1157: Carbon Captions

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

2h 55m
July 21st, 2019
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Executive Producers: Sir Onymous of Dogpatch and Lower Slobbovia, Arnis Celmins, 333 AM

Associate Executive Producers: Able Kirby, Dame Carolyn of Hogtown, Sir Veec Knight

Cover Artist: Mike Reily


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9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Paid Over $38 Billion to Victims
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9/11 VCF
More Than $38 Billion Paid to 9/11 Victims - Los Angeles Times
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 04:28
NEW YORK '-- Victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks received more than $38 billion in compensation '-- a figure 30 times the size of the largest previous disaster payout '-- and one that is unlikely to be matched, says a Rand Corporation study released today.
Insurance companies and the federal government provided more than 90% of the payments '-- and some victims were overpaid while others fell through the cracks. But the massive compensation '-- unprecedented in scope and in the mix of programs '-- may not happen again, says Rand, because of new moves by the government to limit liabilities and requirements by insurance companies for businesses to purchase separate terrorism insurance.
The 173-page analysis by the Rand Institute for Civil Justice examined the compensation system as a whole and how well different organizations interacted to support those affected by the 9/11 terrorist strike.
The report also looked at questions of equity and fairness, noting that some people's lives were considered more valuable than others by compensators, and that the 9/11 victims received more money than those affected by other terrorist attacks, such as the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Framing the compensation system as an element of national security, the authors concluded that a robust system can dampen the intended effects of a terrorist strike, and they made several recommendations to improve policies and preparedness for future attacks.
''As we did the study we increasingly began to see that the choices we make for compensation have national security significance,'' said Lloyd Dixon, senior economist at Rand who coauthored the report with Rachel Kaganoff Stern. ''When you put money out the door quickly, that can reduce the economic impact. It can affect the incentive companies have to adopt security measures, such as installing evacuation plans, and how it's set up can help reduce the panic and social fragmentation produced by a terrorist attack.''
The crashes of passenger-filled airplanes into New York's World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon near Washington, and a field in Pennsylvania on Sept. 11killed 2,752 people and seriously injured more than 400 others. The largest terrorist strike in U.S. history also resulted in the largest financial payouts, but changes in the compensation system afterward may leave gaps that need to be addressed.
The insurance industry paid about 51% of the $38.1 billion in compensation accounted for, a figure Dixon called ''striking.'' Government programs made up 42%, and charity provided 7%. Several lawsuits are pending, but there have yet to be any payouts through the tort system. The total does not include financial assistance to airlines or payments for the repair of public buildings, transportation or infrastructure.
Insurance companies expect to make at least $19.6 billion in 9/11-related payments, and because of the heavy hit on the industry, many have stopped including automatic coverage against terrorism in policies. Since the attacks, it has been offered as a separate type of coverage, and many businesses have not purchased it, the report said. In addition, chemical, biological and nuclear attacks are now typically excluded.
''If that [coverage] is not there next time, what's going to fill in the gap?'' said Dixon.
The study concluded that the government reacted, on the whole, quickly and effectively to stem potential losses from business interruption and provide benefits for victims. But the report singles out two government agencies, the Federal Emergency Management Administration(FEMA) and the Environmental Protection Agency for criticism of the way they responded to the economic and environmental fallout of the disaster.
Charities responded at times even more rapidly than the government, distributing an unprecedented $2.7 billion, and caught some people who would have fallen through the cracks, such as undocumented workers or those without insurance. They also increased attention and services for mental health issues, an area that has been underserved in past disasters.
There were, at times, duplication of efforts and benefits among charities, a problem that was recognized and addressed through the creation of the United Services Group.
But a lack of coordination led to disparities in compensation. Civilians killed or seriously injured received a total of $8.7 billion, averaging about $3.1 million per recipient, coming mostly from the Victims' Compensation Fund.
Before the government's creation of the Fund, charities awarded an average of $1 million to the families of first responders '-- firefighters, police and medical workers '-- who died in the attack. That meant they received an average of $1.1 million more than average civilians with similar economic losses. Had the charities known about the other sources of compensation, they might have chosen to allocate their funds differently, Dixon said.
The report also noted that the extraordinary amount of donations and number of volunteers after the 9/11 strikes cannot be assumed to reoccur, and that agencies should create a more permanent and predictable coordination plan and social safety net.
Among those who were undercompensated include undocumented workers, who were excluded from most government compensation programs after the initial payout from the Victims' Compensation Fund. High-income earners may also have been shorted because their awards were capped at $231,000 per year in projected future lifetime earnings.
While businesses in New York City, particularly in the vicinity of the World Trade Center site, received $23.3. billion for property damage, interrupted business and revitalization incentives, the compensation system missed many people who had lost their jobs because of the economic ripples of the attack.
Displaced residents and workers, those with emotional trauma, and people exposed to environmental hazards, received about $3.5 billion.
Although there is a government-funded study of the health consequences for residents and workers around ground zero exposed to environmental hazards, there are no funds reserved for eventual claims if they eventually develop chronic diseases such as lung damage or cancer as a result of their exposure, Dixon said. Those people likely would have to file a lawsuit to receive compensation.
The researchers warned that there is no guarantee that the unique mix of resources will be available if there is a future attack. Congress may not reauthorize the same sort of victims' fund, many businesses are not covered by special terrorism insurance, and charities may not play the same role. There is still no agreement on how the different organizations should coordinate their efforts.
Without defining a specific policy, the study recommends developing some sort of objective standard for determining payouts to achieve more equitable and efficient distribution of funds in the future, and to reduce the nation's economic vulnerability to terrorism.
9/11 VCF was also an Airline bailout bill
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund Just Paid $233.4 Million to Suffering First Responders - CityLab
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 04:28
Legislative Director of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association Richard Alles stands alongside Zadroga Act supporters John Stewart and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand. Gary Cameron / REUTERS The Victim Compensation Fund rolled out initial payments on Tuesday, with more scheduled in the coming months.After more than 14 years, the wait for government compensation is over for a number of first responders suffering from 9/11-related illnesses. On Tuesday, officials announced that a group of payments totaling more than $233.4 million were being delivered to more than 1,000 firefighters, police, and emergency personnel. ''We have shifted more staff to focus on payments and I am proud we exceeded our first interim target,'' said Sheila Birnbaum, the special master of the Victim Compensation Fund, in a statement on the fund's site.
These payments were made possible thanks to the December reauthorization of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act. Although parts of the Zadroga Act expired on September 30, renewal from Congress stalled for some months. Despite adamant support on behalf of officials like Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Mayor Bill de Blasio, certain members of Congress, including presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, opposed the decision. Nevertheless, the act, which provides necessary health care services and compensation for 9/11 survivors and first responders, received a strong vote from the House of Representatives'--316 to 113 in favor of its continuation for another 75 years (although the victim fund itself only received a five-year extension).
Moving forward, the Victim Compensation Fund announced that additional payments would be authorized ''in each successive month until all Group A payments have been made.'' According to the fund's timeline, this process is scheduled to be completed by August of this year. At that time, the fund will start to make decisions on a second group of payments (''Group B''), which will likely be rolled out in September or October. (''Group A'' refers to payments that were decided prior to December 18, 2015, while ''Group B'' encompasses claims that were received but not decided prior to that date, and are subject to new jurisdictions per the reauthorization act.)
While this timeline is a welcome advancement in the process of securing victim compensation, it comes at a time when a reported 33,000 survivors and first responders have already been diagnosed with 9/11-related illnesses and only 114 cancer claimants have been awarded funding as of 2014. And this doesn't even include those who could potentially contract cancers and other diseases further down the road. Fortunately, with the Zadroga Act scheduled to continue for another 75 years, there is far more hope for their improved health and continued survival.
About the Author Aria BendixAria Bendix is a frequent contributor to The Atlantic, and a former editorial fellow at CityLab. Her work has appeared on Bustle and The Harvard Crimson.
Closed Captions
Why Gen Z Loves Closed Captioning - OneZero
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 04:59
The UpgradeOld technology finds a surprising new application
Credit: Towfiqu Photography/Moment/Getty''Everyone does it.''
These were the words from my college-aged daughter when I caught her lounging on our couch, streaming Friends with 24-point closed captioning on. She has no hearing impairment, and I wanted to know what she was up to.
Does ''everyone'' do it? My wife and I turned to Facebook and a private, nationwide group for parents with near-adult children. ''Anyone else's college student (without a hearing disability) watch TV with the closed captioning on and insist that everyone does it?'' my wife posted. Seven hundred responses (and counting) later, we had our answer.
''It helps me with my ADHD: I can focus on the words, I catch things I missed, and I never have to go back.''
Many parents expressed similar confusion with the TV-watching habits of their millennial and Gen Z children, often followed with, ''I thought it was just us.''
I returned to my daughter, who had now switched to the creepy Lifetime import You.
''Why do you have captions on?'' I asked.
''It helps me with my ADHD: I can focus on the words, I catch things I missed, and I never have to go back,'' she replied. ''And I can text while I watch.''
My multitasking daughter used to watch TV while working on her laptop and texting or FaceTiming on her phone. She kept rewinding the DVR to catch the last few minutes she'd missed because she either zoned out or was distracted by another screen.
Her response turned out to be even more insightful than I realized at first. A number of mental health experts I spoke with '-- and even one study I found '-- supported the notion that watching with closed captioning serves a valuable role for those who struggle with focus and listening.
''I do see this a lot in my practice,'' said Dr. Andrew Kent, an adolescent psychiatrist practicing in New York and Medical Director of New York START, Long Island. ''I believe auditory processing is more easily impacted upon by distractions, and that they need to read [captions] to stay focused.''
Closed captioning is a relatively recent development in the history of broadcasting, and it was designed with the hearing impaired in mind. According to a useful history on the National Captioning Institute's (NCI) website, the technology dates back to the early 1970s, when Julia Child's The French Chef ''made history as the first television program accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers.'' Real-time captioning arrived later, with stenographers typing at a blazing 250 words-per-minute to keep up with live news and sporting events.
They use captions to focus more intently on the content.
If it wasn't for the Twenty-First Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 and additional rules adopted by the FCC in 2012, it's unlikely my daughter's IP-based Netflix streaming content would even have closed captioning options today.
While the NCI doesn't explicitly acknowledge the growing use of closed captioning by those without hearing impairments, it does note that ''closed captioning has grown from an experimental service intended only for people who are deaf to a truly global communications service that touches the lives of millions of people every day in vital ways.''
It's certainly not just a phenomenon for young people. There are many people my age who admit to using them because they have some middle-aged hearing loss or simply need help understanding what the characters on Luther or Peaky Blinders are saying. They use captions to focus more intently on the content.
The need to read captions for what you can hear might even have a biological base. According to Dr. Sudeepta Varma, a psychiatrist at New York University's Langone Medical Center, some people may have trouble processing the audio from television.
''I believe that there are a number of individuals who have ADHD who may also suffer from undiagnosed auditory processing disorder (APD), and for these individuals'... this may be very helpful,'' Dr. Varma told me via email. Closed captioning can provide the visual cues that APD sufferers need to overcome their issues with listening and comprehension, she added.
APD refers to how the brain processes auditory information, and though it supposedly only affects around 5 percent of school-age children, there's reportedly been a significant uptick in overall awareness. As Dr. Varma pointed out, there may be a lot of people who don't realize they have APD, but are aware of some of the symptoms, which include being bothered by loud noises, difficulty focusing in loud environments, and forgetfulness.
There may be applications in the classroom, too. In a 2015 study of 2,800 college-age students on the impact of closed captioning on video learning, 75 percent of respondents mentioned that they struggle with paying attention in class. ''The most common reasons students used captions'... was to help them focus,'' Dr. Katie Linder, the research director at Oregon State University who led the study, told me.
And even four years ago, there were hints that the use of closed captioning as a focusing tool would bleed outside the classroom.
As a report on the study put it, ''Several people in this study also mentioned that they use captions all the time, not just for their learning experience. Captions with Netflix was mentioned multiple times. So, we know that students are engaging with them outside of the classroom.''
When the NCI first co-developed closed captioning technology some 50 years ago, they called it ''words worth watching,'' and it did transform millions of lives. Today, we may be witnessing '-- or reading '-- a similar revolution.
The Real Reason You Use Closed Captions for Everything Now | WIRED
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 15:20
In this moment, there is only one thing I wish to know, and those are the words coming out of Sylvester Stallone's mouth'--if indeed they are words. I'm watching Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Incomprehensibly, Stallone has a small part in it, speaking, as he often does, incomprehensibly. But, gosh, he looks very important. Therefore he must be saying something important. Probably the whole of this film depends on it.
So I rewind Netflix, one of life's more torturous little rituals. Then I squeeze my eyes shut'--the better, I believe, to open my ears. Don't anyone move, I mind-command the empty room. When Stallone speaks again, I'm prepared, my breath held tight. This is what I hear: ''In Santo which is warmer but I ain't got married and I said let me oh I know the girl.''
Stallone's a special kind of mumbler, obviously. But this is not some rando-Rambo exception. I find myself rewinding constantly in the modern era, straining to hear. Auditory breakdowns repeat, loop, divide. Movies and TV are, it seems, simply harder to hear in general these days.
Part of it is relative: When you watch more TV, you miss more TV. This very second, in living rooms nationwide, innumerable couch-bound bingers are failing to synthesize a piece of dialog emanating from their new-age sound bars, and it pains them. Whether it's Bernard in Westworld or Jon Snow in Game of Thrones, the lines are not cohering into meaningful English. ''What did he say?'''--already the most uttered (and annoying) question in the history of talking pictures'--is by now a nightly interrogation, yanny/laurel times a million.
Some of it might be the happy result of ever-globalizing TV options. As the world shrinks, more people of every background are losing themselves, via the hottest new escapisms, in foreign dialects and cultures. Chewing Gum, the British comedy set on a council estate in East London, sparkles with slang that blows right past most Americans. Without the right context, we don't hear it.
But that's an issue of comprehension, of understanding. My concern here is more the failure of literal, physical hearing. (Bernard speaks very slowly in Westworld, yet I hear very little.) You sense it, don't you? More ''Huh?'' in conversation, more ''Say again?'' and ''Beg pardon?'' What's so frustrating at home, in front of the TV, is that actors won't repeat themselves. The problem is more acute.
Maybe the problem is our ears. Maybe, jabbed and stuffed as they are with so much sleek contemporary accessory, they're simply overburdened. Except mine, I dare say, are not. I protect them from the oontz-oontz of so-called music, along with any other unwelcome invasions; earbuds have been pressed into their softness maybe three times. (So pristine is my hearing, in fact, that I can count among my favorite sensory experiences the sound a semi-saut(C)ed mushroom makes after it slips out of a French skillet and falls, by gravity's good grace, to the kitchen floor. If the linoleum is just right and the room sensibly hushed, you'll perceive a wet, perky slap'--bpuhk!'--as though some tiny winged creature with tinier hands has popped an interdimensional bubble. Hearing something so small enlarges your soul.)
Even aurally gifted as all that, however, I still find myself constantly asking of the television set: ''Eh?''
Here's what Stallone really says in Guardians 2: ''After going around in circles with this woman I end up marrying. I said, 'Aleta, I love you, girl.''' Of course, I only know that because I cheated. Clicked Menu, clicked Subtitles, clicked English CC. When I turn on those words, my body untenses. Not even the most inconsequential bit of throwaway dialog is safe from the rigorous, trustworthy pen of closed captioning. At last, I can hear everything.
Leaving captions on might create APD
Auditory Processing Disorder - Wikipedia
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 12:30
Auditory processing disorderOther namesCentral auditory processing disorderSpecialtyAudiologyAuditory processing disorder and rarely known as King-Kopetzky syndrome or auditory disability with normal hearing (ADN) is an umbrella term for a variety of disorders that affect the way the brain processes auditory information.[1] Individuals with APD usually have normal structure and function of the outer, middle, and inner ear (peripheral hearing). However, they cannot process the information they hear in the same way as others do, which leads to difficulties in recognizing and interpreting sounds, especially the sounds composing speech. It is thought that these difficulties arise from dysfunction in the central nervous system.
The American Academy of Audiology notes that APD is diagnosed by difficulties in one or more auditory processes known to reflect the function of the central auditory nervous system.[1] It can affect both children and adults. Although the actual prevalence is currently unknown, it has been estimated to be 2''7% in children in US and UK populations.[2] APD can continue into adulthood. Cooper and Gates (1991) estimated the prevalence of adult APD to be 10 to 20%. It has been reported that males are twice as likely to be affected by the disorder as females,[3][4] and that prevalence is higher in the elderly and increases with age.[5]
Signs and symptoms [ edit ] Many people experience problems with learning and day-to-day tasks with difficulties over time. Adults with this disorder[6] can experience the signs and symptoms below:
talk louder than necessaryhave trouble remembering a list or sequenceoften need words or sentences repeatedhave poor ability to memorize information learned by listeninginterpret words too literallyneed assistance hearing clearly in noisy environmentsrely on accommodation and modification strategiesfind or request a quiet work space away from othersrequest written material when attending oral presentationsask for directions to be given one step at a timeRelation to attention deficit hyperactivity disorder [ edit ] It has been discovered that APD and ADHD present overlapping symptoms. Below is a ranked order of behavioral symptoms that are most frequently observed in each disorder. Professionals evaluated the overlap of symptoms between the two disorders. The order below is of symptoms that are almost always observed.[7] This chart proves that although the symptoms listed are different, it is easy to get confused between many of them.
ADHDAPD1. Inattentive1. Difficult hearing in background noise2. Distracted2. Difficulty following oral instructions3. Hyperactive3. Poor listening skills4. Fidgety or restless4. Academic difficulties5. Hasty or impulsive5. Poor auditory association skills6. Interrupts or intrudes6. Distracted7. InattentiveThere is a high rate of co-occurrence between AD/HD and CAPD. An article published in 1994 showed that 84% of children with APD have confirmed or suspected ADHD. Co-occurrence between ADHD and APD is 41% for children with confirmed diagnosis of ADHD, and 43% for children suspected of having ADHD.[8]more recently published data is needed to support or refute this statement.
Relation to specific language impairment and developmental dyslexia [ edit ] There has been considerable debate over the relationship between APD and Specific language impairment (SLI).
SLI is diagnosed when a child has difficulties with understanding or producing spoken language for no obvious cause. The problems cannot be explained in terms of peripheral hearing loss. The child is typically late in starting to talk, and may have problems in producing speech sounds clearly, and in producing or understanding complex sentences. Some theoretical accounts of SLI regard it as the result of auditory processing problems.[9][10] However, this view of SLI is not universally accepted, and others regard the main difficulties in SLI as stemming from problems with higher-level aspects of language processing. Where a child has both auditory and language problems, it can be hard to sort out cause-and-effect.[10]
Similarly with developmental dyslexia, there has been considerable interest in the idea that for some children reading problems are downstream consequences of difficulties in rapid auditory processing. Again, cause and effect can be hard to unravel. This is one reason why some experts have recommended using non-verbal auditory tests to diagnose APD.[11] Specifically regarding the neurological factors of dyslexia, the disorder has been linked to polymicrogyria which causes cell migrational problems. This relates to APD because children that have polymicrogyri almost always present deficits on APD testing.[2] It has also been suggested that APD may be related to cluttering,[12] a fluency disorder marked by word and phrase repetitions.
It has been found that a higher than expected proportion of individuals diagnosed with SLI and dyslexia on the basis of language and reading tests also perform poorly on tests in which auditory processing skills are tested.[13] APD can be assessed using tests that involve identifying, repeating or discriminating speech, and a child may do poorly because of primary language problems.[14] In a study comparing children with a diagnosis of dyslexia and those with a diagnosis of APD, they found the two groups could not be distinguished.[10][15][16] obtained similar findings in studies comparing children diagnosed with SLI or APD.[17][18] The two groups had very similar profiles. This raises the worrying possibility that the diagnosis that a child receives may be largely a function of the specialist they see: the same child who would be diagnosed with APD by an audiologist may be diagnosed with SLI by a speech-language therapist or with dyslexia by a psychologist.[11]
Causes [ edit ] Acquired [ edit ] Acquired APD can be caused by any damage to or dysfunction of the central auditory nervous system and can cause auditory processing problems.[19][20] For an overview of neurological aspects of APD, see Griffiths.[21]
Genetics [ edit ] Some studies indicated an increased prevalence of a family history of hearing impairment in these patients. The pattern of results is suggestive that Auditory Processing Disorder may be related to conditions of autosomal dominant inheritance.[22][23][24] The ability to listen to and comprehend multiple messages at the same time is a trait that is heavily influenced by our genes say federal researchers.[25] These "short circuits in the wiring" sometimes run in families or result from a difficult birth, just like any learning disability.[26] Auditory processing disorder can be associated with conditions affected by genetic traits, such as various developmental disorders. Inheritance of Auditory Processing Disorder refers to whether the condition is inherited from your parents or "runs" in families.[27] Central auditory processing disorder may be hereditary neurological traits from the mother or the father.[citation needed ]
Developmental [ edit ] In the majority of cases of developmental APD, the cause is unknown. An exception is acquired epileptic aphasia or Landau-Kleffner syndrome, where a child's development regresses, with language comprehension severely affected.[28] The child is often thought to be deaf, but normal peripheral hearing is found. In other cases, suspected or known causes of APD in children include delay in myelin maturation,[29] ectopic (misplaced) cells in the auditory cortical areas,[30] or genetic predisposition.[31] In a family with autosomal dominant epilepsy, seizures which affected the left temporal lobe seemed to cause problems with auditory processing.[32] In another extended family with a high rate of APD, genetic analysis showed a haplotype in chromosome 12 that fully co-segregated with language impairment.[33]
Hearing begins in utero, but the central auditory system continues to develop for at least the first decade.[34] There is considerable interest in the idea that disruption to hearing during a sensitive period may have long-term consequences for auditory development.[35] One study showed thalamocortical connectivity in vitro was associated with a time sensitive developmental window and required a specific cell adhesion molecule (lcam5) for proper brain plasticity to occur.[36] This points to connectivity between the thalamus and cortex shortly after being able to hear (in vitro) as at least one critical period for auditory processing. Another study showed that rats reared in a single tone environment during critical periods of development had permanently impaired auditory processing.[37] 'Bad' auditory experiences, such as temporary deafness by cochlear removal in rats leads to neuron shrinkage.[34] In a study looking at attention in APD patients, children with one ear blocked developed a strong right-ear advantage but were not able to modulate that advantage during directed-attention tasks.[38]
In the 1980s and 1990s, there was considerable interest in the role of chronic Otitis media (middle ear disease or 'glue ear') in causing APD and related language and literacy problems. Otitis media with effusion is a very common childhood disease that causes a fluctuating conductive hearing loss, and there was concern this may disrupt auditory development if it occurred during a sensitive period.[39] Consistent with this, in a sample of young children with chronic ear infections recruited from a hospital otolargyngology department, increased rates of auditory difficulties were found later in childhood.[40] However, this kind of study will suffer from sampling bias because children with otitis media will be more likely to be referred to hospital departments if they are experiencing developmental difficulties. Compared with hospital studies, epidemiological studies, which assesses a whole population for otitis media and then evaluate outcomes, have found much weaker evidence for long-term impacts of otitis media on language outcomes.[41]
Somatic [ edit ] It seems that somatic anxiety (that is, physical symptoms of anxiety such as butterflies in the stomach or cotton mouth) and situations of stress may be determinants of speech-hearing disability.[42][43]
Diagnosis [ edit ] Questionnaires can be used for the identification of persons with possible auditory processing disorders, as these address common problems of listening. They can help in the decision for pursuing clinical evaluation. One of the most common listening problems is speech recognition in the presence of background noise.[44][45] According to the respondents who participated in a study by Neijenhuis, de Wit, and Luinge (2017),[46] the following symptoms are characteristic in children with listening difficulties, and they are typically problematic with adolescents and adults. They include:
Difficulty hearing in noiseAuditory attention problemsBetter understanding in one on one situationsDifficulties in noise localizationDifficulties in remembering oral informationAccording to the New Zealand Guidelines on Auditory Processing Disorders (2017)[47] a checklist of key symptoms of APD or comorbidities that can be used to identify individuals who should be referred for audiological and APD assessment includes, among others:
Difficulty following spoken directions unless they are brief and simpleDifficulty attending to and remembering spoken informationSlowness in processing spoken informationDifficulty understanding in the presence of other soundsOverwhelmed by complex or ''busy'' auditory environments e.g. classrooms, shopping mallsPoor listening skillsInsensitivity to tone of voice or other nuances of speechAcquired brain injuryHistory of frequent or persistent middle ear disease (otitis media, 'glue ear').Difficulty with language, reading or spellingSuspicion or diagnosis of dyslexiaSuspicion or diagnosis of language disorder or delayFinally, the New Zealand guidelines state that behavioral checklists and questionnaires should only be used to provide guidance for referrals, for information gathering (for example, prior to assessment or as outcome measures for interventions), and as measures to describe the functional impact of auditory processing disorder. They are not designed for the purpose of diagnosing auditory processing disorders. The New Zealand guidelines indicate that a number of questionnaires have been developed to identify children who might benefit from evaluation of their problems in listening. Examples of available questionnaires include the Fisher's Auditory Problems Checklist (1976[48]), the Children's Auditory Performance Scale (1998[49]), the Screening Instrument for Targeting Educational Risk (1989[50]), and the Auditory Processing Domains Questionnaire (O'Haraa and Mealings, 2017[51]) among others. All of the previous questionnaires were designed for children and none are useful for adolescents and adults.
