Princeton, Microsoft File Lawsuit Against Trump’s DACA Decision

first_imgPrinceton University, one of its students and Microsoft have challenged the Donald Trump administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The federal government had announced on Sept. 5 that the United States would end the program, started by the Barack Obama administration in March 2018. The Princeton complaint filed on Nov. 3 claims that DACA’s termination violated both the United States Constitution and federal law. In her complaint, Princeton student Maria De La Cruz Perales Sanchez, who has been a beneficiary of the DACA program, said that ending it harms her and other young people in the program, known as dreamers, and “the employers and educational institutions that rely on and benefit from their contributions.” Big technology companies like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and SpaceX have also joined the legal battle against the federal government decision. The amicus brief filed by the companies claims that United States would lose $460.3 billion in the coming decade and contributions to Social Security and Medicare would go down by $24.6 billion in the same time frame. The amicus brief was signed by 108 tech companies.  In 2012, the Obama government created the program so that immigrants who arrived illegally as children could receive protection from deportation. Their deportation was deferred if they fit certain criteria and could complete their education and continue working.  In a statement the university said, Princeton’s DACA students “are among the most accomplished and respected students studying at the University” — they “study in a diverse array of fields,” “serve as mentors and peer advisors, class representatives in student government, and as community organizers and campus leaders,” and “have earned numerous academic honors, awards, and fellowships.”  Meanwhile, Microsoft and its subsidiary LinkedIn said Dreamers “serve in critical roles,” including as software engineers, financial analysts, inventory control experts, and in core technical and operations positions and other specialized functions and internships. The company has made significant investments in “recruiting, retaining and developing” employees “who are Dreamers,” and it has “significant interests in retaining the Dreamers it employs, and in reaping the benefits of their talent over time. It has conducted its business operations on the understanding that these individuals would continue to be eligible to work at the company.”  Replacing dreamers, who work in 72 per cent of top 25 Fortune 500 companies, will cost the companies $6.3 billion. The lawsuit by the tech companies said, “The jobs being filled by Dreamers post-DACA are largely jobs for which there is a shortage of qualified workers—not the jobs that are or could be filled by U.S.-born workers.”  Trump, meanwhile, warned Congressional Democrats that to keep the DACA, which involves the fate of 800,000 people, they would have to lend support to a border wall with Mexico and ending “chain migration”, which allows legal residents to bring their relatives. Democrats had indicated that they would cause trouble for the year-end spending bill.   Related Itemslast_img read more

Committed to Upholding Integrity of Indian Elections, Says Facebook CEO

first_imgAs the news broke of alleged Facebook data breach by UK firm Cambridge Analytica to build profiles of American voters for the 2016 U.S. elections, the social media giant came under fire for its protocols over the weekend. Trying to quell fears of the data of millions of its users being used for elections in other countries, the company CEO Mark Zuckerberg on March 21 said that his organization is committed to upholding the integrity of elections around the world, including India.“And we have a responsibility to do this, not only for the 2018 midterms in the U.S., which are going to be a huge deal this year and that’s just a huge focus for us but there’s a big election in India this year, there’s a big election in Brazil, there are big elections around the world, and you can bet that we are really committed to doing everything that we need to make sure that the integrity of those elections on Facebook is secured,” he told the CNN news channel in an interview.This came as a response to a question on actions taken by Facebook to limit the influence of external elements in election processes of various countries. Zuckerberg talked of Artificial Intelligence tools, which were used to identify “Russian bots” who were trying to influence the 2017 France elections as well as the polls for the Alabama senate seat. He said the social media company has made mistakes in handling the private data of users. He also said the company is open to regulation and is happy to testify before the U.S Congress, if need be. He posted the statement on his Facebook page too.Meanwhile, the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party are embroiled in controversy that the two parties may have been clients of the Indian affiliate of Cambridge Analytica. Both the parties have claimed otherwise.India’s Union Minister for Information and Technology Ravi Shankar Prasad on March 22 said in a press conference that Congress had been in contact with the firm. “We support press freedom but don’t like misuse of social media in the electoral process. As IT and law minister, I have to make it clear,” he said. Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala denied these claims and leveled counter charges against the ruling party.Prasad also said that the Indian government is ready to launch an inquiry to see if Facebook has any role in unfairly influencing elections in the country, according to the Economic Times.The Indian affiliate of Cambridge Analytica — Ovleno Business Intelligence (OBI) — whose website was suddenly suspended on March 22 evening, had reportedly named the BJP, Congress and the Janata Dal (United) of Nitish Kumar as clients on its now suspended portal. Ovleno is a joint venture between SCI India and SCL Group, London. SCL Group is the parent firm of Cambridge Analytica.India is the largest user base for Facebook with 241 million users. Related ItemsCambridge AnalyticaFacebookOvleno Business Intelligencelast_img read more

Floating Entrepreneurs

first_imgA California company is proposing to launch a 1,000-passenger barge for international entrepreneurs, 12-miles off the California coast in international waters to skirt immigration hassles for foreigners who have difficulty securing work visas.Blueseed’s proposed “Googlepex of the Sea” would offer sleeping cabins for $1,200 to $3,000 a day for passengers who would be ferried to port on temporary tourist or business visas. The arrangement would enable them to visit with clients, but technically work not in the United States, but offshore. The company projects the cost of the project at between $15 million to $40 million and expects to launch in late 2013. The company has won some influential backers, most notably Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal.Critics ridicule the project as a cheap publicity stunt. Bob Dane, of the Federation for American Immigration Reform told the Associated Press: “I would say the whole thing is a perfect metaphor for how in corporate America the practice to grow talent and incubate business locally is drifting away — quite literally.” Related Itemslast_img read more

As Mob Lynchings Fueled by WhatsApp Sweep India, Authorities Struggle to Combat Fake News

first_imgFive people were killed by a mob in India on Sunday after rumors spread on social media that they were child traffickers, the latest in a string of lynchings tied to fake social media messages that have left officials stunned and grappling with ways to control the rising violence.More than a dozen people have been killed across India since May in violence fueled mainly by messages on the WhatsApp service. The cases largely feature villagers, some of whom may be using smartphones for the first time. Inflamed by fake warnings of child trafficking rings or organ harvesters, they have attacked innocent bystanders and beaten them to death.Governments around the world are considering laws and controls against fake news in the wake of Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the rise of hate speech. Such reactions have raised free-speech concerns. But the spread of fake news, a global scourge, has been particularly pernicious in India, where legions of new, inexperienced smartphone users send billions of messages a day on WhatsApp, which has more than 200 million users in India, its largest market.As India’s government weighs what to do, local authorities have been left to tackle fake news as best they can, issuing warnings and employing low-tech methods such as hiring street performers and “rumor busters” to visit villages to spread public awareness. One such “rumor buster” was killed by a mob Thursday in the eastern state of Tripura.“We are trying to counter the misinformation by aggressive campaigning on social media, WhatsApp and local TV channels,” said M. Ramkumar, the superintendent of police in Dhule, a district in western India. It was there that five nomadic beggars were beaten to death Sunday by villagers, who thought they were child kidnappers.“We want to convey the message that all rumors are false and they should not fall prey to them,” Ramkumar said.In recent days, officials of WhatsApp – owned by Facebook and based in Menlo Park, California – have introduced a new function that allows administrators of groups to control which members can post messages, and the company is testing a plan to label which messages are forwards. WhatsApp is expanding outreach in India as its 2019 general election looms and political parties are signing up “WhatsApp warriors” by the thousands – who, in some cases, spread incendiary content themselves.“WhatsApp is working to make it clear when users have received forwarded information and provide controls to group administrators to reduce the spread of unwanted messages in private chats,” said a spokesman for WhatsApp, Carl Woog. “We’ve also seen people use WhatsApp to fight misinformation, including the police in India, news organizations and fact checkers. We are working with a number of organizations to step up our education efforts so that people know how to spot fake news and hoaxes circulating online.”Unlike Facebook – where users can be tracked and shut down for posting content that violates its standards – WhatsApp content is more difficult to monitor because messages are encrypted between users. Still, critics say, it can and should do more in a country where hundreds of thousands of people are coming online for the first time.“The police are always going to be at a loss because the scale of WhatsApp usage is going to be difficult to contend with and they don’t have the manpower,” said Nikhil Pahwa, a technology expert. “The platform itself needs to evolve.”Pahwa argues that WhatsApp’s forwarded messages should be tagged with the originating number, to make it easier to crack down on misuse and discourage users from creating bad content.Meanwhile, Google announced last month that it is expanding an existing program for journalists in India to help train 8,000 reporters in seven languages to spot and expose fake news generated in the country’s “specific misinformation ecosystem,” according to Irene Jay Liu, the head of Google News Lab for the Asia-Pacific region, Google’s largest such effort.The Indian government’s attempts to combat the problem have been fraught. In April, a circular from the Information and Broadcasting Ministry proposing stiff penalties for journalists who post fake news was pulled in less than 24 hours after widespread outcry.In Tripura, three people were killed last week in violence fueled by the death of an 11-year-old boy on June 26. Rumors on WhatsApp that he was the victim of organ harvesters were reinforced by Ratan Lal Nath, a leader of the governing Bharatiya Janata Party, who showed up at the boy’s home to falsely allege that the child’s kidney had been cut from his body by organ traffickers, a video shows. Police later dispelled this fiction, but the damage had been done.The state’s Information and Cultural Affairs Department hired “rumor busters” to control the subsequent violence, including Sukanta Chakraborty, 33, a tabla musician with a sonorous voice who was paid about $8 a day to travel from village to village in a van equipped with a loudspeaker, warning about the dangers of fake news. He and two others were beset by a mob wielding bricks and bamboo sticks in a crowded market Thursday.“They killed him. He was pleading to the mob that he was only doing his duty. No one listened to him,” Tanushri Barua, Chakraborty’s wife, said in a telephone interview. “What was his fault? Now there is nothing left.”Farheen Fatima contributed to this report.(c) 2018, The Washington Post Related ItemsSocial mediaWhatsApplast_img read more

