Man City to ‘go all the way to the final’ with this XI against Barca?

first_imgToure may be missing but there is good news in that James Milner is fit to play.PELLEGRINI: James Milner is 100% fit #MCFCB— Manchester City FC (@MCFC) February 23, 2015A 5-0 demolition of Newcastle coupled with good European wins this season see the players in confident mood, according to striker Sergio Aguero, who along with David Silva was superb against the Magpies.LIONEL MESSI DID NOT TELL LUIS ENRIQUE TO SIGN SERGIO AGUERO“When many thought we were down and out in this competition, we defeated Bayern and then Roma in Italy,” Aguero told the club website.“That shows we are growing as a European force and we can do it again,” he added, while £28m January signing Wilfried Bony said it would be a dream to start to his City career if he plays against Barca after making his debut at the weekend.Do you agree with the line-up above and with Toure’s view that if the club are able to overcome the Spanish giants, a place in the final is a real possibility?talkSPORT comes live from the Etihad tonight so for live commentary of Man City v Barcelona listen here from 7pm. Man City v Barcelona is live on talkSPORT on Tuesday 24 February from 7pm.Once again Man City face Barcelona in the Champions League last 16, though this time the belief from both camps is that Manuel Pellegrini’s side are stronger than last year.Barcelona midfield maestro Andres Iniesta certainly thinks so, insisting the players signed by City since the 4-1 aggregate defeat have made them stronger.“Against these rivals and taking into account that we are in the Champions League qualifying stage, as it was last year, it’s these details that could make the difference,” he explained to the tournament’s automotive sponsors, Nissan.‘WE’RE READY FOR BARCA!’ MAN CITY STAR IN CONFIDENT MOODYaya Toure, suspended for the match at the Etihad, has glory in his sights and feels a win over two legs here could see them go all the way to Berlin.“If we manage to beat Barcelona we can go all the way to the final,” he said.SUAREZ RETURNS TO ENGLAND: BARCA HAVE A LEADER IN FORMER LIVERPOOL ACEPossible Man City XI: 1 1 Wilfried Bony, James Milner and Sergio Aguero train last_img read more