The University of Cincinnati Auditory Processing Inventory (UCAPI) (Keith, Tektas and Ramsey, 2018[52]) was designed for use with adolescents and adults seeking testing for evaluation of problems with listening and/or to be used following diagnosis of an auditory processing disorder to determine the subject's status. Following a model described by Zoppo et al. (2015[53]) a 34-item questionnaire was developed that investigates auditory processing abilities in each of the six common areas of complaint in APD (listening and concentration, understanding speech, following spoken instructions, attention, and other.) The final questionnaire was standardized on normally achieving young adults ranging from 18 to 27 years of age. Validation data was acquired from subjects with language-learning or auditory processing disorders who were either self-reported or confirmed by diagnostic testing. A UCAPI total score is calculated by combining the totals from the six listening conditions and provides an overall value to categorize listening abilities. Additionally, analysis of the scores from the six listening conditions provides an auditory profile for the subject. Each listening condition can then be utilized by the professional in making recommendation for diagnosing problem of learning through listening and treatment decisions. The UCAPI provides information on listening problems in various populations that can aid examiners in making recommendations for assessment and management.
APD is a difficult disorder to detect and diagnose. The subjective symptoms that lead to an evaluation for APD include an intermittent inability to process verbal information, leading the person to guess to fill in the processing gaps. There may also be disproportionate problems with decoding speech in noisy environments.
APD has been defined anatomically in terms of the integrity of the auditory areas of the nervous system.[54] However, children with symptoms of APD typically have no evidence of neurological disease and the diagnosis is made on the basis of performance on behavioral auditory tests. Auditory processing is "what we do with what we hear",[55] and in APD there is a mismatch between peripheral hearing ability (which is typically normal) and ability to interpret or discriminate sounds. Thus in those with no signs of neurological impairment, APD is diagnosed on the basis of auditory tests. There is, however, no consensus as to which tests should be used for diagnosis, as evidenced by the succession of task force reports that have appeared in recent years. The first of these occurred in 1996.[56] This was followed by a conference organized by the American Academy of Audiology.[57] Experts attempting to define diagnostic criteria have to grapple with the problem that a child may do poorly on an auditory test for reasons other than poor auditory perception: for instance, failure could be due to inattention, difficulty in coping with task demands, or limited language ability. In an attempt to rule out at least some of these factors, the American Academy of Audiology conference explicitly advocated that for APD to be diagnosed, the child must have a modality-specific problem, i.e. affecting auditory but not visual processing. However, an ASHA committee subsequently rejected modality-specificity as a defining characteristic of auditory processing disorders.[58]
Definitions [ edit ] The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) published "(Central) Auditory Processing Disorders" in January 2005 as an update to the "Central Auditory Processing: Current Status of Research and Implications for Clinical Practice (ASHA, 1996)".[56] The American Academy of Audiology has released more current practice guidelines related to the disorder.[1] ASHA formally defines APA as "a difficulty in the efficiency and effectiveness by which the central nervous system (CNS) utilizes auditory information."[59]
In 2011, the British Society of Audiology published 'best practice guidelines'.[60]
Auditory processing disorder can be developmental or acquired. It may result from ear infections, head injuries or neurodevelopmental delays that affect processing of auditory information. This can include problems with: "...sound localization and lateralization (see also binaural fusion); auditory discrimination; auditory pattern recognition; temporal aspects of audition, including temporal integration, temporal discrimination (e.g., temporal gap detection), temporal ordering, and temporal masking; auditory performance in competing acoustic signals (including dichotic listening); and auditory performance with degraded acoustic signals".[58]
The Committee of UK Medical Professionals Steering the UK Auditory Processing Disorder Research Program have developed the following working definition of Auditory Processing Disorder: "APD results from impaired neural function and is characterized by poor recognition, discrimination, separation, grouping, localization, or ordering of speech sounds. It does not solely result from a deficit in general attention, language or other cognitive processes."[61]
Types of testing [ edit ] 1. The SCAN-C[62]for children and SCAN-A[63] for adolescents and adults are the most common tools for screening and diagnosing APD in the USA. Both tests are standardized on a large number of subjects and include validation data on subjects with auditory processing disorders. The test batteries include screening tests: norm-based criterion-referenced scores; diagnostic tests: scaled scores, percentile ranks and ear advantage scores for all tests except the Gap Detection test. The four tests include four subsets on which the subject scores are derived include: discrimination of monaurally presented single words against background noise (speech in noise), acoustically degraded single words (filtered words), dichotically presented single words and sentences.
2. Random Gap Detection Test (RGDT) is also a standardized test. It assesses an individual's gap detection threshold of tones and white noise. The exam includes stimuli at four different frequencies (500, 1000, 2000, and 4000 Hz) and white noise clicks of 50 ms duration. It is a useful test because it provides an index of auditory temporal resolution. In children, an overall gap detection threshold greater than 20 ms means they have failed and may have an auditory processing disorder based on abnormal perception of sound in the time domain.[64][65]
3. Gaps in Noise Test (GIN) also measures temporal resolution by testing the patient's gap detection threshold in white noise.[66]
4. Pitch Patterns Sequence Test (PPT) and Duration Patterns Sequence Test (DPT) measure auditory pattern identification. The PPS has s series of three tones presented at either of two pitches (high or low). Meanwhile, the DPS has a series of three tones that vary in duration rather than pitch (long or short). Patients are then asked to describe the pattern of pitches presented.[67]
5. Masking Level Difference (MLD) at 500 Hz measures overlapping temporal processing, binaural processing, and low-redundancy by measuring the difference in threshold of an auditory stimulus when a masking noise is presented in and out of phase.[68]
Modality-specificity and controversies [ edit ] The issue of modality-specificity has led to considerable debate among experts in this field. Cacace and McFarland have argued that APD should be defined as a modality-specific perceptual dysfunction that is not due to peripheral hearing loss.[69][70] They criticise more inclusive conceptualizations of APD as lacking diagnostic specificity.[71] A requirement for modality-specificity could potentially avoid including children whose poor auditory performance is due to general factors such as poor attention or memory.[69][70] Others, however, have argued that a modality-specific approach is too narrow, and that it would miss children who had genuine perceptual problems affecting both visual and auditory processing. It is also impractical, as audiologists do not have access to standardized tests that are visual analogs of auditory tests. The debate over this issue remains unresolved. It is clear, however, that a modality-specific approach will diagnose fewer children with APD than a modality-general one, and that the latter approach runs a risk of including children who fail auditory tests for reasons other than poor auditory processing. Although modality-specific testing has been advocated for well over a decade, to date no tests have been published which would allow audiologists to perform a modality-specific evaluation (i.e., no clinical versions of visual analogs to auditory processing tests exist).[citation needed ]
Another controversy concerns the fact that most traditional tests of APD use verbal materials.[11] The British Society of Audiology[60] has embraced Moore's (2006) recommendation that tests for APD should assess processing of non-speech sounds.[11] The concern is that if verbal materials are used to test for APD, then children may fail because of limited language ability. An analogy may be drawn with trying to listen to sounds in a foreign language. It is much harder to distinguish between sounds or to remember a sequence of words in a language you do not know well: the problem is not an auditory one, but rather due to lack of expertise in the language.
In recent years there have been additional criticisms of some popular tests for diagnosis of APD. Tests that use tape-recorded American English have been shown to over-identify APD in speakers of other forms of English.[72] Performance on a battery of non-verbal auditory tests devised by the Medical Research Council's Institute of Hearing Research was found to be heavily influenced by non-sensory task demands, and indices of APD had low reliability when this was controlled for.[73][74] This research undermines the validity of APD as a distinct entity in its own right and suggests that the use of the term "disorder" itself is unwarranted. In a recent review of such diagnostic issues, it was recommended that children with suspected auditory processing impairments receive a holistic psychometric assessment including general intellectual ability, auditory memory, and attention, phonological processing, language, and literacy.[75] The authors state that "a clearer understanding of the relative contributions of perceptual and non-sensory, unimodal and supramodal factors to performance on psychoacoustic tests may well be the key to unravelling the clinical presentation of these individuals."[75]
Depending on how it is defined, APD may share common symptoms with ADD/ADHD, specific language impairment, and autism spectrum disorders. A review showed substantial evidence for atypical processing of auditory information in children with autism.[76] Dawes and Bishop noted how specialists in audiology and speech-language pathology often adopted different approaches to child assessment, and they concluded their review as follows: "We regard it as crucial that these different professional groups work together in carrying out assessment, treatment and management of children and undertaking cross-disciplinary research."[14] In practice, this seems rare.
To ensure that APD is correctly diagnosed, the examiners must differentiate APD from other disorders with similar symptoms. Factors that should be taken into account during the diagnosis are: attention, auditory neuropathy, fatigue, hearing and sensitivity, intellectual and developmental age, medications, motivation, motor skills, native language and language experience, response strategies and decision-making style, and visual acuity.[77]
It should also be noted that children under the age of seven cannot be evaluated correctly because their language and auditory processes are still developing. In addition, the presence of APD cannot be evaluated when a child's primary language is not English.[78]
Characteristics [ edit ] The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders[79] state that children with Auditory Processing Disorder often:
have trouble paying attention to and remembering information presented orally, and may cope better with visually acquired informationhave problems carrying out multi-step directions given orally; need to hear only one direction at a timehave poor listening skillsneed more time to process informationhave low academic performancehave behavior problemshave language difficulties (e.g., they confuse syllable sequences and have problems developing vocabulary and understanding language)have difficulty with reading, comprehension, spelling, and vocabularyAPD can manifest as problems determining the direction of sounds, difficulty perceiving differences between speech sounds and the sequencing of these sounds into meaningful words, confusing similar sounds such as "hat" with "bat", "there" with "where", etc. Fewer words may be perceived than were actually said, as there can be problems detecting the gaps between words, creating the sense that someone is speaking unfamiliar or nonsense words. In addition, it is common for APD to cause speech errors involving the distortion and substitution of consonant sounds.[80] Those suffering from APD may have problems relating what has been said with its meaning, despite obvious recognition that a word has been said, as well as repetition of the word. Background noise, such as the sound of a radio, television or a noisy bar can make it difficult to impossible to understand speech, since spoken words may sound distorted either into irrelevant words or words that don't exist, depending on the severity of the auditory processing disorder.[81] Using a telephone can be problematic for someone with auditory processing disorder, in comparison with someone with normal auditory processing, due to low quality audio, poor signal, intermittent sounds and the chopping of words.[58] Many who have auditory processing disorder subconsciously develop visual coping strategies, such as lip reading, reading body language, and eye contact, to compensate for their auditory deficit, and these coping strategies are not available when using a telephone.
As noted above, the status of APD as a distinct disorder has been queried, especially by speech-language pathologists[82] and psychologists,[83] who note the overlap between clinical profiles of children diagnosed with APD and those with other forms of specific learning disability. Many audiologists, however, would dispute that APD is just an alternative label for dyslexia, SLI, or ADHD, noting that although it often co-occurs with these conditions, it can be found in isolation.[84]
Subcategories [ edit ] Based on sensitized measures of auditory dysfunction and on psychological assessment, patients can be subdivided into seven subcategories:[85]
middle ear dysfunctionmild cochlear pathologycentral/medial olivocochlear efferent system (MOCS) auditory dysfunctionpurely psychological problemsmultiple auditory pathologiescombined auditory dysfunction and psychological problemsunknownDifferent subgroups may represent different pathogenic and aetiological factors. Thus, subcategorization provides further understanding of the basis of Auditory Processing Disorder, and hence may guide the rehabilitative management of these patients.This was suggested by Professor Dafydd Stephens and F Zhao at the Welsh Hearing Institute, Cardiff University.[86]
Treatment [ edit ] Treatment of APD typically focuses on three primary areas: changing learning environment, developing higher-order skills to compensate for the disorder, and remediation of the auditory deficit itself.[87] However, there is a lack of well-conducted evaluations of intervention using randomized controlled trial methodology. Most evidence for effectiveness adopts weaker standards of evidence, such as showing that performance improves after training. This does not control for possible influences of practice, maturation, or placebo effects. Recent research has shown that practice with basic auditory processing tasks (i.e. auditory training) may improve performance on auditory processing measures[88][89] and phonemic awareness measures.[90] Changes after auditory training have also been recorded at the physiological level.[91][92] Many of these tasks are incorporated into computer-based auditory training programs such as Earobics and Fast ForWord, an adaptive software available at home and in clinics worldwide, but overall, evidence for effectiveness of these computerised interventions in improving language and literacy is not impressive.[93] One small-scale uncontrolled study reported successful outcomes for children with APD using auditory training software.[94]
Treating additional issues related to APD can result in success. For example, treatment for phonological disorders (difficulty in speech) can result in success in terms of both the phonological disorder as well as APD. In one study, speech therapy improved auditory evoked potentials (a measure of brain activity in the auditory portions of the brain).[95]
While there is evidence that language training is effective for improving APD, there is no current research supporting the following APD treatments:
Auditory Integration Training typically involves a child attending two 30-minute sessions per day for ten days.[96]Lindamood-Bell Learning Processes (particularly, the Visualizing and Verbalizing program)Physical activities that require frequent crossing of the midline (e.g., occupational therapy)Sound Field AmplificationNeuro-Sensory Educational TherapyNeurofeedbackHowever, use of a FM transmitter has been shown to produce significant improvements over time with children.
History [ edit ] Samuel J. Kopetzky, who first described the condition in 1948. P. F. King, first discussed the aetiological factors behind it in 1954.[97] Helmer Myklebust's 1954 study, "Auditory Disorders in Children".[98] suggested auditory processing disorder was separate from language learning difficulties. His work sparked interest in auditory deficits after acquired brain lesions affecting the temporal lobes[99][100] and led to additional work looking at the physiological basis of auditory processing,[101] but it was not until the late seventies and early eighties that research began on APD in depth.In 1977, the first conference on the topic of APD was organized by Robert W. Keith, Ph.D. at the University of Cincinnati. The proceedings of that conference was published by Grune and Stratton under the title "Central Auditory Dysfunction" (Keith RW Ed.) That conference started a new series of studies focusing on APD in children.[102][103][104][105][106] Virtually all tests currently used to diagnose APD originate from this work. These early researchers also invented many of the auditory training approaches, including interhemispheric transfer training and interaural intensity difference training. This period gave us a rough understanding of the causes and possible treatment options for APD.Much of the work in the late nineties and 2000s has been looking to refining testing, developing more sophisticated treatment options, and looking for genetic risk factors for APD. Scientists have worked on improving behavioral tests of auditory function, neuroimaging, electroacoustic, and electrophysiologic testing.[107][108] Working with new technology has led to a number of software programs for auditory training.[109][110] With global awareness of mental disorders and increasing understanding of neuroscience, auditory processing is more in the public and academic consciousness than ever before.[111][112][113][114][115]
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Ear and Hearing. 32 (3): 269''285. doi:10.1097/AUD.0b013e318201c468. PMID 21233712. ^ a b Cowan J, Rosen S, Moore DR (2009). "Putting the Auditory Processing Back into Auditory Processing Disorder in Children". In Cacace AT, McFarland DJ (eds.). Controversies in central auditory processing disorder. San Diego, Calif.; Abingdon. pp. 187''197. ISBN 978-159-756260-7. ^ O'Connor K (December 2011). "Auditory processing in autism spectrum disorder: A review". Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 36 (2): 836''54. doi:10.1016/j.neubiorev.2011.11.008. PMID 22155284. ^ Jerger, James; Musick, Frank (2000). "Report of the Consensus Conference on the Diagnosis of Auditory Processing Disorders in School-Aged Children". Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. 11 (9): 467''474. ^ Brandstaetter, Patt; Hunter, Lisa; Kalweit, Linda; Kloos, Eric; Landrud, Sherry; Larson, Nancy; Packer, Amy; Wall, Deb (2003). "Introduction to Auditory Processing Disorders". Minnesota Department of Education Total Special Education System. ^ "Auditory Processing Disorder in Children [NIDCD Health Information]". Archived from the original on 2010-12-04. ^ DeVore, Brooke; Nagao, Kyoko; Pereira, Olivia; Nemith, Julianne; Sklar, Rachele; Deeves, Emily; Kish, Emily; Welsh, Kelsey; Morlet, Thierry (2016). "Speech errors among children with auditory processing disorder". Proceedings of Meetings on Acoustics. 29 (1): 6. doi:10.1121/2.0000440. ^ Anderson S, Kraus N (October 2010). "Sensory-cognitive interaction in the neural encoding of speech in noise: a review". J Am Acad Audiol. 21 (9): 575''85. doi:10.3766/jaaa.21.9.3. PMC 3075209 . PMID 21241645. ^ Kamhi, A.G. (2011). "What speech-language pathologists need to know about Auditory Processing Disorder". Language Speech and Hearing Services in Schools. 42 (3): 265''272. doi:10.1044/0161-1461(2010/10-0004). PMID 20844272. ^ Lovett, B.J. (2011). "Auditory processing disorder: School psychologist beware?". Psychology in the Schools. 48 (8): 855''867. doi:10.1002/pits.20595. ^ Chermak, Gail D (2001). "Auditory processing disorder: An overview for the clinician". Hearing Journal. 54 (7): 10''25. doi:10.1097/01.HJ.0000294109.14504.d8. ^ Zhao F, Stephens D (August 2000). "Subcategories of patients with Auditory Processing Disorder". Br J Audiol. 34 (4): 241''56. doi:10.3109/03005364000000134. PMID 10997453. ^ Subcategories of Patients with King-Kopetzky Syndrome ^ Bellis, Teri James. "Auditory Processing Disorders (APD) in Children". www.asha.org. ASHA. ^ Chermak GD, Silva ME, Nye J, Hasbrouck J, Musiek FE (May 2007). "An update on professional education and clinical practices in central auditory processing". J Am Acad Audiol. 18 (5): 428''52, quiz 455. doi:10.3766/jaaa.18.5.7. PMID 17715652. ^ Moore DR (2007). "Auditory processing disorders: acquisition and treatment". J Commun Disord. 40 (4): 295''304. doi:10.1016/j.jcomdis.2007.03.005. PMID 17467002. ^ Moore DR, Rosenberg JF, Coleman JS (July 2005). "Discrimination training of phonemic contrasts enhances phonological processing in mainstream school children". Brain Lang. 94 (1): 72''85. doi:10.1016/j.bandl.2004.11.009. PMID 15896385. ^ Russo NM, Nicol TG, Zecker SG, Hayes EA, Kraus N (January 2005). "Auditory training improves neural timing in the human brainstem". Behav. Brain Res. 156 (1): 95''103. doi:10.1016/j.bbr.2004.05.012. PMID 15474654. ^ Alonso R, Schochat E (2009). "The efficacy of formal auditory training in children with (central) auditory processing disorder: behavioral and electrophysiological evaluation". Braz J Otorhinolaryngol. 75 (5): 726''32. doi:10.1590/S1808-86942009000500019. PMID 19893943. ^ Loo, J.H.Y.; Bamiou, D.-E.; Campbell, N.; Luxon, L.M. (2010). "Computer-based auditory training (CBAT): benefits for children with language- and reading-related learning difficulties". Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology. 52 (8): 708''717. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8749.2010.03654.x. PMID 20370814. ^ Cameron S, Dillon H (November 2011). "Development and Evaluation of the LiSN & Learn Auditory Training Software for Deficit-Specific Remediation of Binaural Processing Deficits in Children: Preliminary Findings". Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. 22 (10): 678''96. doi:10.3766/jaaa.22.10.6. PMID 22212767. ^ Leite RA, Wertzner HF, Matas CG (2010). "Long latency auditory evoked potentials in children with phonological disorder". Pr"-fono : Revista de Atualiza§£o Cient­fica. 22 (4): 561''6. doi:10.1590/s0104-56872010000400034. PMID 21271117. ^ Mudford OC, Cullen C (2004). "Auditory integration training: a critical review". In Jacobson JW, Foxx RM, Mulick JA (eds.). Controversial Therapies for Developmental Disabilities. Routledge. pp. 351''62. ISBN 978-0-8058-4192-3. ^ "Is there an association between noise exposure and King Kopetzky Syndrome?". Noise and Health . Retrieved 31 July 2010 . ^ Myklebust, H. (1954). Auditory disorders in children. New York: Grune & Stratton. ^ Bocca E, Calearo C, Cassinari V (1954). "A new method for testing hearing in temporal lobe tumours; preliminary report". Acta Oto-Laryngologica. 44 (3): 219''21. doi:10.3109/00016485409128700. PMID 13197002. ^ Bocca E, Calearo C, Cassinari V, Migliavacca F (1955). "Testing "cortical" hearing in temporal lobe tumours". Acta Oto-Laryngologica. 45 (4): 289''304. doi:10.3109/00016485509124282. PMID 13275293. ^ Kimura, Doreen (1961). "Cerebral dominance and the perception of verbal stimuli". Canadian Journal of Psychology. 15 (3): 166''171. doi:10.1037/h0083219. ISSN 0008-4255. ^ Katz, J., & Illmer, R. (1972). Auditory perception in children with learning disabilities. In J. Katz (Ed.), Handbook of clinical audiology (pp. 540''563). Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins. ^ Keith, Robert W. (1977). Central auditory dysfunction: University of Cincinnati Medical Center Division of Audiology and Speech Pathology symposium. New York: Grune & Stratton. ISBN 978-0-8089-1061-9. OCLC 3203948. ^ Sweetow RW, Reddell RC (1978). "The use of masking level differences in the identification of children with perceptual problems". J Am Audiol Soc. 4 (2): 52''6. PMID 738915. ^ Manning WH, Johnston KL, Beasley DS (February 1977). "The performance of children with auditory perceptual disorders on a time-compressed speech discrimination measure". J Speech Hear Disord. 42 (1): 77''84. doi:10.1044/jshd.4201.77. PMID 839757. ^ Willeford, J. A. (1977). "Assessing central auditory behavior in children A test battery approach". In Keith, Robert W. (ed.). Central auditory dysfunction. New York: Grune & Stratton. pp. 43''72. ISBN 978-0-8089-1061-9. OCLC 3203948. ^ Jerger J, Thibodeau L, Martin J, et al. (September 2002). "Behavioral and electrophysiologic evidence of auditory processing disorder: a twin study". J Am Acad Audiol. 13 (8): 438''60. PMID 12371661. ^ Estes RI, Jerger J, Jacobson G (February 2002). "Reversal of hemispheric asymmetry on auditory tasks in children who are poor listeners". J Am Acad Audiol. 13 (2): 59''71. PMID 11895008. ^ Chermak GD, Musiek FE (2002). "Auditory training: Principles and approaches for remediation and managing auditory processing disorders". Seminars in Hearing. 23 (4): 287''295. doi:10.1055/s-2002-35878. ISSN 0734-0451. ^ Musiek F (June 1999). "Habilitation and management of auditory processing disorders: overview of selected procedures". J Am Acad Audiol. 10 (6): 329''42. PMID 10385875. ^ Task Force on Central Auditory Processing Consensus Development (1996). "Central auditory processing: Current status of research and implications for clinical practice [Technical Report]". American Journal of Audiology. 5: 41''54. doi:10.1044/policy.TR1996-00241. Archived from the original on 2007-10-04. ^ Jerger J, Musiek F (October 2000). "Report of the Consensus Conference on the Diagnosis of Auditory Processing Disorders in School-Aged Children" (PDF) . J Am Acad Audiol. 11 (9): 467''74. PMID 11057730. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-06-21 . Retrieved 2012-05-24 . ^ Keith, Robert W. (1981). Central auditory and language disorders in children. San Diego, CA: College-Hill Press. ISBN 978-0-933014-74-9. OCLC 9258682. ^ Katz, Jack; Henderson, Donald; Stecker, Nancy Austin (1992). Central auditory processing: a transdisciplinary view. St. Louis, MO: Mosby Year Book. ISBN 978-1-55664-372-9. OCLC 2587728. ^ Katz, Jack; Stecker, Nancy Austin (1998). Central auditory processing disorders: mostly management. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. ISBN 978-0-205-27361-4. OCLC 246378171. External links [ edit ] Auditory processing disorder: An overview for the clinicianAmerican Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA)UK Medical Research Council Institute of Hearing Research)
Millennial circumstances
Hey Adam, Millennial here. I watch everything with
CC/subtitles on, mostly due to decades of frustrating sound mixing.