British Indian Artist Condemns U.S. National Rifle Association for Using His Artwork in Ad

first_imgBritish Indian artist Anish Kapoor has condemned the U.S. National Rifle Association (NRA) for using his famous artwork for its ad. In the open letter, written in collaboration with gun control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety on March 12, Kapoor criticized the NRA for using the image of his famous sculpture Cloud Gate, which was installed in Chicago’s Millennium Park in 2004.Kapoor said that the image of his artwork was used without his permission in a “politicized advertisement” called the “The Clenched Fist of Truth.”The image shows the sculpture and a crowd around it. Kapoor said that the ad “plays to the basest and most primal impulses of paranoia, conflict and violence, and uses them in an effort to create a schism to justify its most regressive attitudes.”Kapoor said he was “disgusted” to see his work used by the NRA “to promote their vile message.” Kapoor condemned “the NRA’s nightmarish, intolerant, divisive vision” that “perverts everything that Cloud Gate — and America — stands for.”In the video, NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch said “they use their ex-president to endorse the resistance,” referring to Barack Obama, who was a Chicago resident. The Cloud Gate is shown briefly in the video when the statement is made by Loesch. Another iconic installation featured in the video is the Hollywood sign.Loesch said in the video: “They use their media to assassinate real news,” “use their schools to teach children that their president is another Hitler,” “use their movie stars and singers and comedy shows and award shows to repeat their narrative over and over again,” and “use their ex-president to endorse the Resistance.”Kapoor holds the copyright for the sculpture, and anybody who wants to use the body of work commercially needs to take permission from him, according to the Washington Post. However, tourists are permitted to photograph the artwork.However, he decided not to pursue the matter legally.“I decided it wasn’t worth the effort, much to my shame, because one does want to defend the ethical integrity of the work,” he said, since the pro-gun advocacy group was “extremely aggressive, legalistic.”In light of the recent gun violence in Florida, Las Vegas, and Texas, Kapoor said that it is “more urgent than ever that this organization is held to account for its ongoing campaign of fear and hate in American society.”In the Florida mass shooting, 17 people were killed at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland. Related Itemsanish kapoorfloridagun lawslast_img read more

Dillinger says Black, Bolts ‘getting sick’ of losing after 3rd straight loss

first_img“We’re 1-3 and there’s nothing to be happy about,” Dillinger said after Meralco suffered a 99-81 rout to TNT on Sunday.Black left the venue immediately after the loss and politely declined for an interview.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSLillard, Anthony lead Blazers over ThunderSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutout“The Philippine Cup has been our Achilles heel and every Philippine Cup, we get our ass kicked. I’m getting sick of it and our coach is getting sick of it.“Meralco lost grip of the game early after TNT staged a 16-3 run. Though Niño Canaleta helped the Bolts get to within five in the early moments of the third quarter, the KaTropa eventually pulled away for good, leading as high as 22, 92-70, late in the game thanks to their stupendous shooting from beyond the arc. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netANTIPOLO — All of the losing and struggles in the Philippine Cup have taken its toll on Meralco.Bolts veteran swingman Jared Dillinger said the players as well as head coach Norman Black are “getting sick” of the losing.ADVERTISEMENT Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC Dillinger, though, challenges his teammates to step up and show what they’re made of as the franchise eyes to finally end its misery every all-Filipino conference.“When you get two guys like Ranidel and Cliff out, as a team, that’s the opportunity for the guys below them to step up. It doesn’t have to mean scoring, getting the assists or rebound, it’s just making the right play, being a smart player. We just got to step up as a team,” he said.Meralco faces Kia on Wednesday with the cellar-dwelling squads both seeking to crack the upper echelon of the standings.“It’s a do-or-die. That’s gonna be a playoff game for us. Thank God, they beat Rain or Shine cause you don’t want to be that one team that gives the win to a team which lost 16 straight games. You don’t want to play teams like that. It’s gonna be tough for us,” he said. MOST READ Globe Business launches leading cloud-enabled and hardware-agnostic conferencing platform in PH Dillinger, however, knows that Meralco can’t get frustrated with its 1-3 slate as his team has no other choice but to go back to basics.“It’s a long season,” he said. “We have to go back, look at the film, get yelled out by our coach, look at all the mistakes that we made, but more importantly, we can’t press the panic button. We can’t point fingers. We have to first blame ourself within, ‘What did I do wrong?’ We won’t panic, but I got to admit, it’s not fun right now.”Asked what the Bolts are doing wrong that has led to a three-game skid, Dillinger said that it’s just the little things.“Sometimes you don’t make the extra pass or make the extra effort on defense. It’s a lot of small things that you won’t see really. After a lot of that, it adds up and you see what happened to us tonight. TNT didn’t do anything much. It’s a given that they played well, but they didn’t have any secret schemes against us. They just passed the ball around, they got open shots, our effort wasn’t there. We got to put up the intensity cause it sucks right now.”Also not helping Meralco’s cause is the injuries to Ranidel de Ocampo and Cliff Hodge, both of whom are integral pieces of Black’s rotation.ADVERTISEMENT Read Next 2 ‘newbie’ drug pushers fall in Lucena sting Slow and steady hope for near-extinct Bangladesh tortoises John Lloyd Cruz a dashing guest at Vhong Navarro’s wedding Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City View comments LATEST STORIES NEXT BLOCK ASIA 2.0 introduces GURUS AWARDS to recognize and reward industry influencers Rosario stars in TNT win a day after celebrating 26th birthday Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

10 Superfoods That are Super Cheap

first_imgHas an organization or university offered you an opportunity with a stipend? Whether it’s an internship or apprenticeship, a stipend is a set amount of money that helps offset living expenses. This fixed amount is financial support provided while you’re… Full Story,Truth is, there is a lot to be excited about when it comes to college: new friends, a new routine, (college parties!), and more independence. But along with all these perks, it’s also time to start thinking about your finances…. Full Story,A routing number is a unique number that identifies a specific banking institution. Each routing number is made up of nine digits. Routing numbers are sometimes referred to as an American Banker’s Association routing transit number or an ABA RTN…. Full Story,It’s stressful enough having a car loan over your head and staying on top of your monthly payments. But what if you have an upside-down car loan — in other words, the amount you owe on your set of wheels… Full Story,When you’re trying to get your financial house in order, it’s easy to get lost in the specifics. You might stress about how to adjust your budget, where to find some extra cash for the holidays or what funds to… Full Story,Shortly after graduating from New York University with a Master’s degree, Melanie Lockert turned to food stamps, as she worked her way out of $81,000 in student loans. “There were a lot of emotions around carrying that debt. It caused… Full Story,Traveling is one of the best things in life, and luckily, low funds don’t have to dash your dreams of enjoying an epic adventure. A wealth of destinations—both in the U.S. and abroad—are so affordable that even hardcore penny pinchers… Full Story,While we don’t yet have flying cars that collapse to the size of a suitcase, pneumatic tubes that transport us from room to room or machines that automatically bathe and clothe us in the morning, every day we’re getting closer… Full Story,Times have changed since Grams and Gramps were your age, looking to settle down and buy their first home. But today the house with the white picket fence—or that trendy loft in downtown—isn’t completely out of the question if you… Full Story,We recently hosted a Twitter chat as part of our #RealTalkSeries. And let’s just say, things definitely got real. Many of you joined us to discuss “taboo” and cringe-worthy money questions such as how to improve a bad credit score,… Full Storylast_img read more

