While most executives refused to speak on the record about the rash of layoffs and overall panic in the magazine industry, one, Meredith’s Art Slusark, actually did (although, keep in mind, he is a spokesperson for the company).Here’s his unedited take:We are in a very tough economic environment overall, and for media companies in particular. Visibility is very low, and it’s difficult to predict the duration of the current advertising downturn. It is equally difficult to forecast how advertising budgets, which generally reset with the start of the new calendar year, will change as we begin Calendar 2009. We do believe current marketplace trends are cyclical, not structural. Data related to advertising spending and consumer media usage supports this position. Given the current economic environment, we are putting increased emphasis on aggressively managing expenses across the company. Despite 22 percent higher paper prices, total company expenses declined 3 percent in the first quarter of quarter fiscal 2009, which ended September 30, 2008. Excluding acquisitions, total company expenses declined 5 percent. Our strategic sourcing initiative has saved us more than $40 million in vendor costs. We are only filling essential open positions.While the weak economy continues to significantly impact the demand for advertising, the other fundamentals of our business remain strong. Our circulation metrics are solid. Our non-advertising related businesses, particularly Meredith Integrated Marketing and brand licensing, are posting strong revenue and profit growth.Meredith is executing a three-pronged performance improvement plan to address the current environment. Our strategies include:1. Special sales incentives and new marketing programs to maximize market share in our core publishing and broadcasting businesses; 2. Aggressive expense management, including tight control of labor and vendor costs; and 3. Revenue diversification initiatives to accelerate growth of new revenue streams, many of which are not dependent on traditional advertising. These include the aforementioned integrated marketing and brand licensing operations, both of which we’ve expanded significantly in the last two years. We’ve also invested in new tools and platforms across our 40+ Web sites and broadened the reach of Meredith Video Solutions – our in-house video creation unit.
What’s happening @Twitter? One minute, it’s laughing into the void. 2:57 Tags Twitter can’t believe no one got that I changed my twitter handle cuz I left for new york city— hey there Drelilah (@DreRonayne) January 10, 2019 Hahahahahahahaha— Twitter (@Twitter) January 8, 2019 Twitter’s new voice, which comes as the 12-year-old service is losing users, is drawing both praise and criticism. Some users are getting a good laugh from interacting with the corporate account, with @Twitter tweeting “You. In emojis” and “knock, knock.” But Twitter’s social media strategy has baffled some digital marketing experts who say it does little to repair the company’s bruised image or attract new users. Twitter reported 326 million monthly active users worldwide in the third quarter, a drop of 9 million users compared with the previous quarter. The company attributed the decline in part to its crackdown on bots, spam and malicious accounts.At a time when a photo of a brown egg is the most-liked photo on Instagram, some social media experts also see the cryptic tweets as an attempt by Twitter to grab the attention of a younger audience.Teens spend a lot of time on social media, meaning companies need to attract those users to continue their growth. Twitter makes money by showing targeted ads to users who engage daily on its site. 0 Taking advantage of the WTF moment, Twitter left it up to users to interpret the tweet, as if it was a work of modern art. “People really related to an empty space,” @Twitter said. Some commented on the tweet with remarks like “My bank balance on Monday” and “My soul”, and even with a photo of a blank piece of paper. Twitter is keeping the identity of its tweeters a secret, saying only “a few little birds” tweet from the @Twitter account. Dorsey isn’t one of them.”No one wants ‘edit button’ shouted at them in the street,” @Twitter quipped in an email when I asked why they wanted to stay anonymous. Twitter users often ask the company for a way to edit their tweets.Peter Wood, group director of the content lab at digital marketing agency 360i, said that with millions of users worldwide, the company has to find some “unifying way” to chat with its audience without excluding users in certain areas. He thinks the tweets are “very light-hearted” and “fun.””It just seems like they want to play with their audience,” Wood said. Laughter, after all, is universal.When Twitter tweeted “Hahahahahahahaha,” Twitter user @flashbackgray responded with “Can’t relate.” The Twitter user, who wants to remain anonymous, said in a direct message he wasn’t “feeling so good” that day. @Twitter fired back with the cheeky remark “Come back to it later.” It just seems like they want to play with their audience. Peter Wood, of digital marketing agency 360i Shama Hyder, CEO and founder of marketing firm Zen Media, said Twitter’s approach is “a little tongue-and-cheek.””At the same time, they’re trying a little too hard to make Twitter cool, edgy and relevant,” Hyder