Movies (and modern shows) are mixed with wide dynamic range:
room-shaking explosions and gunshots are immediately followed by
characters whispering important plot details.
Game of Thrones does this, but it's nothing new.
Like many millennials, I grew up with a big family stuffed
in a small home, and I've lived with roommates ever since. Any time there would
be a siren or a scream or anything else unpleasant, my mom would burst through
the door and tell me the baby was trying to sleep.
So I've always watched shows at a low-medium volume with the
captions on. Reading the dialogue on-screen is less distracting to me than
constantly riding the volume fader.
I assure you we Millennials can turn our phones off and
watch a movie in a theater (can't say the same for the zoomers). We've just
been conditioning by noise complaints and/or secretly binge watching when the
rest of the family sleeps.
If you ask me, these streaming platforms just need to run
all these movies through a compressor!
Attention Deficit
ITM Adam,
As a "millennial", I wanted to comment on the use
of closed captioning.
You were absolutely right, people use close captioning
because most of the time they are either on their phones or laptops, studying
or just bored. Also, many rewatch the same shows "just to have something
on". Also, it may be because our hearing is horrible due to the overuse of
I became used to them because when playing video games
they're almost a necessity in order to know what is going on and to get the
full story.
But you are right. And it sucks.
Great show and have a great weekend.
Brandon H.
Every single time I watch tv with people under 30 they
have the closed caption on. I don’t understand it either. I get it when it’s
something British and they can understand accents, but it’s always on. I dated
a gal who was 28 and I tried watching Amelie with her and with captions on
because it’s in French and she fell asleep instantly. It was weird because
growing up we could focus on the film
and follow along with the translation, but for her it was like catnip.
Every single other thing she watched had to have captions
and it was infuriating. Luckily that relationship failed pretty fast. After we
moved in together, the fact that she was 28 and never lived anywhere other than
with her mother really came through when she had no idea how to communicate and
share her space
Austin to implement 'digital tip jar' for local musicians | KXAN
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 20:17
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- The city of Austin is launching a new program Monday to help local musicians earn money using digital tip jars.
The program is called ''tip the band'' and it'll allow fans to give artists money, using a debit or credit card through a special device from DipJar. The idea is to help local musicians keep up with the rising cost of living.
So far, only 10 of these devices have been handed out and those selected will be able to collect digital tips at live performances for a six-month period.
About 6% of the total tip, plus 17 cents per transaction, paid to performers will go towards DipJar's processing fees. The city will collect data over the next six months to study the impact of expanding the program in the future.
Credit Karma
Millennials and Fiat
Hi Adam,
Spot on with the analysis regarding CreditKarma. I had
never realized that Google bought into them (and ANT was cooperating with China
to provide Social Credit information), but that makes perfect sense.
Seeing as I'm a Millennial, I think it's a grave we dug ourselves.
Whether it's Nationwide allowing people to opt in for a tracker on their car to
lower their premium (can't wait until this is a requirement of all companies
within 5 years) or the example you mentioned with an eventual corporate
overlord saying to put the bottle down, it's a crisis of our own
volition. I've created a budget to track my monthly spending compared to
my income, and see where I can trim the fat. Ironically given your
example, I found that my big thing was going out to bars, so I'm cutting that
out of my life.
But have you tried suggesting that to someone from my
generation? Every Friday and Saturday night is a trip to a
microbrewery. Every trip more than two hours from their home is a
binge-drinking marathon with a different backdrop (I spent Independence Day
weekend at a cabin with some people, and despite being surrounded by a state
forest for five days, we left the cabin for one hour total). People were
complaining about wanting to go back to the cabin and play more drinking games
no more than 10 minutes after getting in the water at the lake. Sundays
are Mimosa Brunches. And to top it off, most of us spend close to $100 on
streaming and subscriptions (which fly under the radar at $5-10 apiece). I
won't say too much about how I obtain media, but my costs Arrrrrrrr'nt nearly
as high.
Maybe it's a symptom of the cashless society, where our
brains no longer have the negative stimuli of handing over fiat paper
currency. But we have zero discipline. At this point, Google using
our fancy new devices to monitor every aspect of our behavior, and mold us into
some new, slightly more desirable NPC, is the exact Hell we deserve. And
since I've already implemented fiscal responsibility and walk around with my
Nokia 8110 4G in my pocket, I look forward to walking through the various
circles of the Inferno like Dante. The 9th circle will probably be
reserved for the people that downloaded that intelligence quiz by Cambridge.
Thank you for your courage,
Sir Ryan Brady, Knight of the Three Rivers
Google Algroithmic Bias
Algorithms are automated Opinions of the Status Quo
Algo input bias - gun violence vs automobile accidents
Job sites NPR offer code filtered to the top
The reviewers are inputting Google's bias
All google has to do is hire more liberal developers for input bias
The reason mastodon is more civil than twitter. No Algo's to tell me there is a fight going on where I might want to throw some punches.
AIBRT - Research
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 13:31
At AIBRT we conduct leading-edge behavioral research that has the potential to improve the well-being and functioning of people worldwide . Here are just a few examples of recent research findings:
Search Suggestion Effect (SSE). In multiple experiments begun in 2016, we have shown that (a) search suggestions are influencing people's opinions from the very first character they type into a search bar and (b) search suggestions can be used to turn a 50/50 split among undecided voters into a 90/10 split without people's knowledge and without leaving a paper trail. More detailed findings on SSE can be viewed here. Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME). In multiple experiments in the U.S., India, and elsewhere, we have shown that search rankings can have a dramatic effect on both opinions and election outcomes. Because people have come to place enormous trust in high-ranking search results, results that are biased to favor one candidate can easily shift 20 percent or more of the votes of undecided voters toward that candidate - up to 80 percent of the votes in some demographic groups. Answer Bot Effect (ABE). More and more people are now getting "the answer" to their questions, not from search results, but from personal assistants like Apple's Siri, Google's Home devices, Amazon's Alexa, and the answer boxes Google shows above search results. Our initial findings demonstrate that when answer boxes are shown, (a) people spend less time searching, (b) people click on fewer search results, and (c) opinions shift between 10 and 30 percent more than they do when search results alone are displayed. Sexual orientation. In extensive survey research with more than 600,000 participants in 219 countriesand territories, we have confirmed Kinsey's finding that most people are attracted to people of both genders at some point in their lives. We have also introduced the concept of Sexual Orientation Range (SOR), which is a measure of how much choice people have in expressing their sexual orientation. Our sexual orientation test is now available in 12 languages; the English version can be accessed at http://MySexualOrientation.com. Building love. In ongoing research on how love arises in arranged marriages in ten different cultures, we have identified the main factors that appear to contribute to the growth of love of over time: commitment and sacrifice. In connection with this research, we are developing games and exercises that help Western couples take control over their love lives. People can participate in this ongoing project at http://ArrangedMarriageSurvey.com. Relationship skills. We have identified seven trainable skills that are important for the success of long term love relationships, and we have shown that such skills are associated with improved relationship satisfaction and increased levels of happiness. A test that measures these skills is accessible at http://MyLoveSkills.com. Boosting creativity. We have identified four trainable skills that are important for creative expression and have shown which skills have the biggest impact. The most important skill? Capturing new ideas as they occur. A test that measures these skills is accessible at http://MyCreativitySkills.com. We have also looked which which management skills are most effective in spurring creativity in employees. Good parenting. We have identified ten skills that are important for raising happy, healthy, productive children - The Parents Ten. The skill that predicts the best outcome with children is: expressing love and affection. A study with 2,000 parents comparing these skills appeared recently in Scientific American Mind and is accessible here. A follow-up study with more than 12,000 parents in 39 countries will be published in the near future. A test that measures The Parents Ten can be accessed at http://MyParentingSkills.com. Ending teen turmoil. We have accumulated evidence suggesting that the problems of American teens are caused by two elements of our culture: Teens are isolated from responsible adults and trapped with peers in the media-controlled world of teen culture, and teens are infantilized - that is, treated like children long after they have entered young adulthood. Our data show that teens are remarkably competent but that the general public views them as inherently incompetent. In one recent study with more than 55,000 participants over a wide age range, we found that 30 percent of our teens are at least as competent as half the adult population across a wide range of adult abilities. A test that measures adult competence can be accessed at http://HowAdultAreYou.com. An award-winning book on this topic, written by an AIBRT researcher and cited by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2010, can be viewed here. Stress and happiness. We have studied four trainable skills that are important for managing stress, and in a recent study with more than 10,000 participants in 42 countries, we found that good stress management accounts for about 20 percent of the happiness people experience in life. A scientifically-validated test that measures stress-management skills is accessible at http://MyStressManagementSkills.com. Adolescence Fact-Sheet
Artificial Intelligence Fact-Sheet
Creativity Fact-Sheet
Love and Relationships Fact-Sheet
Mental Health Fact-Sheet
Morality Fact-Sheet
Motivation Fact-Sheet
Parenting Fact-Sheet
Sexual Orientation Fact-Sheet
Stress Management Fact-Sheet
AIBRT - About
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 12:17
The American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology is a nonprofit, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) organization based in Vista, California, USA, which promotes and conducts research that has the potential to increase the well-being and functioning of people worldwide. It currently has ongoing research projects in eleven different topic areas. For further information about AIBRT, please email us at info@aibrt.org .
The mission of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology is to conduct, promote, and advance research on behavior that has the potential to improve the human condition, to develop possible applications of such research, and to educate the public about both this research and its applications. It pursues this mission by conducting relevant research, presenting such research at scientific conferences, publishing reports of such research in both scientific and popular publications, developing possible applications of such research and presenting and publishing reports of such applications, and keeping the public informed about relevant research and applications through classes, workshops, Internet activities, videos, and a variety of other publishing and media activities.
A Flawed Elections Conspiracy Theory - POLITICO Magazine
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 14:19
Last week, Robert Epstein claimed that ''Google's search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters'' and thereby ''rig'' elections. Mr. Epstein has publicized this hypothetical notion over the past two years, including during the 2014 India election cycle when The Guardian responded to his claims with a definitive article entitled '' No, Google did not rig Indian elections.'' In this latest media blitz, Epstein even calls for unspecified ''government regulation'' to protect against his theory.
There is absolutely no truth to Epstein's hypothesis that Google could work secretly to influence election outcomes. Google has never ever re-ranked search results on any topic (including elections) to manipulate user sentiment. Moreover, we do not make any ranking tweaks that are specific to elections or political candidates. From the beginning, our approach to search has been to provide the most relevant answers and results to our users, and it would undermine people's trust in our results, and our company, if we were to change course.
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We have a great track record of providing open access to election information. Our work with the Voting Information Project in collaboration with the Pew Charitable Trusts has helped millions of voters since 2008 get access to details on where to vote, when to vote, and who will be on their ballot. We have made this information freely available via the Google Civic Information API, which has allowed other developers to create useful applications, such as the work by Mobile Commons in 2012 that allowed voters displaced by Hurricane Sandy to find their polling place by texting. We will roll out even more useful search information tools during this U.S. presidential election cycle as well.
Just as any electoral system must be trusted to be considered valid, so too must our search results. We know that; it's essential to who we are, and a necessary part of our success as company. So, as a result, we work very hard to earn and keep the trust of everyone who comes to our site looking for answers.
How Google Could Rig the 2016 Election - POLITICO Magazine
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 14:01
America's next president could be eased into office not just by TV ads or speeches, but by Google's secret decisions, and no one'--except for me and perhaps a few other obscure researchers'--would know how this was accomplished.
Research I have been directing in recent years suggests that Google, Inc., has amassed far more power to control elections'--indeed, to control a wide variety of opinions and beliefs'--than any company in history has ever had. Google's search algorithm can easily shift the voting preferences of undecided voters by 20 percent or more'--up to 80 percent in some demographic groups'--with virtually no one knowing they are being manipulated, according to experiments I conducted recently with Ronald E. Robertson .
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Given that many elections are won by small margins, this gives Google the power, right now, to flip upwards of 25 percent of the national elections worldwide. In the United States, half of our presidential elections have been won by margins under 7.6 percent, and the 2012 election was won by a margin of only 3.9 percent'--well within Google's control.
There are at least three very real scenarios whereby Google'--perhaps even without its leaders' knowledge'--could shape or even decide the election next year. Whether or not Google executives see it this way, the employees who constantly adjust the search giant's algorithms are manipulating people every minute of every day. The adjustments they make increasingly influence our thinking'--including, it turns out, our voting preferences.
What we call in our research the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME) turns out to be one of the largest behavioral effects ever discovered. Our comprehensive new study, just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), includes the results of five experiments we conducted with more than 4,500 participants in two countries. Because SEME is virtually invisible as a form of social influence, because the effect is so large and because there are currently no specific regulations anywhere in the world that would prevent Google from using and abusing this technique, we believe SEME is a serious threat to the democratic system of government.
According to Google Trends, at this writing Donald Trump is currently trouncing all other candidates in search activity in 47 of 50 states. Could this activity push him higher in search rankings, and could higher rankings in turn bring him more support? Most definitely'--depending, that is, on how Google employees choose to adjust numeric weightings in the search algorithm. Google acknowledges adjusting the algorithm 600 times a year, but the process is secret, so what effect Mr. Trump's success will have on how he shows up in Google searches is presumably out of his hands.
Our new research leaves little doubt about whether Google has the ability to control voters. In laboratory and online experiments conducted in the United States, we were able to boost the proportion of people who favored any candidate by between 37 and 63 percent after just one search session. The impact of viewing biased rankings repeatedly over a period of weeks or months would undoubtedly be larger.
In our basic experiment, participants were randomly assigned to one of three groups in which search rankings favored either Candidate A, Candidate B or neither candidate. Participants were given brief descriptions of each candidate and then asked how much they liked and trusted each candidate and whom they would vote for. Then they were allowed up to 15 minutes to conduct online research on the candidates using a Google-like search engine we created called Kadoodle.
Each group had access to the same 30 search results'--all real search results linking to real web pages from a past election. Only the ordering of the results differed in the three groups. People could click freely on any result or shift between any of five different results pages, just as one can on Google's search engine.
When our participants were done searching, we asked them those questions again, and, voil : On all measures, opinions shifted in the direction of the candidate who was favored in the rankings. Trust, liking and voting preferences all shifted predictably.
More alarmingly, we also demonstrated this shift with real voters during an actual electoral campaign'--in an experiment conducted with more than 2,000 eligible, undecided voters throughout India during the 2014 Lok Sabha election there'--the largest democratic election in history, with more than 800 million eligible voters and 480 million votes ultimately cast. Even here, with real voters who were highly familiar with the candidates and who were being bombarded with campaign rhetoric every day, we showed that search rankings could boost the proportion of people favoring any candidate by more than 20 percent'--more than 60 percent in some demographic groups.
Given how powerful this effect is, it's possible that Google decided the winner of the Indian election. Google's own daily data on election-related search activity (subsequently removed from the Internet, but not before my colleagues and I downloaded the pages) showed that Narendra Modi, the ultimate winner, outscored his rivals in search activity by more than 25 percent for sixty-one consecutive days before the final votes were cast. That high volume of search activity could easily have been generated by higher search rankings for Modi.
Google's official comment on SEME research is always the same: ''Providing relevant answers has been the cornerstone of Google's approach to search from the very beginning. It would undermine the people's trust in our results and company if we were to change course.''
Could any comment be more meaningless? How does providing ''relevant answers'' to election-related questions rule out the possibility of favoring one candidate over another in search rankings? Google's statement seems far short of a blanket denial that it ever puts its finger on the scales.
There are three credible scenarios under which Google could easily be flipping elections worldwide as you read this:
First, there is the Western Union Scenario: Google's executives decide which candidate is best for us'--and for the company, of course'--and they fiddle with search rankings accordingly. There is precedent in the United States for this kind of backroom king-making. Rutherford B. Hayes, the 19th president of the United States, was put into office in part because of strong support by Western Union. In the late 1800s, Western Union had a monopoly on communications in America, and just before the election of 1876, the company did its best to assure that only positive news stories about Hayes appeared in newspapers nationwide. It also shared all the telegrams sent by his opponent's campaign staff with Hayes's staff. Perhaps the most effective way to wield political influence in today's high-tech world is to donate money to a candidate and then to use technology to make sure he or she wins. The technology guarantees the win, and the donation guarantees allegiance, which Google has certainly tapped in recent years with the Obama administration.
The Ultimate Google Algorithm Cheat Sheet
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 17:57
Have you ever wondered why Google keeps pumping out algorithm updates?
Do you understand what Google algorithm changes are all about?
No SEO or content marketer can accurately predict what any future update will look like. Even some Google employees don't understand everything that's happening with the web's most dominant search engine.
But think about it like this: Search engines are built to serve people.
People change. Plain and simple.
And as our behavior changes, technology evolves to keep up with our wants and needs.
So, search engines have to change too.
For example, a decade ago, we didn't have social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to help funnel traffic to our sites.
We also didn't think twice about mobile traffic or best practices for reaching searchers that were on the move because those millions of searchers didn't exist.
Fast forward to present day where marketing trends seem to change overnight. New tools and technology emerge at a moment's notice.
Because of this, Google regularly tweaks how they treat rankings, links, and especially content in the wake of these rapid changes.
But at the core of Google's algorithm changes is a simple goal: provide the best user experience possible.
Given that Google handles over 2 trillion searches per year (that's about 40,000 every second), even the smallest changes to their algorithm can have a massive impact on any given site.
Your site, my site, you name it.
And content marketers have a lot to keep up with when you consider the 200 ranking factors outlined by Google.
Yes, two hundred.
There are some factors which are effectively out of our control, such as the ages of our sites and domain names.
However, many of these ranking factors are within our control. These are mostly related to unique content, on-page optimization, and choice of links. Essentially, we do have a hand in how Google treats our sites' search rankings.
Simply put, sites that stay on Google's good side are more likely to rank. Those who try to play the system suffer punishment in one way or another.
Thankfully, Google is fairly transparent about how they can help sites rank. On the flip side, there are some ''hidden'' aspects of Google's algorithm updates that can hit unsuspecting sites.
And that's exactly why I've created this in-depth guide.
Google has issued five major algorithm updates, named (in chronological order) Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon, and Fred. In between these major updates, Google engineers also made some algorithm tweaks that weren't heavily publicized but still may have had an impact on your website's rankings in the search results.
Below, I've broken down each and every one of the major Google algorithm changes piece by piece.
Worried that you might be doing something wrong in the eyes of Google?
Want to know how to bounce back from a penalty?
You've come to the right place.
Google Algorithms and Why They ChangeBefore you can fully understand the impact of each individual search algorithm update, you need to have a working knowledge of what a search engine algorithm is all about.
The word ''algorithm'' refers to the logic-based, step-by-step procedure for solving a particular problem.
In the case of a search engine, the problem is ''how to find the most relevant webpages for this particular set of keywords (or search terms).''
The algorithm is how Google finds, ranks, and returns the relevant results.
Google is the #1 search engine on the web and it got there because of its focus on delivering the best results for each search.
As Ben Gomes, Google's Vice-President of Engineering, said, ''our goal is to get you the exact answer you're searching for faster.''
From the beginning, in a bid to improve its ability to return those right answers quickly, Google began updating its search algorithm, which in turn changed '' sometimes drastically '' the way it delivered relevant results to search users.
As a result of these changes in the algorithm, many sites were penalized with lower rankings while other sites experienced a surge in organic traffic and improved rankings.
Some brief history: Algorithm changes can be major or minor. Most of them, however, are minor.
In 2014, Google made approximately 500 changes to the algorithm. After each of those tweaks, a large number of sites lost their rankings.
Ten years earlier, in February 2004, Google issued the Brandy update.
A major algorithm change, Brandy's major focal points were increased attention on link anchor texts and something called ''Latent Semantic Indexing'' '' basically, looking at other pages on the same site to evaluate whether they contain the search terms, in addition to the indexed page.
Eventually, Google's focus shifted to keyword analysis and intent, rather than solely looking at the keyword itself.
Going back even further, Google made a number of changes in 2000, including the launch of the Google toolbar and a significant tweak known as ''Google Dance.''
However, as far as SEO's impact on business websites is concerned, those updates didn't have much impact on search results.
If you want to be up-to-date on these algorithm changes, you can review the entire history of Google's algorithm changes.
Google needs large volumes of data to be able to make better decisions for any rank tracker. The more relevant results people get when they search for a specific keyword, the more accurate the data that Google can extract and return for other searchers.
That's why these changes have also impacted mobile search results.
Google's recent changes, coupled with the explosive growth in mobile device use, have been significant for search marketers.
As I already pointed out, Google wants to do good by their users.
They want their search results to make sense, and the job of their algorithm is to reward the sites in the SERPs that deliver what users want.
After all, the company's focus on user experience is exactly why they won the search engine wars against competitors such as Yahoo!, Lycos, and Bing.
Google also prides themselves on being the ''good guy'' of the Internet, and their search algorithm confirms this.
The company's old corporate motto of ''Don't be evil'' is a stark warning for sites who try to game their system.
When we look at some key search algorithm changes over the years, it's clear how Google's desire to do good shines through.
Perhaps the most obvious example of Google altering their algorithm to assist users was the phenomenon of exact match domains a few years back.
In the not-so-distant past, the top results in the SERPs were brimming with spammy sites like ''BestCoffeeShopSeattle.com.'' Sites like this often outranked branded domains (think: Starbucks) or other more relevant results.
Sites like these were the bread and butter of affiliate marketers, often subject to keyword stuffing and other shady search tactics.
Deciding enough was enough, Google decided to put their foot down.
Long story short, Google punished spammy exact match sites. The result of their algorithm change looks something like this when we search for ''best coffee shop Seattle:''
No spam, just real results for actual coffee shops. That's Google's algorithm at work.
Sure, it's a bit scary to think that Google could potentially wreak havoc on your rankings at any given moment on a whim, right?
But it is necessary considering their objective of delivering the best user experience possible.
I've helped clients and friends in the past with algorithm penalties and have seen firsthand what happens when Google comes down hard on a site.
Trust me, it's not pretty.
But don't think of these algorithms as twisting your arm. The best long-term search strategy for anyone looking for traffic (even me!) is to align themselves with Google's goals.