Let It Snow: 5 Recipes Using Fresh Snow

first_imgThe average person may see anywhere between 4,000 and 10,000 ads in a single day. From binge-watching your favorite shows to checking the pile of coupons in your mailbox, advertisers have inundated our lives. Most of the ads we see… Full Story,Dressing up for Halloween is one of the best parts of the holiday, especially if you’re a creative person. But buying a Halloween costume can get expensive, with many costing more than $50 a pop. And unless you plan to… Full Story,You may not find it on an official calendar anywhere, but Friendsgiving is a newer holiday that has gained popularity in recent years. Much like Thanksgiving, Friendsgiving is a time to gather around the table with loved ones in the… Full Story,My birthday is on Halloween, so every year I get super excited. I plan what my costume will be, decide how I want to celebrate and text all my friends to let them know. Last year, I was finally able… Full Story,Not much of a football fan? Don’t know what all the cheesehead hat-wearing and face paint-smearing is all about? Skip hanging out at the local sports bar or sitting in the stands at a game, and put on your entrepreneurial… Full Story,Living paycheck to paycheck can feel like an endless scramble. Rent is due on the first but your paycheck won’t clear until the second. On top of everything, you need to pay for groceries, a bus ticket, and utilities before… Full Story,Decision fatigue is the decline in energy and focus you experience after making too many decisions. This mental drain causes your brain to abandon your willpower in order to seek more immediate rewards, which leads to poor decision making and… Full Story,If you ask a random person on the street what they do, chances are they have a lot of slashes and hyphens in their job titles. In this day and age, if you don’t have multiple sources of income… Full Story,Do you consider yourself a financially responsible young adult? Personally, I like to think that my finances are mostly in order. Rent, student loans, car payments—everything big is blocked off nicely. If the math works out right, I have a… Full Story,In the financial world, nothing evokes feelings of terror quite like the word “bankruptcy”. It’s become synonymous with a complete and utter collapse of one’s finances – a black hole that’s almost impossible to climb out of. When you declare… Full Storylast_img read more

A Shopper’s Survival Guide to Black Friday

first_imgMy birthday is on Halloween, so every year I get super excited. I plan what my costume will be, decide how I want to celebrate and text all my friends to let them know. Last year, I was finally able… Full Story,Technology has transformed the way we dine out in groups. Gone are the days when friends take turns treating each other to nights on the town. Now that apps make money accessible everywhere, tabs are paid down to the cent… Full Story,Occupation: Copywriter Industry: Digital Marketing Age: 29 Location: Indianapolis, IN Paycheck (BiWeekly): $2,100/mo after HSA and 401(k) removed Monthly Expenses: Rent: $462.50 Car lease: $300 Insurances: $85 All other expenses Utilities: $200/mo Pet supplies: $30/mo Phone: $50/mo Streaming services: $15/mo… Full Story,Occupation: Digital advertising Age: 30 Location: San Francisco Bay Area Income: $5,200 month net post 401K, health insurance / HSA, and taxes Total Debt: $0 Monthly Expenses: Rent and utilities: $1,800 Auto: $275 including car insurance Internet/mobile: $120 10:00 am:… Full Story,The holidays are time for family. Here are some fun ideas from our friends at Quotacy on how to make the most of this holiday season with your loved ones, with a bit of humor. ?   With the rise… Full Story,Occupation: Social Media Manager Industry: Digital Marketing Age: 26 Location: Indianapolis, IN Paycheck: $2,500/month after health/vision insurance deductions Monthly Expenses Rent: $700 Car Insurance: $65 Renters Insurance: $16 Utilities: $75 (Internet, Electric, Gas) Dental Insurance (not through work): $15 Hulu:… Full Story,On November 30th, The Financial Diet is kicking off their nationwide book tour for The Financial Diet: A Total Beginner’s Guide To Getting Good With Money in New York.  Join us when the tour hits your city and don’t forget… Full Story,Occupation: Data Analyst Industry: Digital Marketing Age: 31 Location: Menlo Park, CA Paycheck (BiWeekly): $1,700 after auto-savings, 401k, ESPP purchase, renters & auto insurance and health care removed I have everything removed automatically as I have trouble with in-the-moment spending…. Full Story,Occupation: Account Services & Freelance Writer Industry: Digital Marketing Age: 39 Location: Longmont, CO Paycheck (3): $4,700/mo includes salary and three freelance clients (side hustles) Monthly Expenses Rent: $900 Car loan: $275 Credit card payment: $450 All other expenses… Full Story,If you’re still in college or a recent grad working with a limited budget, the idea of implementing a healthy lifestyle can seem overwhelming and very expensive. If you aren’t careful, you might find yourself shelling out lots of cash… Full Storylast_img read more

The Biggest Things People Get Wrong About Money

first_imgShare this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window) RelatedCollege Students: Here are The Biggest Financial Mistakes You Need to AvoidAugust 21, 2018In “Budgeting”What I Wish I Knew About Money Throughout the YearsMay 2, 2019In “Financial Literacy”How to Think About Your Credit Cards When Traveling AbroadMarch 21, 2019In “Credit Info” I’ve gotten to a point in my career where I’m commonly referred to as a financial “expert”. I’ve worked hard to broaden my knowledge and fill in the gaps, so I feel pretty comfortable in that role. When a friend or colleague asks me for advice, chances are I can help them in some way. But the more I learn, the more I realize how ignorant I actually am. Money is such a diverse and dynamic topic that it’s impossible to know everything, and even the most basic fundamentals can change over time. The best you can do is keep an open mind and actively challenge your assumptions. We all get things wrong about money. Here are some of the most common – and most dangerous – misconceptions. “Keep 30% balance on your credit cards.“I’ll never forget this argument I had with my friend Chelsea. We were talking about credit card rewards programs and how awesome they are. “Of course, you should never hold a balance on them, no matter what kind of cash-back you’re getting,” I told her. She disagreed, saying that you should always carry a small balance on your card or you won’t build any credit. In my opinion, this is probably the most persistent credit myth still making the rounds in 2019. It’s true that you need to have a balance on a card when the statement closes. That balance will then be reported to the credit card bureaus, but once the statement closes, you can pay off the entire amount without hurting your credit. If you pay off the balance before the statement closes then the card provider will report your balance as $0.  An easy way to set this up is to create automatic payments that will go in effect after the statement closes, but before your due date. Go to your credit card account and click on the payments section. Then, create automatic payments for the full statement balance and choose a withdrawal date on or before your due date.  “Investing is the same thing as gambling.”When I was in middle school, the dot-com crash happened. I don’t remember much about it, except for the fact that a lot of people lost a lot of money. A year later, 9/11 happened and the market tanked again. When I was a freshman in college, the housing market crashed and the Great Recession began. All these experiences probably would have scared me away from investing, but my parents explained that a market crash doesn’t mean investing is bad. They told me about all the times their retirement accounts had faltered, only to recover and grow over time.  Some people equate investing to gambling, that it’s all a matter of luck or secret insider knowledge. Fortunately, investing can be simple – and profitable – if you stick to tried-and-true methods.  One of the best ways to invest and save for retirement is with index funds. In 2017, legendary investor Warren Buffett won a 10-year bet against a hedge fund manager, wagering that money invested in an index fund would outearn the manager’s picks. He earned 7.1% during that decade, while the hedge fund manager earned 2.2%. “You need a lot of money to invest.”Many young people decide to wait until they’re older and earning a lot of money before they worry about investing for retirement. Unfortunately, this is one of the costliest financial myths. The longer you wait to start investing, the more you miss out on the magic of compound interest. A 22–year-old who starts investing right after college will have $3,591.60 after five years if they save $50 a month. If they decide to ramp up their savings to $150 a month at age 27, they’ll have $456,081.29 in 40 years. Let’s compare that to someone who didn’t start investing until age 27. If they invest $150 a month for 40 years, they’ll only have $397,034.55 when they retire. That’s more than $50,000 less. The power of compound interest is about time more than money, so don’t worry that much about how much you can afford to contribute. Just get started as soon as possible. “A tax refund is always good.”Every spring, millions of people file their taxes and get ecstatic when they discover a tax refund is coming their way. The average direct deposit tax refund last tax season was over $3,000.Tax refunds may sound like bonus money, but refunds can stem from a couple of sources:Refundable Tax Credits (Such as, Child Tax Credit-(CTC), Earned Income tax Credit –(EITC) or American Opportunity Tax Credit-(AOTC)Tax deductions like student loan interest, the standard deduction, and itemized deduction that lower your taxable incomeExcess Tax withholding from PaycheckIf your tax refund is because of the third reason pointed out then, it means you had the government withhold too much from your paycheck. In essence, you’ve just given the federal government an interest-free loan.If you have too much withheld from your paycheck, you may miss out on having that money in your pocket to help your financial situation. Most Americans use a tax refund to pay off debt, but getting a huge lump sum at tax time can actually mean they end up paying more in interest during the year when waiting for your tax refund to pay down debt.Here’s how it works: Let’s say you have a $2,000 credit card balance with 24% interest. You can only afford to make the minimum payment, which barely scratches the surface. When you get a $2,000 tax refund, you put the whole thing toward your balance. This wipes out your debt completely, so you no longer have credit card debt. Great, right?Wrong. If you didn’t over withhold taxes, you would have more money in your pocket during the year and would have paid down your credit card debt slowly over time. This would save you more money on interest rather than waiting until you got a tax refund.Whether you adjust your withholding allowances to get a bigger paycheck or a bigger tax refund depends on your personal preference. Some people may opt for more money in their paycheck, but end up spending it on lattes and shopping whereas taxpayers who prefer a tax refund to pay down debt use over withholding as a forced savings mechanism. One important thing to also consider is how new tax laws impacted your tax situation and your overall tax picture so whether you prefer a bigger paycheck or a bigger tax refund, it is important to adjust your withholding every year. You can also use the TurboTax W-4 withholding calculator to easily figure out your personal withholding allowances and give your W-4 form to your employer. Post navigationlast_img read more