said. “This has always been Twitter’s challenge, by the way. They have a great platform, but they’ve never quite known what direction to take it in.”Guy Kawasaki, a former marketing executive at Apple, called Twitter’s tweets “pathetic” and “vacuous.” Instead, Twitter’s corporate account should set the “gold standard” for how to use social media.”With power comes responsibility,” said Kawasaki, who has nearly 1.5 million followers and has been tweeting since 2007. “And when you have the power of [56 million] followers, you would think you would do something useful.”The @Twitter account has tweeted phrases like “Weekends spark joy,” “Mmhmmmm,” “Awkward,” “The” and even nothing. That blank tweet on Nov. 29 was shared more than 61,200 times and garnered more than 222,100 likes. Roughly 15,000 users replied to the tweet. Twitter CEO and NBA head talk latest tech partnership Ronayne’s tweet and her username was a nod to the song Hey There Delilah by the Plain White T’s.”What’s it like there?,” @Twitter asked, referencing lyrics from the song. “Wish you weren’t a thousand miles away,” she responded with the next line of the song. At first, Ronayne was taken aback because she didn’t follow the @Twitter account. She also didn’t use the @ sign to alert the company about her tweet. Still, Twitter’s response gave her a good laugh. “I just found it really funny that they understood the joke in my tweet,” she said. “and went along with it.”Hahahahahahahaha.CES 2019: See all of CNET’s coverage of the year’s biggest tech show.Everything about Fortnite: What you need to know about the hit game. Share your voice Last week, @Twitter tweeted “brb.” Users chimed in. Bring back food, poop or some edit buttons, they said. At one point, Twitter said it was grabbing pizza “with no pineapple.”The goal of the @Twitter account is to “spark conversation,” according to the company. So far, that seems to be working.The amount of likes and retweets @Twitter received totaled 5.3 million from Sept. 1 to Jan. 23, up from 449,000 interactions in the preceding five-month period, according to CrowdTangle data. Twitter also said the number of replies to its tweets has grown 14 times.Dre Ronayne, a 23-year-old YouTuber from Los Angeles, changed her Twitter name to “hey there Drelilah” after she traveled to New York for work. The next minute, the social media site’s own Twitter account acts like your parents.”Go to sleep,” @Twitter told the account’s nearly 56 million followers on Jan. 10 at 8:30 p.m. PT. Tweets from @Twitter are meant to reflect “the lighter, more conversational nature” of the social network. Through absurdist humor and a dash of mystery, more than 70 of the company’s tweets posted since September are aimed at encouraging people to tweet more. That’s why the company prompts its own users to post with the question “what’s happening?””Tweets can stem from anything from a trend or joke we are seeing from Twitter users, to something going on in the world,” a Twitter spokeswoman said in a statement.But like Facebook and other tech firms, Twitter and its CEO, Jack Dorsey, are under fire for not doing enough to combat harassment, hate speech and the spread of misinformation on their platforms by Russian trolls during the 2016 US presidential election. In September Dorsey spent hours before Congress defending Twitter from allegations of political bias, and he pledged to improve the “health” of the platform. They’re trying a little too hard to make Twitter cool, edgy and relevant. Shama Hyder, CEO, Zen Media Post a comment ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀— Twitter (@Twitter) November 29, 2018 Culture Tech Industry Now playing: Watch this:
Comments Every Batman that matters, ranked 7 Here’s hoping Robert Pattinson has more luck as Batman than Ben Affleck did in the 2016 movie Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Warner Bros. Twilight actor Robert Pattinson could end up playing the Caped Crusader in director Matt Reeves’ upcoming superhero film The Batman, hitting theaters on June 25, 2021, according to a report from Variety on Thursday.”Pattinson was cast even as Reeves continues to polish a final version of the script,” according to Variety. However, according to a report from Deadline on Thursday, Pattinson isn’t the only actor in the running. Nicholas Hoult — who stars in both Tolkien and the film Dark Phoenix — is also on the short list for The Batman lead.Reeves — best known for his work on the most recent Planet of the Apes sequels — took over Batman directing duties from Ben Affleck in January 2017.Reeves was allowed to pick his own Bruce Wayne, which could end up being the Twilight heartthrob Pattinson or Hoult. If either the 32-year-old Pattinson or the 29-year-old Hoult agree to play the Caped Crusader, either actor will be the youngest to ever play Batman on the big screen.Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Tags DC Comics Batman Share your voice TV and Movies Comics 17 Photos
