brent Bellm, CEO at BigCommerce.Marketing Technology News: Kneron Debuts Edge AI Chip, Bringing AI to Devices Everywhere BigCommerce and Ordergroove Partner to Deliver Subscription Experiences for Enterprise Brands and Retailers PRNewswireMay 23, 2019, 3:56 pmMay 23, 2019 BigCommerceBrent BellmCommerce Cloud platformMarketing TechnologyNewsOrdergrooveSaaS ecommerce platform Previous ArticleRingCentral Ranked #1 in UCaaS, Third Year in a RowNext ArticleVyStar Credit Union Improves Member Experience, Reduces Fraud with Verint Identity Authentication Solution
3 Marketing Strategies for Unearthing New Opportunities with Existing Customers Marie HonmeJune 19, 2019, 2:30 amJune 18, 2019 Marketing Strategies keep evolving with time. Marketers today are well aware that it’s easier and cheaper to retain existing customers than to acquire new ones, and yet research has found that most companies are still more focused on new Customer Acquisition instead of Customer Retention. However, as concerns about a possibly slowing economy continue to gain steam—with many economists predicting a recession within 12 to 18 months—this emphasis on new customers (and the cost of acquiring them) versus existing ones will be called into question. After all, when the economy contracts, too often marketing budgets do as well.Brands can make their marketing dollars go further by finding new opportunities within their existing customer base. Research has shown that attracting new customers can cost five times more than retaining existing ones, and an increase in Customer Retention of only 5 percent can increase profits by 25 to 95 percent. Here are three ways that brands can get more value from the customers—and the customer data—that are already at their disposal:Get Creative with the Cross-Sell Marketing StrategiesBy looking at customer purchase data in new ways, brands can often identify cross-selling opportunities that might not be apparent on the surface. Sure, if a customer buys running shoes, it probably makes sense to target them with socks and other running gear. But cross-selling efforts should go deeper than that.Optimal cross-selling starts by analyzing existing consumer and purchase data over the last year to identify best-selling product categories and determine complementary ones. If brands can discover what product categories are most frequently purchased together, they can start to gain a deeper understanding of customers and their interests. In many cases, these insights can be used to develop nuanced personas that improve cross-selling success.Take luxury boating and water sports retailer West Marine, for example. The company has an in-depth understanding of its customers and their unique interests, and approaches their communications based on personas (e.g., paddle/surf, power water sports, fishing, sailing, etc.) They use the personas as a guide to serve up personalized content featuring the water activity that most excites them. Through this approach, West Marine has achieved a 22 percent increase in email-driven revenue.Explore New Customer DimensionsGetting more information about customers can help brands improve the effectiveness of their campaigns and provide insights about their best (or potentially underappreciated) customers. Additional psychographic and demographic details about audiences can help identify niche markets or unexpected buying personas within a brand’s customer base. Bringing together customer surveys, preference centers or third-party data can help build a more complete picture of customers’ interests and uncover new opportunities to engage them.Consider See’s Candies. The iconic candy retailer found a new opportunity to engage its audience when the company analyzed its existing customers and discovered it could drive additional revenue by targeting a customer segment it did not previously recognize: male customers. When the brand tested unique Valentine’s Day content for this audience segment, it increased email-driven purchases by 25 percent.Keep It CleanFinally, if brands want to make the most of their existing customer bases, they need to be practicing good data hygiene. IBM estimates that bad data costs U.S. companies roughly $3.1 trillion dollars a year. Every bad email, mailing address and duplicate record in a database means wasted marketing budget. Furthermore, these types of errant records hurt email deliverability and a sender’s reputation with internet service providers. By improving data hygiene practices—for example, by removing incomplete, closed and invalid addresses and deduplicating records—brands can cut costs and mitigate the harm caused by dirty data. Furthermore, better data hygiene reduces the risk that customers will receive redundant or poorly targeted communications, which customers can take as a sure sign that the brand doesn’t understand or appreciate them as individuals.It’s time for marketers to be ready to do more with less. But retention is just the beginning. Brands today have an opportunity to not just keep their customers coming back for repeat purchases, but also deepen and extend their relationships with their audience to drive sales that wouldn’t happen through traditional retention messaging. It all starts with the smart use of customer data. Contentcrmcustomer acquisitioncustomer dimensionData Hygienemarketing strategy Previous ArticleClaw Hands, Hunched Backs, and Bent Elbows: 3D Model Shows How Technology Affects the Human BodyNext ArticleTechBytes with Justin Fortier, Principal Data Scientist at ViralGains