The better you understand the history of Google's algorithms, the more likely you are to run a site that ranks well.
In this article, we'll focus on five major Google search algorithm changes. Each of these updates had and continues to have, a significant impact on search engine marketing, on-page SEO, and your site's overall content strategy for best search results. Specifically, we'll discuss:
The Panda updateThe Penguin updateThe Hummingbird updateThe Pigeon updateThe Fred updateThe Core SEO Benefits of Google Algorithm ChangesIn the last couple of years, we've seen the positive impacts of the Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon, and Fred algorithm updates on SEO. Some of these benefits include:
Google's user-focused commitment '' Remember Google's goal: to help each search user find the correct information they're looking for as quickly as possible. These updates, especially Panda, further solidify Google's commitment to their users.
Although there is still a lot more work to be done by Google to improve search results, the odds are good that you'll get relevant and informative results on the first page of results from Google when you search.
For example, let's say you search for best camera brands. Your top results will likely include those search terms, or their closest synonyms, in close proximity to each other:
Google also recognizes the need to meet the needs of those searching on-the-go. For example, searchers no longer need to explicitly state keywords if they're looking for something locally. ''Near me'' is good enough for Google granted you've provided your location.
This update was a game-changer for sites relying solely on local keywords and ultimately makes life easier for users.
Improved rankings for in-depth content '' serpIQ agrees that ''length is strength'' in modern SEO.
Longer content tends to dominate search engine results pages these days in SEO power.
Prior to Google Panda, thin content could, and often did, rank highly.
Content writers could churn out 300 words per article or blog post, throw in some high PR links and wind up ranked #1 in Google '' and remain there for months.
The Panda changed that. Those days are over, so post long content if you want to improve your rankings, says Brian Dean.
Content farms (sites that frequently generate and quickly publish low quality and thin content) were the major culprits.
Sites like EzineArticles, ArticleAlley, and Buzzle lost their rankings even though they had aged domain names and were mobile friendly. Their content couldn't provide meaningful, relevant, long-term solutions with lasting SEO power.
These days, Google gives preference to in-depth pieces of content that are likely to remain useful. For example, one of the articles from this blog is sitting at #2 for an in-demand keyword phrase (''drive traffic to blog''):
When we talk about ''in-depth content,'' we're usually talking about ''how-to'' pieces that educate your readership. They're the sort of pieces that help marketers position themselves as problem solvers.
Heck, the article you're reading now is an example of in-depth content.
Crafting this sort of long-form content represents a win-win situation for marketers, which is why all of my blog posts are well over 2,000 words and focus on solving problems.
For example, Brian Dean absolutely kills it with his in-depth pieces.
His SEO guides regularly receive thousands of shares and comments because they deliver actionable advice that is relevant to his readers.
Brian's site is rewarded for his hard work, too. Check out the top Google results for ''on-page SEO'' (and notice that I'm not too far off myself!):
But just as Google rewards in-depth content, they punish thin or questionable content.
This sort of content often falls into two categories:
Short-form, keyword-stuffed pieces crafted for the sole purpose of rankingContent with questionable backlink profiles, such as paid links or private blog networks (networks of sites artificially linking to each other for the purpose of improving rankings)Google took a sledgehammer to sites relying on thin content thanks to the Panda and Penguin updates.
The traffic of many ''niche'' sites using PBNs tanked almost overnight due to algorithm changes, as noted by Spencer Haws of Niche Pursuits:
You can't rely on shortcuts and cheap tricks if you want to rank in 2017 and beyond. The key takeaway here isn't to live in fear of Google, but rather craft content that people actually want to read.
Fresh content advantage '' When you publish fresh content on your site, Google gives your webpage a score. Over time, this freshness score will fizzle out, and your site will require more fresh content. This is where a website auditor helps keep you fresh.
Cyrus Shepard notes that ''the freshness score can boost a piece of content for certain search queries,'' even though it then degrades over time.
The freshness score of your web page is initially assessed when the Google spider crawls and indexes your page.
Therefore, if you're always updating your blog or site with relevant, well-researched, and in-depth (2,000+ words) content, you should expect improved rankings and organic visitors from Google.
By the same token, sites that publish sporadically will find it hard to retain a solid position in Google.
Most of the popular sites post new content at least once a week.
Some sites, like Moz, publish every day. They will often use something like SEO Powersuite as an internal website auditor to stay ahead of the competition.
In order to continually boost the freshness score, some popular brands, like Mashable, publish several pieces of detailed content on a daily basis.
Brand awareness '' This may not be obvious, but the Google algorithm changes support a shift towards branding.
Before Google started penalizing sites that use a lot of keyword-rich anchor text for internal links, over-optimization used to work. But, SEO has evolved and building links shouldn't be the major focus (even though it's important).
Moz recommends that 17% of your anchor text should be brand names.
Corporate organizations, small business owners, and bloggers have become meticulous when using anchor text.
Build links that will improve your brand and relevance online, and avoid building links to artificially boost your organic rankings.
Look at BeardBrand.com. Their major keyword (best beard oil) is currently on the first page of the Google results in a rank tracker.
Many of their anchor text phrases contain brand names and domain URLs. This is the result I got from OpenSiteExplorer:
Major Google SEO Algorithm Changes and PenaltiesDespite popular belief, Google's algorithm is constantly changing. While we often discuss major milestones in the algorithm such as Panda and Penguin, Google rolls out smaller updates and penalties to supplement the larger ones.
Moz notes three updates and penalties took place between January and March 2017 alone. For example, Google introduced a penalty immediately after the 2017 New Year to combat aggressive ads on mobile sites.
Google actually hinted at the update months in advance, which doesn't happen often. In fact, Google provided specific examples of what marketers shouldn't do if they want to avoid a penalty for their mobile sites.
The lesson here is that Google's algorithm doesn't suddenly transform in a single day or update. Minor changes in the algorithm occur much more often than major ones.
But it's the major updates (Panda, Penguin, Hummingbird, Pigeon, and Fred) which represent the game-changers that all SEOs and content marketers must be aware of.
And before we get into the specifics of the updates themselves, I'm going to show you my method on how to analyze the updates as they apply to your site.
Signs That You've Been Penalized by a Google Algorithm Change: So, with so many moving pieces to Google's algorithm, how do you actually figure out if you've been penalized?
If your site suffers from any of the following four symptoms, you might be on the receiving end of a slap on the wrist from Google.
Rank Demotion and Organic Traffic Drop: Perhaps the most obvious sign of a penalty is a sudden drop in your site's ranking in the SERPs.
If your site gets pushed off the first page of Google for a term, for example, your site's traffic will feel the effects almost immediately. Considering that the top results in organic search receive approximately 35% of clicks, a rank demotion could be potentially catastrophic.
Manual Rank Change '' In most cases, Google's algorithm does most of the legwork when punishing pages.
However, Google does take manual action against sites from time to time if they suspect that you're up to no good.
Luckily, Google will typically notify you if they think that something's fishy. After all, accidents happen, and Google doesn't want to needlessly punish unsuspecting sites. As long as you avoid black hat SEO techniques, you're likely safe from being manually punished.
Banned by Google '' If Google decides to blacklist your site, you probably know that you've done something seriously shady such as buying links, spamming directories, or excessive keyword stuffing.
Or you've done something legitimately illegal like distribute a virus or malware on-site.
Google's not afraid to bring the hammer down on sites engaging in illicit activity. Those looking for SEO shortcuts should tread lightly if they want to avoid a potential penalty.
Thankfully, you can recover from penalties as a result of Google SEO algorithm changes.
But first, you need to know exactly which penalties you're facing.
How to Determine Which Google Algorithm Penalties You've Been Hit WithIf you keep a close eye on your Google Analytics, you'll be able to tell if you've been hit with a penalty. For example, a steep drop in traffic could signal that something's wrong.
Now, keep in mind the difference between a sharp decline in traffic versus a slow decline that rebounds. If you've been penalized, your traffic is likely to go down and stay down.
Once you're aware of your potential penalty, it's time to figure out exactly what's wrong. Chances are you can match your penalty with a particular update based on the timing of your traffic's decline.
Google lends a helping hand to penalized site owners through its Webmaster Tools platform.
For example, Webmaster Tools can help you diagnose problems such as a potential duplicate content penalty.
If you've already installed the platform, simply log in, select Search Appearance and then HTML Improvements in the drop-down menu. Google then provides a list of any potential issues and allows you to take the necessary actions to fix them.
As noted, not all algorithm penalties are identical in terms of severity. In fact, Google changes their algorithm hundreds of times per year. In other words, there's a good chance that a site could be penalized due to factors beyond a major update.
Now, let's talk about the specific algorithms themselves.
Google Algorithm Update: PandaYou've probably heard of Panda. But, unless you're a veteran SEO expert who consumes Google-related news on a daily basis, you may not be intimately familiar with its details.
The Google Panda update revolutionized SEO, prompting every business that relies on Google for lead generation and sales to pay attention.
One important lesson that we've learned is that SEO is never constant. It's continuously evolving and today's ''best practices'' can become outdated tomorrow. After all, who would have believed that exact match domain names would ever be penalized by Google?
What Is the Panda update? Panda uses a search algorithm named after the Google Engineer, Biswanath Panda.
In February 2011, the first search filter that was part of the Panda update was rolled out. It's basically a content quality filter that was targeted at poor quality and thin sites with little SEO power in order to prevent them from ranking well in Google's top search engine results pages (SERPs).
Whenever a major Panda update happened, site owners noticed either a drop in organic traffic and rankings or a boost.
It changed content strategy, keyword research, and targeting. It even changed how links are built since high-quality relevant links pointing to a webpage ultimately add to its value when it comes to SEO power.
Google could now determine more accurately which sites are ''spammy'' and which sites would likely be deemed useful by visitors.
Before Panda, poor content could rank quite highly or even dominate Google's top results pages. Panda 1.0 was unleashed to fight content farms. Google said the update affected 12% of searches in the U.S.
Note: Panda is called an update because the filter runs periodically. And, every time it runs, the algorithm takes a new shape.
In other words, high-quality content will likely bounce back in the search results while content pages that escaped the previous update get caught in the Panda net.
There has been a Panda update every 1-2 months since 2011, for a total of 28 updates with the most recent in May of 2015. This number may not be precisely accurate, because a lot of minor tweaks most likely have occurred in-between them, but it lies within that range.
1) Panda 1.0 update: The search filter was aimed at content farms '-- those sites that employ many writers who create poor-quality content around specific keywords in a bid to rank in Google's top ten results on a rank tracker. This update was primarily aimed at U.S. sites and affected 12% of search results.
However, this doesn't mean that all multi-author sites are spammy. For example, Moz has hundreds of writers, but it still enjoys top rankings in Google, because it makes sure that the content delivers plenty of value to readers.
In other words, in-depth content that is well researched and that gets shared on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and the other major social platforms continues to rank well '' perhaps even more highly than before.
2) Panda 2.0 update: This update, released in April 2011, targeted international search queries, though it also impacted 2% of U.S. search queries.
This filter also affected international queries on google.co.uk and google.com.au and English queries in non-English speaking countries e.g. google.fr, google.cn, when the searchers chose English results.
Amit Singhal, who is in charge of search quality at Google, told Vanessa Fox that Google was ''focused on showing users the highest quality, most relevant pages on the web.''
3) Panda 2.1 '' 2.3: There were minor updates in May, June, and July 2011 (dates approximate), in which Google incorporated more signals to help gauge the quality of a site.
Low-quality content and pages were further penalized, while those who worked extremely hard at producing rich and interesting content saw a boost in organic traffic when looking at the rank tracker.
Panda 2.3 was minor and focused on the user experience. Bloggers and site owners who wrote and published content that engaged the user and enhanced site navigability benefited from these changes according to any website auditor.
4) Panda 2.4: This update was rolled out on August 12th, 2011 and affected about 6-9% of user queries. It focused on improving site conversion rates and site engagement, says Michael Whitaker.
Prior to the update, Michael Whitaker was getting up to 3,000 unique visitors to his site.
As soon as the Panda 2.4 update was rolled out, his monthly site traffic dropped to 207.
5) Panda 3.0: This SEO power search filter began to roll out on October 17, 2011 and was officially announced on October 21, 2011. This update brought large sites higher up in the SERPs '' e.g., FoxNews, Android.
After Panda 2.5, Google began to update their algorithm more frequently. This term is called ''Panda Flux''.
To be on the safe side with your content, Express Writers recommends the following steps:
6) Panda 3.1 went live on November 18, 2011. It was minor and affected about 1% of all search queries. Although this number seems low, it is still significant for any rank tracker, considering the number of searches conducted every day.
Each of these algorithm changes came about as a result of search users not getting relevant and useful information. As an advertising media company, Google wants to make money, and unless they satisfy searchers, how would they do that?
7) Panda 4.0: On May 20, 2014, Matt Cutts tweeted that Google was rolling out Panda 4.0. It was the next generation of Panda, and it generated both winners and losers.
This update had a big impact. Ebay lost a significant percentage of the top 10 rankings it had previously enjoyed.
Panda 4.0 was primarily targeted at larger sites that have been dominating the top-10 results for seed keywords.
When you build a site today, you have to consistently write and publish in-depth content. This content must add value, be interesting to the reader, and solve a definite problem with availability on mobile devices.
If you fail to do that, you won't engage readers and your conversion rate will be low. The major losers after Panda 4.0 rolled out were:
As with every Panda update, there are winners too. Here's a list provided by Search Engine Land:
Overall, not every sector or industry lost in Panda 4.0. The major ones worth noting were:
With Panda 4.1, Google once against laid the gauntlet down against keyword stuffing, rolling out an update that impacted between 3-5% of search queries.
The latest update, Panda 4.2, was introduced in May 2015. There haven't been many significant changes to Panda since 4.0. However, there were some stories of sites managing to bounce back after cleaning up their content in the midst of Panda 4.1.
Think of Panda as ''the content update.'' Simply put, Google looked to bring an end to the era of article spinning and low-effort content. For the most part, the update was a success for encouraging marketers to focus on valuable, thought-provoking pieces versus fluff.
Again, this all ties back to Google's desire to emphasize user experience. Rather than let marketers get away with spammy and misleading results, Google fought back.
Factors That Led to a Panda Penalty (and How to Fix Them)
Since some sites experienced a boost in organic rankings and traffic, it's worth asking: What makes a site vulnerable to a Panda attack? Here are six factors that may be to blame along with suggestions as to how to fix the underlying problem and get back in Google's good graces when using your website auditor:
Duplicate content '' Do you have substantial blocks of content that are the same on your site? This can cause a lot of problems, especially where SEO is concerned, but for site visitors, too.
In this video, Matt Cutts explains that duplicate content per se may not affect your site, except when it's spammy:
It's not advisable to redirect duplicate pages. When the Google spider discovers duplicate content on your site, it will first analyze other elements that make up your web page before penalizing you.
Thus, it's recommended that you completely avoid any form of content duplication and focus on publishing unique, helpful, and rich content for SEO power. Don't be deceived: There is no balance between original and duplicate content.
When the same content appears across your domain names and URLs, it could trigger a problem.
Some time ago, Greg Grothaus explained why this is a problem by sharing the image below. Since the content is the same, though the URLs are slightly different, Google ''thinks'' you have duplicate content.
Fortunately, finding duplicate content on your site is fairly easy to do. Simply follow these steps:
Step #1: Visit the Duplicate Page Finder tool. Input your site URL. Input another URL that you want to compare for duplicate content '' e.g., yoursite.com/about.
Step #2: Analyze your results. If the results show that your pages contain some duplicate content, you can then solve the problem in one of two ways:
Revise one of the pages so that each page contains 100% original contentAdd a no-index tag, so that the Google spider will ignore it and not index or pass link juice to it helping on the rank tracker.
Another problem that can trip you up is where your content is duplicated on someone else's site. To find duplicate content outside your site, follow these steps:
Step #1: Go to Siteliner.com. Plug in your site URL and hit the ''Go'' button.
Step #2: Analyze duplicate content pages. On the results page, scroll down and you'll find the ''duplicate content'' results.
Once you've clicked the ''duplicate content'' link, you'll get a list of all of the pages that you need to make unique and will be told by how much.
If you accept guest posts or sponsored articles on your blog, you should make it a habit to check for duplicate content first.
The moment you receive the content, quickly run it through any one of the many duplicate content/plagiarism checker tools available on the web '' e.g., smallseotools.com.
After running your content through the tool, you'll see an analysis of the piece's unique vs. duplicate phrases, sentences, and paragraphs.
Note: Looking at the screenshot above, we see that the results specify 92% of the content is unique. That's a fairly decent score and one you can live with.
However, if the piece you're checking scores between 10 to 70% unique content, you should either improve it or take it down. Excessive duplicate content can result in a Google penalty for your site's SEO power when the next Panda update is rolled out.
It's also very important to note that just because you have 100% unique content on your site, that doesn't automatically mean higher rankings for you.
Oftentimes it's backlinks which represent the strongest signal to Google that your on-site content is valuable. According to a 2015 Moz study on backlinks, there's a massive correlation between higher rankings and the number of external links from unique sites.
As noted by Moz's Cyrus Shepard: ''If you want to rank for anything that's even remotely competitive, the chances of finding a website ranking without external links is very rare indeed.''
However, it's no longer about having the ''most'' backlinks. In this post-Penguin era, it's also about having trusted and relevant backlinks.
Lastly, perhaps the best way to avoid duplicate content is to follow this simple rule:
When in doubt, write original content.
Nobody wants to read a blog post that's been published and revised thousands of times before.
Not only does crafting original content prevent you from repeating what someone else has already said, but also provides opportunities for you to answer questions for your audience that nobody else is bothering to touch.
Low-quality inbound links '' If you've discovered that your SEO is tanking and you're confident that your site content is both useful and unique, the next step is to audit your inbound links.
Low-quality links pointing to your pages can also trip you up because Penguin 2.1 was all about putting the search engine focus on quality over quantity.
According to Kristi Hines, any low-quality content from the past can come back to haunt you. So, it's not enough to begin building good, high-quality links today. The ones that you built when you first started marketing can also have an effect in any rank tracker.
The ugly truth is this: If your site has a large number of inbound links coming from irrelevant sites (i.e., content farms or sites in a different niche altogether), your chances of getting a Google penalty increase.
You need to focus on getting incoming links, predominantly from sites that have the same theme or subject as your site. The SEM Blog chart below gives us a clearer picture.
But before you can do anything about those low-quality links, you first need to find them.
In other words, you need to find out how many backlinks you have built or gained over the course of your site's existence. Fortunately, becoming this type of website auditor is fairly simple. Just follow these steps:
Step #1: Go to OpenSiteExplorer. Type in your site URL. Hit the ''Search'' button.
Step #2: Click on ''Linking Domains.''
Step #3: Analyze the linking domains.
You can find toxic links on your own page in several places. Links in your page footer, site wide links, and links with over-optimized anchor text, among others, are all good places to start.
Listen: If you think that inbound links aren't your responsibility, think again. Although you can't necessarily control who chooses to link to your site, paying close attention to your link profile can save you a major headache down the road.
For example, bad backlinks can actually damage your search rankings if you don't deal with them before they get out of control. Rather than look suspicious to Google, keeping your link profile squeaky clean on a regular basis keeps you from having to play catch-up or fact a potential penalty.
If you need more information about remedying either of these first two Panda-penalty factors '' duplicate content and low-quality inbound links '' try these helpful articles:
How To Identify and Remedy and Duplicate Content Issues on Your WebsiteHow To Find Low-Quality Inbound Links with BuzzstreamHigh bounce rate '' The term ''bounce rate'' simply refers to how many single-page sessions your site receives. A single-page session is when someone visits a page on your site and then leaves your site altogether, without interacting (clicking other links or reading more of your content) further with your site.
A high bounce rate can signal to Google that your visitors aren't finding what they're looking for on your site or that they don't consider your site to be useful.
What's an acceptable or average bounce rate?
The answer will vary depending on your industry. What truly matters when considering SEO power is that your conversion rates are increasing. Here is the average bounce rate by industry.
It's absolutely possible to reduce your bounce rate and therefore reverse that trend. For instance, Recruiting.com reduced their bounce rate to 42.84%.
As a rule of thumb, if your bounce rate is above 60%, then you will probably want to work on reducing that number. The bounce rate below is fair. How does yours compare?
Site design and usability are the basic factors that affect your bounce rate. Remember, if users can't easily find what they're looking for on your page, Google as the website auditor assumes that your content is not useful. This is because the spider literally follows people.
When you engage your blog readers, they, in turn, engage with your site, which then lowers your bounce rate and gives your site a higher ranking score.
Bounce rates can fluctuate significantly over time and a bounce rate that jumps up a bit isn't necessarily always a bad thing. It could be caused by a major tweak on your site. For example, when you redesign your blog, your bounce rate will likely increase a bit, temporarily, while visitors get accustomed to the new look and layout.
Speaking of design, don't forget about mobile bounce rate.
Have you ever been to a site that looked like absolute trash on mobile? You couldn't click anywhere, everything was way too zoomed in or zoomed out? When mobile visitors land on a page like that, all they want to do is click the ''Back'' button ASAP.
Over half of all search queries come via mobile devices. If you're ignoring mobile site optimization you're obviously turning potential traffic away.
You don't want to be that site, do you?
Platforms such as WordPress boast responsive design themes which ensure that your site looks sleek across all devices. When in doubt, you can always run a mobile-friendly test to make sure that your site isn't tuning out mobile traffic.
Low repeat site visits '' If your site's visitors only come to your site once and never to return, Google can take that fact to mean that your site isn't all that relevant or useful. For some, being mobile friendly is a factor here too.
It's a good idea to pay attention to your repeat visitor statistics as part of your rank tracker data. Once you've logged into your Google Analytics account, locate your repeat visitor statistics and then compare that number to previous months.
To adjust a low repeat visit number, reward visitors when they come back to your site after an initial visit. You can do this by offering a piece of useful content, such as a free valuable report or with gifts such as free access to an insider event or e-course. Additionally, look for ways that you can enhance the return-visit experience and satisfy your visitors who come back for more.
As an example, Amazon has one of the highest repeat visitor rates among shopping sites. When a visitor comes to Amazon the first time and looks at different products, Amazon will automatically track the user's movements. When the visitor returns, Amazon serves up the same or similar products on all web pages.
Amazon also makes excellent use of an upsell strategy to persuade people to buy their products. This makes it easier for shoppers to find the exact product that they want to buy and encourages them to place their order instantly.
If your site doesn't retain visitors and make them want to come back again, this could negatively impact your ranking.
In your Google Analytics account, you should also pay attention to the sources of your traffic. Many domains might be referring visitors to you, but some may be sending you more visitors who make return visits to your site.
Focus on retention. Organic referral sources tend to be more reliable, in this regard, than social media sources.
Better Biz carried out a three-month study of both B2B and B2C websites to determine the best sources for targeted web traffic. Here's what they found:
How can you get more repeat visitors to your site? Here are a few simple ideas that can help:
a). Decrease site load time '' If you want to capture more repeat visitors, see if you can boost your site's speed, especially if it's on the slow side. According to Moz, ''site speed actually affects search rankings.'' Make your site load faster and your visitors will stay longer (and be more likely to come back in the future).
Although the direct impact on search rankings may not be terribly significant, as you'll see below, it's absolutely true that fast-loading sites create a better user experience and thus improve the perceived value of your site giving it more SEO power.
Here's an interesting statistic: 40% of people abandon a website that takes more than 3 seconds to load. A slow-to-load page can result in a higher bounce rate, as well as a lower repeat visitors rate. This is especially true on mobile devices.
When I discovered that both Google and my readers love sites that load very fast, I plunged into the topic. My efforts resulted in taking my site from a load time of 1.9 to 1.21 seconds. In turn, this increased the direct traffic coming to my blog to 2,000+ per day.
Here's my initial load time, before optimization:
And, here's the result, after the guys at StudioPress reworked the code:
Again, considering that over half of web users expects sites to load within two seconds, you can't screw around with load time.