How to Overcome Student Objections to Evolution

first_imgBiology teachers face increasing difficulty from students coming into class with bad feelings about evolution (11/30/2005, 08/30/2005).  Many pro-evolution teachers will be attracted to methods that have a demonstrable track record of relieving tensions and facilitating the process of getting students to accept Darwin’s theory.  David Sloan Wilson (Binghamton U, NY) has just the thing.  Writing in PLoS Biology,1 he introduced Evolution for Everyone, or EvoS for short, with the upbeat title, “Evolution for Everyone: How to Increase Acceptance of, Interest in, and Knowledge about Evolution” (compare 11/01/2005 entry about another suggested method)  First, the bad news that made this initiative necessary:Evolution is famously controversial, despite being as well established as any scientific theory.  Most people are familiar with the dismal statistics, showing how a large fraction of Americans at all educational levels do not accept the theory of evolution, how efforts to teach evolution often fail to have an impact, and how constant vigilance is required to keep evolution in the public school curriculum.  Even worse, most people who do accept the theory of evolution don’t relate it to matters of importance in their own lives.  There appear to be two walls of resistance, one denying the theory altogether and the other denying its relevance to human affairs.   (Emphasis added in all quotes.)Wilson impresses the reader right off the bat with statistics from tests of the EvoS method at Binghamton University, showing a pronounced shift toward acceptance of evolution among students, regardless of religious background, familiarity with the theory, or political persuasion.  How did he do it?  Wilson describes the multi-pronged approach as focusing on teaching “a sequence of ideas” and helping students “catch the evolution bug.”  From the long article, a few highlights stand out.    For one thing, EvoS does not shy away from controversy, but embraces it as a teaching opportunity.  When students feel threatened by evolution, for instance, the teacher delves right in.  “Threatening ideas are like other threats,” Wilson says; “the first impulse is to run away or attack them.  Make the same ideas alluring, and our first impulse is to embrace them and make them our own.”  OK, so while the teacher is trying to explain how evolution explains the world and helps provide ways to improve the future, a student objects that evolution has produced a lot of bad social policies.  Now what?  Don’t dodge the question:This requires a discussion of past threatening associations, even before the theory is presented.  Evolution has been associated with immorality, determinism, and social policies ranging from eugenics to genocide.  It has been used to justify racism and sexism. All of these negative associations must be first acknowledged and then challenged.  It’s not as if the world was a nice place before Darwin and then became mean on the basis of his theory.  Before Darwin, religious and other justifications were used to commit the same acts, as when the American colonists used the principle of divine right to dispossess Native Americans, and men claimed that women were designed by “God and Nature” for domestic servitude.  These beliefs are patently self-serving and it should surprise no one that an authoritative scientific theory would be pressed into the same kind of service.  It is the job of intellectuals to see through such arguments and not be taken in by them.  Moreover, the deep philosophical issues associated with topics such as morality, determinism, and social equality are increasingly being approached from a modern evolutionary perspective and are among the topics to be discussed in the course.  When these issues are discussed at the beginning of the course, students put their own threatening associations with evolution on hold and become curious to know how a subject that they associate with science (evolution) can shed light on a subject that they associate with the humanities (philosophy).  Students who indicate exceptional interest are referred to books that are both authoritative and accessible, such as Daniel Dennett’s Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.Wilson teaches evolution not as a choice between theology or materialism, but a third way: a process of change, in which the material organism “becomes a kind of living clay that can be molded by environmental forces that influence survival and reproduction.”  This, he explains, enables evolutionary theory to make predictions about how organisms and populations adapt to their surroundings.    Wilson encourages discussion groups.  As another example of facing a controversial topic head-on, he divides students into groups to discuss infanticide:Choosing the subject of infanticide, I say that superficially it might seem that organisms would never evolve to kill their own offspring, but with a little thought the students might be able to identify situations in which infanticide is biologically adaptive for the parents.  I ask them to form small groups by turning to their neighbors to discuss the subject for five minutes and to list their predictions on a piece of paper.    After the lists are collected, I ask the students for some of their predictions to list in front of the whole class.  They are eager to talk, and reliably identify the three major adaptive contexts of infanticide: lack of resources, poor offspring quality, and uncertain paternity, along with less likely possibilities, such as population regulation, that can be set aside for future discussion.  I conclude by attempting to convey the simple but profound message of the exercise: How can they, mere undergraduate students, who know almost nothing about evolution and (one hopes) know nothing at all about infanticide, so easily deduce the major hypotheses that are in fact employed in the study of infanticide for organisms as diverse as plants, insects, and mammals?  That is just one example of the power of thinking on the basis of adaptation and natural selection.Lest one think this is just talking about birds and bees, Wilson makes it clear that a key feature of EvoS is encouraging students to see human beings as integrally involved in the evolutionary process:One of the biggest tactical errors in teaching evolution is to avoid discussing humans or to restrict discussion to remote topics such as human origins.  The question of how we arose from the apes is fascinating and important, but is only one of any number of questions that can be asked about humans from an evolutionary perspective—including infanticide.  If evolutionary theory can make sense of this subject for organisms as diverse as plants, insects, and mammals, what about us?  If we operate by different rules than all other creatures for this and other subjects, why should this be so?  The most common answer to this question is “learning and culture,” but what exactly are these things?  Do they exist apart from evolution, or do they themselves need to be explained from an evolutionary perspective?  I raise these issues early in the course, not to answer them, but to emphasize how much is “on the table” as part of the course.Wilson says that for millennia, people have considered humankind categorically different from other creatures in their mental, moral and aesthetic abilities.  “We are obviously unique in some respects,” he acknowledges, “but in exactly what way needs to be completely rethought.”  Students are encouraged to view human infanticide along the same lines as they did for animals, and to do the same for human warfare, learning, and culture – all of which the teacher can demonstrate are present in varying degrees in the natural world.    Such directness might seem worrisome to a biology teacher.  Wilson reassures the reader that, in practice, the method actually produces compliant students:It might seem that boldly discussing subjects such as human infanticide (which the students quickly connect to the contemporary issue of abortion), along with other topics such as sex differences and homosexuality later in the course, is the ultimate in political incorrectness.  However, I have taught this material for many years in prior courses without a single complaint, and the assessment of “Evolution for Everyone” demonstrates an overwhelmingly positive response across the religious and political spectrum.  Clearly, there is a way to proceed that arouses intense interest without animosity or moral outrage.  In the case of infanticide, evolutionary theory doesn’t say that it’s right—it is used to make an informed guess about when it occurs.  All of the students want to know if the guess proves to be correct for humans in addition to other creatures, regardless of their moral stance on abortion.  Moreover, they see that the information can be useful for addressing the problem, whatever particular solution they have in mind.  The importance of culture is not denied, but becomes part of the evolutionary framework rather than a vaguely articulated alternative.  The picture that emerges makes sense of cases of infanticide that appear periodically in the news (typically young women with few resources and under the influence of a male partner who is not the father) and that previously seemed inexplicable.  Nearly everyone values this kind of understanding and thinks that it can be put to positive use, as demonstrated by the quantitative assessment. More generally, including humans along with the rest of life vastly increases students’ interest in evolution and acceptance to the degree that it seems to lead to understanding and improvement of the human condition.Wilson continues; evolutionary changes are not always adaptive, nor are they always benign.  “Fitness is a relative and local concept,” he explains.  “It doesn’t matter how well an organism survives and reproduces, only that it does so better than other organisms in its vicinity.”  Overall, the teacher presents evolution as practical for explaining the observations without making any moral judgments.  But then, what about morality?  That’s part of our evolution, too, as more group discussion helps the students realize:If behaviors regarded as immoral in human terms are adaptive and “natural,” then aren’t all the fears about evolution justified?  