The 10-3-2-1-0 technique could be the secret to falling asleep quickly and easily every night

first_imgWe all know how important sleep is for repairing and healing our bodies, boosting our wellbeing and immune system, and making us feel fresh and alert.The recommended amount of sleep to leave us feeling replenished and ready to jump out of bed in the morning is the full eight hours, but many people struggle to get this on a regular basis.If you’re having trouble with tossing and turning at night, then we’ve got some helpful advice for you – there is a special five-part technique you can try out which can help send you off into a deep sleep.10 HOURS BEFORE BED: NO MORE CAFFEINEYou should stop drinking all caffeinated beverages 10 hours before bed. This will give your body enough time to eliminate caffeine from the bloodstream.3 HOURS BEFORE BED: NO MORE FOOD OR ALCOHOL‘This will help you avoid heartburn (gastric reflux) and interrupted sleep. Alcohol might make you feel sleepy, but it impairs your natural sleep cycle and interrupts valuable deep sleep,’ Ballantyne says.2 HOURS BEFORE BED: NO MORE WORKAs you get closer to bedtime, stop all work, such as checking emails, taking phone calls, and planning for the next day. If you don’t, your brain will be active and very much awake when you lay your head on the pillow.1 HOUR BEFORE BED: NO MORE SCREEN TIME SO TURN OFF PHONES, TABLETS, COMPUTERSTo give yourself a better chance of drifting off easily, then switch off your electronics an hour before sleep. The blue light emitted from their screens is stimulating and can keep us awake.‘Spend the final hour reading real books, talking with your spouse, meditating, taking a bath or enjoying “other” activities in the privacy of your bedroom — but do not use your iPhone or tablet, unless you want to stare at the ceiling for another hour,’ Ballantyne suggests.0: THE NUMBER OF TIMES TO HIT THE SNOOZE BUTTON IN THE MORNINGHow much good is that extra five or 10 minutes in the morning really doing? Ballantyne suggests that if you find you’re snoozing a lot in the morning, then try to go to bed earlier. This will make getting up in the morning at the first sound of your alarm much easier.Sourcelast_img read more

4 Topics You Should Always Bring Up in a New Relationship

first_imgThe early stages of a relationship are usually pretty blissful. You’re getting to know each other, finding out your likes and dislikes, and even falling starry-eyed in love. But while you’re in this dreamy phase, it pays to inquire about some potentially uncomfortable topics, relationship experts say.“Asking questions is how you establish trust, safety, and emotional security,” says Marissa Nelson, relationship therapist and founder of Intimacy Moons Retreats. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve worked with couples who point to the beginning of their relationship as a time when one partner wasn’t forthright about something or didn’t tell the truth.”What you ask is important—and so is how you broach these subjects. Instead of interrogating or issuing ultimatums, “come from a place of curiosity, and use questions as a way to learn, share, and grow together,” says Nelson. The answers your new partner offers can clue you in to whether you’re compatible in a long-term way. Here’s what you need to discuss, plus the right approach to get answers.How they feel about past relationshipsNo, you’re not bringing this up to snoop into your new partner’s old love life. You want to hear how they describe their former flames and how things ended. This can let you know that those past love interests really are in the past. And you’ll hopefully get their take on what these relationships taught him, as well as if he blames them or holds grudges.“Instead of asking why their last relationship ended, ask what they learned from it and if it changed their view of what it means to be in a committed relationship,” says Nelson. Getting a sense of how the relationship affected their view of love is much more useful than getting dirt on an ex. Make sure you use a neutral tone that conveys you’re interested because you want to get to know them, not vet or judge.If they’ve been tested for STIsEven if you’ve already jumped into bed together, ask your new partner about their sexual health history. “Discuss STIs and ask about the last time they were tested, their status, and if they’ve been sexual with anyone else since then,” says Rachel Needle, PsyD, a psychologist at the Center for Marital and Sexual Health of South Florida.If they say they’ve never been tested, you can say it’s important to you to head to an MD, and you’ll go with them if that makes it easier. If they strongly resist, they may have something to hide.How they spend their downtime“The beginning of a relationship is when you want to spend time getting to know your partner,” says Needle. You already know you have chemistry, but you’re trying to measure how you get along in a long-term way. “Ask about their favorite music or movies, what an ideal Saturday looks like for them, and where they enjoyed traveling to the most,” adds Needle.These aren’t hard-hitting topics, but they can give you a better sense of who he or she is, what they value most, and what your future together might look like.What they think of marriageOkay, so you’re not going to ask a new partner if they plan to propose to you. But it’s smart to get a sense of what they think of marriage and commitment early on. Don’t start planning your big day together, but don’t tiptoe around it either. Asking questions that tackle the topic indirectly can give you an idea of where they stand, and if you’re potentially on the same page.“Instead of saying, ‘If you’re not interested in marriage then I don’t think this is going to work,’ ask them to tell you about the marriages in their family,” suggests Nelson. Find out if their parents or grandparents are divorced. If not, inquire about how long they’ve been together.“These types of questions aren’t asking whether he or she wants to get married in a year; they’re revealing how your partner feels about marriage and the backdrop of their relationship life,” she says. Of course, a person can change their mind in time, but if you’re a big fan of marriage and your new love insists that it’s a relic of another era, it’s good to know.Sourcelast_img read more

Natural Gas Beat Coal in the US. Will Renewables and Storage Soon Beat Natural Gas?