It should be pointed out that many genetic therapies now on the table are based on treatment of somatic cells. If heritable changes to the genome can be introduced via predictable breaches in Weismann’s barrier, as many now presume exist, that is something we probably want to know more about. We need look no further than plants to see that genetic changes in germ lines can be produced as a result of genetic changes in somatic lines. Here somatic cell lineages (vegetative meristems) may be old enough to have accumulated many mutations subject to natural selection since seed germination.Neurobiologists are more interested in those heritable skills or experiences that can be packaged quickly into the germ line, almost perhaps, instantaneously. In many species, sperm are produced at a tremendous rate and practically speaking, they turn over daily. For his fly experiments, Ziv paired different odors with either an aversive or an appetitive stimulus, and trained them over the course of a few days to make the proper associations.The aversive stimulus was an electrified copper grid which presumably was distasteful enough to be seen as a non-lethal assault, but not so powerful as to prevent any formative interactions. Electrical shock may not be the cleanest stimulus (after all we know from the experiments of Miller and Urey that electricity of sufficient voltage can spawn amino-acids from gases), it seems to have what it takes to make a good impression. The appetitive stimulus in this case was of an appetitive nature—corn meal and sugar. While the opposite of shock may not be a sugar snack, the pair do provide a clear choice between good and evil.If precise mechanisms of inheritance are to be attributed to specific details of a stimulus, then the particulars of the odors themselves (3-octanol (OCT) or 4-Methylcyclohexanol (MCH)) are important in these studies. Other experiments, like those in mice, used acetophenone because a fair bit is already known about the receptors and circuitry involved in detecting it. Using a T-maze setup, Ziv was able to show that after the parents had mastered associations of odors with good and evil, the offspring of those flies later showed heightened sensitivity to them as well. However, for whatever reason, the effect was only strong with the MCH stimulus, and in the aversive pairing. Not only that, but the response to MCH was the opposite from the response that the parents had learned: the offspring preferred to move toward MCH instead of avoiding it.Ziv suggests that since the sensitivity to MCH was inherited, but the seemingly useful response (avoidance) was not, there is no inheritance of change at the neural circuit level going on. While that may be a fair enough conclusion, we really can’t make any sweeping conclusions at this point as to what is really going on. Ziv, like other explorers of Lamarckian inheritance, merely offers his controlled study with error margins in the same spirit as nearly every other scientific study put on the charts. If we take any of them at face value, we take all of them.Scientists look for inheritance of specific experiences because they can be quickly inserted into animal, and then later measured to clear effect. To further probe these behavioral phenomena, Ziv suggests that olfactory processes could be blocked at various stages in the adults. Reversibly altering specific pathways using dominant temperature-sensitive transgenes like UAS-Shi for example, would perhaps be one way to do this.Ultimately scientists want to look beyond transient effects and explore the inheritance of actual physical characteristics, like longer necks in giraffes or bigger hands in farmer’s sons. Opponents may argue that any significant results that one might obtain would merely uncover previous genetic pathways already built into the organism. In a way we have the same bottleneck that sensory neurobiogists decry when they try to account for the massive compression of information in a visual stimulus through the retina, and unto the digital output of the optic nerve spike train. However if we figure the entire retina, or the entire body, as a molecular computing volume down to the samllest scale, rather than just considering a few membrane-constrained channels, we hint at the source of power. Personality is the result of nurture, not nature, suggests new study on birds 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. Explore further © 2014 Phys.org Journal information: arXiv More information: arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1312/1312.7331.pdf However those mechanisms that first generated life, and by implication continue to refashion it as fast as we try to comprehend, are still unknowns of a nature we have scarcely imagined. Strict adherence to the concepts of random genetic mutation followed by natural selection thrusts up a steep barrier to a full understanding of variation in the natural world. In order to push beyond this cusp, scientists have now turned to the ideas of Lamarck. The latest installment in the genetic saga of individual experience has just been published on the arxiv preprint server by Harvard neurosurgeon Ziv Williams. Ziv’s new results were obtained with flies, and they shadow the recent provocative data on murine (mouse) inheritance of ancestral fears. The latter study raised the roof on what is now possible in a scientific experiment. In demonstrating not only a mechanism for sperm-specific transmission of acquired traits from the father, but also precision modification of neural circuitry, that report set the bar extremely high for what might be proved in a study—and also for what might be swallowed by the larger community.With mice, it is