No—because behaviors that are regarded as moral in human terms are also adaptive and “natural” under the right circumstances, which can be illustrated with the following exercise of the sort suggested by Nelson and Alters.  First, the class is asked to list the behaviors that they associate with morality.  The most common items include altruism, honesty, love, charity, sacrifice, loyalty, bravery, and so on.  Then they are asked to list behaviors that they associate with immorality, and respond with opposite items such as selfishness, deceit, hatred, miserliness, and cowardice.  With these lists in mind, the students are asked three questions: (1) What would happen if you put a single moral individual and a single immoral individual together on a desert island?  (The students quickly conclude that the moral individual would become shark food within days.)  (2) What would happen if you put a group of moral individuals on one island and a group of immoral individuals on another island?  (The students are equally quick to conclude that the moral group would work together to escape the island or turn it into a little utopia, while the immoral group would self-destruct.)  (3) What would happen if you allow one immoral individual to paddle over to Virtue Island?  (The answer to this question is complex because it is a messy combination of the straightforward answers to the first two questions.)The students learn, then, that situational ethics pop right out of evolutionary theory.  “This exercise is simple and entertaining,” he says, “but profound in its implications.  It shows that most of the traits associated with human morality can be biologically adaptive.”  Students are assured that a quasi-traditional morality, including altruism and honesty (except for the occasional freeloader or non-cooperator) is a natural consequence of natural selection within groups.  Alas, the teacher must admit that group selection can lead to “a disturbing corollary.  Can’t behaviors that count as moral within groups be used for immoral purposes among groups?  The answer to this question is ‘yes,’ which means that moral conduct among groups is a different and more difficult evolutionary problem to solve than moral conduct within groups.”  By this time, students understand that scientists should one day be able to figure this out by such a useful, predictive theory as natural selection.The important point is that evolutionary theory can potentially explain the evolution of behaviors associated with morality and immorality.  This is vastly different than the usual portrayal of evolution as a theory that explains immorality but leaves morality unaccounted for.  The average student is well aware that immoral behaviors usually benefit the actor, that human groups have a disturbing tendency to confine moral conduct to their own members, and so on.  When evolutionary theory is presented as a framework for understanding these patterns in all their complexity, including the good, the bad, the beautiful, and the ugly, it is perceived as a tool for understanding that can be used for positive ends, rather than as a threat.So you see, students, evolutionary theory should not be threatening.  It’s just a tool, a neutral way of looking at the natural world (including ourselves), so that we can explain a wide variety of observations that before Darwin seemed inexplicable.  It’s time to get into the heavy stuff:At this point (about mid-semester), the students are told that they have acquired a conceptual framework that can be used to study virtually any subject in biology and human affairs, which will be used to study particular topics for the rest of the semester.  There is great flexibility in the topics that can be chosen, which is facilitated by having the students read, rather than a textbook, well-chosen articles from the primary scientific literature.(It can be safely assumed that Wilson does not have in mind sources like Of Pandas and People).  The enlightened student is now ready to think about Darwinian medicine, and topics as diverse as “violence, sexuality, personality, and culture” to see what insights evolutionary thinking can provide.  “They realize that they have started to approach the study of humans in the way that evolutionary biologists approach the rest of life, with a common language that can be spoken across many domains of knowledge.”  They have arrived.    One more thing: the student gets to choose his or her own topic and write it up in evolutionary terms.  Suggestions: “adoption, alcoholism, attractiveness, body piercing, depression, eating disorders, fashion, fear, hand dominance, homosexuality, marriage, play, sexual jealousy, sibling rivalry, social roles, suicide, video games, and yawning.”  As Dobzhansky famously remarked, “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.”To summarize, “Evolution for Everyone” works by establishing a general conceptual framework through a sequence of ideas.  The framework is then strengthened and consolidated by applying it to a number of specific topics.  Virtually all students respond to the class because they cease to be threatened by evolutionary theory and begin to perceive it as a powerful way to understand and improve the world.  Once the theory becomes alluring, the only remaining obstacle to learning is the intrinsic difficulty of the subject.  That, it turns out, is not much of an obstacle either.  Almost anyone can master the basic principles of evolution and incorporate them into their own thinking, providing both a foundation and an incentive to advance their knowledge in subsequent courses.Speaking of subsequent courses, Wilson is thinking way outside the box of high school or college biology.  First, he encourages students who have “caught the evolution bug” to spread their newfound interests into a campus-wide program.  The anthropology, psychology, economics and philosophy departments, with help from the administration, can all merge their evolutionary ideas into a cohesive picture, transcending traditional disciplinary boundaries.  Special seminars can be held.  Students can earn special EvoS certificates by completing required courses.  Faculty advisors can counsel each student to “develop a curriculum tailored to his or her interests from the menu of offerings.”    One last obstacle: other faculty.  Though most of them already ridicule creationism, Wilson contends that most of them don’t yet see the relevance of evolution to their disciplines.  His plan, therefore, includes faculty training as well as student training, so that the university becomes “a single intellectual community.” In many ways, this type of experience approaches the ideal of a liberal arts education.  It should be especially appealing to small colleges that have difficulty achieving a critical mass in single subject areas.  Evolutionary theory is not the only common language, but it is a very good one that will eventually become part of the normal discourse for all subject areas relevant to human affairs and the natural world.That’s “Evolution for Everyone” – one big, happy campus.1David Sloan Wilson, “Evolution for Everyone: How to Increase Acceptance of, Interest in, and Knowledge about Evolution,” Public Library of Science, Biology, Volume 3 | Issue 12 | December 2005.In James Clavell’s chilling tale The Children’s Story, (a must read before continuing this commentary), the New Teacher comes to class after the conquest (presumably a communist takeover).  She takes a frightened group of children and calms them into becoming compliant, trusting citizens.  In just 23 minutes, she has gently and effectively dismantled their patriotism, their faith, their family loyalty and their most cherished beliefs before they even know what hit them.  A well-trained, master manipulator, she is not a teacher: she is a facilitator, a guarantor of compliance with the new regime, an electrician who has cut off power from the resistance.  She is just as much an arm of the State as the soldier on the battlefield, and perhaps even more effective.  This is not education.  It is indoctrination with finesse.    David Sloan Wilson is talking about college students, not children.  They are a more difficult lot to indoctrinate, but the parallels with the New Teacher are striking.  Consider a few:Teach only one side.  Wilson’s method depends on carefully controlling what the students hear.  The New Teacher’s success depended on first removing Miss Worden, the Old Teacher, before she could say anything.  A debate with Miss Worden might have led to very unacceptable results, so it was essential to dispense with her quickly and quietly.  With EvoS, unlike with Verhey’s inoculation technique (11/01/2005), which at least gave the students a carefully measured taste of a contrary viewpoint, Wilson acknowledges that evolution is “famously controversial” but gives voice only to the Darwinist propaganda.  This is indoctrination by definition.  He prescribes “well-chosen articles from the primary scientific literature” (read: DODO, for Darwin-only, Darwin-only).  Notice his favorite recommended reading: Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, in which Daniel Dennett advocated putting creationists in zoos, or otherwise eliminating them, since they are a threat to the regime.Eliminate the negative.  The New Teacher knew that the children were afraid and had heard bad things about the conquerors, so she was quick to allay their fears by distraction – singing, complimenting the children, disarming them with friendliness, and other tactics – while sidestepping the evils her regime was doing in the background.  Similarly, Wilson’s first step is to confront the students’ fears about the implications of evolutionary philosophy (including eugenics and genocide) by soft-pedaling the history and implying “we’re all in this together.”  Why look, Christians have done many bad things, too.  It’s not like the world was a nice place before Darwin came along.  EvoS tries to disconnect evolution from its historic disastrous consequences by selling it as only a neutral, objective, unbiased, useful, scientific, explanatory tool.  