Seemingly simple steps such as cutting back on massive homepage hero images can make all the difference. If you're using WordPress, double-check for any clunky or outdated plug-ins which could potentially be slowing down your site.
Start improving your site load time today. You can follow this step-by-step guide.
b). Be Helpful '' One of the five ways to get repeat visitors is to help people. Your content should be able to solve a definite problem. For example, you could write a step-by-step tutorial on any topic relevant to your site's niche.
So, if you regularly write about SEO or internet marketing-related topics, you could provide a detailed Google Analytics tutorial guide, accompanied by explanatory screenshots. This guide would be a great example of targeted problem-solving content since a lot of people struggle to understand GA.
If you follow the rule of ''be helpful'' in regard to your content, you're already way ahead of the game.
Really, though. Far too many marketers focus on fluff instead of actionable content that's easy to read and quick to digest.
Ever wonder why in-depth ''how-to's'' and long-form listicles currently dominate the blogosphere?
Because that's what people want. Google knows this, and so should you.
And content creators are taking notice, too. The average blog post is longer than ever; meanwhile, writers are spending 25% more time on their posts today than they did last year.
This attention to detail makes all the difference for your audience and Google alike. In-depth round-up posts, such as this example detailed by Brian Lang of SmartBlogger, are a potential hotbed for traffic, shares and audience engagement:
This post didn't drive over 4,000 social shares by accident. At nearly 8,000 words, such a piece was able to spread like wildfire because it answered a burning question for a hungry audience.
Ask yourself: how can you do the same on your site?
High percentage of boilerplate content '' Boilerplate content refers to the content that you reuse on your site. For instance, a particular paragraph in a useful article might be reused in a few places on your site. One or two such paragraphs probably won't do much harm. But, if the overall percentage of boilerplate content gets too high, your site could fall in a rank tracker.
As a general rule, avoid using the same or very similar content on more than one page on your site. Focus on unique content '' that's the best way to improve your rankings.
One kind of boilerplate that occurs frequently is ''hidden content.'' When you display a certain page to users and get other pages to be crawlable by Google, Google sees it as boilerplate content. Too much of that and your site could be penalized.
Irrelevant meta tags '' It's very important to set up meta tags precisely and accurately because irrelevant meta tags will increase your risk of getting a Google penalty by the website auditor. Here's how to add relevant meta tags to your site's pages.
Remember, meta tags consist of the title, the description, and the keywords.
If you've installed the All in One SEO plugin, you'll find it's easy to set up your meta tags within three minutes or less. Remember that Google Panda doesn't like duplicate pages. Travel Blog Advice shows how simple it is to set up the plugin.
In the image below, you'll see how Pat Flynn's meta tags are specific and relevant to the page in question. However, in modern SEO practice, it's not advisable to have a lot of keywords, even if they're all relevant.
Note: Avoid excessive keyword placement, otherwise known as keyword stuffing. According to David Amerland, this can lead to a penalty for your site, when Panda updates are released.
How to Recover from the Google Panda Algorithm UpdateHow do you identify and recover your site from a Panda penalty? If your website or blog was hit by Panda, your next step is to figure out a plan to remedy the problem or problems. This can be difficult; there are many articles and blog posts online that discuss the theory behind the penalties but provide no actionable steps to take to fix the problem.
By taking action, Portal Programas recovered 65% of their web traffic after the Panda 4.0 update. And, they did it by following a simple plan that focused on user experience.
If you see a drop in organic traffic and rankings following a Panda update, you can be fairly sure you've been penalized by Google.
For Panda, you want to avoid showing people thin pieces of content on your site's pages. Either beef up thin content or remove it from your site, especially on the archive pages that have 10 '' 100 words.
Rewriting your content is another simple way to remove the penalty from your site, transforming it into a high-quality site in Google's eyes. Eric Enge, Stone Temple Consulting President, told Search Engine Watch that one of his clients saw a 700% recovery by rewriting and adding content to their site.
Improve Panda Quality Score '' In addition to removing thin content pages or adding more content to make them more detailed and helpful, you should also pay attention to your Panda quality score.
Follow this Panda quality equation to obtain a higher score:
Static ElementsQuality ChecksUser ExperienceThe equation above came from Google, so we can trust it to help us recover from a Panda penalty. Let's explore each of the items:
1) Static Elements '' Every site should have static elements or pages that state what the site does, who is behind it and any applicable terms of service. The static elements are usually: Privacy Policy, Contact, About and Terms of Service.
i). Privacy Policy '' Most Privacy Policy content is regurgitated or generated with a third-party tool. You can always add a no-index or no-follow tag to this page's <head> HTML element.
But, Google still prefers that you make this page unique. Avoid copying and pasting from other sources, as Google considers this to be duplicate content.
If you use a third-party tool, personalize and rewrite the content. After generating your privacy policy content, you can rewrite it. One good premium (paid) service to consider is MyPrivacyPolicy.
ii). Contact '' Another static element on your site is the ''contact'' page. It's usually thin, with less than 100 words of content but still considered by the website auditor.
It's important you either no-index tag this page or add more content below the contact form or address, as Googlebots crawl and store home and office addresses, emails, authors, phone numbers, etc.
Note: Google has made it very clear that ''if only one or two pages on your site are high quality, while the rest are considered low quality, then Google will determine that your site is low quality.''
Every page counts, so strive to make your static elements (contact page, About page, etc.) rich, unique and helpful.
iii). About '' Your ''About Page'' is another important static element that can lift or lower your Panda quality score. Do you know How to Write the Perfect About Page?
Don't overlook opportunities on-site to beef up your content. Even your ''About'' page represents a place to target keywords while also telling your story.
In a nutshell, you want to write unique and valuable content for this page, just as with all your site's pages. Tell a story to captivate your audience and provide a clear call-to-action.
An ''About'' page with only a few sentences can lead Google to assume that your entire site is low quality. Take the opportunity to update your page '' after all, it's your story, your experience and your pains and gains.
iv). Terms of Service '' Although most visitors won't even click this page to read its content, it's important you make it unique and Google-friendly. If you're a blogger, adding this page to your blog is optional. However, if your site is an ecommerce or services company site, you'll want to make sure that you have this covered.
The same rules that you followed when creating your ''privacy policy'' content also apply here. Try to craft a unique TOS page. Make sure it's in-depth (700 '' 1000 words) and, as far as possible, interesting to read.
2) Quality Checks '' In the Panda Quality Equation we considered earlier, one of the factors that can help recover your site from a Panda penalty is a solid Quality Check. In other words, the site code needs to be excellent and should meet current standards.
Unmatched HTML tags, PHP errors, broken JavaScript and improper CSS rules can all result in a poor user experience. We know Google values a great user experience because it helps Google measure your site's engagement.
If your site was built using older versions of HTML, you'll want to consider upgrading the site using HTML5. Make sure that your meta description and title tags are unique and contain the relevant keywords that you're targeting.
The Yoast SEO plugin for WordPress is a fantastic tool to make sure you're crafting optimized content that reads well. Finding the balance between keyword density and readability, Yoast also ensures that you don't leave out any crucial pieces of your SEO for each page on your site.
Although you don't need to tick all of Yoast's boxes, the plugin helps put you on the right path in terms of readability.
3) User Experience '' Since Google Panda is a site-wide penalty that scores your entire site, you'll want to focus on improving your site's user experience. Remember: user experience is about users. When you improve your customer experience, you'll recover from a Panda hit.
As you map user experience, check to make sure that all of these factors are addressed:
If your analysis shows a need to improve your site's user experience, consider these questions to help get you started:
i) Do you provide any point of good user experience? If you sell a product or service, how do your visitors or prospects receive it?
ii) Does your content solve a particular problem? Your users will exhibit how satisfied they are with your site through their engagement with your content. Do they stay and read your content? Do they leave comments on your posts?
iii) Can you improve your navigation? If users can't easily navigate from any part of your site to the homepage, you have some work to do to improve search results. Look for sites with excellent navigation '' one good example is Mindtools.com.
The moment that your site's navigation is enhanced, it'll begin to improve your organic search results, rankings, and traffic. Make all your navigation links clickable and ensure that your search is working perfectly.
iv) Do users come back to visit your site? As we've already discussed, Google is concerned not only about your current visitors but also about your repeat visitors.
When your content is high quality, people will come back for more. If it's not, then they'll bounce, resulting in a low-quality SEO power score for your site and its web pages.
v). How quickly do your web pages load? If your site load time is less than 4 seconds, then you're good to go. If not, then you have some room for improvement. Look for ways to make your site's web pages load faster through optimization.
How do you find out the speed of your site?
Step #1: Go to tools.pingdom.com. Plug in your site URL and click the ''Test Now'' button.
Step #2: Check your site speed.
Some other common links between sites with excellent UX in mind include a simple yet attractive design, straightforward navigation, and crystal clear CTAs. Amazon is a prime (pun intended) example of such a site:
No, you're not expected look exactly like Amazon; however, your site shouldn't require visitors to dig for whatever they might be looking for.
Google Algorithm Update: PenguinOn April 24, 2012, Google released the first Penguin update. While the Panda update was primarily targeted at thin and low-quality content, Google Penguin is a set of algorithm updates that puts more focus on incoming links.
Before Penguin's release, site owners, content marketers and webmasters all employed different tactics for link building.
A handful of those ways still work, but a majority of the old-fashioned link building strategies are dead. According to Rival IQ, there are four factors will get your site penalized by Penguin. See the image below:
i). Link schemes '' Links are still important, but high-quality sites are the best way to improve search rankings.
Link schemes are those types of activities geared at generating links that will manipulate or induce search engines to rank your web pages. If you fall into the trap of always building links to your site from every other site found in search engines, you may be penalized by Penguin.
Rap Genius, a dedicated website that interprets lyrics and poetry, was penalized because Google found they were using link schemes to manipulate their rankings at the time.
Bottom line: Avoid all forms of link schemes. It's just not worth the risk.
ii). Keyword stuffing '' Matt Cutts already warned against stuffing your page with relevant keywords. No matter how in-depth and easy-to-navigate the site is, Penguin will most likely find and penalize it. In most cases, it's easy to see why. This is especially true if you've ever actually seen a keyword-stuffed page. Here's an example:
Buying Valentine's gift for your spouse is a great step to take. This year, Valentine's gift should be an avenue to express how much love you've for him or her. Make sure the Valentine's gift is well-researched. But don't stop there. Make it a culture to always show love to your spouse, whether there is Valentine celebration, Christmas etc. When you show love, you get love. For instance, when you show love today, you'll live to be loved. Are you ready to choose the best Valentine's gift?
Do you see how many times the keyword ''Valentine's gift'' is mentioned in this thin piece of content? That's keyword stuffing and it's contrary to the Google Webmaster Guidelines.
Don't use excessive keywords in your content. Don't try to manipulate your rankings. If a particular keyword doesn't sound good or doesn't flow smoothly in the content, don't use it.
Note: Keywords are still relevant in the post-Panda and post-Penguin era. Just keep your focus on the intent of your keywords, and write content that appeals to people's emotions and solves their problems. Effective SEO has always been that way. Let's keep it simple.
iii). Over-optimization '' According to KISSmetrics, ''SEO is awesome, but too much SEO can cause over-optimization.'' If you over-optimize your anchor texts, for example, this could get you penalized by Penguin. The best approach is to incorporate social media marketing and gain natural or organic links to your web pages.
In April 2012, Google rolled out another update that penalized large sites that were over-optimizing keywords and anchor texts, engaging in link building schemes and pursuing other forms of link manipulation.
One of the signs that you might be over-optimizing is having keyword-rich anchor texts for internal links, i.e., anchor text that links to a page within your own web pages.
Here's an example:
Learn more about Hp Pavilion 15 laptops and its features.
(Links to: example.com/hp-pavilion-15-laptops.htm)
Another example:
Do you know the best iPhone case that's hand-crafted for you?
(Links to: example.com/best-iphone case-hand-crafted)
Note: When your anchor text links directly to a page with an exact destination URL, it can create good SEO. When it becomes too much, however, your site can be penalized for over-optimization.
iv) Unnatural links '' The funny thing about unnatural links is that they don't look good to anyone '' not to your readers and not to Google. These links may appear on sites that are totally off-topic. Cardstore lost their ranking through unnatural links that appeared in article directories.
Yes, such links worked in the past and larger sites were the best players of that game. Google Penguin destroyed the playing field for those big sites, which then lost all of the benefits of their hard work. The moral of the story: Your links should be natural.
When you buy or trade links with someone, there is every tendency that the anchor texts or links will be totally irrelevant. Here's another object lesson: Overstock.com plummeted in rankings for product searches, when Google discovered that the site exchanged discounts for .EDU links.
I don't recommend link buying. But, if you must do it, make sure that the referring site is relevant and authoritative and that the links are natural. Here's a better explanation from Search Engine Land:
How Penguin works '' The Penguin algorithm is a search filter that depends on Google's frequent algorithm updates and attempts to penalize link spam and unnatural links.
The Penguin code simply looks for aggressive link building practices aimed at manipulating the search engine rankings.
For example, if you're building backlinks too fast for a new site, Google can easily detect that you're aggressive and penalize your site or even delete it from their search index altogether.
Remember, any link that you build now or in the future with the intention of boosting your search engine rankings violates Google's Webmaster Guidelines.
Link exchanges, paid links and other forms of black-hat link building techniques are all bad SEO power practices. They may work for a time, but sooner or later, Google will find out. More importantly, avoid using link wheels or exchanges to manipulate search rankings.
How to Recover from the Google Penguin Algorithm UpdateIf you're looking to recover from a Penguin hit, Google's Disavow Tool is your best friend. This tool allows site owners to remove toxic and potentially spammy links manually.
Given the massive warning that Google provides with the tool, be sure not to disavow legitimate links to your site. This could end up doing major damage to your rankings.
Although link building is often associated with spamming, building legitimate links will make it possible for anyone to rank in Google's search results.
If you want your site to attract legitimate links, you have to do the legwork to make it happen. There are tons of strategies out there for building backlinks which won't result in a Penguin penalty.
For example, guest posting on other blogs in your niche is the perfect way to point links back to your site. Doing so also aligns with the Panda update as you craft content relevant to you and someone else's readers.
I attribute much of my traffic to guest posting and recommend that anyone in search of new visitors does the same.
Another great way to encourage links is to write posts which integrate influencers in your industry. Check out this example from Tor Refsland who generated massive traffic and shares by interviewing over eighty people in his niche.
These types of posts are a potential goldmine of traffic and links.
For starters, each of the featured influencers is likely to both share and link to the post thanks to being featured.
This kind of in-depth listicle goes hand-in-hand with the helpful content that the Panda update encourages.
Finally, let's briefly address the issue of keyword stuffing.
Keeping yourself from keyword stuffing is simple when you follow this rule:
Write for people, not robots.
Want to fix up your old posts? No problem.
It's more than possible to rewrite your keyword-stuffed posts in a more natural way. Beyond using plugins such as Yoast to keep yourself in check, also make a point to read your content aloud so that it sounds natural when spoken.
Don't overthink the process of integrating keywords into your content. Be natural.
Check out how I integrated relevant keyword phrases into my SEO Copywriting Guide without coming off as pushy or spammy.
Once again, the specifics of the Penguin update boil down to user experience. Anything unnatural or spammy gets punished while those who produce legitimate content are rewarded.
The Correlation Between Google Algorithms: Panda vs. PenguinWhen you pay attention to making your thin pages and low-quality content better, you're building a site to which other people will naturally link. And, that's the relationship between Panda and Penguin updates.
Even if your webpage contains unique, useful and in-depth content, the Panda update likes you but you'll still face a Penguin penalty if your links are low-quality.
What's the difference between Panda and Penguin? The Panda update is primarily concerned about quality content, while Penguin wants to drown spammy or aggressive links that strive to manipulate any search engine rank tracker.
It's important to keep an eye on both updates. When your site is penalized by Panda, there's a good chance that Penguin will affect your site, too. Some SEOs and site owners have experienced multiple penalties, all the while wondering what happened to their rankings.
A good example of this interplay between Panda and Penguin is what happened to Finestationery.com. When the site began to drop in organic rankings, it wasn't clear precisely what was happening. Was the site being penalized by Panda or Penguin?
How to avoid a Penguin penalty '' If you don't want to get a Penguin penalty, then position your blog to earn natural links. Search Engine Watch shared an instructive case study of one site where they uncovered a mix of 61% natural links and 39% unnatural links and explained what steps they took to improve the site.
You can use Web of Trust (WOT) as a website auditor to gauge how much your visitors trust your site. If your WOT score is poor, then you have a bit more work to do, which still boils down to producing great content and building social engagement.
Understanding anchor text: Anchor text is simply the clickable text in your link. The hyperlink itself is masked or hidden. You can't see the link's destination URL until it's clicked or hovered over, but the anchor text is visible on the page.
As it turns out, excessive use of exact keywords in your anchor texts can trigger a Penguin penalty. This was a stunning realization for many SEOs. For quite some time, SEOs had focused on creating anchor texts that precisely matched targeted keywords, in an effort to help build links.
After Penguin was released, many site owners experienced a huge drop in organic traffic and rankings. The reason is simple: excessive or ''over''-use of precise keyword-matching anchor text.
Indeed, anchor text plays a vital role in the Penguin update. This is why it's important to build the right kinds of links, using relevant and generic words, in order to reduce the risk of a Google penalty.
Other types of link and content manipulation targeted by the Penguin update can also get you penalized by Google:
Google Algorithm Update: HummingbirdOn September 26, 2013, Google released one of the most significant enhancements to the search engine algorithm to date. Hummingbird gives Google a ''precise and fast'' platform where search users can easily find what they're looking for when they type a given keyword in the search engine.
Rather than treating two similar search queries like completely different entities, Google better understands ''what'' their users meant instead of what they strictly typed word-for-word.
In other words, this update is designed to improve its delivery of results for the specified keyword '' and not just the exact keyword itself, but what we call the ''keyword's intent.'' In a sense, Panda and Penguin were ongoing updates to the existing algorithm, whereas Hummingbird is a new algorithm.
This new algorithm makes use of over 200 ranking factors to determine the relevance and quality score of a particular site. Hummingbird serves as a sort of dividing line distinguishing the old SEO from the new.
Now the focus is on the users, not the keywords. Of course, keyword research will continue to be relevant, especially when you want to explore a new market.
But, when it's time to produce content that will truly solve problems for people, you should focus on answering questions. In today's SEO, start with the user, execute with quality content and then measure the impact of your webpage links with a website auditor.
Jim Yu, CEO and founder of BrightEdge, explains some of the elements that still matter when you're doing SEO in the Hummingbird era. Yu still believes that keyword research will continue to occupy the seat of power in SEO, but it should be done in service of the quality of your content.
Note: Hummingbird uses long-tail key phrases, rather than seed/head keywords. Sites that use long-tail keywords have experienced a lot of success. 91% of my search traffic comes from long-tail keywords.
Marcus Sheridan has used and continues to use long-tail keywords to drive organic visitors to his River Pools Company Blog.
If you want to learn more details about Hummingbird and how it has affected SEO power since its 2013 release, the infographic from Search Engine Journal excerpted below will help:
Click Here To View the Full Infographic
Elements of Hummingbird: Since Hummingbird is not just an algorithm update, like Panda and Penguin, but rather a total change aimed at serving better search results to users, you should be aware of some of its more important elements. For all of these elements to come together and work properly, you must understand your audience.
How to Recover from a Google Hummingbird Update
Unlike the other updates mentioned so far, there aren't really many specific fixes for Google Hummingbird. If your rankings are lacking, your best bet is to integrate more long-tail and conversational keywords while revising any of your previous, low-quality content.
Integrating long-tail keywords into your site represents a win-win situation for your site. For starters, long-tail phrases generate higher conversion rates versus simple single-word keyphrases. Highly targeted traffic is much more likely to take action versus those who stumble on your site by accident.
Secondly, consider that 70% of all search traffic comes as a result of long-tail keywords:
Whether you suspect you've been hit by a penalty or feel that your traffic has stagnated, there's a good chance that you're punching above your weight in terms of your keyword choice.
Think about it: it's going to take a ton of content and links before you can hope to rank for a keyword phrase with thousands of searches per month. By focusing on long-tail keywords, you essentially build a foundation of traffic for your site which sets you up for more visitors and therefore more links over time.
For example, terms such as ''coffee shop'' or ''Miami coffee'' is beyond your reach right now. However, relevant long-tail terms such as ''Miami cold brew coffee shop'' or ''best coffee shop in Miami'' might be less competitive but totally relevant to your audience. This approach to keyword research and content creation goes hand in hand with the Hummingbird update.
Google now looks for sites to be relevant based on the scope of their content. If you're using a variety of keywords and produce content that focuses on problem-solving, you're probably on the right track.
Conversational Search and the Google Ranking Algorithm
Conversational search is the core element of Hummingbird's algorithm change.
No matter what your niche may be, there are conversational keywords that will enable you to create highly valuable content. These days, people search the web in a conversational way. Forty-four percent of marketers aim for keyword rankings. But, there is more to SEO than keywords.
Google pulls data from their Knowledge Graph, along with social signals, to understand the meaning of words on a webpage.
Why is Quora such a popular site? There are probably many reasons, but it's due in part to one simple fact: Quora offers experts from diverse fields who willingly answer questions in a conversational way.
Site owners and content writers need to align their keywords and content, in order to best match the way people talk and search for information. Conversational keywords are question-based keywords. You'll come across them when you carry out a search.
Your landing page should be able to answer the question that prompted the query in the first place. As an example, let's say someone is searching for ''best arthritis care in NJ.'' Your content page should have that information for the searcher and not redirect them to an arthritis care site in Los Angeles.
So, how do you find conversational keywords or question-based & long-tail keywords?
Step #1: Launch your Google Keyword Planner. Plug in a relevant ''how to'' keyword, e.g., ''how to lose weight.''
Step #2: Identify your conversational long-tail keywords.
From the screenshot above, you can see that searchers are seeking information on several conversational keywords. They want answers from you. It's your job to provide those answers in a conversational and, often, in a mobile friendly, way.
''How to'' key phrases and content, in particular, will better answer your users' questions, which will prompt more engagement. In our example, you could write a weight-loss case study that's useful, interactive and in-depth.
Around 87% of my blog posts are ''how to'' tutorials and that has been part of the reason for my success.
Remember: Post-Hummingbird, the users are the key focus.
Copyblogger also understands how to please their audience. Their blog post titles are magnetic and conversational in nature. Additionally, they understand their competitors, have a mobile responsive site and use social media to gain signals. All of these factors make Google delighted to send Copyblogger more traffic.
Speaking of mobile, also consider the search impact of ''speech to text'' platforms such as Siri which rely on long-tail terms.
Approximately 40% of smartphone users use speech to text regularly, which literally means that these searchers are having a conversation with Google.
As virtual assistants such as Siri evolve, conversational keywords will continue to dominate the SERPs.
Conversational search signals Google's desire to reach their users on a personal level, ultimately improving user experience along the way.
Traditional advertisements tend to interrupt users, but useful and interesting content will lure them in and make them repeat customers. In other words, content is the new ad.
That's the whole essence of content marketing '' and it's been my secret weapon for growing my software companies. You may not fully grasp Google's policies, but follow Jenna Mills' advice and your site will not only avoid Google penalties but will also enjoy improved organic rankings and traffic.
Google Algorithm Update: PigeonSo far, we've talked about Panda, Penguin, and Hummingbird and how these Google algorithm updates affect site owners who want to improve search engine rankings without getting penalized.
However, there are other algorithm updates and changes that have taken place since the 2011 release of the first Panda. Specifically, in July 2014, there was the Pigeon update.
I wrote an in-depth post about the Pigeon update here, but the specifics of the update are pretty straightforward.
Pigeon emphasized the experience of local searchers, which is crucial to meeting the needs of users looking for products and businesses on-the-go.
For starters, Google meshed the results of their search engine with Google Maps to produce the same results. For example, see what happens when you search ''best pizza Los Angeles'' in Google'...
'...and Google Maps
Similar results, right? As they should be.
