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Book Now Beach Later with Transats new promotion

first_img Tuesday, September 4, 2018 << Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by MONTREAL — Clients who book by Sept. 30 pay only a $100 deposit, for travel Jan. 3 – April 30, 2019, with Transat’s new ‘Book Now, Beach Later’ offer.Agents also benefit from the deal, with extra BONBON rewards with every booking:$10/room, so that’s 2x rewards on South, Florida, Spain, Portugal, cruise and Duo packages, as well as guided tours, says Transat$2/passenger, which amounts to 2x rewards on South, Florida, Spain and Portugal air-only bookingsClients who book South packages also get Transat’s Price Drop Guarantee, a $50 future travel voucher and free seat selection, valued at $50 (for Distinction Collection packages), says the tour operator.Clients who book Florida, Spain, Portugal, cruise or Duo packages or guided tours get a $50 future travel voucher.For more details and conditions see Get Connected. Book Now, Beach Later with Transat’s new promotioncenter_img Share Tags: Agent Incentives, Deals, Transat Travelweek Group last_img read more

RIU celebrates Sunwing as our one and only partner in Canada

first_img Travelweek Group Tweet Posted by KITCHENER — RIU Hotels & Resorts and Sunwing got together to thank their top-performing agents this month with appreciation lunches in Quebec City and Kitchener, ON. On Dec. 4 and Dec. 5 top producing agents were invited to enjoy a complimentary lunch, meet with RIU and Sunwing sales teams and learn about upcoming renovation and expansion plans for RIU Hotels & Resorts.At both events, Director of Business Development for Partner Marketing, Hugo Aguilera, talked to attendees about the latest resorts that opened in Mexico including Riu Palace Costa Mujeres and Riu Palace Baja California. There was also talk of RIU Hotels & Resorts’ plans to expand the chain’s Splash Water World water parks and upcoming renovations planned for 2019 at Riu Ocho Rios, Riu Palace Riviera Maya and Riu Vallarta. Aguilera also took time out to celebrate the longstanding partnership between Sunwing and RIU describing the travel company as their “one and only partner in Canada.”President of Tour Operations for Sunwing, Andrew Dawson, who attended the event in Kitchener along with Executive Vice President of Partner Development, Eric Rodriguez, also commented on the event. “We value our partnership with RIU enormously. It’s unique, there is no other relationship with the same scale, longevity or degree of co-operation in the Canadian industry. We appreciate the opportunity to join together this week to thank the agents that have supported us throughout the year.”As the exclusive vacation provider of RIU Palace Hotels and Resorts, when customers book their vacation package with the Signature Collection by Sunwing they’ll get a host of exclusive RIU-topia perks including welcome cocktails, unlimited reservation-free dining, spa credits and more; in addition to RIU Palace inclusions such as 24-hour room service, daily champagne breakfasts and poolside wait service. Wednesday, December 12, 2018 center_img << Previous PostNext Post >> RIU celebrates Sunwing as “our one and only partner in Canada” Tags: RIU Hotels & Resortslast_img read more

Perths tourism precinct expansion to remain unchanged

first_imgSource = e-Travel Blackboard: C.F Commerce Minister Bill Marmion said it is “business as usual” for Perth’s tourism precinct after a vote on whether to disallow its expansion has been deferred. Western Australia’s Legislative Council has decided that the boundary change for the Perth tourism precinct can remain while further information is collated. The issues relating to the expansion, which came into effect in January 2010, will be revisited by the Legislative Council on August 12 when they reconvene for spring session.    <a href=”http://www.etbtravelnews.global/click/29581/” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://adsvr.travelads.biz/www/delivery/avw.php?zoneid=10&amp;cb=INSERT_RANDOM_NUMBER_HERE&amp;n=a5c63036″ border=”0″ alt=””></a>last_img read more

Sydney Airport wins Skytrax global airport award

first_imgChris Evans accepts Skytrax awardSydney Airport wins Skytrax global airport awardSydney Airport voted Best Airport in Australia/Pacific Region as part of 2018 Skytrax World Airport AwardsAwards based on more than 13.7 million airport survey questionnairesAirports assessed on range of service and product performance indicatorsSydney Airport has been voted the top airport in the Australia/Pacific region by customers participating in one of the largest global customer satisfaction surveys.The airport was recognised at this week’s Skytrax World Airport Awards in Stockholm.Skytrax notes that its World Airport Awards assess customer service and facilities across 550 airports and are based on more than 13.7 million survey questionnaires completed by travellers of more than 100 nationalities.Sydney Airport CEO Geoff Culbert was delighted by the news.“To receive this level of global recognition makes me proud of the work the team has undertaken to improve the customer experience at Sydney Airport,” he said.“We’ve made significant improvements to meet the needs of our customers and to be recognised through this award is humbling. It also inspires us to continue to focus on making our customers’ experience easier and more enjoyable as they travel.“We’ve come a long way, but we still have more to do.”Highlighting recent customer initiatives, Mr Culbert noted that: “Over the last 12 months, we’ve implemented a range of measures to build on this experience for our customers; from improving wayfinding using technology and digital channels, to a more contemporary offering of food and beverages concepts and retail brands in our refurbished terminals.”Earlier this month, Sydney Airport also introduced automated check-in and bag drop zones in parts of the T1 International terminal, reducing the processing time for our customers.Mr Culbert also emphasised the continued role that innovation would play in the ongoing experience of customers at Sydney Airport.“The implementation of Chinese navigation app Baidu Maps, our partnerships with Google and Apple Maps, and the launch of our WeChat channel and Chinese-language website are all examples of how we’re creating a more meaningful experience for our international visitors,” he said.“This year will also see the introduction of biometrics processing, allowing passengers to check-in and board flights using their face as a boarding pass and passport.”Skytrax CEO Edward Plaisted said: “We congratulate Sydney Airport for their success in winning this important customer satisfaction award for 2018, amidst some serious competition particularly from airports in Australia. It demonstrates how much Sydney Airport continues to improve standards of customer service to be recognised as the Best Airport in the Australia/Pacific region.”The Skytrax award adds to Sydney Airport’s 2017 Capital City Airport of the Year award from the Australian Airports Association.ABOUT SYDNEY AIRPORTSydney Airport is Australia’s gateway airport, serving more than 43 million passengers a year and connecting Sydney to a network of over 100 international, domestic and regional destinations.Located just eight kilometres from the city centre, Sydney Airport contributes $30.8 billion in economic activity a year, equivalent to 6.4 per cent of the NSW economy. Sydney Airport is a major employer in NSW, generating more than 306,700 direct and indirect jobs, equivalent to 8.9 per cent of NSW employment. Some 29,000 of these jobs are at the airport itself.Source = Sydney Airportlast_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter A complimentary nigh