Sure, some people might misuse it, but that doesn’t make it bad now, does it children?Euphemize.  Johnny’s daddy didn’t believe “bad” things, just “wrong” things.  Daddy and Miss Worden were not going to concentration camps (or worse), just to “school” (remember how the communists called this “re-education”?  A little brainwashing, a little torture, some mind-altering drugs – all very effective).  EvoS helps us understand “morality”.  It helps us understand how we are all a part of nature.  It helps us improve the human condition.  The new regime is nothing to be afraid of; why, it is just “a tool for understanding that can be used for positive ends, rather than as a threat.”Confront.  The New Teacher stops them in the middle of the pledge and asks them, what does it mean?  What does pledge mean?  What does allegiance mean?  Those are good questions, but she didn’t define them like Red Skelton did in a famous monologue.  She asked the questions not to answer them, but to raise doubts about what they had been taught.  Wilson confronts the students with questions about abortion and infanticide, not to make them think critically, but to draw them into his net: it’s all about evolution.  Evolution explains infanticide.  Evolution explains abortion.  Evolution explains yawning.  Evolution explains everything.Disarm.  The New Teacher did not charge through the door as the ogre or beast the children feared; she was dressed neatly, smiled, and greeted them by name.  She sang them a song.  She sympathized with their fears.  She gave them candy, demonstrating that prayers to “Our Leader” are legitimate prayers, but only if a human being actually answers.  Under the sweet surface was a hideous assault on their freedoms and values.  Similarly, Wilson’s “Virtue Island” game is a subtle form of mind control.  It simultaneously oversimplifies the issue of morality and teaches moral relativism, while denying any opportunity for rebuttal.  EvoS keeps the tone happy and positive by utilizing discussion groups, giving the students games to play, and rewarding compliant students with certificates for completing the brainwashing. Dismantle.  Clavell’s schoolchildren fondled their little pieces of the flag, oblivious to what The New Teacher had done in cutting it up and giving them each a piece of it.  Then, amidst shrieks of excitement, the children tossed the flagpole out the window with their own hands.  Wilson starts by saluting virtue and pledging allegiance to morality, but then he proceeds to cut it up and hand out the pieces by getting the students to slowly agree that it, too, is a product of evolution.  Since people evolved – since everything evolved – then, well, morality evolved, too.  Isn’t evolution a wonderful and powerful theory?Think Big.  At 9:23, the New Teacher “was warmed … by the thought that throughout the school and throughout the land all children, all men and all women were being taught with the same faith, with variations of the same procedures.  Each according to his age group.  Each according to his need.”  Utilizing techniques appropriate for college students, EvoS promulgates “the same faith” that children and adults will get.  While focusing in this article on the college age group, Wilson understands the big agenda of the regime.  He sees beyond EvoS to the entire intellectual program of the university, and of the world.  Evolution is to become the campus-wide “common language” the “conceptual framework” for the liberal arts and humanities, the lens through which all knowledge will be sifted.  Debate won’t have a chance, because the Ministry of Truth will control the dictionary and the history textbook.  There will be no controversy, for everyone will have completed the required brainwashing sessions, from freshmen to faculty.  It will be… Utopia.If you were swayed by David Sloan Wilson’s article, and thought it sounded like a nice program, there might still be hope, but it will require desperate measures.  Brainwashing is a serious mental disorder.  Undoing its effects requires rescue and deprogramming.  The stakes in this intellectual takeover that the Darwinists are advocating could not be higher.  Wilson, PLoS Biology, the NCSE, and Big Science in general have their sights set on nothing less than totalitarian rule.  It is not a matter of debating peers, or winning in the free marketplace of ideas.  This is an agenda for wage and price controls, for one-party rule, and for dictatorial power over the means of idea production.  John Stuart Mill, the atheist-empiricist utilitarian philosopher (a friend of Darwin), the father of the “open marketplace of ideas,” would be appalled.  Pay him no mind; he was just a product of evolution, too, and his ideas have no external validity apart from evolution.  Evolution is all; all is evolution.    Any view trying to encompass morality, philosophy, religion, anthropology, psychology, economics, history, sexual ethics, culture, eating disorders, video games and even yawning has long ceased to be just a biological theory.  Evolution for Everyone is a complete and total world view: “a powerful way to understand and improve the world” including “deep philosophical issues associated with topics such as morality, determinism, and social equality.”  Like a communist ideal State, it is the machine of history.  Students are expendable; they must be molded into obedient pawns of the regime.    The first step in deprogramming is to realize you’ve been had.  If you still have some control of your rational faculties, consider that this evolutionary indoctrination program falsifies itself.  Wilson talks about morality, but makes morality a by-product of a mindless, relativistic, unguided process that succeeds by squashing the unfit.  What is “right” or “wrong” in such a world?  Obviously, it could be anything, including cruelty or genocide.  There is no such thing as a “Virtue Island.”  He cannot define groups of moral and immoral people without borrowing vocabulary from a religion or philosophy that believes in absolutes.  In philosophical dualism or pantheism, yin and yang are morally indistinguishable.  Moral categories are in the eye of the beholder.  The immoral group can call itself the moral group without any guilt or contradiction, because evolution is what evolution does.  Whatever it does is “good,” whatever that means.Richard Weikart in From Darwin to Hitler underscored the chilling point that Hitler sincerely believed he was doing the right thing.  He was not amoral; he did what he did from a deeply held conviction based on what he believed evolutionary ethics demanded (and remember, he got willing compliance from the intellectual leaders and scientists of his day—see 04/07/2005).  Hitler’s views are disdained by evolutionists today – but on what basis?  If they say Hitler was “wrong” to murder 11 million people, challenge them to define “wrong” without reference to absolute standards of morality.  It cannot be done.  Weikart explains, “Darwinism provided no basis to consider some forms of morality “better” than any other, or for that matter, it gave no reason to think that morality was “better” in any real sense than immorality” (p. 229).    Likewise, Wilson cannot claim moral equivalence between the evils committed by Christians and Darwinists.  It is undeniable that so-called “Christians” have committed atrocities.  For one thing, however, the differences in scale are mind-boggling (see 11/30/2005 and also the January 2006 issue of National Geographic which, although underreporting communist democides by over 50%, still shows Darwin-inspired communism and Nazism outstripping any religious-inspired murders by orders of magnitude).  The body counts simply cannot be compared.  Furthermore, it is impossible to derive genocide or other moral evils from the teachings of Jesus Christ, who taught that we should love one another and turn the other cheek and pray for those who persecute us.  There is, by contrast, a very logical, plausible line of reasoning from the premise of survival of the fittest to a Hitler or Stalin.  This is important to ponder for year 2006.  Don’t think for a minute that the atrocities inherent in Darwin-inspired politics were exhausted in the 20th century.The EvoS talk about morality, therefore, is self-defeating and self-refuting.  What else do you need to know about Wilson’s utopian vision?  How about the way EvoS shields the students’ eyes from all the controversies between Darwinists?  EvoS espouses the game-theoretic, environmental approach to evolutionary theory when other ardent Darwinians would disagree strongly with it on numerous points (except for the mantra, “evolution is a fact”).  Would you trust any teacher who takes a tattered hodgepodge of chopped-up guts and blood and toxin and packages it neatly to sell as a delicious sausage that will improve your health?  Wilson is all bluffing and no credibility.  You have been taken in by a cult.  It’s a dangerous cult.  It is Darwin’s Dangerous Idea.  If you listen to the New Teacher and the regime she represents, realize that life will be sweet only as long as you comply.  Try to disagree with them after they have achieved all power, and they will put you in the zoo.  That’s if you are one of the lucky ones.    We can’t afford to be little Johnnys with only a nebulous “hate” that somehow gives us “strength” in the face of some perceived threat we don’t understand but have been told to fear.  As Clavell showed, it was only a matter of time before Johnny succumbed.  If the regime succeeds in rewriting history, defining terms and violating our rationality, as Orwell showed, it’s only a matter of time before Winston acquiesced and confessed, from his heart, that he loved Big Brother.  Sir Francis Bacon said, knowledge is power.  Know your history.  Know your science.  Understand philosophy, theology, the history of ideas, and the art of reasoning.  Practice the skill of baloney detecting.  Thankfully, the Darwin Borg has not yet become powerful enough to assimilate by physical coercion; this means that, so far, only weak minds are susceptible.  Till then, knowledge is the best defense against a seemingly overwhelming force that is turning brainwashing into a fine art.(Visited 110 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