first_imgBut that may be about to change. Natural gas faces intensifying pressure from wind and solar power combined with storage technologies. Renewable energy resources such as solar and wind are expected to be the fastest growing source of electricity generation, outpacing gas for at least the next two years. Electricity generation from utility-scale solar is expected to grow by 17 percent in 2020 and that from wind by 14 percent during the next two yearsSome Regulators Have Begun Turning Their Backs on New Natural Gas InvestmentsUtility regulators from a range of states have begun to question continued investments in new natural gas generation, instead turning to low cost wind and solar. Here are five examples from U.S. states:ArizonaEarlier this year, the Arizona Corporation Commission placed a moratorium on new gas plants 150 megawatts (MW) or larger through August 1 of this year. In the meantime, the state is considering an energy modernization plan for utilities to source 80% of their electricity from renewables and nuclear by 2050. The plan also involves deployment of 3,000 MW of energy storage by 2030, to help provide peak power as an alternative to gas plants that can provide extra power during peak demand periods.Last year Arizona regulators also declined to recognize the 15-year IRP filed by the state’s investor-owned utilities for their disproportionate reliance on massive gas plants, to the exclusion of more renewable energy.CaliforniaNatural gas-fired power plants accounted for approximately half of California’s in-state power in 2016, but new gas construction is becoming a rarity as market and policy headwinds intensify. The state is pushing its utilities to replace natural gas power plants with renewables and other resources. Recently, Southern California Edison (SCE) selected a portfolio of battery plants totaling 195 MW, instead of a 262 MW gas “peaker” plant (plants that kick in with additional power when demand for energy is especially high) it had chosen previously. In addition, Los Angeles decided to shutter three gas-fired coastal power plants over the next decade; the city will instead invest in renewable energy. California is expecting to retire more gas plants in the coming years—1,380 MW of gas power plant capacity to be retired in 2019 and another 4,600 MW in 2020—and they are more likely to be replaced by renewables and storage.ColoradoColorado’s biggest utility, Xcel Energy, announced last year that it would replace 660 MW of coal-fired generation with the biggest package of renewable energy projects ever proposed in the country for an individual coal plant retirement—more than 1,800 MW of wind, solar and battery storage. Xcel estimates the transition will save ratepayers between $213 million and $374 million. While Xcel’s plan includes the purchase of existing gas plants, it proposes no new gas construction. Xcel has also announced plans to go entirely carbon-free by 2050.NevadaNevada regulators granted NV Energy permission to construct six major solar projects which, combined with 100 MW in battery storage, would double the state’s solar capacity and renewable energy production by 2023. In their approval, Nevada’s Public Utilities Commission noted that this plan “best advances Nevada’s clean energy goals” by diversifying fuel sources and decreasing reliance on natural gas.VirginiaIn a sign that the transition to a clean energy future is taking place outside of its traditional borders, Virginia regulators rebuked Dominion Energy for overestimating projections of future electricity demand and failing to take into account a number of electricity resources that would lower costs for consumers or are mandated by law.For the first time ever, Dominion’s integrated resource plan (IRP)—an outline of a utility’s resource needs, filed with public utility commissions—was rejected for failing to consider the impacts of energy legislation passed last year. That legislation will significantly increase Virginia’s renewable capacity and mandates Dominion spend $870 million on energy efficiency. Regulators noted there was “considerable doubt regarding the accuracy and reasonableness of the Company’s load forecast,” which could lead to overinvestment in natural gas infrastructure.Why Are Regulators Turning Away from Natural Gas? Economics.What explains this growing shift where regulators and utilities look more toward solar, wind and battery storage than natural gas, as they phase out coal generation?Part of it is that state policymakers are adopting policies that support the build-out of renewable energy, such as through standards that require utilities to obtain a certain portion of their electricity from zero-emission sources (e.g. renewable portfolio standards) or standalone mandates requiring investor-owned utilities to procure significant amounts of storage. New York, for instance, has set an energy storage goal of 3,000 MW by 2030 and the New York Public Service Commission has called upon the state’s six investor-owned utilities to conduct competitive solicitations to have a total of 350 MW of energy storage resources in service by end of 2022. California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey are a few other states that have established energy storage targets.However, the new economics of renewables are a significant factor behind this trend—especially in states that are still heavily fossil fuel-dependent. Renewable energy is now undercutting the cost of new natural gas generation in a growing number of regions. According to Lazard, a financial advisory firm, the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for some renewables, especially onshore wind and utility-scale solar, is lower than the cheapest natural gas in many cases, even without subsidies factored in. In April 2019, in the heart of coal country, Indiana regulators rejected a proposal by its electric and gas utility, Vectren, to replace baseload coal plants with a new $900 million, 850 megawatt (MW) natural gas-fired power plant. Regulators were concerned that with the dramatic decline in the cost of renewable energy, maturation of energy storage and rapidly changing customer demand, such a major gas plant investment could become a stranded, uneconomic asset in the future. Regulators are now pushing Vectren to consider more decentralized, lower-carbon resources such as wind, solar and storage that would offer greater resource diversity, flexibility and cost effectiveness.This decision is notable in a state where coal is still the primary energy fuel. At the same time, the Indiana decision hints at a broader transformation happening across the United States.Coal, the long-reigning king of the U.S. power sector, was officially dethroned by cheap, abundant natural gas in 2016. In 2018, natural gas fueled more than 60 percent of newly installed electric-generating capacity and accounted for 35 percent of total U.S. electricity generation. LCOE—measuring the average cost of electricity over the life of a project—is one commonly used metric to compare the costs of different generation technologies. As IRENA has noted, however, “LCOE is a useful metric as a starting point for deeper comparison, it is not necessarily the most useful indicator of cost between different power generation technologies.” The Lazard analysis also presents various caveats on the use of LCOE, e.g., it does not reflect various integration costs or potential social and environmental externalities. Research has shown that incremental system costs from adding non-dispatchable renewable generation are minimal up to penetration rates of 80 percent or more as long as appropriate investments are made in transmission and storage. Given that renewables produce no CO2 emissions or other air pollutants, and that the current integration costs of renewables are low, one can be confident that renewables will be a low-cost incremental source of generation for years to come.Recent data on power purchase agreements show consistency with Lazard’s LCOE estimates. In June 2018, NV Energy set a new price record when it entered into a 300 MW power purchase agreement (PPA) with the Eagle Shadow Mountain solar project at $23.76/MWh for 25 years. The PPA was approved by Nevada regulators in December 2018. Last year Xcel Energy’s all-source solicitation received a batch of bids whose medians were $18.10/MWh for a wind project, $21/MWh for wind plus storage, $29.50/MWh for solar, and $36/MWh for solar plus storage. While the cost of renewable and storage varies from market to market, these two examples show that the costs are dropping rapidly and the business case for using renewables in place of natural gas is becoming more compelling in many parts of the country.Renewables hold another price advantage over natural gas. Renewable energy costs are expected to continue falling, while the cost of gas generation can be volatile since it is tethered to the commodity price of natural gas. In the last 10 years alone, natural gas hit a high of almost $7 per mmBtus and a low of $1.75. (It is currently at $2.65.) Renewable energy costs, on the other hand, are forecasted to get cheaper in the coming years (removal of federal tax incentives may cause modest increases in the near term). Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in its New Energy Outlook 2019, reported that wind and solar are now cheapest across more than two-thirds of the world and that by 2030 they will “undercut commissioned coal and gas almost everywhere.” Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables expects battery prices to fall by more than 80 percent by 2040. Energy storage deployment is forecasted to grow thirteenfold, from a 12 gigawatt-hour market in 2018 to a 158 gigawatt-hour market in 2024, with much of the growth concentrated in the United States and China.Finally, investing in new gas plants is beginning to be seen as a risky proposition due to climate change concerns. In addition to concerns about methane leakage in natural gas production, building natural gas infrastructure—which has a relatively long lifespan—for the next three decades is beginning to be viewed as in tension with current climate goals. Limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C (2.7 degrees F) above preindustrial levels, which scientists say is necessary for preventing the worst impacts of climate change, requires the United States to achieve carbon neutrality by midcentury. This is only possible if power sector emissions fall close to zero. This means that much of the planned and existing oil and gas infrastructure will have to be abandoned before the end of its life or retrofitted to include carbon capture and storage. Thus it risks becoming what investors call a “stranded asset.” While it is hard to predict what policymakers will do in the future, if a price is put on carbon in the next few years, natural gas’s future could become cloudier.A report from the Rocky Mountain Institute echoes this concern. In comparing the cost of four proposed gas plants in different parts of the country with regionally appropriate aggregations of renewable energy resources, the analysis finds that, in three of the four cases, the clean energy portfolio would cost 8-60 percent less than the four proposed gas plants today. With further cost reductions in clean energy and/or a modest $7.50 per ton price on carbon emissions, renewables will be cheaper in all four cases.Natural gas will play a significant role in the nation’s future electricity mix in the coming years. The mix of energy sources used for generating electricity will continue to shift in response to changes in fuel costs and the development of renewable energy technologies. In parts of the country where natural gas is the most cost-effective energy source to replace coal-fired generation, pure economics and local grid context will dictate utility and energy regulator decisions to invest in new natural gas-fired generation. However, as this blog notes, a natural gas-centered energy transition would carry significant economic and environmental risks.Crossing the Natural Gas “Bridge”For years, natural gas has been viewed as a “bridge fuel,’ a cleaner burning, low-cost alternative to coal while zero-emission options are developed. And indeed, the transition from coal to natural gas has conferred significant benefits in terms of reducing GHG emissions and air pollution. But with renewables quickly catching up to natural gas, could it be that we’re getting to the end of the natural gas bridge and approaching the other side?last_img read more

An Inbound Marketer’s Introduction to Twitter Lists

first_img , soldering list on Twitter, your business will have one more way get found by prospects. lists. Watch For example, say you’re interested in following the people at HubSpot. There are over 100 of us here now, so it’s a lot of work to follow us all individually. Now, instead of following each of us, you can go to our HubSpotters list page  — Inbound Marketing Stars Lists are collections of Twitter users that you can follow all at once, instead of one by one. They’re Employees twitter.com/HubSpot/inbound-marketing-stars lists are great places to find out more about HubSpot. In case you missed the news last week, Twitter solder paste (1) Start following a few popular lists. , –Lists are a new tool. They’re going to evolve, and the best practices for using them as marketing tools will also evolve. In order to get the most out of them you should keep trying new ways of using them. Customers and the one we’ve setup at HubSpot . .  ? Once you’re created a few great lists, share them with your network. Post them on Twitter. Post them on Listorious. Post them on your blog. When you share your list, make sure you share your list page. The URL should look something like this:  Inbound Marketing News Watch this free webinar to learn everything you need to know about marketing with Twitter Lists. You’ll find out how Twitter list can be useful to marketers and how to get started with them. There are lots of ways to become a thought leader, and lists augment them all. If you sell soldering supplies and you set up Lists will help companies solidify thought leadership. THE  A key part of marketing today is using search, social media and content to establish yourself as the thought leader in your industry — whether it’s  — and follow us all at once. twitter.com/HubSpot/hubspotters (4) Keep experimenting with lists. is a great place to browse Twitter lists. I’m also a fan of why should you or any other marketer care What have you learned about Twitter lists? Let us know in the comments below. Lists will make companies more transparent. , the internal conversations of your company will become more transparent. That will give prospects another way get to know your company and to build trust, which will leads to more sales. One last note: Keep in mind that lists aren’t perfect right now. It’s very hard to add people to them. You can’t change the names. It’s hard to browse a lot of them. But this doesn’t mean you should ignore them. They represent a significant change in the way Twitter works — and, increasingly, that means a significant change in the way marketers do their jobs.  Successful inbound marketers know that transparency builds sales. It builds trust, which makes deals easier to close. Here’s how: Go to your Twitter home page. In the right-hand column, about halfway down the page, you should see a “New List” option. Click this and you’ll see instructions that will help you create a new list. Try to create a descriptive, unique name. And make sure you select the “Public” option. changing the way people use Twitter Partners Our If your company sets up a list of all employees using Twitter like  (2) Start building your own lists. New York Times lists Twitter Marketing Topics: golf training How to Get Started With Lists ,  (3) Share your lists. — Listorious Once you’ve create the list, start adding people to it. This can be time consuming. Right now the best way is to go to the profile of the user you want to add, then click the white lists tab above the user’s updates. You’ll see your new list in the pulldown.  or something else.  What’s a list — and  Once you take a look at few lists, jump in and build your own. . Don’t share the page you use to manage your list. and Free Twitter Lists Webinar: Everything You Need to Know About Twitter Lists announced a major new feature: , and they’re set to become an important new tool for inbound marketers. the free webinar now There are at least two ways that lists will become important tools for marketers: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack list are great places to find out more about inbound marketing. The fencing Originally published Nov 2, 2009 10:08:00 AM, updated October 20 2016last_img read more