first_imgGo back to the e-newsletter >A complimentary night in Havana’s most famous hotel, the historic Hotel Nacional de Cuba, is being offered by one of the world’s leading motorcycle tour companies, Extreme Bike Tours, for bookings made by 31 October 2015, on one of its first-ever Cuban tours in 2016.Opened on Havana’s seafront in 1930, the sprawling and prestigious Hotel Nacional de Cuba has played a key role in Cuba’s colourful history and has hosted many personalities and celebrities including Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra, John Wayne, Errol Flynn, Ernest Hemingway, Marlene Dietrich and Winston Churchill.The first tour outside Asia offered by Extreme Bike Tours since its formation by adrenalin supplier, Zander Combe, in 2011, the new 13-day, guided Cuba motorcycle tour will have two departures in 2016 21 February and 6 March. Adventurers will ride a Harley Davidson, BMW 800cc or Suzuki VStrom across the exotic Caribbean island.Now one of travel’s hottest destinations before it emerges soon from its time warp, Cuba offers a colourful mix of rustic, colonial buildings, cigar factories, glamorous cabaret shows, lively music and vintage cars.Extreme Bike Tours’ inaugural Cuban tour will include the capital, Havana, and visits to rural villages, the museum at the Bay of Pigs and the mausoleum of executed Marxist revolutionary, Che Guevara, with an optional ride to Guantanamo also available.From Havana riders and pillion passengers will travel into the beautiful Cuban countryside along scenic coastal roads, with stops for refreshing dips in the ocean and rivers. Bikers will ride to the World Heritage-listed city of Trinidad, visiting the Bay of Pigs museum on the way. From Trinidad, bikers will journey to Santiago de Cuba and Santa Clara, before finally returning to Havana.The guided, 13-day trip will include about four to six hours of riding each day, and is open to licensed motorcyclists as well as pillion passengers riding on a bike or in the support vehicle. The package includes accommodation, seven dinners, three lunches, fuel and motorbike hire. The tour costs AU$9133 per rider or AU$6496 per pillion passenger.A free night with breakfast in the elegant, five-star Hotel Nacional de Cuba will be offered at the end of the tour to any bookings made for the 21 February or 6 March Cuban tours by 31 31 October 2015.Go back to the e-newsletter >last_img read more

Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month established

first_img House Resolution 94, adopted today, declares May 2015 Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month in the state of Michigan.Cystic Fibrosis is a life-threatening genetic disease that primarily affects the lungs and digestive system. About 1,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.State Rep. Ben Glardon, R-Owosso, offered the resolution.“Approximately 1,100 children and young adults in Michigan are living with Cystic Fibrosis. Rep. Glardon said. “This resolution invites Cystic Fibrosis chapters, foundations and volunteers to come together in Michigan to raise awareness about this devastating disease this May to achieve their mission of curing and controlling the disease.”Rep. Glardon has volunteered his auction services for Cystic Fibrosis awareness for over 25 years and has developed friendships with families affected by the disease.### Categories: News 21May Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month establishedlast_img read more

And note that I am making no comment here on the q

first_img And note that I am making no comment here on the quality of government spending – you can make that determination for yourself – I am merely stating its cost. You’ll have to decide what you think about this. If you’re unsure, look up the numbers and run them for yourself. That will give you a better understanding. The Non-Monetary Value of Life Human lives, of course, have far more than simple monetary value. The most important things in life are not measured in dollars. That, however, only makes the damage worse. Why worse? Because we are limited, physical beings. When we’re sick, or sleeping, or far away, or falling-down tired, those “more valuable than money” things seldom show up. When people are forced to work double shifts to pay the government, their energy for the things that transcend monetary value is sucked away. Most working Americans go from morning till night. Even when they go on vacation, they are really only recovering from their workload – getting back to even. That means that most of the super-monetary value of their lives is lost; they have no time and energy left over to do the more important things. Leviathan Has a Cost Governments always present themselves to people as saviors, but everything they do is paid for with money. And the ultimate source of all that money is the people who are supposedly being saved. In order to pay that price in the United States (others are similar), the entire earnings of several million lives are required every year. No, three million people are not beheaded in the town square, but that many lives are spent every year – by people paying half their life, every year, for their entire working lives. Leviathan eats several million lives per year, and no matter how we spin it, the numbers remain. Paul Rosenberg FreemansPerspective.com Total US government spending: $3.55 trillion So, dividing total government spending by average lifetime earnings, we arrive at the following: Government spending consumes the lives of 2.27 million people, annually. Properly, we should say, “The US government consumes the entire life earnings of 2.27 million people, every year.” It may seem a bit dramatic to express the numbers this way, but these are real numbers, and they reflect the situation accurately. These figures, of course, are only for the national government. State and municipal governments consume plenty as well. In all likelihood, total government consumption in the US is somewhere between 3 and 5 million lives per year. If these numbers seem impossible to you, run them yourself. It’s not hard. The plain truth is that, every year, government in the United States consumes the entire lifetime efforts of several million human beings. Talk of so-many trillions, percentages of GDP, quintiles, and age brackets are confusing. This is the simple truth: Several million lives are sacrificed every year to feed the US Leviathan. Perhaps a motivated statistician could find some fault with my numbers, but still, there they are. And if my amateurish calculations are off by 10%, should we really feel better, knowing that only 2.043 million of us are sacrificed to Leviathan every year? The next time you hear confusing talk from a politician, think of these numbers. Millions of lives are being drained dry – cradle to grave – every year, to keep their beast fed. That cannot honestly be denied. What Does This Mean? It is for you to decide what this means. I suspect that you’re rather horrified, which sets you up for a classic choice on how to deal with this new idea: I like to look at things from an outsider’s viewpoint – to notice things that most people pass over. And I usually find these things more or less by accident. For example, take a quick look at this formula: This looks like physics or economics, but I actually ran across it in a legal case. As it turns out, this is the formula to determine the monetary value of your life. That may sound crazy, but it’s absolutely true. Officially termed “the monetary value of human capital,” this calculation is used every day in courts of law to help determine various awards – typically when someone is injured and prevented from working. What struck me as interesting is that this formula could also be used in other ways… like for government for example. Government is the biggest business on the planet – by far. (We examined how in FMP #32.) And government functions with money. So, I decided to use arithmetic to determine the cost of government – not measured in dollars, but in human lives. Think of this as a currency conversion: dollars-to-lives, rather than the usual dollars-to-euros or dollars-to-yen. And, again, this is not a new trick; it’s done every day in courtrooms across the globe. The Numbers The figures I’m using come from the US government (mostly the Census), between the years 2008 and 2010. (Spending is for 2010.) Everything shown below is plain old math, not fancy statistical analysis. Here are the necessary figures: Average per capita income: $39,138 Per capita lifetime income (income times years) = $1.5655 million Fight (“That’s wrong!”),center_img Flight/Evasion (“That’s a conspiracy theory!”), or Average number of working years: 40 Freeze (“I don’t understand”).last_img read more