More to Thank God for in Your Brain

first_img(Visited 56 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 News about the most complex arrangement of matter in the known universe.Hit that curveball: The apparent sudden drop in a well-executed curveball pitch is a matter of output from an algorithm in your brain. If you understand how your body’s GPS works, Science Daily explains, you can avoid being fooled. Did you know you have a GPS system? Yes. Even though it can be tricked by a curveball, its algorithm is quite robust. “This study shows that the solutions that the brain finds for dealing with imperfect information often match optimal solutions that engineers have come up with for similar problems, like your phone’s GPS,” the article concludes.Smell that GPS: Speaking of GPS, the analogy came up in another Science Daily article. The long title sums it up: “Humans’ built-in GPS is our 3-D sense of smell: Like homing pigeons, humans have a nose for navigation because our brains are wired to convert smells into spatial information.” A dramatic animation of the sense of smell, along with other amazing stories of animal navigation, are featured in Illustra Media’s new film, Living Waters: Intelligent Design in the Oceans of the Earth.Social GPS: A “social map” of sorts has been found in the hippocampus, Science Daily says. Researchers at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine found activity in that brain region that “tracks relationships, intimacy and hierarchy within a kind of ‘social map’,” the article says. This capability to map people to  places is apparently shared with other mammals, Science Magazine says, although no research work on this subject has yet been done by fat, big-mouthed river horses on the Hippo Campus.Value computation: PLoS Biology has a technical paper about “neuroeconomics”— the way perceptions of value are represented in the brain. It’s an “embarrassment of riches,” the title suggests. The two authors discuss another recent paper that evaluates the role of two brain areas in this function that underlies how we make rational choices.  That work “provides valuable insight into the complexity of value computation, and helps set the agenda for future work in this area.”Facial recognition: “How does the brain recognize faces from minimal information?” Science Daily asks. Your fast computing system is part of the answer. “Our brain recognizes objects within milliseconds, even if it only receives rudimentary visual information,” the article begins. “Researchers believe that reliable and fast recognition works because the brain is constantly making predictions about objects in the field of view and is comparing these with incoming information.” The article describes how “predictive coding” works.Sorting illusions from reality: The brain can be fooled, as shown by optical illusions. To make sense of the world, the brain has to solve problems “by inferring what is the most likely cause of any given image on your retina, based on knowledge or experience,” Science Daily says. This ability is shared by other mammals, as experiments on nonhuman primates show. Chimpanzees, however, have never been observed to perform experiments on humans to uncover the workings of their neural circuits for the sheer pleasure of understanding how something works.Complexity of thought:  A controversial new theory of thought by Swedish neuroscientists was announced on Science Daily. They question the “prevailing doctrine” that thinking is simple. Known as “sparse coding,” the orthodoxy has been that “the brain has a system to maintain brain activity at the lowest possible level while retaining function.” The number of neurons involved in thinking, and the complexity of their interconnections when we take in information from sensations, is much more widespread than currently believed.Memory locus: Neuroscientists continue to try to understand where memories are stored. Research reported on Science Daily is focusing on neurons in the medial temporal lobe as the location where changes take place in response to learning.  But since no one can “see” a memory by looking at neurons firing, “the underpinnings of episodic memory formation is a central problem in neuroscience” that is bound to remain challenging.Calcium memory: We encountered calcium in yesterday’s entry about the “fight or flight” response. Another article, this one in PLoS Biology, introduces calcium as a key component in memory.Every fact or task that we remember—the shape of the utensil we call a fork, the appropriate hand-motion needed to beat egg whites until fluffy, or the sequential steps involved in baking a cake—must be encoded by long-lasting changes in the way that our neurons function and in the strength with which they connect and communicate to each other. Current experimental evidence has led neuroscientists to propose that learning elicits a particular pattern of electrical activity in neurons, which can in turn induce changes in their morphology, their responsiveness to incoming signals, the expression of their genes, and the strength of their connection to other neurons.These changes are the cellular counterpart of what we think of as memory. However, neuroscientists have not found many mechanisms by which a neuron can store information relative to its previous activity. In a study just published in PLOS Biology, Friedrich Johenning, Anne-Kathrin Theis, Dietmar Schmitz, Sten Rüdiger, and colleagues provide evidence that specific electrical activity within neurons induces a long-lasting change in the amplitude of transitory increases of calcium ion concentration (Ca2+ transients) inside dendritic spines—the specialized protrusions of the dendrites of a neuron, which receive input from other neurons via synapses.The Ca2+ ion is a fundamental player in the transformation of electrical to biochemical activity within neurons.Synthesizing the senses: How does the brain combine information from different senses? That’s what PhysOrg wants to know. We take in visual information from two eyes, and auditory information from two ears. That information needs to be combined into a meaningful whole. For vision, that presents a problem called binocular rivalry. “Musicians are ideal subjects for studying the congruence between abstract visual representations because they are familiar with symbolic musical notation, and can therefore experience melodic structure through both sound and vision,” Korean researchers say, so they used musicians in experiments on perception with audiovisual information. “Taken together, these results demonstrate robust audiovisual interaction based on high-level, symbolic representations and its predictive influence on perceptual dynamics during binocular rivalry,” they found.Update 7/07/15: Researchers at Northwestern University have found “the organization of the human brain to be nearly ideal” for information processing. Dmitri Krioukov explains the optimal organization, considering the tradeoffs involved:“An optimal net­work in the brain would have the smallest number of con­nec­tions pos­sible, to min­i­mize cost, and at the same time it would have max­imum navigability—that is, the most direct path­ways for routing sig­nals from any pos­sible source to any pos­sible des­ti­na­tion,” says Kri­oukov. It’s a bal­ance, he explains, raising and low­ering his hands to indi­cate a scale. The study presents a new strategy to find the con­nec­tions that achieve that bal­ance or, as he puts it, “the sweet spot.”The press release repeatedly gives evolution the credit: “Have you ever won­dered why the human brain evolved the way it did?” the article begins. It also gives a historically debunked orthogenetic view of evolution: “The find­ings rep­re­sent more than a con­fir­ma­tion of our evo­lu­tionary progress.” Krioukov ascribes the match between actual brain and theoretical ideal as an evolutionary product: “That means the brain was evo­lu­tion­arily designed to be very, very close to what our algo­rithm shows.” No clarification is provided on how blind, unguided processes correlate to the oxymoron “evolutionarily designed.”Most of these articles had any use for Darwinian thinking (how’s that for an oxymoron: “Darwinian thinking”). Only the last (Update) article spoke nonsense about “evolutionary design”—one of the worst oxymorons possible (see sophoxymoroniac).Science has barely scratched the surface toward understanding the workings of the brain. Think about memory: how many terabytes, exabytes or yottabytes of information are packed inside your skull?I used to be in a marching band and took a liking to band music. Recently, I was listening to Pandora and heard a Sousa march I had not heard for probably thirty years or more. As I listened, I was amazed at how quickly it all flooded back to my mind; I was able to predict most of the next lines even before they played. In fact, had I turned off the radio, I could probably have played back most of the rest of it in my head. It would play in high fidelity, too, not like an old scratchy vinyl record. Somehow, all that information was still encoded in my brain after decades, and could be recalled instantly. Multiply that ability by all the songs you know, all the quotes you can remember, and all the audiovisual experiences you could relive from childhood as if they happened yesterday. Is it not astonishing what our brains can do?We know something about encoding information like this. Samples are taken of a complex, moving waveform, passed through an analog-to-digital converter, and represented alphanumerically on a storage medium. If the medium is not damaged, the information can be converted back into sound for playback. Our brains, though, are not hard surfaces like CD’s or computer memory. They are made up of dynamic, soft tissues—living cells—with electrical and chemical signals whizzing constantly in every direction. How can that kind of living tissue store complex experiences for instant recall decades later?And that’s just memory. Think of the predictive coding, sensory integration, abstract thinking and motor control we take for granted every day.  You may have noticed that your brain has a search engine. Can’t recall a name? You struggle for a moment to recall it, but then get distracted onto some other matter. Moments later, while you’re not even thinking about it, the name pops into your consciousness. How does that happen? How does a piano player control her fingers so fast they become a blur on the keyboard? or better yet, an organist with 10 fingers on 3 ranks of keys, and two feet on the pedals? How did Leonhard Euler perform complex mathematical derivations in his head while blind?It’s a shame we complain about the littlest trifles in life. We have been given outstanding audiovisual and computer processing equipment freely by our Creator. The design in nature, in our bodies and in our own heads is so abundantly clear, the only proper response should be gratitude, wonder, and worship.—DClast_img read more