Much like conversational search, Google took into consideration how synonyms play into local queries. If you search ''best pizza in Los Angeles'' and ''where can I find Pizza in Los Angeles,'' for example, the results are nearly identical.
Again, as they should be.
Pigeon also gave some weight to local search sites and directories such as Yelp, which had suffered via search in the past. If you search ''Los Angeles dentist,'' for example, the two of the top three results are from Yelp:
The update rewarded local businesses who integrate geo-specific keywords into their content. Pigeon also boosted Google's ability for searchers to quickly find nearby businesses without having to search geo-specific terms themselves.
If you're in Los Angeles looking for a coffee shop, you don't need to specify your location to find a cup of coffee. ''Coffee shop'' is more than enough.
Seems like a subtle touch, doesn't it?
But Pigeon is a great example of Google evolving their algorithm to better serve its users.
Google Algorithm Update: FredAs of June 2017, there's still a lot of question marks surrounding Google's unconfirmed ''Fred'' update. According to Barry Schwartz of Search Engine Land, Google refuses to comment on the update. The update is suspected of targeting sites emphasizing revenue over quality content.
Schwartz surveyed over 100 different sites to determine the specifics of the Fred update. He noted that most of the sites impacted were sprinkled with affiliate links and provided little-to-no legitimate value with their content. Such sites saw traffic drops anywhere between 50 and 90 percent.
Many of the affected sites also wrapped their content around various ads, which comes off as spammy to Google and users alike.
But just how many sites is Fred wreaking havoc on? A May 2017 poll by Search Engine Roundtable which surveyed 800 site-owners noted that a staggering 47% had indeed been blindsided by Fred:
If your traffic has taken a nosedive and you have no idea why, Fred could be to blame. Yet if we've learned anything from the history of Google's algorithm updates, it's that very few sites are beyond saving if you're willing to make the appropriate tweaks.
Based on what we do know about the update, here are some changes to consider if you suspect that Fred is taking a toll on your rankings:
Rethink Your On-Site Ads
While blogging is a proven way to generate income, spamming your visitors with ads and affiliate links could be detrimental to your site. Not only do excessive ads potentially ruin the flow of your content, but also paint your site as a sales pitch versus an actual resource for your traffic. Avoid sneaky ad placement and instead strive to weave any paid links naturally into your content.
Audit Your Worst-Performing Content Pages
If you have particular pages that have tanked due to Fred, you need to assess the common content symptoms that those pages suffer from. To figure this out, you can audit your site to see what those low-performing pages are lacking.
Perhaps those pages are brimming with irrelevant keywords. Maybe they're too short and don't provide your visitors with actual value. Remember: Google loves long-form content and works against thin pages with nothing to offer.
You can't afford to simply slap some words on a page and expect to rank anymore. In the era of Fred, those neglected pages could actually hurt you in the long-run. This is where plugins such as Yoast can be a potential game-changer as you understand at a glance what your pages are lacking in the eyes of Google.
Don't Neglect Your Mobile Traffic
Google traditionally rewards sites that meet the needs of mobile traffic. Sites that do so today are no longer an exception to the rule as mobile traffic has surpassed desktop traffic. In other words, Google wants your site to be easy to navigate for mobile users.
Marketers should consider a ''less is more'' approach to their on-site design. Ditch unnecessary pop-ups and other bulky images that could potentially bog down your site. Focus instead on a mobile-friendly user experience that's easy to navigate for those browsing via their fingertips.
Optimized navigation. Responsive design. Crystal clear calls-to-action.
If you're sleeping on these pieces of your site, it's time to wake up.
Recovering From Fred is All About User Experience
The common thread between these fixes for Fred is obvious: better user experience. While we don't know everything about Fred quite yet, it's clear that Google's algorithm is taking steps to tackle spammy marketing tactics that were once commonplace.
Again, the initial impact of the Fred update yet again highlight's Google's crusade against low-quality content. This crusade ties directly back to Google's ultimate goal of the best user experience they can possibly deliver.
ConclusionI hope this Google Algorithm article has helped you to fully understand the major Google updates. These algorithm updates and changes have revolutionized SEO.
Google's algorithms, from Panda to Fred and beyond, all work to help searchers find what they're looking for while battling against low-quality content.
Through its algorithm changes, marketers understand what they can do to stay on Google's good side. Additionally, we know what to needs to be done to fix our sites if something goes wrong.
So, let's get down to the key takeaway from all of this.
You're probably tired of hearing about the need to produce high-quality content, aren't you?
Even so, Google's algorithm history represents a blueprint for how marketers should approach their on-site content.
Helpful. In-depth. Original. You know the drill by now, right?
When you stay in Google's good graces, you don't have to work as hard. You also don't have to worry about getting nailed with a penalty or watching your hard work go down the drain.
Don't keep your site moving two steps forward and two steps back. By aligning yourself with Google's goals, you'll keep your site and its traffic moving in the right direction.
Bottom line: All you need to do is to build links in a scalable, organic way and focus on providing the best quality content (be it written blog posts or creative infographics) that you can, to grow your blog's traffic.
What effects of these Google algorithm updates have you noticed on your site?
AI Bias: It's in the Data, Not the Algorithm -- Pure AI
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 16:48
AI Bias: It's in the Data, Not the AlgorithmLeading data scientist Cheryl Martin explains why and how bias found in AI projects can almost always be tracked back to the data, covers the top four types of issues that cause bias and shares steps data scientists can take to address bias issues.
An estimated 85 percent of all artificial intelligence (AI) projects will deliver erroneous outcomes because of human bias in data, algorithms or the teams responsible for managing them, according Gartner analysts. But if you dig into the concept of bias in machine learning, the problem can almost always be traced to the data, says Cheryl Martin.
Martin is Chief Data Scientist at Alegion, an Austin-based provider of human intelligence solutions for AI and machine learning initiatives. Before joining Alegion in 2018, Martin spent 13 years as a research scientist at the University of Texas at Austin, where she directed the Center for Content Understanding, as well as a research group focused on decision support for cyber security. Before that, she worked at NASA's Johnson Space Center on intelligent control for life support systems.
"Bias is one of those things we know is there and influencing outcomes," Martin told Pure AI. "But the concept of 'bias' isn't always clear. That word means different things to different people. It's important to define it in this context if we're going to mitigate the problem."
Martin has identified four types of bias:
Sample Bias/Selection Bias:This type of bias rears its ugly head when the distribution of the training data fails to reflect the actual environment in which the machine learning model will be running.
"If the training data covers only a small set things you're interested in," Martin explained, "and then you test it on something outside that set, it will get it wrong. It'll be 'biased' based on the sample it's given. The algorithm isn't wrong; it wasn't given enough different types of data to cover the space it's going to be applied in. That's a big factor in poor performance for machine learning algorithms. You have to get the data right."
The example Martin uses here is training machine learning models to control self-driving cars. "If want the car to drive during the day and at night, but you build your training data based on daylight video only, there's bias in your data," she said. "You failed to sample across the entire space in which you want the car to perform, and that's a kind of bias."
2. Prejudices and Stereotypes: Even if the data seems to have been selected correctly, errors may occur because of prejudices and stereotypes that emerge in the differentiation process. For example, a machine learning model that's designed to differentiate between the sexes that receives lots of pictures of men writing code and women in the kitchen can lead to stereotypes. The indiscriminant acceptance of any speech as equally appropriate can lead to the propagation of hate speech. This an insidious type of bias that's hard to track, Martin said.
"If the data available is that there are more women homemakers and more men computer programmers, and the mathematical model the machine is building is actually taking that distribution into account," she said, "you end up with distributions you don't want to promote." A 50/50 distribution between males and females reflects the desired result in the absence of any other information, but the distribution in the data has a higher proportion of women associated with one class than men.
"As a woman computer programmer, I can say, unequivocally, that this can be a problem," she added. "We as data scientists need to recognize that the distribution might actually reflect that there are more of one class associated with a particular characteristic, in that it's true in the data, but it's not something you want to promote. There's a higher level of reasoning that you have to control for outside the distribution of the data."
The desired value judgments must be added in or results filtered by an external process, she said, because the math doesn't tell the machine learning algorithm how to differentiate. "There is some controversy over what is 'necessary' and I try to convey that the appropriateness of the decision is in the hands of the person/entity creating and using the model. If the purpose for which the model is being used requires it to stay true to actual data distributions, then it should."
3. Systematic Value Distortion: This less common type of bias in the data occurs when a device returns measurements or observations that are imprecise -- say, a camera that's providing image data has a color filter that's off. The data skew the machine learning results.
"This is when your measuring device is causing your data to be systematically skewed in a way that doesn't represent reality," she explained.
4. Model Insensitivity: The bias problem in machine learning stems primarily from biased data, Martin said, but there's one exception: "model insensitivity," which is the result of the way an algorithm is used for training on any set of data, even an unbiased set.
"Most of the people who are using models or are interested in how models perform without being in charge of actually creating them are seeing bias that arises from the data the algorithm was trained on," she explained. "However, given any set of data, model insensitivity bias can arise from the model itself and how it is trained.
Addressing the Bias The onus for addressing the bias that results from these types of data issues rests largely on the shoulders of the data scientist, Martin said. Being aware of them is a start, but addressing them requires better understanding how an algorithm might be deployed, and what the target environment might be. And that, she said, comes only with experience.
One potential solution: using interdisciplinary teams.
"There's a lot of training that psychologists, social scientists, and political scientists receive for, say, administering a survey that includes margin of error based on the sampling," Martin said. "That's the type of technique we see in other disciplines that could go a long way toward getting the bias out of the data."
If Google Is Biased, So Are Its Algorithms - Bloomberg
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 16:52
Not just your average corporation.
Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg
Photographer: Michael Short/Bloomberg
James Damore and David Gudeman's remarkable discrimination
lawsuitagainst their former employer, Google, raises an important issue, though perhaps not quite the one the plaintiffs intended. It has more to do with Google's oversized role in delivering information to the world than with its work culture and internal rules.
Damore -- the author of a famous memo against Google's diversity policies that got him
firedlast year -- and Gudeman, an engineer who says he was also dismissed for his conservative views, claim in the lawsuit that Google routinely discriminates against Caucasian males and conservatives. They cite internal emails and posts from the corporate social network to demonstrate what they say is widely tolerated and encouraged harassment of people like them. They also describe Google's hiring and firing practices that they believe are in violation of California law. As they lay out the examples, they often appear to conflate whiteness, maleness and conservative views, as if they're equally undesirable parts of a package that Google treats as toxic.
Whatever the legal merits of the case, the conflation doesn't quite work on a common sense level. Even if Google is actively trying to recruit more people of color and more women, it seems absurd to allege that it discriminates against white guys. Google's
workforceis 69 percent male and 56 percent white; another 35 percent of Googlers are Asian, another race Damore and Gudeman allege is not favored by the company's diversity practices. Only 2 percent of Google employees are black. Someone like Damore, a white guy with a Harvard degree (and mild
autism, which people tend to see as social awkwardness), fits the Googler profile perfectly. To feel discriminated against on a race and gender basis while being surrounded by people of the same race and gender requires a peculiar sense of dislocation -- one born of being politically marginalized.
The real complaint, of course, is about that. Google's prevailing culture appears to be hostile to right-wing political views. As one manager wrote on an internal bulletin board (the screenshot is used in the lawsuit), "If you express a dunderheaded opinion about religion, about politics, or about 'social justice', it turns out I am allowed to think you're a halfwit" and refuse to work with such a person on a project.
"As evidenced by the fact that the blacklisting posts remain live on Google's internal corporate network, it is clear that Google took no action to prevent blacklisting," Damore and Gudeman wrote in the lawsuit. "Google seems to ignore most cases, and occasionally 'coach' the worst offenders. However, Google will not openly come out against the practice; instead, it relies on crowdsourced harassment and ''pecking'' to enforce social norms (including politics) that it feels it cannot write directly into its policies."
Gudeman, an open Trump supporter, claims that directly contributed to his being blacklisted and fired.
There's a reason, however, that Damore and Gudeman need to bring the race and gender into their accusations. Companies are not legally obliged to maintain a diversity of views among their employees. Opinions, unlike race, gender or sexual orientation, can be treated as a lifestyle choice, and these work better with some corporate cultures than with others. For example, Nike might prefer a workout fanatic to a smoker, while a tobacco company would be comfortable making the opposite choice. It can be argued that, because of the talent pool from which it draws -- smart millennials who
tendto value tolerance over the freedom of expression -- Google builds a more cohesive working environment by hiring, to quote from the lawsuit, "an employee who sexually identifies as 'a yellow-scaled wingless dragonkin' and 'an expansive ornate building'" than a #MAGA cap wearer.
That, however, is exactly the problem. Google is not just a company, it's the owner of the world's biggest conduit to information, with a 69 percent global search market
share. It leads people to it by using proprietary algorithms and artificial intelligence. And it's acutely aware of the problem of
algorithm bias. Here's a Google-produced video about it:
The examples it uses include an algorithm identifying the term "physicist" with maleness based on a set of pictures of the famous physicists of the past or associating "shoe" with men's footwear because the training set doesn't contain enough high-heeled shoes. These are cases for which Google uses human correction on the algorithm level (and still occasionally
missesa surprising result here and there). Even Google Translate algorithms can be
seen as biased when they prefer male pronouns in situations where a modern human translator would make a more politically correct choice.
If the Damore lawsuit correctly describes an aggressively leftist culture at Google, the human input into the algorithms can be expected to favor the leftist worldview. That may lead to overcorrection -- and to the burying of alternative views, noxiously right-wing or even mainstream conservative. When I type "women are" in the Google search window, the first suggestion I get is "women are always right." How do I know this is not the result of the personal bias of someone who tweaked the suggestion algorithm?
When I type "the earth is," the first suggestion is "flat"; while this is probably a manifestation of algorithmic bias, I don't really want it to be overcorrected -- it might be fun for a lot of people to be unexpectedly exposed to the lively flat-earther community, even if they may be disinclined to join it.
Google's search algorithms are a
black boxto the public. People inside the company can mess with them without telling us, potentially imposing their internal culture on millions of searchers who have no reason and no desire to share it. This world includes Trump supporters and
Antifa activists, creationist pastors and evolutionary biologists, climate change deniers and people who consider them evil. It's not up to an internet search company to try to level these differences. But if that company fosters a work culture in which a certain worldview dominates, can its products be trusted to be neutral?
That question is what worries me about the Damore suit. Given its special place in the modern world, Google must strictly enforce political neutrality and punish partisanship and zealotry in any form. Its mission as a neutral conduit is more important even than workplace cohesion. Silencing any kind of views, no matter how offensive, undermines that mission.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.
Published on Tuesday, January 09, 2018 14:11:13
Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.
Decoding The Job Search: How To Beat The ATS (Applicant Tracking System)
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 17:57
Recently I had the pleasure of giving a Ted-like talk at the Digiday Career Fair. I decided to focus on sharing employer secrets that many job seekers are not totally aware of. I thought about the types of questions that many people in the midst of a job search often ask me. And then I thought about some of the things they don't ask, which I believe can sometimes be why employers don't notice them, when they believe they are qualified for the job they are applying to.
If you are looking for a job and you have been applying through company websites, completing applications and attaching your resume for jobs you honestly believe you are qualified for, it can be a tedious and frustrating experience. No doubt the phrase ''black hole'' has come up once or twice. If you are like most job seekers, you are wondering, ''Why aren't I getting any interviews or responses?'' In many cases it is the ATS that is preventing you from getting the traction you were expecting. If you are reading this, you are probably saying WTF is an ATS? That was sort of the response I got when I posed the question to my audience last week. Not one job seeker in the audience knew what an ATS or Applicant Tracking System was. By the end of this column, you will not only know what it is, but you will know how to beat it.
As you might imagine, employers of every size and industry receive an enormous number of resumes for the job opportunities they have posted on the ''careers'' tab on their web site or via third party job aggregators/boards. Once the web and various job portals made applying for jobs as easy as attaching a resume, job seekers starting hitting the send button a little too often. As you might imagine that made it tough for recruiters to sift through all the noise while trying to find candidates that actually fit the jobs they are looking to fill. There is also the matter of compliance. If you were unaware, the U.S. government asks employers to make sure that employers in every industry are considering people regardless of gender, sexual preference, race and ethnicity. It's a really good thing to ensure fairness, but it means that you need technology to manage it. There are a number of ATS systems in use, but they are all based on algorithms that drive the process to evaluate and identify candidates that are the best fit for a job. You might ask, how does that work? Essentially it's all about key word searches that closely match the qualifications outlined in the job description. So let me decode how this works.
Recruiters get instructions from hiring managers that have an opening or multiple opportunities. Between the recruiter or HR professional and the hiring manager they create job descriptions with the skills, experience and qualifications that they find the most desirable; i.e., ''key words.'' It's the key words that determine which resumes are identified for further consideration, a phone screen and then ultimately an interview. Simply put, if your resume doesn't contain a number of these key words, your resume won't be found. It doesn't matter how qualified you are, it's simply an algorithmic formula. In frustration you might ask, ''Why don't recruiters do a deeper dive and look further to identify the best candidates?'' Quite honestly, it's simply a numbers game, but let me explain further. At the start of the deep recession in 2008, employers in almost every industry seriously decreased their headcount and since they weren't in hiring mode, reduced their recruiting/hiring teams. As the job market improved, ATS systems became more advanced and government compliance became more stringent. Recruiters became reliant on the increasingly more sophisticated platforms to identify candidates for their openings and frankly that genie is not going back in the bottle.
So now that you know what an ATS is, here's how to beat it:
1. Read job descriptions closely and if you have 60% of the qualifications, apply. When Human Resource or hiring managers write job descriptions they throw in everything they would love to have, but since job functions are changing so rapidly, they are looking for trainable candidates. If you have 60% of the skills they need, they can teach you the rest.
2. As long as you legitimately have many of the skills in the job description, customize your resume to contain the ''key words'' that are in the posting. Don't try to be fancy and use synonymous words, as only the exact words will allow the recruiter conducting the search to find your resume.
3. ATS systems are a little finicky, so cool fonts, colors other than black text on white, and some other graphic elements are out. Most of the algorithms won't be able to decipher your resume if it is uploaded this way.
4. Find a way to follow up. If you really think you are qualified and excited about a job, reach out to your network through LinkedIn and other channels and see if anyone works for the company. Send them a note or call them and see if they would be willing to let the recruiter know that you are interested in the job and that they know you. That is usually enough to have them search the ATS and find your resume.
5. Repeat this for every job you apply for and truly customize your resume with key words that describe your skills and experience to get more traction in your job search.
The job search process can be complex, frustrating, and exhilarating all at the same time. However, don't ever let technology stand between you and a job you really want and are qualified for. Now that you know how to beat the ATS, change your approach and you are sure to be successful in landing that new job.
python - Bias in Naive Bayes classifier - Data Science Stack Exchange
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 16:45
Unbalanced class distributions
First, unbalanced datasets will cause your model to have a bias towards the over-represented classes. If the distribution of the classes is not very drastic then this should not cause a significant problem with any algorithm you will employ. However, as the difference between the class distribution becomes more severe you should expect to get higher false negatives for that class. Consider this, you are trying to have the model adequately identify what it means for a specific example to belong to a class. If you do not provide sufficient examples, then the model will not be able to understand the extent of the variation which exists among the examples.
If the class distribution is very different, then I would suggest anomaly detection techniques. These techniques allow you to learn the distribution of a single classification and then identify when novel examples fall within this distribution or not.
Choosing an algorithm
More classes will result in a higher dimensional output, thus contributing to the complexity of your model. For example, if you have a model which discriminates between 2 classes with a set dataset size. Then further discrimination (increasing the number of output classes) will cause the model to have higher bias. You should thus expect to see greater test error if you do not increase the size of your dataset.
If you have a set dataset X. Then you need to find the correct balance between bias and model complexity to get the optimal results. For example, a neural network based technique (highly complex) is not a good algorithm to use for a limited dataset with many output classes. However, Naive Baye's or Random Forest would be.
To break Google's monopoly there would be a very simple way
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 13:37
Google controlla il 92% delle ricerche online. Il pi¹ grosso concorrente ¨ il residuale Bing di Microsoft, col 2,5%, seguito dall'1,6% di Yahoo. Fra l'altro, Bing proprio quest'anno ha compiuto dieci anni. Questo per il mercato desktop '' dove alcune altre fonti, a dire il vero, portano Bing un po' pi¹ in alto, specie in certi mercati come quello italiano '' e con le dovute differenze per esempio in Cina (con Baidu al 70%) o in Russia (con Yandex Ru intorno al 53% e Google al 43,3%). Da mobile il dominio di Mountain View ¨ pressoch(C) totale. Un monopolio incontrastato che per giunta negli anni ¨ costato diversi miliardi di dollari di multe a Big G: 8 dalla sola autorit per la concorrenza dell'Unione Europea dal 2017 sui temi pi¹ diversi, dalla stessa ricerca allo shopping online fino alla pubblicit .
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In un lungo servizio su Bloomberg Robert Epstein, celebre psicologo, scrittore, scienziato, divulgatore popolarissimo, storico critico di Google e fondatore del Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies di Concord, in Massachusetts, torna a proporre una ricetta per intervenire nel grosso bubbone dei monopoli hi-tech. Collocandosi per altro in una posizione parzialmente opposta rispetto a chi domanda, come unica formula magica e automaticamente risolutiva, che Facebook e le ''mostruose'' creature di Mountain View vengano smembrate in diversi pezzi, separate e magari private delle societ e dei servizi che hanno acquisito nel tempo. Al contrario, spiega il 66enne esperto, il valore di questi servizi viene paradossalmente proprio dal fatto di essere monoliti di dati.
Nel caso di Google si tratta dell'''index'', cio¨ della sua ''mappa del web'', il database in continua evoluzione dalla nascita del motore di ricerca ad opera di Larry Page e Sergey Brin in grado di tracciare e navigare in pochi secondi gran parte del contenuto dello strato pi¹ superficiale di internet, appunto il cosiddetto ''surface web''. Al quale, vale la pena ricordarlo, attengono solo pochi miliardi di documenti dell'enorme cassaforte articolata in vari livelli e centinaia di migliaia di documenti e informazioni che ¨ internet nel suo complesso.
Ebbene, dice Epstein, quel ''mammooth and ever growing database'' va condiviso. in quel passaggio, che lo studioso affianca non senza qualche perplessit , va detto, alle infrastrutture di rete vitali come le reti elettriche, telefoniche o idriche negli anni nazionalizzate o costrette alla concorrenza, che si nasconde il segreto per contrastare il monopolio dei titani digitali. Negli Stati Uniti, in particolare, cita il caso storico del cosiddetto ''decreto d'accordo'' del 1956 in cui la AT&T condivise tutti i suoi brevetti ai concorrenti a un prezzo stabilito dalle authority, ma in cambio ottenne di accedere a quelli altrui, consentendo un raffreddamento della posizione dominante nel mondo dei semiconduttori.
Tramite API aperte, cio¨ cosiddette application programming interface, procedure standard, protocolli di accesso, librerie software e tutti i dettagli tecnici, Google dovrebbe consentire a chiunque '' organizzazioni tradizionali, non-profit, anche singoli individui '' di sfruttare la sua imbattibile ''mappa del web''. Ci² che al momento fa solo con alcuni partner come l'olandese Startpage, dietro profumato guadagno, dovrebbe invece essere concesso a chiunque: ''Se alle pi¹ diverse organizzazioni nel mondo fosse dato accesso illimitato all'index di Google, dozzine di varianti di Startpage verrebbero fuori nel giro di pochi mesi '' scrive Epstein '' in un anno o due potrebbero nascere migliaia di nuove piattaforme di ricerca, ciascuna con punti di forza e debolezza specifici. Molte si rivolgerebbero a nicchie specifiche, altre a target immensi, e parecchie farebbero senz'altro un lavoro migliore di quello che potrebbe mai fare Google in questo momento''.