The development of antibiotics in the middle of th

first_imgThe development of antibiotics in the middle of the 20th century was one of the greatest achievements of modern medicine. Penicillin and its pharmaceutical cousins saved millions of lives. But like a magic potion given to the world by a stern fairy, antibiotics come with a catch — If you abuse them, you lose them.For decades, scientists have been warning that antibiotic resistance is on the rise globally because of misuse of the drugs.But a new report makes it clear that the world is not listening.Between the year 2000 and 2015 human consumption of antibiotics globally rose 65 percent — to an astounding 42 billion doses a year. “We wanted to examine global use of antibiotics because once resistance emerges in one place it can spread anywhere,” says Eili Klein, a fellow at the Center for Disease Dynamics, Economics and Policy in Washington and the lead author of the new report, which was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Along with his colleagues Klein found that there was a dramatic rise in antibiotic use over the last 15 years in low- and middle-income countries.”A place like India, which has one of the highest populations in the world, saw enormous gains in antibiotic use both overall and on a per capita gain basis,” says Klein.Antibiotic use more than doubled in India between the year 2000 and 2015. It was up 79 percent in China and 65 percent in Pakistan. Some of that increase was due to population growth but it wasn’t just that. Overall sales were up.So the report makes it clear that the average person in India, China or Pakistan is taking far more antibiotics now than they were a decade and half ago.Western countries didn’t see the sharp rise in antibiotics but they also failed to cut overall consumption.”In high-income countries reducing inappropriate use has not really … in most countries … driven down per capita use rates in the last 15 years,” Klein says.Lance Price, director of the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center at George Washington University, is concerned about this increase in antibiotic use.”The biggest driver for the evolution of superbugs is the use of antibiotics,” Price says. Every time a bacteria is exposed to an antibiotic but isn’t killed by it, it has the potential to develop resistance. The evolutionary math is fairly simple. “The more we use antibiotics,” he explains, “the more we are going to encourage the growth of these bacteria that are resistant to them.”Hospitals around the world increasingly have been reporting bacterial infections that don’t respond to traditional antibiotics.”Then you have these extreme cases like the woman [in Nevada] just about a year ago who died of an infection that was resistant to 26 different antibiotics,” Price says. “So the bacteria are out there that are resistant to everything, and they are becoming more and more prevalent.”Health officials worry about so much growth in antibiotic use in low- and middle-income countries because these drugs are often available there without a prescription. So the potential for misuse is high. Also Price notes that poor sanitation in impoverished nations adds to the problem. If a superbug develops in a patient who only has access to an outhouse, that bug is far more likely to spread into the local water supply than if that patient had access to a toilet connected to a sewage treatment plant.So the antibiotic fairy is not happy: If we don’t change our ways she’s going to slowly make the potion less and less powerful until one day it disappears. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

Disabled people from across Europe have called for

first_imgDisabled people from across Europe have called for the closure of long-stay institutions, after the latest in a long series of abuse scandals was uncovered by the BBC.Four European disability organisations – including the umbrella organisation representing 80 million disabled people across the continent – have joined UK disabled activists in calling for action to end institutionalisation and forced treatment.A Panorama documentary, which included undercover footage shot at the private Whorlton Hall hospital for people with learning difficulties and autistic people in County Durham (pictured), caused outrage after it was broadcast last week.Seven men and three women – all members of staff – have been arrested by Durham police and are being questioned about offences relating to abuse and neglect, while the Care Quality Commission (CQC), the health and care watchdog, was criticised for failing to spot and halt the abuse.Now disabled people and their user-led organisations have called again for the government to take action and close all such long-stay institutions.Disabled activist Simone Aspis, director of the consultancy Changing Perspectives, who campaigns to free disabled people from institutions, said: “There is something very fundamentally wrong about these institutions and they have to close down.”She added: “We can’t make a fundamentally flawed system work better by simply having a better ratio of staffing, more resources put in, or more training, or better recruitment practices.“A system that compels people into treatment they don’t want and denies them their fundamental human rights cannot train people to deprive people of their human rights in a positive way.“What we need is the transferring of resources into support that people need to be part of their communities.“It is an absolute disgrace that in this country we are allowed to have such barbaric torture and practices going on.”She said there was no “political will” to find a solution and no urgency from the NHS to remove people from institutions.Instead of “thinking creatively” about new placements, she said, NHS commissioners “just want to shove people in wherever there is a bloody bed, not thinking creatively about how we can support these people to live in the community”.Aspis also said she was “very disappointed” with the failure of CQC and the Children’s Commissioner to recommend the closure of such institutions in their latest reports earlier this month.People First (Self Advocacy), which is run and controlled by people with learning difficulties, said it was horrified to learn of the new abuse scandal.It pointed out that promises were made after a previous scandal at Winterbourne View in 2011 to close all such institutions, and that the government had failed to live up to its promises or meet targets set by NHS England after Winterbourne View.It is calling on the government to introduce a legal right to independent living for disabled people, by incorporating article 19 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities into UK law.People First’s #CloseATUs campaign is calling for the closure of all assessment and treatment centres and for people to have the advocacy and support they need in their local communities, as well as for the government to draw up a national action plan for all ATUs to be closed within two years.Andrew Lee, director of People First (Self Advocacy), said: “As with Winterbourne, the news of Whorlton Hall brought tears, upset and anger to me and many other people I know.“Our thoughts go to all of the people who experienced this abuse. We need to make sure this does not happen again.“Moving people to other closed institutions like Whorlton Hall is obviously not the answer.“People are being sent far away from friends and family at great cost to the authorities and at even greater and more tragic cost to people with learning difficulties and their loved ones.”Kat Humble, communications officer for Autistic UK, which is run by and for autistic people, said the latest revelations were “horrifying, though unsurprising”.She said: “Whether it’s Winterbourne View, Whorlton Hall or who knows how many others, there is a level of contempt that we face as autistic people and people with intellectual disabilities when it comes to our long-term health that is shortening our lifespans and damaging the lives that we live.“There is a very good reason why the suicide rate amongst autistic people is nine times higher than the national average.”She called for “ground up” reform of CQC, which she said was “ineffective” and had “no protective instinct”.In a joint statement, the European Disability Forum – an umbrella organisation of disabled people’s organisations – and three European disability organisations (Inclusion Europe, Autism Europe and European Down Syndrome Association), also called for the closure of such institutions.They said: “This kind of treatment and abuse is widespread in institutions.“Too many times, we have heard and seen footage like this. Too many times we have witnessed attacks on the most basic human rights of persons with disabilities. Too many times we have witnessed governments failing to act.“Institutionalisation has to end. Forced treatment has to end. These flagrant abuses of the most basic human rights have to end.”But Whorlton Hall is only the latest in a long line of such scandals that stretches back to the 1940s.Calls to address the scandal of people with learning difficulties living “inappropriately” in long-stay institutions date back more than 70 years to when the National Council for Civil Liberties launched a campaign against eugenicist laws that led at their peak to the institutionalisation of more than 50,000 people in long-stay hospitals.A series of scandals through the late 1960s and 1970s highlighted concerns similar to those uncovered by Panorama and other more recent scandals, with inquiries reporting cruel ill-treatment, inhumane and threatening behaviour towards patients (at Ely Hospital), the “harmful over-use of drugs” (Farleigh Hospital) and the use of tranquilisers and “side-rooms” – or solitary confinement facilities – at South Ockendon Hospital.They were followed by the Longcare abuse scandal, uncovered by the media in 1994, and others including allegations of neglect at Fieldhead Hospital in Wakefield in 2004, and of abuse at the Solar Centre in Doncaster in 2010, Cornwall Partnership NHS Trust in 2006, Winterbourne View near Bristol in 2011, Mendip House in Somerset in 2016 and Atlas Project Team in 2017.Cygnet Health Care said in a statement that it was “shocked and deeply saddened by the allegations made against members of staff at Whorlton Hall, part of the Danshell Group, which Cygnet recently acquired.“We take these allegations extremely seriously, have suspended all members of staff involved, and informed all relevant authorities including the police, who have instigated an inquiry, and we are cooperating fully with their investigation.“We have a zero tolerance of this behaviour. This appalling behaviour is entirely inconsistent with our values and high standards, and we have transferred all the patients to other services.“Until the conclusion of the police investigation, we are unable to comment further.” A note from the editor:Please consider making a voluntary financial contribution to support the work of DNS and allow it to continue producing independent, carefully-researched news stories that focus on the lives and rights of disabled people and their user-led organisations. Please do not contribute if you cannot afford to do so, and please note that DNS is not a charity. It is run and owned by disabled journalist John Pring and has been from its launch in April 2009. Thank you for anything you can do to support the work of DNS…last_img read more