Did corn fungicides pay in 2016?

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest As farmers around the state scouted their withering corn fields this summer, the application of fungicides seemed like a waste of money. Some are now second-guessing that decision.“I should have done a whole lot more fungicides,” said Jeremy Goyings, who farms in Paulding County. “We didn’t want to throw more money at what looked like a 100-bushel corn crop at the time, but it turns out we should have. There were a lot of excellent results with fungicides in this area. It was a little variety specific and those varieties that were more disease susceptible saw more benefit. It drives home the point that we need to be pushing harder on the fungicides on the corn. I think there is money to be made with more blanket applications. There may be years that it does not have that kind of yield benefit, but there are years where it does pay and you don’t want to miss out on it. The plant health is important. Keeping that corn alive a little longer helped capture the larger kernel size.”Jon Miller shared the same regrets in Fairfield County.“Talking to neighbors, it seems like fungicide really paid for itself this year,” Miller said. “I think we’ll probably do more fungicide next year because of how this year went. It was so dry and we didn’t see the disease but there was some yield benefit. With the later rains it might have really helped.”The problem is that the plant health benefits in corn are challenging to quantify and document, particularly when prices are low.“I have heard from some growers and field agronomists about the plant health benefits of fungicides this year. They didn’t have the disease pressure and they are seeing higher yields, but they are also seeing much higher moisture corn,” said Peter Thomison, Ohio State University Extension corn specialist. “Plant health and fungicides are a touchy issue. I have done work with this, along with plant pathologists, and it is frustrating. We have done the work for several years and not seen any benefits. Then, lo and behold, we have a year like this and we see a response. It would be nice if we knew under what conditions it worked. It is like shooting dice. You never know the year you’re going to see the benefits of these fungicides. When corn is $7 or $8 you can put it on as a risk management tool, but when corn is $3.50 it is a different story. The speculation is that the longer you keep that corn green, the more opportunity you have to extend the filling period for corn. If you kept that canopy alive longer this year it may have translated into higher yields with the rains.”last_img read more

Website Analytics — Is Anyone Else Frustrated?

first_img Web Analytics Originally published Oct 6, 2006 3:25:00 PM, updated October 20 2016 Too Many Tools To Get The Picture Below is a picture of the tabs of my browser session right now. As you can see, I have our SmallBusiness2.0 blog up; Technorati up to see who is linking to us and what our rank is; FeedBurner up to look at the number of people “subscribing” to the RSS feed; Google analytics to see how many visitors we are getting and from what geography; and Alexa up to see how we are doing relative to every other website/blog on the planet. I tend to go through the exercise of looking at all of these tools once a week prior to our weekly meeting to update the team on how the top of our funnel looks relative to previous weeks/months and I also tend look at this information during the day that I post a meaningful blog article that I think should get traction. I think all these tools are great if you are a professional blogger or are a dedicated full-time marketing analytics person, but it is pretty cumbersome to track all this stuff if it’s not a fulltime job. This is especially true for a small business where everyone in the company wears multiple hats. For those of you who have day jobs beyond report creation out there, do you feel like I do? Not Real-time Enough The other thing that frustrates me about all these tools is how they are not “real-time” enough for me. I wish Technorati updated the inbound links more often and had more real-time rankings. I wish FeedBurner showed you what was happening at the very moment versus just a daily snapshot and I also wish they updated their data at 12:01am for the previous day. I wish Google would stop the sandboxing process for new domains and I wish they would update their PageRank information (shown in the Google toolbar) more often. I wish Alexa would show better data on what is happening in the last week and rankings in real-time for smaller sites. For those of you who use these tools, do you have the same wish-list as I do? GoogleTrends for My Small Business I’m not sure if you have had a chance to check out Google Trends, but I think it is rather addictive. My only issue with it is it does not work at a company level (unless you are a massive company) and it does not allow you to put in custom events to show how your marketing activities correlate with traffic. For those of you addicted to GoogleTrends, do you agree? — Brian Halligan Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Topics:last_img read more