possible to isolate the mechanism of transmission of a particular experience to the father’s sperm by doing in vitro insemination. While that is not so simple in flies, there is one big advantage to working with them—experiments can be more easily done at high n factor (number of flies). This is critical for discerning complex, but often weak, effects. The principle that information of a hereditary nature ratchets only in the direction from germ cells to somatic (body) cells is known as Weismann’s barrier. It is expected that any breakdown of this evolutionary diode (such as feedback from somatic to germ cells) would be a weak effect because the bandwidth for transmission of experience to germ cells would, at first glance, appear to be severely limited. Citation: Fly dreams and the boundaries of evolutionary science (2014, January 2) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2014-01-boundaries-evolutionary-science.html In 2002, Secretary of state Donald Rumsfeld made a statement regarding weapons of mass destruction that today is still well known. He famously parsed the evidence (or lack thereof) into “known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns.” In squeezing virtually all that it can from the ideas of Darwin, evolutionary biology has produced a mountain of facts and ideas that fall squarely in the realm of Rumsfeld’s first two categories. Jean-Baptiste LamarckCredit: Wikipedia
On the third day of the Digital Day 2019 held in Brussels, the European Commission introduced a set of essential guidelines for building a trustworthy AI, which will guide companies and government to build ethical AI applications. By introducing these new guidelines, the commission is working towards a three-step approach including, Setting out the key requirements for trustworthy AI Launching a large scale pilot phase for feedback from stakeholders Working on international consensus building for human-centric AI EU’s high-level expert group on AI, which consists of 52 independent experts representing academia, industry, and civil society, came up with seven requirements, which according to them, the future AI systems should meet. Seven guidelines for achieving an ethical AI Human agency and oversight: AI systems should enable equitable societies by supporting human agency and fundamental rights, and not decrease, limit or misguide human autonomy. Robustness and safety: A trustworthy AI requires algorithms to be secure, reliable and robust enough to deal with errors or inconsistencies during all life cycle phases of AI systems. Privacy and data governance: Citizens should have full control over their own data, while data concerning them will not be used to harm or discriminate against them. Transparency: The traceability of AI systems should be ensured. Diversity, non-discrimination, and fairness: AI systems should consider the whole range of human abilities, skills and requirements, and ensure accessibility. Societal and environmental well-being: AI systems should be used to enhance positive social change and enhance sustainability and ecological responsibility. Accountability: Mechanisms should be put in place to ensure responsibility and accountability for AI systems and their outcomes. According to EU’s official press release, “Following the pilot phase, in early 2020, the AI expert group will review the assessment lists for the key requirements, building on the feedback received. Building on this review, the Commission will evaluate the outcome and propose any next steps.” The plans fall under the Commission’s AI strategy of April 2018, which “aims at increasing public and private investments to at least €20 billion annually over the next decade, making more data available, fostering talent and ensuring trust ”, the press release states. Andrus Ansip, Vice-President for the Digital Single Market, said, “The ethical dimension of AI is not a luxury feature or an add-on. It is only with trust that our society can fully benefit from technologies. Ethical AI is a win-win proposition that can become a competitive advantage for Europe: being a leader of human-centric AI that people can trust.” Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said, “We now have a solid foundation based on EU values and following an extensive and constructive engagement from many stakeholders including businesses, academia and civil society. We will now put these requirements to practice and at the same time foster an international discussion on human-centric AI.” Thomas Metzinger, a Professor of Theoretical Philosophy at the University of Mainz and who was also a member of the commission’s expert group that has worked on the guidelines has put forward an article titled, ‘Ethics washing made in Europe’. Metzinger said he has worked on the Ethics Guidelines for nine months. “The result is a compromise of which I am not proud, but which is nevertheless the best in the world on the subject. The United States and China have nothing comparable. How does it fit together?”, he writes. Eline Chivot, a senior policy analyst at the Center for Data Innovation think tank, told The Verge, “We are skeptical of the approach being taken, the idea that by creating a golden standard for ethical AI it will confirm the EU’s place in global AI development. To be a leader in ethical AI you first have to lead in AI itself.” To know more about this news in detail, read the EU press release. Read Next Is Google trying to ethics-wash its decisions with its new Advanced Tech External Advisory Council? IEEE Standards Association releases ethics guidelines for automation and intelligent systems Sir Tim Berners-Lee on digital ethics and socio-technical systems at ICDPPC 2018