Weird But True Microsoft Is Developing a StressMonitoring Bra

first_img Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Add to Queue Register Now » Women who are concerned about stress-induced overeating already have a lot of reasons to stress out, and now they have to another thing to worry about: their undergarments tattling on their moods.Or, maybe it’s a good thing.Researchers at Microsoft have developed a bra that they claim helps to regulate stress eating by monitoring the wearer’s vital signs and moods. The goal of the high-tech underwear is to help reduce stress eating by making the woman wearing it more aware of when she is anxious and likely to overindulge in an effort to make herself feel better.The high-tech bra uses sensor pads with battery-powered microprocessors that sample up to eight bio-signal channels simultaneously, gathering information such as heart rate and respiration, skin conductance and movement, according to a report from Discovery. The pads use EKG sensors, electrodermal activity sensors, accelerometers, and gyroscopes to gather data, which is then streamed to a smartphone app and the researchers’ computer.The test subjects recorded their own moods on the smartphone app, and the scientists used that data, along with the data collected from the bra-sensors, to predict physiological changes that accompany eating and stress.Mary Czerwinski, a cognitive psychologist and senior researcher in visualization and interaction at Microsoft, presented her findings at the Society for Affective Computing’s recent conference, in a paper titled “Food and Mood: Just-in-Time Support for Emotional Eating.””It’s mostly women who are emotional overeaters, and it turns out that a bra is perfect for measuring EKG (electrocardiogram),” she said. “We tried to do the same thing for men’s underwear but it was too far away (from the heart).”The other problem the researchers encountered was that the sensors’ batteries only lasted about four hours before needing to be recharged. Czerwinski’s next focus will be to find another part of the body that can be used to monitor moods with similar physiological accuracy, but requiring less work.What crazy apps and gadgets have you come across lately? Let us know by emailing us at FarOutTech@entrepreneur.com or by telling us in the comments below. –shares Next Article 2 min read December 10, 2013 Katherine Gray Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Technology Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Weird But True: Microsoft Is Developing a Stress-Monitoring Bralast_img read more

Faster Food This Restaurant Delivers Burgers to Your Table at 90 MPH

first_img January 21, 2014 Guest Writer Technology Add to Queue Faster Food: This Restaurant Delivers Burgers to Your Table at 90 MPH 2 min read Next Article Technology Writer Fast food burgers are no match for the high-speed burgers being created at one New Zealand restaurant. C1 Cafe in Christchurch has created a new system that delivers burgers to restaurant goers’ tables at an astounding 87 mph.Think of it this way: a burger that moves faster than your car on the freeway.The pneumatic tube food delivery system is the creation of owner Sam Crofskey who originally saw the idea on the cartoon Futurama. With the system, sliders are stacked inside a metal tube, and are then shot from the kitchen directly to a diner’s table. “Pneumatic” means the tubes are transported using air pressure.”We want to be really memorable,” Crofskey told New Zealand’s The Press. ”This is a world first.'”The process is similar to how some bank tellers send paper out to cars at a traditional drive-through teller window. C1 started out using the system to send orders back to the kitchen as a trial, and installed extra-large tubing to handle the heavier burger load.Burgers will arrive on tables in a stainless steel tube. Each tube is capable of holding three sliders, as well as a small side of fries. A custom air-brake system also slows down your food before it reaches your table, so the only injury you’re likely to get from your food is a larger waistline.Installing the system at every table in the restaurant is a gargantuan task. For tables along the wall, the burgers will arrive from above, but for center tables the restaurant is looking at ways to have the burgers arrive from below the table.Installing the entire system will take more than a year, with three new tables coming online each month. The first six tables are expected to start launching high-speed burgers to the public later this month.If these guys can deliver burgers in their restaurant at highway speeds, how can you supercharge your product delivery?What crazy apps and gadgets have you come across lately? Let us know by emailing us at FarOutTech@entrepreneur.com or by telling us in the comments below.   Emily Price Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. –shares 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Apply Now »last_img read more

Digital Media May Be Hindering Your Ability to Think Abstractly Study Says

first_img Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Enroll Now for $5 Next Article Trying to spark some critical thinking? It may be a good idea to forego digital media.The medium could be hindering your cognitive ability to think and analyze in the abstract, according to a new study from Dartmouth College. On the plus side, using laptops, smartphones or tablets for reading could help in the memorization of more concrete information.With more than 300 participants ranging in ages from 20 to 24, the assessment consisted of four studies. One had subjects read a David Sedaris short story, one group digitally and the other in print, followed by a quiz testing concrete and critical understanding. Another grouping read information on fictitious Japanese cars, some digitally and others in print, and were also quizzed after.Related: How to Improve Your Critical Thinking Skills and Make Better Business DecisionsThe group that read Sedaris in print had better recall of more abstract information while the digital readers proved to remember more specific details. The same proved true for the group that read about cars when asked which was the more superior model. Roughly 66 percent of print readers gave the right answer compared to 43 percent of digital readers.It’s not the first time scientists have questioned the impact digital consumption has on the mind’s functionality. The PEW Research Center, for example, released a study describing how digital tools impacted kid’s writing skills and how they learn. A study conducted by UCLA’s Children’s Digital Media Center also looked into the issue, finding that as technology use rose in popularity, critical thinking declined.“Given that psychologists have shown that construal levels can vastly impact outcomes such as self-esteem and goal pursuit, it’s crucial to recognize the role that digitization of information might be having on this important aspect of cognition,” says Dartmouth study author Geoff Kaufman, an assistant professor at the Human-Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, in a press release.Related: Why Technology Is Affecting Critical Thought in the Workplace and How to Fix ItAs Mary Flanagan — Sherman Fairchild distinguished professor in digital humanities at Dartmouth and founding director of Tiltfactor — points out, understanding digital media’s impact could also help the development of tech tools of the future.”Sometimes, it is beneficial to foster abstract thinking, and as we know more, we can design to overcome the tendencies — or deficits — inherent in digital devices,” she says.In the meantime, it may be a good idea to invest in a good printer to get those PDFs in hand and buy a few more physical books to keep your abstract mind sharp.  Staff writer. Frequently covers franchise news and food trends. Add to Queue Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. May 9, 2016 Lifestyle 3 min read 84shares Image credit: Guido Mieth | Getty Images Digital Media May Be Hindering Your Ability to Think Abstractly, Study Says Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Lindsay Friedmanlast_img read more