Sri Lanka skipper Chandimal pleads not guilty to ball-tampering charges

first_imgSri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal has been charged with ball-tampering by the International Cricket Council (ICC).The batsman has been charged for breaching Level 2.2.9 of the Code of Conduct by ICC.However, Chandimal has pleaded not guilty to the charges of ball-tampering. Teh hearing will now take place after the end of fourth day’s play.The latest ball-tampering fiasco had surfaced on the third day of the ongoing second Test between West Indies and Sri Lanka at Gros Islet on Saturday.The breach relates to changing the condition of the ball. The same charge was levelled against Australia batsman Cameron Bancroft who was caught on camera rubbing a piece of sandpaper on the ball against South Africa in March.Sri Lanka captain Dinesh Chandimal has pleaded not guilty to attempting to change the condition of the ball during the St.Lucia Test. Hearing to follow after completion of the match. #WIvSLFULL DETAILS https://t.co/2j6AKOPDAq pic.twitter.com/FV1TyMfCIpICC (@ICC) June 17, 2018This was the second such instance within three months, after the Australians were found guilty of ball-tampering in South Africa in March during the third Test between the two nations.WEST INDIES VS SRI LANKA SCORECARDSteve Smith, along with David Warner, was handed a one-year ban from both domestic and international cricket by Cricket Australia while batsman Bancroft was handed a nine-month suspension for their involvement in the incident.Sri Lanka were charged with altering the condition of the ball by umpires Aleem Dar and Ian Gould, who reviewed video of the West Indies first innings on Friday.advertisementThey penalized the team before play on Saturday with a change of ball and awarded five runs to the West Indies.Sri Lanka players walk off to protest ball-tampering allegations”The ICC can confirm the match officials in the second Test between West Indies and Sri Lanka changed the ball and awarded 5 penalty runs to West Indies,” the ICC said in a statement.Sri Lanka protested by refusing to leave their dressing room for nearly an hour and a half. Then the team went out to the middle and walked back to the boundary, where arguing with officials didn’t relent for another 40 minutes.Sri Lanka Cricket has strongly denied involvement of any of its players in ball-tampering.Sri Lanka Cricket advised the team to play “under protest,” that team management said no players “engaged in any wrongdoing,” and it would take all steps to defend any player charged with “any unwarranted allegation.”Ball-tampering row: Sri Lanka deny wrongdoing in 2nd Test vs West IndiesThe West Indies resumed on day three on 118-2, which was bumped up to 123/2 by the penalty runs. But the home side was all out in a rush after tea for 300, a lead of 47 on the first innings.Sri Lanka was 34/1 at stumps in their second innings, trailing by 13.For West Indies, only opener Devon Smith and wicketkeeper Shane Dowrich posted scores of substance, 61 and 55 respectively.The Sri Lankans contained the home side with excellent bowling, trapping Smith and tricking Dowrich.Suranga Lakmal was rewarded with 2-50, and fellow medium-pacer Kasun Rajitha 3-49. But fast bowler Lahiru Kumara took the most wickets, four.In its second innings, Sri Lanka lost Kusal Perera to a thick edge behind off Shannon Gabriel two overs before stumps. Perera made 20.Mahela Udawatte, on Test debut, was left on 11, and nightwatchman Rajitha was yet to score.(With inputs from AP)last_img read more

Ball-tampering scandal was almost like a cry for help: Dale Steyn

first_imgSouth Africa speedster Dale Steyn is of the opinion that the ball-tampering scandal which took place in the Cape Town Test in March was more “like a cry for help” from the bowlers due to the growing disparity between bat and ball in cricket.Although he condemned the act by the Australians, Steyn however, offered a new perspective into the incident and said that it exposed the need for cricket to change to prevent the loss of the art of reverse swing bowling.”It’s obviously not on, but if you think about it, it’s almost like a cry for help. We need to do something,” Steyn told Reuters in an interview.Writing off Virat Kohli is the biggest mistake: Dale Steyn to India Today”There’s so much in favour of batsmen these days. Fields are small, two new balls, powerplays, bats have got bigger than they used to be, the list can go on.”You bowl a ‘no ball’ and it’s a free hit. But I have never seen a rule change that favours the bowler,” Steyn said.England bowlers’ class will make the difference vs India: Dale SteynSteyn, who is tied on 421 wickets with Shaun Pollock as South Africa’s highest wicket-taker in Tests, felt the desperation to get the ball to swing was forcing cricketers to flirt with regulations.Typically, swing bowlers use the new ball to deviate it in the air to outwit batsmen but Pakistan fast bowlers stunned the world in the 1980s by introducing reverse swing to Test cricket.advertisementDale Steyn likely to say goodbye to limited-overs cricket after 2019 World CupThe skill of making an old and battered ball move in the air in the opposite direction to conventional swing was developed into an art form in the following decade by their successors Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.EVERYTHING ABOUT THE SCANDALIn March, with South Africa already leading by more than 100 in the second innings for the loss of a single wicket on the third day of the third Test in Cape Town, a trio of Australians hatched a plan to tamper with the ball to get that reverse swing.Also read – Ball-tampering scandal: I panicked, I lied and I am devastated, says Cameron BancroftThey paid a heavy price with batsman Cameron Bancroft, who was spotted with sandpaper in his hand, suspended for nine months, while then captain Steve Smith and David Warner were stripped of the captaincy and vice captaincy and handed one-year bans.SMITH, WARNER STEP DOWN AS CAPTAIN AND VICE-CAPTAIN”It’s a big plea and it would be a sad day to see (reverse swing) disappear,” Steyn said at a promotional event.”I grew up watching Akram, I grew up watching Waqar and all these geniuses run in and reverse swing the ball. And you just don’t see it today. What inspiration will other fast bowlers have if they don’t have anybody to inspire them to become fast bowlers?. You might as well put a bowling machine there and everyone try and become a batter,” he said.The International Cricket Council in 2011 introduced an extra new ball in one-day games, a move which many believe has made the already batsman-friendly 50-over format even more difficult for the bowlers.Sachin Tendulkar, among others, recently called for a return to the use of one new ball from each end in order to revive the moribund art of reverse swing in the format.Steyn agreed, adding that other rule changes like the limit of two bouncers per over were more of a hindrance than a help for bowlers.”They changed the rule and said we will bring two new balls into the game. I don’t want a new ball when I am bowling in the subcontinent. I want an old ball that can’t get hit out of the ground. I want a ball that when I bowl doesn’t have true bounce, so that the batsman can’t hit it.”These are not rules that favour the bowler at all. They are, if anything, add to the batsman,” Steyn said.(With Reuters inputs)last_img read more