The 12-Step Social Media Program for Traditional Marketers

first_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 Originally published Jun 24, 2009 8:45:00 AM, updated March 21 2013 When I wrote about the need for a social network like Twitter – several years before Twitter was conceived – I never thought that my days would be filled teaching veteran marketers how to build social media service offerings. Based on my daily interactions with marketing agencies, I believe we’ve finally reached the point where convincing companies that they need to be using social media to build awareness, audiences, traffic and leads is almost over.Now it’s about being able to speak to them in terms they understand (rather than in terms our social media peers understand), to explain why a social media strategy is absolutely necessary.A new e-book from Channel V Media (a HubSpot customer and partner) lays out a good plan for agencies and companies trying to develop a social media plan.They’ve spelled out 12 key things you must consider when developing a social media program for your business.It’s a good handbook for in-house marketers, as well as agencies, who are still trying to figure out how to replace their piece-meal campaign-after-campaign approach with a full-blown social media program.Here’s the 12 Steps:Audience Identification. If you know who your audience is, you’re already one step ahead of the game. The next step is to figure out where they interact online.Platform Development & Design. Figuring out how to engage and interact with this audience.Brand Campaign Integration. It’s possible for a social media program to piggyback off a good brand campaign, but it has to be transformed into its cooler younger brother.Content Creation/Coordination. You must create a consistent message.Goal Mapping. In other words, how do you measure your success? Is it brand mentions? Traffic? Email sign ups? Leads? Sales? Brand Identity. Everyone that is engaging via social media on your team must understand your goals and messaging.Audience Attraction. Larger brands like to start spreading the word of their new, fancy and glossy initiatives at the outset, but if your social media program is good, your audience will find them on their own and the spread the word for you.  Social Media Listening. If you don’t know what people are saying about you and your products, their related interests and more, how are you going to interact with them?Community & Social Responsibility. Social responsibility is increasingly expected of everyone – and this engagement is an essential part of your online identity. Internal/External Community Engagement & Response. Be everywhere. All the time. It’s up to you to let people know that you are listening, engaging, helping, and offering solutions.Brand Advocacy. Authenticity and transparency are such huge aspects of social media, your social media and management team must be 100% on board.Customer Service. Good customer service involves listening (within and outside of social media) and responding appropriately. Photo: fotopakismolast_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

Top 5 Inbound Marketing Articles to Start the Week: Google vs. Bing

first_img : query matching in the domain name; exact match domains by top-level domain (TLD) extension; keywords in subdomains; on-page keyword usage; link counts and link diversity; TLD extensions; length of domain, URL and content; website homepages; and anchor text link matches. Some of his best tips?  Make sure your experiments have clear goals, conduct your experiments in labs that aren’t on your main website or online presence, and don’t be afraid of failure or to get your hands dirty. Author: Her article covers tips for choosing the right screencasting tool, putting together a script, capturing the actual screencast and editing it for the best quality and results. 1. Audrey Watters Inbound Marketing of SEOmoz Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Rand’s analysis and conclusions cover the following SEO factors that contribute to how a website/page is ranked Our top Author: SEO is constantly changing. Understand how search engines rank websites to ensure you’re optimizing your pages appropriately. To help you create these types of posts for your own blog, Rohit highlights some common features that make an article an ideal fit as a content time bomb: Marketing Takeaway: Think critically and creatively about trending topics to come up with unique, yet valuable, takeaways for your readers. Kimberly Turner Rohit Bhargava Ever wonder how you can take advantage of hot, trending topics in the news and current affairs for your blog?  Kimberly’s article identifies that, no matter what your niche is, there is often a way to apply trending topics to your topic to make it interesting for readers.  They key, she says, is to take the time to research and understand the individual story’s details and think creatively about how it can apply to your Think about creating some great content time bombs in your own industry that stand the test of time and help generate additional traffic long after they’re initially published. niche. Author: Screencasts are a great type of Don’t be afraid to do some marketing experiments of your own. Take a risk, try something new and apply the lessons learned to future endeavors. On-Demand Webinar: How to Use SEO & Social Search for Lead Generation Claudio Gennari Content time bombs are valuable because they are written for the long term (e.g. a timely news post is Chris Brogan Author: Download the on-demand webinar now Marketing Takeaway: on Influential Marketing Blog It engages a broader audience. article of the past week provides some great research and insight into the way Google and Bing compare in how they rank websites for search engine results. 2. 4. Tips for Making a Screencast for Your Startup of chrisbrogan.com Marketing Takeaway:center_img “‘content time bombs’ are 3. online video Marketing Takeaway: inbound marketing not blogging 5. Photo by Using the Blogosphere’s Trends for Your Niche Rand Fishkin that are written to remain online until someone needs to know about that specific topic, and then they ‘explode’ as those people find them (usually through search engines). They are the social media equivalent of land mines, but in a good way.” According to Rohit, ! How often do you experiment in your marketing?  Brogan’s article emphasizes Originally published Jun 14, 2010 8:00:00 AM, updated July 19 2013 keywords How Writing “Content Time Bombs” Can Double Your Blog Traffic Screencasts can be a great instructional tool for your company’s products or services. Try creating one for your business. Topics: Join Mike Volpe, VP of Marketing at HubSpot for insights on how to generate leads with SEO and social search. Author Rand Fishkin’s article compiles his research on the different ranking elements of Google and Bing, providing valuable information for people looking to optimize their websites for these specific search engines. of ReadWriteWeb frequently. It can remain “dormant” until needed. It uses She proves her point by providing a number of examples of recent, timely news stories and how they were successfully and creatively covered by bloggers in unexpected niches. Marketing Takeaway: pieces of content The Vital Importance of Labs to showcase and explain how a new product or feature works, but how do you create one?  Audrey’s article offers some great advice for creating screencasts, outlining the step-by-step process to help you get started. Author: It targets a specific audience or need. an example); they address common questions people ask. on Problogger the importance of experimentation Google vs. Bing: Correlation Analysis of Ranking Elements , stressing that it is a vital element in the growth of any business and that the most innovative companies are constantly experimenting.  He offers some of his best advice about using labs for experimentation.last_img read more