Genesys Calls All Customer Experience Professionals to Denver June 10 to 13

first_imgGenesys Calls All Customer Experience Professionals to Denver June 10 to 13 to New Signature Event, Xperience19 PRNewswireMay 3, 2019, 2:28 pmMay 3, 2019 Make Every Moment Count at the Premier Customer Event of the YearGenesys, the global leader in omnichannel customer experience and contact center solutions, has announced its new signature event, Xperience19, will kick off June 10 in Denver, Colorado. This annual conference unites experts from organizations of all types and sizes who share a commitment to transforming mundane customer service into remarkable experiences.If there was ever an expert in creating magical moments, it’s world-renowned photographer and Xperience19 keynote speaker, Platon. Throughout his exceptional career, Platon has captured history-making moments for a range of international publications including Rolling Stone, The New York Times, Vanity Fair and TIME. On the Xperience19 stage, Platon will take the audience on a roller coaster of emotions – from laughter to tears – with the most poignant and mesmerizing stories behind the photos. He answers the question, “Who is this person?”Also speaking is Dave Carroll, a Canadian songwriter, author, social media pioneer and the creator of a one-in-a-billion story, United Breaks Guitars. Carroll will address why empowering people to deliver moments of connection is so important in a digital world.Marketing Technology News: NICE Workforce Management AI Based Strategic Planner Receives CUSTOMER Magazine Product of the Year AwardIn addition, several marquee Genesys customers will present, including Uber, Whirlpool, Ticketmaster, Voya Financial and Alberta Motor Association. These companies will share how the cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and digital channels are helping them connect every touchpoint in the customer journey and driving business performance. Xperience19 will also shine a spotlight on the human side of customer service by recognizing agents from MyBudget, Crisis Services Canada and Bradesco Next, who are Genesys CX Heroes for going above and beyond to make a real difference in people’s lives.The immersive event enables attendees to create their own customer experience curriculum by choosing from more than 80 educational tracks, breakouts and activities. Business leaders, sales and marketing professionals, contact center managers and developers can delve into topics including predictive capabilities, customer and employee experience, cloud and more. Deep-dive breakout sessions will also cover the importance of blending the human touch with disruptive technologies to provide optimal service.Marketing Technology News: Gartner Says Marketers Must Focus on Helping Customers in Order to Remain Competitive TodayCo-located with Xperience19 is the annual Genesys DevCon, a hands-on technical conference for the developer community. Led by Genesys developers, DevCon is designed to help customers quickly innovate through the company’s software development kits (SDK) and open APIs.“Our new conference name, Xperience19, is reflective of our goal to make every moment count. This year, we’ll show attendees how immersive, experiential service is the new standard for every customer, every time,” said Merijn te Booij, chief marketing officer of Genesys. “No other event gives attendees a more comprehensive playbook to empower their employees and turn conversations with customers into the best-connected moments across marketing, sales and service.”Register for Xperience19 and DevCon before May 15 and save $300! Spend June 10 to June 13 at the brand-new Gaylord Rockies Resort & Convention Center learning, connecting and sharing all things related to customer experience. Follow the excitement on popular social networks and stay connected with the hashtag #Xpr19.Marketing Technology News: Enterprise Bank & Trust Partners with Bounteous and Acquia to Launch Brand New Marketing and Technology Experience Artificial Intelligencecustomer experienceGenesysGenesys CX HeroesGenesys DevConMarketing TechnologyNewsXperience19 Previous ArticleNew Mavenlink Study Finds Business, Competition, and Customer Expectations Rising Significantly for Services FirmsNext ArticleMarTech Interview with Dr. Vasco Pedro, CEO, Unbabellast_img read more

Acquia Unveils Faster Easier Personalization for Marketers

first_img AcquiaAcquia Engage Europedata-driven personalizationDrupalMarketing Technology NewsNewspersonalization Previous ArticleConnatix Announces Launch of Elements, the First Online Video Platform with Built-in Revenue for PublishersNext ArticleAdobe Experience Platform Taps AI-Triggered Analytics to Boost Real-Time CXM Acquia Unveils Faster, Easier Personalization for Marketers Business WireJune 18, 2019, 4:44 pmJuly 2, 2019 Announced at Acquia Engage Europe; the Only Personalization Tool Optimized for Drupal Helps Marketers Build and Launch No-Code Personalizations for Superior Digital ExperiencesAcquia announced the all-new Acquia Lift, the only personalization tool optimized for Drupal, now available as a no-code application to help marketers quickly and easily optimize customer experiences. The new product was unveiled at Acquia Engage Europe, where attendees got a first look at Acquia’s data-driven personalization solution.“As a non-profit health system with more than 200 sites of care and affiliates, we pride ourselves on offering convenient access to exceptional healthcare services, where and when patients need them—in hospitals, health pavilions and doctor’s offices, as well as workplaces, schools and homes”To meet customer expectations, marketers recognize the need to offer more personalized experiences. However, research shows nearly three-fourths (74 percent) of marketers globally feel like technology has made it harder, not easier, to do this.The latest release of Acquia Lift addresses this challenge head-on with a unified and marketer-ready interface, allowing users to execute all profile management, segmentation, and personalization activities in a single place. Anyone — regardless of technical acumen — can point, click, and personalize without any code.“In this competitive, fast-paced market, we know how important it is for businesses to be agile enough to quickly deliver relevant, customized content to users,” said Shareen Campbell, Head of Global Partnerships & Alliances, EPAM. “As an Acquia Global Select Partner, we’re excited to leverage Acquia Lift’s new capabilities and continue to enhance our clients’ digital platforms and customer experiences through personalization.”Marketing Technology News: Broadvoice Welcomes Kim McLachlan as Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing“As a non-profit health system with more than 200 sites of care and affiliates, we pride ourselves on offering convenient access to exceptional healthcare services, where and when patients need them—in hospitals, health pavilions and doctor’s offices, as well as workplaces, schools and homes,” said Debbie Kenemer, Executive Director, Digital Marketing at Community Health Network. “Our digital properties have to be equally focused on our patients and their needs. Acquia Lift helps us better understand our site visitors and put more relevant and specific information and services in front of them, increasing the opportunities that help them live healthier while also securing the care and information that’s important.”New key capabilities for Acquia Lift include:Simple campaign creation — enabling marketers to create complex personalization campaigns in three simple stepsTesting and targeting with no code — powering the creation and launch of website personalization without technical skillClearly defined personalization campaign types — users can launch A/B tests, target personalizations to specific audiences, or recommend content across a series of sessions to deliver the best possible experienceEnhanced scheduling — helping marketing teams align personalizations to events, promotions, sales, and press activitiesReal-time dashboards and advanced analytics — providing the ability to quickly review activities and metrics for both optimizing and validating marketing investmentMarketing Technology News: Constant Contact Unveils New WooCommerce and Shopify Offerings at 2019 Internet Retailer Conference“In today’s world, personalization is at the core of successful customer experiences. As a result, we have seen rapid adoption of Acquia Lift, which is now used by leading brands like Wendy’s, Bayer, and BlueCross BlueShield,” said Dries Buytaert, Acquia co-founder and CTO. “Most organizations know that personalization is no longer optional, but put it off because it can be difficult. Acquia Lift, in combination with our other solutions, solves that. It provides a powerful, yet easy-to-use, platform that drives real business results – helping you understand your customers, and improve engagement with relevant, personalized content.”Marketing Technology News: Cognitiv Launches First Deep Learning Incrementality Solution To Help Marketers Find New Customerslast_img read more