10 Amazing Blogging Insights Your Analytics Can Tell You

first_img 10. What Inbound Links Can Tell You Inbound links, or links from other websites and blogs pointing to your blog content, can indicate how authoritative your blog is. If someone thought your blog content was worth linking to within their own content, it’s a good indicator that content is an authoritative resource on the subject. Inbound links can also show you how effectively your blog is contributing to your website’s overall SEO, since inbound links are one of the most powerful factors impacting search engine optimization . They can even help you generate blog traffic from the referring website and expose you to brand new audiences. Individual inbound links will also help you identify some of your blog’s top content that you might consider using as fodder in social media updates, new blog posts, or ebooks. What other valuable insights can you gather from your blog analytics ? Image Credit: OakleyOriginals Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Do you notice that posts about certain topics aren’t doing as well as others? This is likely an indication that those topics aren’t as important to your audience. If this is the case, you might want to publish fewer posts on those topics and more on topics that truly resonate with your target audience. Blog post views can also help you identify other patterns and cues in your blog content. Does a certain title structure work better than others? Do posts that are more pontificating generate a better reaction than how-to type posts? Use all of these insights to inform your future posts to increase the value of your blog and generate better results. 2. What Referral Sources Can Tell You Your blog’s referral sources will tell you which websites and blogs are referring traffic to your blog and give you a sense of how people are finding it. Use this information to identify deficiencies in your blog’s visibility and to help diagnose why you may have low traffic to your blog. Is the bulk of your traffic coming from social media sites per your heavy social media promotion, but few visitors are coming in from organic search — or vice versa? If you’re regularly creating content to fuel your inbound marketing strategy, you’re probably using a blog to publish the bulk of it. That’s fantastic, since we know businesses that blog more than 20 times per month generate 5 times more traffic than businesses that blog fewer than 4 times per month (they also generate 4 times more leads than businesses that don’t blog at all!).With all that content, traffic, and leads you’re generating, are you aware that you’re sitting on a gold mine of valuable data? Did you also know that you can leverage all that data to glean valuable insights and improve the performance of your blog content? You just have to know how to use it! Let’s break it down by the individual blog metrics you should be tracking so you can start making incremental improvements to your blog and generating even more traffic and leads using data that’s right under your nose . 1. What Views/Traffic Can Tell You Yes, these metrics can give you an overall understanding of how popular your blog is and how it’s gaining traction over time, but there are some less obvious insights you can gather from them, as well. The number of views for individual blog posts can give you more granular data about how your audience responds to the different topics you’re blogging about. Bloggingcenter_img Make sure you’re optimizing your blog content with the keywords your target audience is searching for so it gets found in search engines , and allocate some resources to promoting your blog in social media on the sites your audience tends to populate. (Hint: it may not just be the big four .) Continue to track your referral sources as you ramp up promotion in certain channels so you can determine the ROI of leveraging one channel over another. A lot of focus on social media promo that yields few visitors might not be the best use of your time when another channel is a better driver of blog traffic, for example. 3. What Leads Can Tell You Obviously, the number of leads generated will tell you how effectively your blog is supporting lead generation. To make sure you have your bases covered here, make sure every post you publish includes a call-to-action for a relevant offer, that the homepage of your blog itself features your best-performing CTAs in its sidebar/top bar, and that you include anchor text links to landing pages within the text of your blog posts. Knowing the number of leads attributed to your blog can also help you diagnose other deficiencies in your blog’s performance, which we’ll elaborate on in our 5th point below. 4. What CTA Click-Through Rate Can Tell You CTA click-through rate will simply tell you how many of your blog visitors clicked on your blog’s CTAs. Sounds simple, but if no one is clicking through to your landing pages, you’ll never generate any leads! And if no one is clicking, this could mean a few things: the offer in your call-to-action isn’t compelling enough, it doesn’t relate to the content of the blog post closely enough, or the CTA design just isn’t attractive or prominent enough to warrant a click (whether it be because of the aesthetic design, or ineffective button copy).To improve your blog’s click-through rate, make sure the offer you’re presenting aligns with the content of your posts as closely as possible, uses compelling button copy that clearly demonstrates the value of the offer, creates a sense of urgency, and that the button utilizes an attention-grabbing design. Conducting some A/B tests is a great way to optimize for the best calls-to-action for your blog to improve click-through rate. 5. What Visit-to-Lead Conversion Rate Can Tell You Your blog’s visit-to-lead conversion rate will tell you how effectively you’re converting visitors to your blog into leads for your business. Keep in mind that the higher the conversion rate you have, the more efficiently you’ll be able to generate leads from existing traffic. So if you have low traffic but an amazing conversion rate, you might be just as effective at generating leads as you would with high traffic but a low conversion rate. Coupled with the knowledge of your blog’s CTA click-through rate, you can gather some pretty awesome insights.For example, if you have a high click-through rate but a low conversion rate, this means that while you’re getting visitors to click on your CTAs, they’re abandoning your landing pages before completing the form to convert into a lead. If this is the case, you likely have a conversion problem that can be due to a number of things: the messaging in your CTAs don’t align with the messaging on their landing pages or you could have a number of very landing page-specific problems . Start first with testing better alignment between your CTAs and their landing pages, and if that doesn’t do the trick, dive into landing page optimization testing. 6. What Lead-to-Customer Conversion Rate Can Tell You Your blog’s lead-to-customer conversion rate will tell you how effectively the leads you generated from your blog turned into customers. This insight becomes valuable when you’re examining and comparing the effectiveness of your multiple marketing channels against each other. If your blog is one of your top customer-producing channels, it might make sense to allocate more time and human resources to it. If it’s not, the opposite might be a better approach. 7. What Bounce Rate Can Tell You Bounce rate will tell you how frequently visitors leave your blog without visiting other pages on your blog. While this is a great indicator of the quality of your content and the stickiness of your blog overall, don’t be fooled by some implications of bounce rate. While you’d probably want visitors to stick around and read other articles on your blog, you probably wouldn’t consider it a bad thing if a visitor clicked on a CTA at the end of your post and headed over to one of your landing pages to fill out a lead-capture form , right?That being said, if people are quickly leaving your blog for a completely different website, you’ll want to take some measures to increase the quality of your content . To help decrease bounce rate, consider adding a sidebar widget to your blog that features your blog’s best-performing posts, and switching up the homepage of your blog to show a preview of your 5 most recent posts rather than a full view of your most recent post. This will give visitors the ability to choose to read a post that best caters to their individual needs, enticing them to stick around. 8. What Comments and Social Shares Can Tell You  Comments and social shares are good supplementary metrics to indicate the likeability of your content and the sentiment of your audience’s perception of it. In addition, comments and social shares can be a great way to identify strengths and weaknesses in your content and help you generate ideas for new content. If you’re noticing few social shares of your content, make sure you have social sharing buttons installed on every blog article you publish. 9. What Subscriber Count Can Tell You Your blog’s RSS subscriber and email subscriber count can indicate how much your blog’s stable community of readers is growing over time. Visitors who subscribe will likely make up your blog’s solid readership, and it usually indicates your content’s true fan base. These readers are most likely to share your content with their own networks, expanding your blog’s reach, so you’ll want to do some work to build up your subscriber count and track its growth over time. Make sure you display email and RSS subscribe buttons prominently near the top of your blog’s sidebar to encourage new visitors to subscribe to your content. Topics: Originally published Jan 13, 2012 1:50:00 PM, updated February 01 2017last_img read more