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Sarebbero siti e motori di ricerca concorrenti a tutti gli effetti con obiettivi e modelli di business diversi, ma anche modi e strumenti di veicolare le informazioni pi¹ articolati. Proprio come fa l'industria dei media nel suo complesso. Ciascun utente avrebbe cos¬ a disposizione un ricco menu di alternative in cui sarebbe in grado di muoversi per scegliere le fonti che fanno al caso suo, senza doversi affidare a Google e alle sue decisioni. Dal canto suo Big G continuerebbe a cavarsela pi¹ che egregiamente, di questo si dice convinto lo psicologo americano, almeno all'inizio. Col passare dei mesi e degli anni dovrebbe invece ingegnarsi per trattenere gli utenti e ''continuare a spiarli tramite il suo motore di ricerca''. Uno sforzo che le farebbe bene.
In fondo il mondo dei motori di ricerca non ¨ affatto nato con Google, che ricorda Epstein ¨ stata solo la 21esima piattaforma a emergere. Yahoo!, Lycos, Ask Jeeves, Altavista e cos¬ via ne hanno abbondantemente anticipato le mosse. Fondata nel 1998, Google ha iniziato la sua stagione di dominio solo nel 2003, quando pure solo un terzo delle ricerche negli Stati Uniti passava dalle sue pagine. Una ragione valida per pensare che quel mondo possa tornare a democraticizzarsi e arricchirsi di player, condividendo ovviamente il tesoretto dell'''index'' di Big G.
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Secondo Esptein questa ¨ la strada pi¹ giusta. L'alternativa sarebbe ''spaventosa''. Sia che Google rimanesse pi¹ o meno cos¬ com'¨, sia che finisse, come d'altronde accade in Cina, sotto il controllo dei governi. Che a quel punto potrebbero censurare a piacimento il web e ritagliarlo a seconda dei propri obiettivi. Forse Epstein ci va gi¹ troppo duro, quando parla di ''democrazia come illusione e autonomia umana compromessa'' se questo non accadr , ma certo un unico snodo della rete nella stragrande maggioranza dei paesi del mondo ¨ davvero poco.
D'altra parte, qualora questa condivisione pi¹ o meno forzata avvenisse, dovremmo comunque seguire dei principi per evitare un mondo fatto di centinaia di migliaia di ''motorini di ricerca''. Dall'accesso alle API, che andrebbe comunque governato, alla velocit che dovrebbe essere garantita uguale per tutti, ai contenuti, a cui tutti dovrebbero poter contribuire aggiungendo nuove pagine, alla visibilit , alle necessit di rimozione e a quella di tenere traccia dei documenti rimossi fino al pedaggio da pagare: per realt piccole e con poche richieste dovrebbe essere gratuito, per altre occorrerebbe pagare tariffe nominali stabilite dalle autorit .
''Quando l'index di Google diventer pubblico le persone non perderanno pi¹ troppo tempo dietro ai complottismi. Se i conservatori ritengono che Google li censuri, useranno altre piattaforme di ricerca dove magari potranno ottenere risultati migliori '' conclude Epstein '' e data la possibilit di questa migrazione di massa, Google la smetter di giocare a fare Dio trattando gli utenti e le comunit con nuovo rispetto e umilt ''.
L'ultima domanda riguarda chi dovrebbe occuparsi di lanciare un'operazione cos¬ ambiziosa. Secondo l'esperto negli Stati Uniti la Federal Trade Commission e il dipartimento di Giustizia hanno ''tutti gli strumenti per fare in modo che questo accada''. Ma anche molti altri paesi del mondo, specie quelli dove Google tiene i suoi pachidermici data center, potrebbero ''nazionalizzare'' il suo index. L'Unione Europea, in particolare, dovrebbe agire per prima, vista la tradizionale posizione critica nei confronti dei giganti statunitensi e in difesa della privacy. Oppure, anche se per ora ci credono in pochi, potrebbe essere la stessa Google a dare il calcio d'inizio per garantirsi un futuro totalmente diverso e sfidando il mondo a competere con la sua piattaforma: ''Se i modelli previsionali del gruppo dovessero garantire pi¹ denaro, minimizzare i rischi e dare lustro al brand nei prossimi anni, allora Google potrebbe muoversi ben prima che il tetto cada''.
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Opinion | Facebook and Google Trackers Are Showing Up on Porn Sites - The New York Times
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 14:26
A new study scanned 22,484 pornography sites and found them riddled with trackers from major technology companies.
July 17, 2019 Image Credit Credit Erik Carter Silicon Valley's biggest companies are always watching you '-- even when you're browsing pornography websites in incognito mode.
Trackers from tech companies like Google and Facebook are logging your most personal browsing details, according to a forthcoming New Media & Society paper, which scanned 22,484 pornography websites. Where that data ultimately goes is not always clear.
''These porn sites need to think more about the data that they hold and how it's just as sensitive as something like health information,'' said Elena Maris, a postdoctoral researcher at Microsoft and the study's lead author. ''Protecting this data is crucial to the safety of its visitors. And what we've seen suggests that these websites and platforms might not have thought all of this through like they should have.''
The study's other authors '-- Jennifer Henrichsen, a doctoral candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, and Tim Libert, a Carnegie Mellon computer science instructor '-- found that 93 percent of the pornography websites they scanned sent data to an average of seven third-party domains. The authors used webXray, an open-source software tool, which detects and matches third-party data requests to scan sites. Most of that information (79 percent of websites that transmitted user data) was sent via tracking cookies from outside companies.
Web tracking varies around the web. Frequently users are tracked via cookies, which are bits of text downloaded by your web browser when you visit a site. Other times trackers come in the form of invisible embedded pixels on your screen. In most cases, these trackers help sites identify and classify repeat visitors. They can help you stay logged onto a site, record your preferences and help manage your advertising profiles.
The study found that Google (or one of its subsidiary companies like the advertising platform DoubleClick) had trackers on 74 percent of the pornography sites. Trackers from the software company Oracle showed up on 24 percent of sites, and Facebook, which does not permit pornographic content or nudity on any of its platforms, had trackers on 10 percent of the sex websites scanned by the study.
''The fact that the mechanism for adult site tracking is so similar to, say, online retail should be a huge red flag,'' Dr. Maris said. ''This isn't picking out a sweater and seeing it follow you across the web. This is so much more specific and deeply personal.''
The study found that only 17 percent of the 22,484 sites scanned were encrypted, suggesting that troves of user data could be vulnerable to hacking or breaches.
Why are the trackers there in the first place? Most of the third-party code embedded in these websites is currently standard practice in the publishing industry. The New York Times embeds similar trackers and collects, uses and shares data about readers as part of its business practices. Some trackers, like those for Google Analytics, provide mundane traffic data to the site. DoubleClick and others provide the infrastructure to run advertising.
In exchange, these third-party companies receive data from the website's visitors. Advertisers and platforms argue that this data is anonymous. And while some of it is basic (device type), other information (your I.P. address or your phone's advertising identification number) could be used to reverse engineer your identity and match you with already existing marketing profiles.
What these companies might be doing with pornography-site browsing data is a mystery. Oracle, which owns a number of large data brokers and has been called a ''privacy deathstar,'' could, for example add data collected by trackers with its current profiles. In the cases of Google and Facebook, which refuse to host pornographic sexual content on a number of their platforms, it's not always clear why they are collecting such sensitive information, even if unintentionally.
Facebook and Google denied that potential information collected by their trackers on pornography websites was used for creating marketing profiles intended to advertise to individuals.
''We don't allow Google Ads on websites with adult content and we prohibit personalized advertising and advertising profiles based on a user's sexual interests or related activities online,'' a Google spokeswoman wrote in a statement. ''Additionally, tags for our ad services are never allowed to transmit personally identifiable information to Google.''
A Facebook spokesman offered a similar explanation, noting that the company's community guidelines forbid sex websites to use the company's tracking tools for business purposes like advertising. Though Facebook's pixel tracker is open for any third party to install on its website '-- you don't need permission to embed it '-- the company suggested it blocks pornography sites and, in those cases, does not collect information from those properties. The spokesman suggested that when alerted to new sex websites using the tools, the company will enforce against them.
Oracle did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
But even if the data is technically anonymous and not used for targeted ads, some browsing information may still end up in the company logs. And when it comes to pornography websites, the most basic browsing data is intensely personal because it is revealing. As Dr. Libert and Dr. Maris note in the study, nearly 45 percent of pornography site URLs ''expose or strongly suggest the site content'' and in doing so might reveal a visitor's sexual identity or orientation, or lead third parties to assume a visitor's sexual interests. ''It can be very sensitive,'' Dr. Maris said, citing URLs for specific interests like bestiality, and teenage and incest content.
[If you're online '-- and, well, you are '-- chances are someone is using your information. We'll tell you what you can do about it. Sign up for our limited-run newsletter.]
The researchers found that visitors to most sex sites have almost no way of knowing if a major tech company has cookies or trackers embedded in its sites, and they were able to locate privacy policies for only 17 percent of the scanned sites.
Dr. Maris argues that this lack of disclosure is similar to the issue of sexual consent. ''As in any sexual interaction, silence must not be mistaken for consent,'' she said. ''Individuals should have a clear understanding of the power dynamics of the sexual exchange they are entering when visiting porn sites.'' Those power dynamics, according to Dr. Maris, are deeply unbalanced. ''You have some of the world's most powerful companies here,'' she said, noting that there's very little redress for the consumer should the data end up in the wrong hands.
Affirmative consent is at the heart of digital privacy. Nearly all tracking is by default and governed by impossible-to-read privacy policies. And in an era that privileges and prioritizes mass collection of personal information, that means gathering information that is not only invasive but also superfluous. The leaky user data of pornographic websites is merely an extreme example of what has become standard practice online.
Like other media companies, The Times collects data on its visitors when they read stories like this one. For more detail please see our privacy policy and our publisher's description of The Times's practices and continued steps to increase transparency and protections.
Follow @privacyproject on Twitter and The New York Times Opinion Section on Facebook and Instagram.
List of acquisitions by Oracle - Wikipedia
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 14:28
This is a listing of Oracle Corporation's corporate acquisitions, including acquisitions of both companies and individual products.
Acquisition dateCompanyBusinessValuationmillions USDReferences2018November 15, 2018Talari NetworksSoftware-Defined Wide Area Network technology[3]October 22, 2018DataFoxArtificial intelligence solutions provider[4]September 20, 2018IridizeEnterprise cloud platform for employee training and onboarding[5]May 16, 2018DataScience[6]Data science platformApril 30, 2018Vocado[7]Student Information Systems (SIS)April 25, 2018Grapeshot[8]Contextual Intelligence, controlling brand$400Feb 15, 2018Zenedge[9]Intelligent Web Application Security2017 December 17, 2017AconexSaaS-based construction project management$1190[10]April 18, 2017Moat[11]Digital advertising measurement$850[12]April 17, 2017WerckerContinuous integration platform N/A[13]January 19, 2017Apiary[14]Hosted toolset for REST API development, test, and management N/A[15]2016 November 21, 2016DynNetwork management, DNS$600[16][17]September 18, 2016PalerraCloud computing security, Cloud Access Security Broker N/A[18]September 6, 2016LogFire[19]Cloud based warehouse management applications N/A[20]July 28, 2016NetSuiteCloud/SaaS-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software$9,300[21]May, 2nd 2016OpowerCloud-based customer engagement software for the utility industry$532[22]April 28, 2016Textura[23]Construction management and engineering SaaS software$663[24]April 14, 2016Crosswise[25]Cross-Device Identification Mapping$50[26]February 22, 2016Ravello SystemsVirtualization technology, enables to run applications on different hypervisors without transformations$500[27]January 5, 2016AddThisA media web-tracking technology company based in Vienna, Virginia, United States.$100 - $200[28][29]2015 December 18, 2015StackEngineSoftware for managing applications built on the open source Docker platform. N/A[30]August 20, 2015MaxymiserLeading provider of cloud-based software that enables marketers to test, target and personalize what a customer sees on a Web page or app N/A[31]August 6, 2015CloudMonkeyMobile application testing tools. N/A[32]2014 December 22, 2014 DatalogixData Broker & Digital Marketing $1,200+[1] [2]September 14, 2014 Front Porch DigitalContent storage management solutions for media companies N/A[3]July 31, 2014 TOA TechnologiesProvider of cloud-based field service software solutions N/A[4]June 23, 2014 MICROS SystemsIntegrated software and hardware solutions to the hospitality and retail industries$5,300[5]June 20, 2014 LiveLOOKVisual collaboration technology for co-browsing and screen sharing N/A[6]May 15, 2014 GreenBytesTechnology for data deduplication on ZFS file system, primarily targeted to optimize virtual desktop infrastructures N/A[7]Feb 24, 2014 BlueKaiCloud-based big data platform that enables companies to personalize online, offline and mobile marketing campaigns $400[8] [9]Jan 8, 2014 CorenteSoftware for a cloud service delivery in heterogeneous network environments with software-defined networking technologies N/A[10]2013 Dec 20, 2013 ResponsysLeading provider of cloud based enterprise level email marketing software N/A[11]Dec 4, 2013 NirvanixProvider of cloud based storage solutions; assets acquired after Nirvanix bankruptcy N/A[12]Nov 15, 2013 Bitzer MobileProvider of mobile applications management solutions that allow organizations to provide employees access to corporate data and applications from their mobile devices N/A[13]Oct 23, 2013 BigMachinesLeading provider of cloud based CPQ software$400[14]Oct 17, 2013 CompendiumCloud-based content marketing provider N/A[15]Mar 25, 2013 TekelecLeading provider of network signaling, policy control, and subscriber data management solutions N/A[16]Mar 13, 2013 NimbulaDeveloped software for the implementation of public and private cloud computing environments N/A[17]Feb 4, 2013 Acme PacketNetworking hardware for telecommunications service providers$2,100[18]2012 Dec 20, 2012 EloquaMarketing Automation platform for managing sales and marketing leads across an enterprise.$810[19]Dec 13, 2012 DataRakerCloud based Analytic platform to transform meter, customer, network and assetBig Data into actionable business intelligence.
N/A[20]Nov 8, 2012 InstantisCloud and premises-based Project Portfolio Management (PPM) applications and services. N/A[21]Sep 17, 2012 SelectMindsCloud-based social talent sourcing and corporate alumni management application N/A[22]Jul 30, 2012 Xsigo SystemsProvider of network virtualization technology that simplifies cloud infrastructure and operations N/A[23]Jul 19, 2012 SkireSolutions provider for managing capital projects, facilities and real estate N/A[24]Jul 10, 2012 InvolverSocial media development platform N/A[25]Jun 5, 2012 Collective IntellectCloud-based social intelligence solutions N/A[26]May 23, 2012 VitrueSocial Marketing Platform provider $300 (estimated)[27]Mar 29, 2012 ClearTrialCloud-based Clinical Trial Operations and Analytics products N/A[28]Feb 9, 2012 TaleoTalent Management Software $1,900[29]2011 Oct 24, 2011 RightNow TechnologiesCloud-based CRM $1,500[30]Oct 18, 2011 EndecaE-commerce & Business Intelligence $1,075[31] [32]Sep 22, 2011 GoAhead SoftwareService Availability and Management Software N/A[33]July 28, 2011 InQuiraService Knowledge Management Software N/A[34]July 21, 2011 KspliceRebootless Linux kernel updates N/A[35]June 2011 FatWire SoftwareWeb Content and Web Experience Management (WCM and WEM) Software N/A[36]June 2011 Pillar Data SystemsStorage systems N/A[37]April 2011 DatanomicData Quality Software N/A[38]February 2011 Ndevr - Select IP onlyEnvironmental Reporting and Business Intelligence N/A[39] [40]2010 November 2010 Art Technology GroupEcommerce software vendor $1,000[41]May 2010 Pre-Paid SoftwarePayment Solutions $73[42]May 2010 Market2LeadApplications N/A[43]May 20, 2010 SecernoData protection hardware and software N/A[44]April 16, 2010 Phase ForwardApplications for life sciences companies and healthcare providers$685[45]February 10, 2010 AmberPointService-Oriented Architecture (SOA) management N/A[46]February 10, 2010 ConverginTelecom Service Broker$85[47]January 27, 2010 Sun MicrosystemsComputer servers, storage, networks, Java, MySQL database, software, and services$7,400[48]January 4, 2010 Silver Creek SystemsProduct Data Quality Solutions for connecting Enterprise systems, Customers, Suppliers and Partners. N/A[49]2009 October 12, 2009 SOPHOIIntellectual property management for Media & Entertainment Industry N/A[50]September 29, 2009 HyperRollFinancials, software and IT services N/A[51]July 23, 2009 GoldenGate SoftwareHeterogeneous Replications, software and IT N/A[52]June 17, 2009 ConformiaProduct Lifecycle Management N/A[53]May 13, 2009 Virtual Iron SoftwareServer Virtualization Management Software N/A[54]March 23, 2009 Relsys InternationalDrug Safety and Risk Management N/A[55]2008 October 29, 2008 Haley (RuleBurst Holdings)Natural Language Business Rules / Policy Automation N/A[56]October 9, 2008 Advanced Visual TechnologyRetail Space Planning N/A[57]October 9, 2008 PrimaveraProject Portfolio Management N/A[58]June 23, 2008 Skywire SoftwareDocument Management N/A[59]May 13, 2008 AdminServerInsurance policy administration N/A[60]January 16, 2008 CaptovationEnterprise Content Management N/A[61]January 16, 2008 BEA SystemsEnterprise Application and Middleware Software$8,500[62]2007 December 6, 2007 MoniforceReal User Experience Monitoring$50[63]September 5, 2007 BridgestreamEnterprise Role Management software N/A[64]July 18, 2007 Bharosa, IncOnline Identity Theft and Fraud Detection N/A[65]May 15, 2007 Agile Software CorporationProduct Lifecycle Management$495[66]April 24, 2007 Lodestar CorporationUtilities Application Software N/A[67]March 1, 2007 Hyperion CorporationEnterprise Performance Management$3,300[68]March 2007 Tangosol IncDatagrid Software N/A[69]2006 November 2006 Stellent IncEnterprise content management, Digital rights management. Stellent was previously named Intranet Solutions, and its product was initially IntraDoc!. The product was then briefly renamed Xpedio! before both the company and the product were renamed Stellent in 2001. At the time of the acquisition, Stellent had 575 employees.[33] Stellent was a publicly traded company (NASDAQ: STEL)[34] with trailing twelve month revenues in excess of $130 million.[citation needed ] Stellent's primary product was known as Universal Content Management (UCM), which formed the foundation of most of its other content management products. This product and its related products were rolled into Oracle Fusion Middleware as part of the Oracle WebCenter Content product line. However, the term Stellent is still commonly used for this suite of applications.$440[70]November 3, 2006 SPL WorldGroupUtility Billing and Customer Service Systems N/A[71]October 2006 SunopsisETL, Data Integration N/A[72]October 2006 MetaSolvOSS service activation$219[73]June 2006 DemantraDemand-Driven Planning Solution$41[74]June 2006 Telephony@WorkLeading IP-based Contact Center Solution N/A[75]April 2006 Net4CallCommunications infrastructure and solutions N/A[76]April 2006 Portal SoftwareBilling and Revenue Management solutions for the communications and media industry $220[77]February 2006 HotSipCommunications infrastructure solutions N/AFebruary 2006 Sleepycat SoftwareOpen-source database software for embedded applications N/AJanuary 2006 360CommerceRetail Industry Solutions N/A[78]January 2006 Siebel SystemsCustomer relationship management$5,850Siebel Systems#Key dates2005 December 2005 TemposoftWorkforce Management Applications sam organization[clarification needed ] N/ANovember 2005 OctetStringVirtual Directory Solutions N/ANovember 2005 Thor TechnologiesEnterprise-wide User Provisioning Solutions N/AOctober 2005 InnobaseDiscrete Transactional Open Source Database Technology N/ASeptember 2005 G-LogTransportation Management Solutions N/AAugust 2005 i-flex SolutionsBanking Industry Solutions,Flexcube$900[79]July 2005 Context MediaEnterprise Content Integration N/AJuly 2005 ProfitLogicRetail Industry Solutions N/AJune 2005 TimesTenReal-time Enterprise Solutions N/AJune 2005 TripleHopContext-sensitive Enterprise Search N/A[80]April 2005 RetekRetail Industry Solutions$630March 2005 OblixIdentity Management Solutions N/AJanuary 2005 PeopleSoftEnterprise Software$10,300[81]2004 June 2004 CollaxaBusiness process management N/AMay 2004 Phaos CorporationIdentity management N/AJanuary 22, 2004 SiteWorks SolutionsClinical trials management N/A[82]2003 June 2003 ReliatyEnterprise data protection N/AJune 2003 FileFishEnterprise content management N/A2002 June 2002 SteltorEnterprise calendaring system N/AJanuary 16, 2002 NetForce CorporationAdverse event reporting system N/A[83]January 15, 2002 Indicast CorporationVoice portals N/A[84]January 2002 TopLinkObject-relation mapping technology N/A2000 February 2000 Carleton CorporationData Warehousing and ETL Systems$8[85]1999 June 1999 Thinking Machines CorporationDarwin, datamining technology N/AApril 1999TinowayMobile Field Service N/A[35]April 1999Geodan EDTField Service Scheduler and Optimization N/A[36]March 1999E-TravelOnline Business Travel Booking and ManagementN/A[37]1997 September 1997 Treasury Services CorporationBanking applications, Financial planning applications N/A1995 August 1995 IRI SoftwareOLAP products$1001994 October 1994 Rdb Division of Digital Equipment CorporationRelational database N/A
How Root's Engineers Built a Car Insurance Company from Scratch
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 19:43
First things first: Root is an auto insurance carrier, just like Geico and Progressive'--except not quite like Geico and Progressive.
We're different because we use data science to identify and insure good drivers, significantly reducing insurance premiums for good drivers as a result.
We've been working on building Root for nearly two years now. It's taken a lot of hard work to build the entire infrastructure to run an insurance company'--and with only a handful of engineers. And now that we've successfully launched? We want to share our story and a little bit about what we're up to.
First, let's talk about the Root idea.We started Root because we saw two big opportunities in the car insurance industry:
The opportunity to leverage technology to build a better user experience. Technology is clearly not the core competency of the main players in the car insurance industry. All of the major insurance carriers have mobile apps, of course, but many of the carriers are still struggling to adapt to the age of the Internet'--much less build elegant mobile experiences.In short, mobile is the future'--and the big players in car insurance simply weren't taking advantage of it. So we saw an opportunity. Why not embrace new technology instead of tolerate it? Why not build a car insurance experience built and designed to work on mobile? After all, phones are always connected to the internet, always within reach, and always fast to engage with. We envisioned an insurance product that mirrored the mobile experience: simple, fast, convenient, and easy.
The opportunity to price car insurance based on how people actually drive. There's a fundamental problem in how companies price their insurance products. Right now, car insurance companies only look at demographics '-- factors like age, gender, and credit score '-- when quoting rates. While this system works just fine for insurance companies, it's inherently unfair to individual drivers.After all, two people of the same age, gender, and credit score could drive very differently. For instance, Person A might be safe, responsible, and an infrequent driver, while Person B might be aggressive, reckless, and drive frequently on hazardous routes.
Clearly, those two people should not be paying the same price for their car insurance. But right now they are, because big insurance companies judge customers purely by demographics.
The Root response? We wanted to gather data via a mobile app to determine how well each individual drives'--and then incorporate that data into our pricing model.
A crazy idea? Maybe. But the data supported it: we discovered that the majority of insurance claims come from the worst drivers, and that 68% of people'--the good drivers'--should be paying less than they're paying right now. Because we could take into account individual driving habits, we would be able to give our very best tier of drivers a 40% discount off traditional insurance pricing'--a substantial savings for a lot of people! Besides the cost savings, though, our proposed system would be fairer and more human.
It was worth a shot.
Root was founded on the crazy idea that insurance should be fair, simple, and human. Here's how we made that idea work.When we first started the company, we didn't think we'd become an insurance carrier right away. The regulatory hurdle is high, and we thought it might be insurmountable'--especially with a small team and limited resources. So we started by simply building a mobile app to gather driving data, thinking we could partner with an existing insurance carrier to handle the underwriting and insurance concerns.