boostr Announces the End of Siloed Ad Sales and Operations with the

first_img boostrcrmNewsPatrick O’LearySiloed Ad Sales Previous ArticleBlueVenn Wins ‘Data-Driven Product of the Year 2019’ at London DataIQ AwardsNext ArticleBlackstone Announces Agreement to Acquire Vungle, a Leading Mobile Performance Marketing Platform boostr Announces the End of Siloed Ad Sales and Operations with the General Release of its Omni-channel Order Management System (OMS) PRNewswireJuly 16, 2019, 10:05 pmJuly 16, 2019 boostr, the first of its kind, next-generation CRM platform designed specifically for media & advertising companies, announced that its omni-channel order management system (OMS) is officially out of beta and generally available, enabling media companies to improve their revenue management.boostr’s OMS solves challenges with order management across insertion order (IO) and programmatic sales, enabling margin protection, simplified media planning, efficiencies trafficking orders and month end close. The boostr OMS also allows for single IO across multiple ad tech systems and trafficking automation with integrations to leading ad tech platforms, including: Google Ad Manager, Rubicon, SpotX, AdX and Netsuite.Marketing Technology News: ANSYS Welcomes Lynn Ledwith as Vice President of Marketing“We’d been searching for a holistic system that would serve the needs of Sales, Revenue Operations and Finance. We were thrilled to finally find that solution in boostr’s CRM+OMS platform.” – John Price, VP Revenue Operations, Complex Mediaboostr is the only end-to-end platform covering pre and post sales with a complete, omnichannel CRM and OMS. With boostr’s revolutionary platform media companies can achieve higher profitability by creating sales efficiency, improving forecast accuracy and growing revenue.Marketing Technology News: Relationship Intelligence Platform Affinity Hires Four New Vice Presidents“Publishers have suffered long enough dealing with too much complexity across direct and indirect channels. Over 75% of publishers are running at average or below average efficiency and their teams spend 40% less time selling than their peers in other industries. Their operations and siloed systems haven’t been able to keep up with the rapid pace of change in the advertising industry until now,” said Patrick O’Leary, CEO of boostr. “Finally, ad sales and operations teams can manage the pitch to pay process end-to-end in one platform and see real time how the business is performing across all channels.  The days of managing silo’d systems, dealing with integration headaches and inconsistent data across CRM and OMS are over!”O’Leary continued, “We couldn’t be more excited by the market reception for our groundbreaking solution, partnering with industry leaders who’ve chosen boostr, such as Complex Media, Electronic Arts, Draft Kings, Trusted Media Brands, Gear Patrol and Clique Media.”Marketing Technology News: VaaS and USB are Helping to Drive Growth in the Video Conferencing & Collaboration Marketlast_img read more

Young children in lowincome rural areas at higher risk for second and

Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Dec 18 2018Infants and toddlers in low-income, rural areas may be at higher risk for second- and third-hand smoke than previously reported, according to new Penn State-led research.As many as 15 percent of children tested had levels of cotinine, a byproduct formed when the body breaks down nicotine, comparable to those of adult smokers. About 63 percent of children in the study had detectable levels of cotinine, suggesting widespread exposure to smoke. The study appears in Nicotine & Tobacco Research.”This is one of the first studies to explore the risks of very young children, especially infants, for second- or third-hand exposure to smoking,” said Lisa M. Gatzke-Kopp, professor of human development and family studies and lead author of the study. “Our findings suggest that moving frequently, having more adults in the home, and spending less time in center-based, daycare facilities may increase a child’s exposure to smoke or smoke residue.”The researchers analyzed data from the Family Life Project, a long-term study of rural poverty in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. For the study, saliva samples of over 1,200 children were tested for cotinine. The samples were collected from children at age 6 months, 15 months, 2 years and 4 years. The presence of cotinine indicates that the child was exposed to second- or third-hand smoke. Second-hand smoke comes from a lit tobacco product, an electronic smoking device, or the smoker. Third-hand smoke is an invisible residue from smoke that settles onto floors, furniture and clothing.The researchers classified the children into three groups based on their cotinine levels. Fifteen percent of the children were in the high exposure group, with cotinine levels comparable to active adult smokers, while 48 percent were in the moderate exposure group and 37 percent were in the low exposure group. These values are higher than those seen in data previously reported in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which found that only one-third to one-half of children’s blood samples had detectable cotinine.Related StoriesPotential benefits and risks of using e-cigarettesRecreational cannabis legalization could impact alcohol industry, research showsResearch sheds light on sun-induced DNA damage and repair”One of the reasons we may have found higher levels of exposure is that we looked at much younger children, starting when they were only 6 months old,” stated Gatzke-Kopp, who is also a Social Science Research Institute co-funded faculty member. “Because infants often put objects into their mouths and crawl on floors, they may be more likely to ingest smoke residue or get it on their skin, compared to older children.”The study team evaluated independent factors that may influence a child’s probability of being in one of the three exposure groups. They found that lower income, less education, frequent residential moves and fluctuations in the number of adults within the home were associated with high smoke exposure, whereas time spent at a center-based daycare was associated with lower smoke exposure.”Our results, if supported by future studies, can help educate parents and caregivers, as well as improve prevention programs that seek to reduce children’s smoke exposure,” said Clancy Blair, professor of cognitive psychology at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development and the senior author of the study. “For instance, nonsmoking families may not be aware that nicotine can be present in their child’s environment if their home was previously occupied by a smoker or if smoking is permitted at the workplace.”Source: https://news.psu.edu/story/550773/2018/12/06/research/low-income-rural-kids-higher-risk-second-or-third-hand-smoke read more

Treadmill exercise can ease period pain and improve quality of life

first_imgDr Priya Kannan, of Hong Kong Polytechnic University, added: Source:Anglia Ruskin UniversityJournal reference:Kannan, P. et al. (2019) Effectiveness of a treadmill-based aerobic exercise intervention on pain, daily functioning, and quality of life in women with primary dysmenorrhea: A randomized controlled trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials. doi.org/10.1016/j.cct.2019.05.004. Women who have painful periods often take steps to actively avoid exercise – after all when you are in pain it is often the last thing that you want to partake in.However, this trial demonstrated that exercise significantly reduced pain for those people taking part in the program, and they also reported reduced pain levels after four and seven months.” Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jul 3 2019A treadmill exercise regime can reduce period pain and improve long-term quality of life, according to a new study published in the journal Contemporary Clinical Trials.Researchers conducted a trial over a seven-month period to see how treadmill exercise benefited women suffering from primary dysmenorrhea, commonly known as period pain.Women aged between 18 and 43 were asked to take part in a supervised aerobic training regime three times a week for four weeks, beginning the day after the end of their menstrual period, followed by unsupervised home exercise for six months. Their results were compared with a control group, who carried out their usual regimes.Related StoriesWar against mosquitoes saves lives and money in Sri LankaVitamin D supplementation may not reduce the risk of heart diseaseAre Chronic Pain Relief Drugs for Children Effective?The study found that the women who took part in the supervised exercise reported 6% less pain after four weeks and 22% less pain with continuing the exercise for an additional six months. Significant benefits of exercise were reported after the seven-month reporting period for other study measures, including higher quality of life and improved daily functioning. However, the participants did not report any increase in sleep quality following the trial.The study is the first of its kind to examine the effect of treadmill exercise on measures such as pain intensity, sleep quality and overall quality of life.Dr Leica Claydon-Mueller, Senior Lecturer at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), said: The improvements in quality of life scores after seven months were noteworthy, although it was perhaps surprising that there was no significant difference in sleep quality to that of the control group.These multiple benefits might be considered a ‘package deal’ by women. The evidence supporting the use of aerobic exercise for managing pain, improving quality of life and improving daily functioning has been strengthened by the findings from this research.”last_img read more