Friday, November 16, 2018 Tags: Agent Incentives, Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts TORONTO — Bahia Principe’s first-ever travel agent appreciation event took place in Toronto last night, with close to 100 of its most loyal agents in attendance despite the city’s first major snowfall.But the snow simply added to the night’s festivities, which also included a glamourous photo wall, photo props, prizes and hors d’oeuvres at Labora restaurant. Bahia Principe’s top supplier partners, including Transat, were also in attendance to thank travel agents for their continued support, particularly during a year marred by hurricanes and tropical storms.“This night isn’t about us, it’s about you,” said Dennis Vondenhoff, Regional Sales Director, Caribbean & Mexico at Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts. “We want to thank you for your support this year, which may not have been an easy year.”Helen Montijano, VP Sales & Marketing, USA & Canada, also told Travelweek that nearly 90% of Bahia Principe’s bookings are done through travel agents.“Travel agents are so important to us as that is where we get the majority of our bookings. The support we receive from agents in Canada is tremendous, and to thank them we have launched a rewards program. We want to thank agents as well as want them to come and stay with us,” she said.L-R: Susan Nunez, Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts; Brad Dean, Quadra Innovations Group, Erin Oddleifson, Transat; Michael Price, Quadra Innovations Group; Dennis Vondenhoff, Bahia Principe Hotels & Resorts; Paula DeCampos, Transat; and Vera Pinto, Transat.Through the BP Rewards program, Bahia Principe offers incentives via its proprietary points system, with awards based on bookings. For example, 100-125 points are given for each room booked, and can be used towards free stays, spa discounts and other perks.More news: Consolidation in the cruise industry as PONANT set to acquire Paul Gauguin CruisesTo entice agents to join the program, Bahia Principe is offering 1,000 welcome points simply for signing up.“The rewards program offers partners the information and tools necessary to be provide their clients with exceptionally planned vacations, and the opportunity to ‘experience happiness’,” said Montijano. “It is the best tool we offer to keep the travel agent community informed, and to show them our appreciation for their continued loyalty.”Bahia Principe also offers a brand centre that holds brochures, fact sheets, presentations, logos and more, which agents can download directly from its site. “Additionally, we are constantly coordinating and hosting interactive webinars to discuss brand updates,” Montijano added.For winter 2018/2019, the resort company is reminding agents of its four newly launched hotel categories and experiences aimed at differentiating properties to cater to differing client needs. These include: Luxury Bahia Principe, the brand’s most luxurious properties; Grand Bahia Principe, which features five-star hotels; Sunlight Bahia Principe, featuring all of the brand’s Spain-based properties; and Fantasia Bahia Principe, family-friendly themed hotels.More news: Air Canada’s global sales update includes Managing Director, Canada & USA Sales“The goal of the reorganization was also to simplify the selection for guests,” said Montijano. “We urge agents to take advantage of this new breakdown when advising clients and to familiarize themselves with it.”In addition to categorizing resorts by their individual personalities, Bahia Principe further defined its offering by ‘experience’, emphasizing the specific characteristics that make them unique:Treasure experience focuses on hotels in unique and off-the-beaten path locations that are ideal for clients seeking remote tranquilityEscape experience is for properties where amenities and experiences are curated specifically for adultsFamily & Friends offers a wholesome experience featuring family-driven programing for varying age groupsDuring a short presentation, the Bahia Principe team also encouraged agents to keep its various properties top of mind during the winter booking season. These include Fantasia Bahia Principe Punta Cana, a family-friendly themed resort, and Luxury Bahia Principe Ambar, a fully renovated resort for adults only in Punta Cana that features modern rooms, newly added swim-up suites, refurbished restaurants, and a new coffee shop, sports bar and gym. The newly rebranded Grand Bahia Principe Aquamarine in Punta, an adults-only property, also offers updated amenities and revitalized entertainment options.Bahia Principe also offers four additional properties in Samana: Luxury Bahia Principe Cayo Levantado, Luxury Bahia Principe Samana, Grand Bahia Principe Cayacoa, and Grand Bahia Principe El Portillo.For more information go to bahia-principe.com. Posted by Share Agents come first: Bahia Principe thanks partners for their strong sales Travelweek Group << Previous PostNext Post >>