3 Reasons Why Marketers Get No Respect

first_img all the leads you get for them The only person marketers have to blame when they get little to no respect is themselves. You can whine all you want about how your sales department doesn’t appreciate Real-Time Marketing for Business Growth , how your boss is ignorant and doesn’t understand your strategies, or how finance shouldn’t question your expenses for a direct mail campaign. I’ve been in marketing for more than 20 years, and each time I feel I’m not getting the respect I deserve, I know it’s not “their” fault; it’s really mine. Image credit: Most good marketers I know are opinionated – and I mean that in a good way. They are smart, have good insight into issues, and are not afraid to voice their opinions. When positioned incorrectly, this can come off as being arrogant or stubborn. You can quickly be identified as ‘not a team player,’ and once that’s affixed to you, it’s hard to rub off. the ROI on a campaign The key to getting respect is to collaborate as much as possible. Reece says “marketing is uniquely positioned to align the entire organization around the customer.” Instead of building up your department or showing people how smart you are, you should be trying to break down the barriers between departments and collaborate, because your goal and your company’s are one and the same – to meet the needs of your customers. Reason #2 for Lack of Respect: Department Mentality Rodney Dangerfield Album Cover Marketers can bring the intelligence (i.e. research) to help sales better understand their customers and prospects Originally published Jun 20, 2011 11:39:00 AM, updated July 03 2013 : Reason #1 for Lack of Respect: Communication Topics: Too often, marketers think of themselves as part of the marketing department. Technically, they may be correct, but practically, that’s the best way to separate themselves from others. And when you act separately, you set yourself for an “us” vs. “them” mentality. According to Monique Reece in her book What do you think? Do you feel you get the respect you deserve as a marketer? . Marketers can position the products around the needs of the customers. Marketers can find new ways to reach new prospects. And they can do all of this by collaborating with everyone else in the process. When they collaborate, sales will get a better understanding of what marketers bring to the table. Your executives will appreciate your leadership skills, and finance will finally get a handle on the ROI that marketing can bring. Marketers are responsible for creating and communicating the positioning and messaging of their company. The problem is they do a bad job communicating internally to their bosses, the sales team, finance, customer service, operations, etc. Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Branding . By communicating your efforts in a timely and effective way, you can avoid many of the issues that give marketing a bad reputation. Internal PR is really a marketer’s best friend. There is nothing a sales person hates more than seeing an ad the same time their prospect does. Executives don’t have time to read through a 30-page report, no matter how wonderful it is. And your CFO’s job is to challenge your expenditures and see “Organizations need to think beyond marketing as simply a department because the role and meaning of marketing has evolved way beyond this. It’s time for CEOs, marketing and sales professionals, and other business executives to work together to create a new definition of marketing. This role should include priorities such as leading change, deepening the organization’s understanding of customers and how to build loyalty, and implementing new communication and alignment processes to improve strategy execution.” Reason #3 for Lack of Respect: Opinionatedlast_img read more

10 Great Ideas for Valuable Curated Content

first_img Originally published Jul 6, 2011 9:01:00 AM, updated July 28 2017 Curated content, or content aggregated from various sources into one comprehensive resource (be it a blog post, an ebook, a presentation, etc.) can be a valuable part of any marketer’s content mix . That said, the process of actually curating it isn’t easy.There’s a misconception among marketers that curated content is lazy and unoriginal, but we think it’s the complete opposite. It takes time and careful evaluation to create quality curated content, and the result is oftentimes a very valuable piece of content that helps people seeking information on a given topic to cut through the clutter on the web and save time. After all, what’s better than one awesome resource? How about 15 awesome resources? All accessible in one place! There’s a reason art galleries are so popular.So how can you take advantage of the power of curated content? Here are our top 10 ideas for great curated content. 10 Types of Curated Content 1. Expert Tips: One of the great things about curated content is that anyone with good online research skills has the ability to curate. I, for example, may not be an expert on video cameras, per se. However, through some careful research and evaluation, I could probably create a valuable list of the top tips for choosing a great video camera just by pulling the various tips from other video experts into one comprehensive guide. Consider aggregating tips from various experts in your industry on a given topic into a list for one great piece of curated content. 2. Presentations/Webinars: These days, the smartest presenters and speakers are making their presentation slides and webinar archives available online via websites like SlideShare. Search for the best presentations on an industry-related topic by searching with appropriate keywords and sorting by the most popular. Then aggregate the best picks into a blog post by embedding the slide presentations! 3. Quotations: One of our very recent, best-performing ebooks is a great example of this. Our ” 101 Awesome Marketing Quotations ” ebook is simply a compilation of various inspirational quotations from marketing experts, presented in a visually stimulating way. This leads me to another great point about content curation. Oftentimes, it isn’t enough just to aggregate. A blog post listing these 101 quotes would not have performed as well. Many times, by adding value (in this example, by adding visual elements), you can take your curated content to the next level and make it even more successful and valuable. 4. Case Studies : People love to learn by example, and they love social proof. Want to emphasize or disprove a simple point or idea? Pull together some case study examples of others that support or refute that point. 5. Industry Blogs/Sites: What blogs do you turn to for information about your industry? Share them by aggregating a list and offering brief descriptions of the top blogs in your industry or on certain topics.  6. Infographics: Who doesn’t love a compelling new infographic? If you’ve noticed a few are cropping up in your industry, include them in a blog post and share your thoughts about them! 7. Statistics, Data, Charts, and Graphs : Let’s face it: data is a hot commodity for content, and all content creators out there have struggled at one point or another to find that perfect statistic to back up a point they were trying to make. Consider pulling the top statistics for your industry into one comprehensive resource. Or compile a list of the most interesting charts/graphs. 8. Videos: Are videos a primary form of content in your industry? Perhaps you could collect the best how-to videos and embed them into a post. 9. Books/Ebooks: Why not create a reading list for your own readers? If there are some must-read books or ebooks you think would be valuable for your audience to read, suggest them in a list!  10. Industry Examples: Are you a web design company? Take screenshots of your favorite web designs and explain what’s great about each. Are you a landscaping company? Find pictures of great landscaping jobs and highlight the why they’re each awesome. The possibilities are endless!  And for all of the above ideas, as with any type of curated content, always be sure to properly attribute your sources! Importance of Quality & Relevance in Curation Final thought: no matter what type of content you’re curating, quality and relevance should always apply. No one wants to access a list of ten mediocre industry blogs. They want the best . The individual content elements you choose, therefore, should represent the utmost level of quality. In addition, make sure the content you’re curating is relevant to your audience. That aggregated list of funny viral videos may very well be funny, but if you’re not in the business of humor or marketing, it doesn’t belong on your blog. What other types of content curation have you used? Photo Credit: Nazareth College Topics: Blog Post Topics Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more