Are physical examinations by family doctors still needed

first_imgPhysical examinations aid in early detection of diseaseA team of researchers at Calgary, Alberta wanted to determine if physical examinations are still necessary in the modern world and what do family physicians think about the process.To land to their findings, they conducted in-depth qualitative interviews with 16 family doctors in Canada. They include those who have 20 years of practice experience, a recent family medicine graduate, a public health doctor, and a retired internist.The researchers explored the clinical experiences of doctors in conducting a physical examination. The respondents include 7 men and 9 women, whose clinical experience varied widely from both rural and urban locations.The team recorded the interviews, transcribed, and determined initial themes using template analysis.The study, which was published in the Annals of Family Medicine, revealed that physical examinations, according to physicians, is an important part of being a doctor. Moreover, they found that physical examinations gather data from patients, in addition to diagnostic laboratory procedures.Physical examinations are important in the doctor-patient relationshipRelated StoriesPersonalizing Nutritional Medicine With the Power of NMRGood health goes beyond having a doctor and insurance, says AMA’s equity chiefStudy finds link between healthcare utilization practices and relative levels of threat sensitivityThe participants were asked to describe two aspects of the physical examination – diagnosing and estimating prognosis and responding to patient’s illnesses. These procedures form relationships between the two parties, the doctor and the patient. The procedure allows doctors to use their bodies to experience their patients’ illnesses.The doctors also said that aside from diagnostic data gathered during physical examinations, the process helps with empathy, as laying on hands during the procedure strengthens the role of doctors as healers. Physical examinations also strengthen the relationships between doctors and patients, developing trust and establishing rapport.“Physical examination is part of the identity of family physicians. It not only contributes diagnostic information but is a therapeutic intervention in and of itself. Physical examination contributes to relationship-centered care in family practice,” the researchers concluded in the study.However, the researchers also said the study has limitations.“We do not know what patients experienced or what they expected. However, previous studies indicate that patients expect to be examined and are less satisfied when physicians do not examine them,” they explained.“We did not directly observe participants’ physical examinations and relied on their self-reports, sometimes long after the events they described. A key feature of this type of work, its interpretive nature, limits its generalizability,” they added.What happens during a physical assessment?Physical assessment or examination involves many procedures. All these contribute to a diagnosis that can be confirmed through diagnostic tests. First off, the doctor may need to conduct an interview for updated health history.The physician will ask certain questions related to healthy history, changes, and developments in health. These may include questions about the job, relationships, allergies, family history of illness, recent surgeries, supplements, and medicines.During the physical examination, the doctor will also check the patient’s vital signs, including blood pressure, respiratory rate, pulse rate, and temperature. A visual exam will follow, which involves reviewing the patient’s appearance for any signs of possible conditions. A head-to-toe examination is done involving the head, eyes, beck, chest, abdomen, musculoskeletal system and nervous system functions.Aside from a visual exam, the doctor conducts palpation or touching parts of the body such as the abdomen, to determine abnormalities. Motor functions and reflexes are also included in the examination. Journal reference:Kelly, M.A, Freeman, L.K., and Dornan, T. (2019). Family Physicians’ Experiences of Physical Examination. Annals of Family Medicine. http://www.annfammed.org/content/17/4/304.full By Angela Betsaida B. Laguipo, BSNJul 10 2019Are you wondering if an annual or regular physical examination is still necessary? A new study reveals that it’s an integral part of relationship-centered care and detection of diseases early on.The increased availability of state-of-the-art and modern diagnostic technologies has sparked debate on whether the conventional physical examination is still needed in the clinical practice. One of the procedures done in clinics is physical examinations.Physical examination is a requirement not only in school admission, employment opportunities, or sports activities but also, in families. Family doctors play an important role in the conduct of these examinations to diagnose and treat many diseases.Otherwise known as medical examination or physical assessment, it’s a process that ensures that individuals stay in good health. Aside from this, it’s mainly a preventive process. Early detection and diagnosis of diseases will eventually lead to immediate treatment. Hence, it helps improve prognosis. As technology has gained ground in medicine and critics have called into question the diagnostic accuracy of physical examinations. Image Credit: Zetar Infinity / Shutterstocklast_img read more