7 Companies That Totally ‘Get’ Their Buyer Personas

first_img Originally published Oct 25, 2012 9:00:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 One of the first things any marketer needs to figure out is who the heck they’re marketing to. That exercise has come to manifest itself in what we in the biz call a “persona,” and there are some companies who have done an excellent job at not just figuring out who their target customer is, but marketing to them in just the right way.If you’ve ever seen a company’s marketing campaign and stopped to think, “Wow. They totally get me!” you’re looking at a company that gets their target audience, and how to market to them. (You’re also probably part of their target audience — but I digress.) It’s not easy to pull this kind of alignment off, so we thought it’d be good to give the marketers that are superb at it a shoutout. Plus, seeing how other companies match up their target personas’ proclivities with marketing activities should serve as guidance for those still trying to figure out how to create marketing their leads and customers will love. Let’s take a look at some companies that totally “get” their buyer personas!SeventeenLet’s start with a little bit of history, shall we? An article on The Awl about the history of Seventeen magazine — which was actually the inspiration for this blog post — highlighted the magazine’s target persona back in 1950. They created a persona named Teena based on survey data from teenage girls and their mothers during the mid 1940s. Here’s how they described Teena:Teena the High School Girl has a peck of problems. She’s what older folks call an awkward adolescent — too tall, too plump, too shy — a little too much of a lot of little things. But they’re big things to Teena. And though she doesn’t always take her troubles to her mother, Teena writes her favorite magazine for the tip-off on the clothes she wears, the food she eats, the lipstick she wields, the room she bunks in, the budget she keeps, the boy she has a crush on.Now, Seventeen has gone through many adaptations of who their prime buyer persona is — this is just who they were targeting in the 1950s. But just look how it manifested itself in their magazine:As you can see from the covers (or maybe not, it’s a little hard to read), there is a strong focus in their feature content on Teena’s insecurities and hang-ups — not that we endorse capitalizing on young girls’ insecurities, this is simply a demonstration, for better or worse, of personas aligning well with a brand’s marketing. For instance, they have content like “Diet with Ice Cream,” an entire “Boy-Girl Issue,” and a story called “Dates (how to get).” These are all things that high school girls are insecure about, and Seventeen channeled what was going on in high school girls’ minds to power their content strategy.AppleApple is known for their outstanding marketing campaigns, but it always seemed a little more geared towards the consumer marketing. No longer. Apple has refocused some of their efforts on a new segment of the market — the business professional who wants to use devices that make their job more effective and efficient. Take a look at an instance of this new persona focus in action in this iPad 2 advertisement:This ad shows the iPad 2 user looking at stock options, investment portfolios, and even images of the brain … a far cry from someone taking video of their family, or rocking out to a killer iTunes library. This commercial is far more akin to what a professional’s work routine might look like, and helps the business professional see how an Apple product might fit into their professional lives.MySpaceMySpace is back guys!!! Hard to believe, I know, because they had a big problem when Facebook came out. Previously, they marketed to people of all ages who wanted to stay connected on social networks. But Facebook proved to be the better and more robust tool. So MySpace redid their strategy — starting with their target persona — and began focusing on a persona that would work better for them: musicians. Many musicians got their start by posting their songs on MySpace, and with a strategy that gave musicians a better tool to market themselves, MySpace was saved. Here, see for yourself:The new redesign features “Listen Now” calls-to-action, thumbnails of album covers so people can immediately listen to their songs, even a feature that highlights events where the musicians are playing. The profiles also have a Pinterest-like set-up allowing viewers to see large pictures of the artist and all that they are doing, further promoting them and their music. This is much more like an interactive, shareable online record store — a site design that is much more appealing to that music-oriented persona.ZipcarZipcar’s main buyer persona is the millennial urban dweller. Zipcar’s services are typically offered large cities around the world, with high populations of millennials who either can’t afford a car, or don’t see the need to own one in the city. With its sharing-focused business model, users pay hourly or daily rates for user of a communal car, without having to worry about paying for things like gas and insurance. What a nice, unburdened lifestyle!When you look at the channels and tone that Zipcar uses in its marketing, it is obvious that this free-wheelin’ (pun intended) audience is who they’re targeting. Just look at this tweet aimed at the millennial world traveler, for instance:Or this tweet with the whimsical, and again, free wheelin’ hashtag, #thatswhereiroll:And the contests don’t end on Twitter — they carry them over to Facebook, too! Topics: In addition to being very responsive on their Twitter account, Zipcar uses it’s Facebook account to answer questions and host contests with its followers. Millennials in particular expect quick answers to their questions on social media, and Zipcar fulfills that expectation. To further appeal to this audience, they host weekly contests to give out fun stuff like free t-shirts and driving dollars. One of their current promotions even involves giving anyone half off Zipcar on Election Day to help millennials get to the voting polls easier. What makes Zipcar’s marketing effective for their persona is not only their responsiveness and tone of voice, but the channels they choose to focus on, too.Goodbye CrutchesOne of HubSpot’s customer, Goodbye Crutches, actually has four buyer personas! Andy the Athlete is an active 21-35 year old who has hurt themself in a sports related injury; Gerry the Grandparent is 55-75 years old, and worries about hurting themselves; Mary the Motivated Mom is 35-55 and has a full and active life, but has to worry about taking care of a family and kids; finally, Woody the Working Dad is concerned about being able to get things done around the house despite an injury. Take a look at how these different personas have manifested themselves in their blog content:This blog post, “Woman’s Guide to Dress For Success with Leg Cast,” is clearly directed at Mary the Motivated Mom — as is the CTA about how to have a great Halloween despite an injury you see on that sidebar to the right. If you keep reading their blog, you’ll find they have a fantastic mix of content that addresses the needs of all their different buyer personas, and they have the accompanying lead-gen content to back it up.JetBlue JetBlue’s buyer persona is the low budget traveler that wants a comfortable yet affordable solution to flying. They are typically a younger audience that likes to be reached through social media channels and, similar to Zipcar, expects quick responses from the company. That audience comes through in their marketing in the medium they use (Twitter, in this instance), the words they use (flying like a “boss”), and even the name of the Twitter handle (@JetBlueCheeps).JetBlue doesn’t just rely on social media to reach their audience, either. They’re leveraging email marketing to keep those “like a boss” campaign multi-channel!Procter & GambleProcter & Gamble produces thousands of products for households, so one of their target personas is, naturally, the person in charge of buying these items. Often this turns into a parent — particularly a mom — that P&G is trying to reach with their marketing. They did a particularly spectacular job with their 2012 Olympics campaign. Take a look, and maybe grab a tissue.In their “Raising an Olympian” campaign, P&G takes a look at the mother’s role in the olympian’s life, whether that’s bringing their child to practice early in the morning or helping them heal from sports injuries. P&G focuses the story more on the mother’s role in her child’s success, tugging on the heart strings of anyone who watches. Especially any mom who has ever gotten up at 5AM to rush their kid to practice. The ads end with “P&G: A proud sponsor of mothers” keeping the focus in the ad on their target persona — the mom who’s in charge of buying the household supplies.Want more inspiration? Learn about the things great marketers do every day in service of things like their buyer personas.center_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Buyer Personaslast_img read more

6 Lessons to Help You Launch a Product Like Apple

first_img Product Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack For new product marketers out there looking to make a splash, I thought it might be worth examining the company that is arguably the best in the world when it comes to launching new products, to see how they do it. I’m talking about Apple, which yesterday held a long-awaited and widely covered event in San Francisco to announce two new iPhone models, the iPhone 5S and the iPhone 5C.As usual with Apple, this was an event that went off pretty much perfectly, ran for 90 minutes, and was capped off with a concert by Elvis Costello.What lessons can we learn? Here are six things that spring to mind.Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse.Then rehearse some more. The thing about Apple events is that they are perfectly scripted, everyone hits their marks, and the show begins and ends exactly on time. And the whole thing feels effortless. How do they do it? They practice. A lot. And they start early. If you’re holding an event to introduce a new product, start doing walk-throughs a week before the big day. Do it over and over again, until you can do it in your sleep.Have a story.You can’t just roll out a product. You need to attach that product to a bigger story.What’s Apple’s story? Apple CEO Tim Cook likes to say that Apple isn’t trying to make the most products — it just wants to make the best product it can possibly make. Yesterday’s announcement fit that story. Apple is pushing the iPhone ahead with the 5S model, which is the most advanced phone yet from Apple. And while the 5C is a less expensive model, it’s by no means cheap — it will cost more than $500 without a contract. The signal from Apple is that the company has no desire to play in the low end of the market, and is happy to focus on the premium end of the market. Think BMW rather than Volkswagen. Focus on customers, not just prospects.The iPhone 5C may be aimed at new customers — people who have never bought an iPhone before. But the 5S is made for Apple loyalists, the folks who buy every new product from Apple, just because. For those customers, Apple just needs to add a few incremental improvements. A while ago it was Siri. This year’s new toy is a fingerprint sensor to unlock the phone, and a new, faster chip. Oh, and a model that comes in gold. Hardcore Apple fans are already saying the first two features (the sensor and the new processor) will be enough to make them upgrade. I’d guess a lot will buy the gold model so that everyone will know they’ve got the new one, not the old iPhone 5. Try to build some suspense.This is not so easy to do when you’re a tiny company and nobody cares what you’re announcing. Guess what? It’s also tough for Apple. Weeks before the announcement everybody pretty much knew what Apple was going to announce. Nevertheless, Apple kept silent. It didn’t address any rumors. When you’re in the weeks leading up to a big announcement, you need to do the same. Clamp down on leaks. No hints on Twitter! Even though a lot of rumors had been swirling, when Apple CEO Tim Cook walked on stage, nobody knew for certain what he was going to announce. That was good enough. Be ready to deliver more information on the product via your website.This sounds obvious, and I suppose it is, but as soon as Apple finished its event, its website was running more detailed information about the new products. The Apple homepage was taken over by full-page adverts for the new phones, with simple, high-impact images and quick links to a video and pages where you could learn more about the products.  Originally published Sep 11, 2013 11:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017center_img Topics: Keep it simple.One thing that Apple always does well is that the company’s marketers don’t get caught up in techie jargon, speeds and feeds, and technical specs. With the iPhone 5S, the deal is this: It’s twice as fast (as the iPhone 5), and has a fingerprint sensor. I doubt you’ll really see everything happening twice as fast, but they’re talking about the phone’s primary processors, which processes data in 64-bit chunks rather than 32-bit chunks (there’s the techie stuff) and thus is twice as fast as the chip in the previous iPhone. Techies care, but for regular folks, Apple keeps it simple: Twice as fast, and has a fingerprint sensor. Of course, Apple also benefits from having a rabid fan base that’s been loyal to the company for nearly 40 years and will buy anything Apple makes. Most of us aren’t ever going to have a fan base like that. Nevertheless, there’s plenty we can learn from Apple.Image credit: shawncampbelllast_img read more