Why the business model of social media giants like Facebook is incompatible

Facebook, Google warn Singapore against ‘fake news’ law Provided by The Conversation Facebook has had a bad few weeks. The social media giant had to apologise for failing to protect the personal data of millions of users from being accessed by data mining company Cambridge Analytica. Outrage is brewing over its admission to spying on people via their Android phones. Its stock price plummeted, while millions deleted their accounts in disgust. Explore further This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Read more: #MeToo is not enough: it has yet to shift the power imbalances that would bring about gender equality The bad and the uglyBut the social media “free speech” machines can create human rights difficulties. Those newly empowered voices are not necessarily desirable voices. The UN recently found that Facebook had been a major platform for spreading hatred against the Rohingya in Myanmar, which in turn led to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Video sharing site YouTube seems to automatically guide viewers to the fringiest versions of what they might be searching for. A search on vegetarianism might lead to veganism; jogging to ultra-marathons; Donald Trump’s popularity to white supremacist rants; and Hillary Clinton to 9/11 trutherism.YouTube, via its algorithm’s natural and probably unintended impacts, “may be one of the most powerful radicalising instruments of the 21st century”, with all the attendant human rights abuses that might follow.The business model and human rightsHuman rights abuses might be embedded in the business model that has evolved for social media companies in their second decade. Essentially, those models are based on the collection and use for marketing purposes of their users’ data. And the data they have is extraordinary in its profiling capacities, and in the consequent unprecedented knowledge base and potential power it grants to these private actors.Indirect political influence is commonly exercised, even in the most credible democracies, by private bodies such as major corporations. This power can be partially constrained by “anti-trust laws” that promote competition and prevent undue market dominance. Anti-trust measures could, for example, be used to hive off Instagram from Facebook, or YouTube from Google. But these companies’ power essentially arises from the sheer number of their users: in late 2017, Facebook was reported as having more than 2.2 billion active users. Anti-trust measures do not seek to cap the number of a company’s customers, as opposed to its acquisitions. Power through knowledgeIn 2010, Facebook conducted an experiment by randomly deploying a non-partisan “I voted” button into 61 million feeds during the US mid-term elections. That simple action led to 340,000 more votes, or about 0.14% of the US voting population. This number can swing an election. A bigger sample would lead to even more votes. So Facebook knows how to deploy the button to sway an election, which would clearly be lamentable. However, the mere possession of that knowledge makes Facebook a political player. It now knows that button’s the political impact, the types of people it is likely to motivate, and the party that’s favoured by its deployment and non-deployment, and at what times of day.It might seem inherently incompatible with democracy for that knowledge to be vested in a private body. Yet the retention of such data is the essence of Facebook’s ability to make money and run a viable business.MicrotargetingA study has shown that a computer knows more about a person’s personality than their friends or flatmates from an analysis of 70 “likes”, and more than their family from 150 likes. From 300 likes it can outperform one’s spouse. This enables the micro-targeting of people for marketing messages – whether those messages market a product, a political party or a cause. This is Facebook’s product, from which it generates billions of dollars. It enables extremely effective advertising and the manipulation of its users. This is so even without Cambridge Analytica’s underhanded methods.Advertising is manipulative: that is its point. Yet it is a long bow to label all advertising as a breach of human rights. Advertising is available to all with the means to pay. Social media micro-targeting has become another battleground where money is used to attract customers and, in the political arena, influence and mobilise voters. While the influence of money in politics is pervasive – and probably inherently undemocratic – it seems unlikely that spending money to deploy social media to boost an electoral message is any more a breach of human rights than other overt political uses of money. Yet the extraordinary scale and precision of its manipulative reach might justify differential treatment of social media compared to other advertising, as its manipulative political effects arguably undermine democratic choices. As with mass data collection, perhaps it may eventually be concluded that that reach is simply incompatible with democratic and human rights.’Fake news’Finally, there is the issue of the spread of misinformation. While paid advertising may not breach human rights, “fake news” distorts and poisons democratic debate. It is one thing for millions of voters to be influenced by precisely targeted social media messages, but another for maliciously false messages to influence and manipulate millions – whether paid for or not.In a Declaration on Fake News, several UN and regional human rights experts said fake news interfered with the right to know and receive information – part of the general right to freedom of expression. Its mass dissemination may also distort rights to participate in public affairs. Russia and Cambridge Analytica (assuming allegations in both cases to be true) have demonstrated how social media can be “weaponised” in unanticipated ways.Yet it is difficult to know how social media companies should deal with fake news. The suppression of fake news is the suppression of speech – a human right in itself. The preferred solution outlined in the Declaration on Fake News is to develop technology and digital literacy to enable readers to more easily identify fake news. The human rights community seems to be trusting that the proliferation of fake news in the marketplace of ideas can be corrected with better ideas rather than censorship.However, one cannot be complacent in assuming that “better speech” triumphs over fake news. A recent study concluded fake news on social media: “… diffused significantly farther, faster, deeper, and more broadly than the truth in all categories of information.”Also, internet “bots” apparently spread true and false news at the same rate, which indicates that: “… false news spreads more than the truth because humans, not robots, are more likely to spread it.”The depressing truth may be that human nature is attracted to fake stories over the more mundane true ones, often because they satisfy predetermined biases, prejudices and desires. And social media now facilitates their wildfire spread to an unprecedented degree. Perhaps social media’s purpose – the posting and sharing of speech – cannot help but generate a distorted and tainted marketplace of fake ideas that undermine political debate and choices, and perhaps human rights.What next?It is premature to assert the very collection of massive amounts of data is irreconcilable with the right to privacy (and even rights relating to democratic governance). Similarly, it is premature to decide that micro-targeting manipulates the political sphere beyond the bounds of democratic human rights. Finally, it may be that better speech and corrective technology will help to undo fake news’ negative impacts: it is premature to assume that such solutions won’t work. However, by the time such conclusions may be reached, it may be too late to do much about it. It may be an example where government regulation and international human rights law – and even business acumen and expertise – lags too far behind technological developments to appreciate their human rights dangers. At the very least, we must now seriously question the business models that have emerged from the dominant social media platforms. Maybe the internet should be rewired from the grassroots, rather than be led by digital oligarchs’ business needs. Facebook has also faced scrutiny over its failure to prevent the spread of “fake news” on its platforms, including via an apparent orchestrated Russian propaganda effort to influence the 2016 US presidential election.Facebook’s actions – or inactions – facilitated breaches of privacy and human rights associated with democratic governance. But it might be that its business model – and those of its social media peers generally – is simply incompatible with human rights.The goodIn some ways, social media has been a boon for human rights – most obviously for freedom of speech. Previously, the so-called “marketplace of ideas” was technically available to all (in “free” countries), but was in reality dominated by the elites. While all could equally exercise the right to free speech, we lacked equal voice. Gatekeepers, especially in the form of the mainstream media, largely controlled the conversation. But today, anybody with internet access can broadcast information and opinions to the whole world. While not all will be listened to, social media is expanding the boundaries of what is said and received in public. The marketplace of ideas must effectively be bigger and broader, and more diverse.Social media enhances the effectiveness of non-mainstream political movements, public assemblies and demonstrations, especially in countries that exercise tight controls over civil and political rights, or have very poor news sources. Social media played a major role in co-ordinating the massive protests that brought down dictatorships in Tunisia and Egypt, as well as large revolts in Spain, Greece, Israel, South Korea, and the Occupy movement. More recently, it has facilitated the rapid growth of the #MeToo and #neveragain movements, among others. Citation: Why the business model of social media giants like Facebook is incompatible with human rights (2018, April 3) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-04-business-social-media-giants-facebook.html Credit: CC0 Public Domain read more

Xerox CEO to resign in settlement with top shareholders

Judge Barry Ostrager of New York’s Supreme Court in Manhattan temporarily blocked the planned takeover of Xerox by Japan’s Fujifilm This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. © 2018 AFP The CEO of US photocopier and printer maker Xerox is stepping down to end a battle with shareholders opposed to a planned takeover by Japan’s Fujifilm. Explore further US judge temporarily blocks Xerox takeover by Fujifilm Citation: Xerox CEO to resign in settlement with top shareholders (2018, May 2) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-xerox-ceo-resign-settlement-shareholders.html Major shareholders Darwin Deason and Carl Icahn, who together control 15.2 percent of Xerox’s shares, have vigorously opposed the takeover and have filed a suit to block it.On Friday, a US court ordered a temporary block of the takeover, saying it prioritised the interest of Xerox’s CEO over its shareholders.In a statement issued Tuesday in the US, Xerox said Jeff Jacobson would be replaced John Visentin as CEO, with Keith Cozza taking on his role as board chairman.Both men are backed by Deason and Icahn.Under the planned deal, Xerox would be absorbed by an existing joint venture known as Fuji Xerox, falling under the control of Fujifilm.After the transaction is completed, Fujifilm would hold 50.1 percent of Fuji Xerox, while current Xerox shareholders would receive a special cash dividend of $2.5 billion. Deason and Icahn sued in February claiming a secret 2001 deal between Xerox and Fujifilm contained a clause that prevented the Xerox board from seeking another buyer, effectively shortchanging the company’s shareholders.Six board members will step down along with Jacobson, and the newly formed board will “meet immediately to, among other things, begin a process to evaluate all strategic alternatives to maximize shareholder value,” Xerox said.It will weigh all options, “including terminating or restructuring Xerox’s relationship with Fujifilm and the proposed transaction with Fujifilm,” the statement said.On Wednesday in Japan, Fujifilm said it had “serious concerns” about the resignation of Jacobson and the other board members.”We believe the combination of Xerox and Fuji Xerox is the best option to provide exceptional value to shareholders of both companies,” it said, adding it believed the new board had an “obligation” to uphold the deal.Fujifilm said it would appeal against Friday’s ruling “as we believe the record shows our good faith and arms-length negotiations for the benefit of all shareholders.”Fujifilm shares plunged 5.45 percent to 4,123 yen in Tokyo on Wednesday. read more