But after meeting with numerous carriers, we realized it wasn't going to be quite so simple.
A typical conversation went like this:
Root: ''We'd like to show people their quote in a mobile app. If you have an API endpoint where we can retrieve pricing information, we'll fetch it and show it in the app.''
Potential Partner: ''We don't have any APIs right now, but we might be able to build a SOAP service in our Q3 roadmap next year.''
Root: ''Okay, and once we have that, we also want people to be able to purchase a policy right in the app. We'll ask for a credit card number, and then we'll send that you to in another API call to handle billing.''
Carrier: ''Oh, we can't do credit cards over an API. What if you show the person an 800 number in the app and they can call us if they want to purchase a policy?''
Root: ''......''
Clearly, partnering wasn't going to work. To build the user experience that we wanted to create, we were going to have to become an insurance carrier ourselves. That meant we would have to build an entire insurance infrastructure ourselves. End to end. From scratch.
It was a daunting prospect, to say the least. But we decided to attack the schlep head-on.
How we built the user interface for RootFirst, we went back to work on our iOS app. Although it was tempting to develop iOS and Android side by side, it made more strategic sense to test the product/market fit on iOS before we replicated our efforts on a second platform.
At Root, we approach projects by tackling the riskiest parts first. And, while we were confident we could build a UI around the insurance process, we knew that the trickiest challenge was definitely going to be the accurate collection of driving data'--so that's where we started.
After a lot of effort, we got everything working: We learned to detect when a customer starts driving and then to start reading from the sensors on the phone. When the drive ended, we serialized all of the sensor data as JSON, gzipped it, and then uploaded it directly from the phone to a scalable storage system. That gave David, our lead data scientist, exactly what he needed to get to work on our risk assessment algorithms. So far, so good.
Now that we knew how to gather driving data, we started building the UI, leveraging the phone's capabilities to make the process as easy as possible. Since we need driver's license information to generate a quote, we decided to use mobile camera capabilities to read the barcode on the back of the license directly '-- instead of making a customer type in all of their information. This UI strategy drastically streamlined the process of sign-up.
We designed the UI to allow customers to personalize coverage once they receive a quote. After customizing their coverage, the customer could then buy an insurance policy directly through the app. We support ApplePay, so if a credit card has been saved to the device, it only takes placing a thumb on the Touch ID sensor to complete the process.
All of these UI tweaks made it possible to purchase an insurance policy from Root without using the keyboard on the phone at all: when signing up, customers could now choose to log in with Facebook, use the camera on the phone to read their license barcode, then purchase a policy with ApplePay. A series of quick taps, and the process was complete.
We had a UI we could be proud of.
How we built the backend system for RootOf course, we also needed to create a backend system to sell insurance. From scratch. This project involved building two large, complex components: a rating engine and a policy management system.
Rating calculations are complex. We're almost certainly the only insurance carrier that has a Google Sheets-driven platform implemented in Ruby on Rails for calculating insurance rates. We looked at some off-the-shelf options for building this, but realized that third party platforms were going to be expensive and constraining, and the better approach was building a system ourselves.
We integrated with numerous third parties to fetch the data required to rate. Rather than ask people for their life history in the app, we relied on reports like Motor Vehicle Reports and Vehicle Registration Reports to get the information that we needed. We were even able to use external reports to figure out the drivers and vehicles that a customer would likely want on their policy (with 90% accuracy), eliminating the need for most of the data entry typically required to get a policy. In cases when we miss a driver or vehicle, we provide the ability to manually add it.
Our policy management system was built in house. We decided to generate policy documents and mail out physical insurance cards like any other insurance company, but we also made sure to provide a digital insurance card within the app. Also, we created a system to calculate premium, generate accounting reports, handle billing, and support endorsements (the official insurance jargon for making a change to a policy).
Where is Root today?Victory is sweet. After a long and arduous process, Root became a licensed insurance carrier with the Ohio Department of Insurance and we officially launched late in 2016.
The response has been tremendous. We're selling insurance policies on a daily basis. The excitement and momentum is palpable. Customers are astonished at how incredibly simple the process is and that their insurance premiums are so much lower.
Building the entire Root Insurance platform from scratch was only possible because of the outstanding skill and hard work from our team'--which consisted of only four engineers for much of our early history. Changing the car insurance industry is a big undertaking, but by assembling a team of exceptional and passionate people, we're doing it.
And we're excited about where we're going.
Enjoy the Root backstory? Stay tuned! Our next post will cover how we've approached automated testing of our React Native mobile client. Want to stay updated? Follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Acxiom - Wikipedia
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 14:39
This article is about the former Acxiom Marketing Services division of Acxiom Corporation. For the former company known as Axciom Corporation, see
Acxiom (pronounced "ax-ee-um") is a Conway, Arkansas-based database marketing company. The company collects, analyzes and sells customer and business information used for targeted advertising campaigns.[2] The company was formed in 2018 when Acxiom Corporation (since renamed LiveRamp) spun off its Acxiom Marketing Services (AMS) division to global advertising network Interpublic Group of Companies.[3]
The company has offices in the United States, Europe and Asia.
History [ edit ] The business that became Acxiom was founded in 1969 as Demographics, Inc. by Charles D. Ward in Conway, Arkansas.[4] In 1988 it became Acxiom Corporation, and by 2012, the NY Times reported that the company had the world's largest commercial database on consumers.[5][4]
On May 14, 2014, Acxiom Corporation announced that it had acquired LiveRamp, a data onboarding company, for $310 million.[6]
In January 2017, Acxiom Corporation launched Audience Cloud, an anonymous targeting tool that allowed demographic segmentation of customers without revealing their actual identities.[7]
In February 2018, Acxiom Corporation announced a reorganization into two divisions - Acxiom Marketing Solutions (AMS) and LiveRamp.[8] In July, advertising company Interpublic Group of Companies (IPG) announced they were buying Acxiom Corporation's AMS business for $USD2.3 billion.[1] In September, Acxiom Corporation officially changed its name to LiveRamp, allowing the AMS business owned by IPG to keep the Acxiom name.[3][9] Also in September, the company introduced an open data framework allowing clients to combine online and offline data sources.[10]
Business [ edit ] Acxiom provides anonymized customer data to marketers, allowing the delivery of more relevant ads to consumers, with more effective measurement.[11]
Acxiom's client base in the United States consists primarily of companies in the financial, insurance and investment services, automotive, retail, telecommunications, healthcare, travel, entertainment, non-profit and government sectors.[12]
Products [ edit ] Audience Cloud identifies anonymous audience segments, and matches them with publications to display targeted ads when a member of the audience visits a particular site.[7]Global Data Navigator service allows agencies to select global data elements by country.[13]InfoBase is the company's brokered warehouse of consumer data.[14]Personicx is a customer segmentation tool.[15]Unified Data Layer (UDL) uses cloud architecture to help firms connect online and offline data, to better identify consumers' identities, with a goal of complying with GDPR privacy laws.[10]Locations [ edit ] Acxiom's headquarters is located in Conway, Arkansas, United States.[5] The company has additional U.S. offices in Austin, Texas, Downer's Grove, Illinois and New York, New York. International offices are located in the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, and China.[16]
References [ edit ] External links [ edit ] Official website
Insider Information: How Insurance Companies Measure Risk - Insurance Companies.com
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 19:39
Insurance companies use a methodology called risk assessment to calculate premium rates for policyholders. Using software that computes a predetermined algorithm, insurance underwriters gauge the risk that you may file a claim against your policy. These algorithms are based on key indicators about you and then measured against a data set to weigh risk. Insurance underwriters carefully balance the insurance company's profitability with your potential need to use the policy.
Resources such as Moody's Risk Analysis contain detailed data sets that help insurers segment potential customer groups' predictive behaviors. For example, third-party software vendors can pull verified data from this source to quickly calculate decisions about the creditworthiness and risk assessment of certain subsegments of their audience. Subsegments could be males under the age of 25, a family history of certain illnesses or single women who fall into a particular income bracket.
Insurance underwriters seek to protect both policyholders and the companies that back these policies. Using verified research data helps underwriters evaluate an insurer's potential exposure to claims that could result in expensive payouts. Economic forecasting, wage and industry trending and market stability assessments all are part of the data that is ultimately used to calculate your insurance premium.
If there are criteria present that tend to result in more payouts, your payment increases. For example, smoking is a high-risk behavior because it is known that smokers are likelier to need hospitalization. Health insurance companies may charge smokers more because there is a statistical likelihood that the policyowner will cost them money.
Auto Insurance
All drivers are required to carry auto insurance that covers potential costs related to an accident or theft. The costs may include repair or replacement of vehicles, or medical care that is related to injuries sustained in an accident. If law enforcement deems a driver at fault in an accident, that driver's insurer picks up the tab. Auto insurance underwriters use a list of several criteria to determine whether you are likely to cause an accident.
Insurance companies vary, but there are common criteria that underwriters examine when calculating your premium.
Credit history: Good credit indicates that you are responsible and can be trusted to pay your bills on time. Research has also shown that adults with lower credit scores tend to be poorer drivers, making bad credit a risky behavior. The Federal Trade Commission found that regardless of external factors like ethnicity or income level, drivers with lower credit scores mean policyholders who make more claims against insurers. This undisputable data plays a significant role in the price of your premium.Age: Younger drivers have been proven to be more accident-prone than experienced drivers. Consequently, it is a blanket rule that drivers are charged higher premiums until age 25. If you believe that you are a low-risk driver in spite of your age, it is up to you to demonstrate this in order to take advantage of discounts offered by insurers. Students with good grades, for example, are often offered a discount to offset the high premium. Discounts may also be offered to teens at age 21 if the driver has maintained a clean driving record.Address: City dwellers pay more for insurance because there are more people in cities, raising the likelihood of theft, accidents or vandalism. In fact, which city you call home may also affect your premium rates. The 2012 Allstate America's Best Drivers Report examined the rates of auto insurance claims in 200 U.S. cities. If you live in Philadelphia, statistics say that you are likely to have an accident every 6.1 years. That number is 64.1% higher than the national average, and Philadelphia residents pay the premiums to prove it.Driving record: Your personal driving record strongly impacts your premium. If you have a history of speeding tickets, accidents or a DUI charge, the loss potential for your insurer is greater. The best indicator of future behavior is seen in the past; if you have a poor driving record you will pay high auto insurance premiums in addition to fines and fees. When you have maintained a good driving record long enough for your insurer to safely risk lowering your premium, you may be rewarded with ''good-driver discount rates.''Marriage status: Married drivers are considered more likely to drive with loved ones in the passenger seat; fewer accidents are reported in this group, perhaps because of a reluctance to take needless risks when children and family members are in their cars. A study in New Zealand proved that never-married drivers are twice as likely to file a claim for collision, making single drivers a high-risk group regardless of their safety measures.Gender: Insurance premiums for men are skewed higher. While the practice may seem unfair, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducts annual statistical analysis of various criteria among drivers. In 2010 men drove more miles on average than their female counterparts, automatically raising the likelihood of collision. Men were also shown to drive under the influence, speed or refuse to wear seat belts.Men typically drive more miles than women and more often engage in risky driving practices including not using seat belts, driving while impaired by alcohol, and speeding. Crashes involving male drivers often are more severe than those involving female drivers.
Prior coverage: Driving without insurance is considered irresponsible and so it results in higher premiums. Automobile insurance is required by every state. While you cannot be penalized for driving an uninsured vehicle after the fact, insurance underwriters correctly view this as illegal. Prior law-breaking is also a statistical indicator that poor decisions may be made again, such as reckless driving in this scenario. You must show proof of prior insurance to avoid being cast in this high-risk group.Auto insurance companies weigh these factors and others including your occupation, military service or your education level to determine your premium payment. Your ethnicity, religion or income cannot be used against you. If you are judged a high risk, you may be denied insurance. Most states offer a high-risk alternative source of insurance; your driving mistakes will cost you dearly in these cases because you have demonstrated that you are likely to cause insurer payouts.
Life Insurance
A life insurance policy is insurance that pays out to your beneficiaries upon your death. A life insurance underwriter will examine your lifestyle to determine your life expectancy. High-risk criteria for life insurance policies include bad credit, which is statistically aligned with accident-prone behavior. Your family health history and personal health status also weigh heavily as future indicators of cost for the insurance company.
Age and gender also come into statistical play, along with dangerous hobbies like skydiving, mountain climbing or motorcycle riding. All can significantly increase your premiums. Military service members may have a war clause added to a life insurance policy in the event of death in combat. Military branches offer life insurance to soldiers who are unable to obtain private insurance.
Homeowners and Rental Insurance
Nearly 98% of U.S homeowners are covered by the basic homeowner's insurance package required by mortgage companies. Unfortunately, few homeowners realize just how minimal these basic plans really are. Until recently, standard plans covered just about any ''act of nature''. Insurance companies dropped this coverage because of the incidence of flood disasters rose dramatically over the last ten years. Now, you must purchase coverage for disasters such as floods, storms or earthquakes separately.
Homeowners are choosing not to pay more for additional coverage. Now that insurance companies have eliminated flood coverage, only 12% of homes in flood prone areas are actually covered. The percentage of homes covered against earthquakes in California is also just over 10%, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
You can buy plans that will cover home damages of up to $250,000 from the National Flood InsuranceProgram. Flooding can happen anywhere, but if you happen to live in a lower-risk area, you can protect your home for as little as $300-$400 each year. The cheapest earthquake coverage might run slightly higher, from $300-$500. Either way, insurance underwriters will determine your coverage cost after evaluating the construction and stability of your home. Location in relation to fire stations, fire hydrants or sources of flooding is also factored into the equation.
Your credit history and your occupation, as well as the length of time you have held stable work, will also be judged as indicators of your responsibility. In areas prone to flooding, flood coverage is often mandatory. Rental insurance covers the contents of a rented dwelling and is generally priced based on the number of rooms in the home.
How to Beat Colossus
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 19:36
What is Colossus?Colossus may be your case's greatest opponent. Colossus is a computer program that some of the largest insurance companies like Allstate are using to estimate personal injury claims from auto accidents. Though these insurance companies claim that the use the program only as an initial evaluation tool, Colossus is being used to low-ball the injured party's claims.
Colossus's estimation is based on numerous factors that negatively affect a claim and lower the value of the case. Since it was originally created to evaluate soft tissue injuries (non-broken bones), it does not have the ability to value serious, even fatal injuries. Colossus simply looks to medical records, provided by an insurance adjuster, to assign a value to an auto accident victim's bodily injury. It awards higher values for injuries like broken bones and gives greater value to victims who went to the hospital immediately after the accident. As such, Colossus allows Allstate, Aetna, USAA, and any auto insurance company that uses it, to artificially drive down injury values. Allstate's adjusters controlled the information fed into the Colossus program and in turn, they reduce the benchmark or baseline values by only inputting the lowest settlement amounts. There is a range of possible values, from low to high, that must be considered when estimating the size of the claim.
It's a FormulaColossus does not consider the true extent of a victim's pain and suffering '' it's only a formula. While judges and juries tend to listen to the victim's story, truly understanding the impact of the injury, the insurance adjuster who uses Colossus simply types in the accident scenario (using a few keywords which must be in Colossus recognizable language) and sees what the average settlement is for the sustained injury in the area. What's more is that the accident and settlement information used in Colossus is the private property of the insurance companies using the software. Therefore, there is no way to make sure that the accident descriptions are being entered impartially. At any point, insurance adjusters can manipulate the information input in the program. They have all the power to determine whether the victim gets awarded enough money to pay the medical bills or whether they will end up incurring thousands of dollars in debt. Additionally, Colossus does not consider key details like brain damage, injury complications or the future injuries caused by the accident.
Consumer AlertOn December 9, 2010, the Consumer Federation of America released a ''Consumer Alert,'' warning Americans who have been injured in auto accidents about Colossus. The CFA offered these 4 tips:
Find out if a computer program was used to evaluate your claimDemand to see the range of results the computer generatedDo not accept any offer less than the ''high'' end of the range and consider making a counter offer that is about the high offerIf the insurer does not agree to settle at the high end of the range, consider filing a complain with your state insurance commissioner and seeking legal help with your claim(Source: http://www.consumerfed.org/pdfs/Claims_Consumer_Alert_12-8.pdf)
Use our Claim Calculator to evaluate the value of your case.
Allstate named the ''worst''Allstate first started using Colossus in the 1990's in an effort to decrease the size of auto claim payouts. In fact, according to the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), the sales literature published by Colossus's manufacturer ''touted Colossus as 'the most powerful cost savings tool' and also suggested that, 'the program will immediately reduce the size of bodily injury claims by up to 20 percent.''' Colossus is at the heart of Allstate's Claims Core Process Review (CCPR), a program introduced by McKinsey Consulting in 1996 in an attempt to cut claims-department expenses. Rather than paying the victim what he deserves, Allstate maintains profit margins by purposefully lowering budget, cutting staff, and controlling claims severities. This is all in an effort to raise the multi-billion dollar company's bottom lines.
Allstate Corporation is the nation's largest publicly held personal lines insurer, serving approximately 16 million households. It is also the worst insurance company, according to American Association for Justice, as the company puts its profits over its policy-holders they are paid to serve. In 2007, after over 15 years of telling its insurance adjusters to employ a confrontational attitude towards its policy-holders (''Deny, Delay & Defend'') Allstate made $4.6 billion in profits, with $156.4 billion in assets. The following is a list of Allstate's subsidiaries.
Company Name ALFS, Inc.ALIC Reinsurance CompanyAllstate Assignment CompanyAllstate Assurance CompanyAllstate BankAllstate County Mutual Insurance CompanyAllstate Distributors, L.L.C.Allstate Financial Advisors, LLCAllstate Financial CorporationAllstate Financial Services, LLCAllstate Financial, LLCAllstate Fire and Casualty Insurance CompanyAllstate Floridian Indemnity CompanyAllstate Floridian Insurance CompanyAllstate Indemnity CompanyAllstate Insurance CompanyAllstate Insurance Company of CanadaAllstate International Insurance Holdings, Inc.Allstate Investment Management CompanyAllstate Investments, LLCAllstate Life Insurance CompanyAllstate Life Insurance Company of CanadaAllstate Life Insurance Company of New YorkAllstate Motor Club, Inc.Allstate New Jersey Insurance CompanyAllstate New Jersey Property and Casualty Insurance CompanyAllstate Non-Insurance Holdings, Inc.Allstate North American Insurance CompanyAllstate Property and Casualty Insurance CompanyAllstate Reinsurance Ltd.Allstate Settlement CorporationAllstate Texas Lloyd'sAllstate Texas Lloyd's, Inc.American Heritage Life Insurance CompanyAmerican Heritage Life Investment CorporationAmerican Heritage Service CompanyCharter National Life Insurance CompanyConcord Heritage Life Insurance Company, Inc.Deerbrook General Agency, Inc.Deerbrook Insurance CompanyE.R.J. Insurance Group, Inc.Encompass Floridian Indemnity CompanyEncompass Floridian Insurance CompanyEncompass Home and Auto Insurance CompanyEncompass Indemnity CompanyEncompass Independent Insurance CompanyEncompass Insurance CompanyEncompass Insurance Company of AmericaEncompass Insurance Company of MassachusettsEncompass Insurance Company of New JerseyEncompass Property and Casualty CompanyEncompass Property and Casualty Insurance Company of New JerseyFirst Colonial Insurance CompanyIntramerica Life Insurance CompanyIvantage Select Agency, Inc.Kennett Capital, Inc.Keystone State Life Insurance CompanyLincoln Benefit Life CompanyNorthbrook Holdings, LLCNorthbrook Indemnity CompanyNorthbrook Services, Inc.Northbrook Technology of Northern Ireland, LimitedPafco Insurance CompanyPembridge America, Inc.Pembridge Insurance CompanyRoadway Protection Auto Club, Inc.Sterling Collision Centers, Inc.Surety Life Insurance CompanyTech-Cor, LLC(C)2019 AccidentValues.com. All Rights Reserved.
Most recent estimate:$16,000
Today, from GREENVILLE, SC
Finding and Disabling a Car's Black Box EDR
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 19:23
Does your car have an event data recorder? In some cases, tampering with an EDR may cause the airbags to deploy. The Image Bank/Getty Images
If you bought your car within the last few years, then it almost certainly does have a so-called black box. These devices are technically called event data recorders (EDRs), and they can keep track of everything from how fast you were traveling prior to an accident event to whether or not you were wearing your seatbelt at the time. And according to the NHTSA, 96 percent of the model year, 2012 vehicles produced for sale in the United States contained some form of EDR.
Since event data recorders are highly integrated into the electronic control systems of the cars they monitor, and many are even built right into airbag control units, simply unplugging or turning them off isn't really an option.
So, where do you go from there?
How to Identify Whether Your Car Has a Black Box If your car or truck was built within the last few years, then you can almost bank on it having some form of EDR. Even going back ten years, roughly half of all new vehicles sold in the United States had these black boxes installed. So how, exactly, do you tell if your car or truck has one?
The easiest way to find out whether your car has a black box is to scour the owner's manual. Although the NHTSA refused to order manufacturers or dealers to disclose the presence of EDRs when the agency first ruled on the matter in 2006, it did issue a regulation that requires some form of disclosure in the owner's manual. If there is absolutely no mention of an EDR in your owner's manual, and your car was built after the 2006 ruling, then you may not have a black box in your car.
Of course, it's important to remember that the 2006 ruling gave automakers six years to comply. That means cars and trucks built between 2006 and 2012 could feasibly have EDRs without any form of disclosure. And one year after the ruling became enforceable, 96 percent of all new vehicles in the US came with EDRs installed anyway.
Turning off or Removing Event Data Recorders Turning off, disabling, or removing an EDR is typically difficult or impossible. The difficulty stems from the fact that these aren't standardized systems, which means that the location and appearance of an EDR will vary from one make to another and even within different models produced by the same OEM. The other issue is that EDRs are often built into an airbag control module, secondary restraint system (SRS) module, or electronic control module (ECM), which means they can't be removed or tampered with at all.
Even when a vehicle has a discrete component that only functions as an EDR, it is almost always tied into the airbags or SRS in some way. This is particularly true of newer vehicles, and you may find that even if you manage to locate a discrete EDR, your airbags may deploy as soon as you start messing around with it.
If you're really serious about disabling or removing your EDR, then your best bet is to look for someone else who has already successfully done so with a vehicle that precisely matches the make, model, and year of yours and then proceed from there.
Of course, there are potential consequences of tampering with an EDR that go above and beyond accidentally deploying your airbags. For instance, tampering with these devices is actually illegal in some jurisdictions. Just to be safe, you should always check your local laws before messing around with your EDR.
Buying a Car Without a Black Box Although it may be difficult or even impossible to disable the EDR in your car, you always have the option of buying a used vehicle that doesn't have one. In some cases, you'll have to dig pretty deep, but there are other automakers that only jumped on the bandwagon relatively recently. For instance, General Motors was already installing EDRs in most of its vehicles in 1998.
While there is no comprehensive list of vehicles that do or do not have EDRs, one somewhat counterintuitive place to start your research is with the companies that build the devices that interface with EDRs, since they provide lists of vehicles that their equipment is compatible with. Companies that offer accident investigation services also provide lists of vehicles that they are capable of pulling data from. Find a vehicle that isn't on one of those lists, and you may have found yourself a car that doesn't have a black box.
Expert Crash Data Retrieval (CDR) Vehicle Black Box List
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 19:23
Copyright (C) 2007-2016 Crash Data Services, LLC All rights reserved Vehicles Available for Download General Motors Corporation was one of the first auto manufacturers to install commercially downloadable event data recorders in their vehicles. The GM family of vehicle includes: Buick , Cadillac , Chevrolet , GMC , Hummer , Oldsmobile , Pontiac , Saab and Saturn . Click here to view a full coverage list .On select models, coverage for General Motors vehicles extends all the way back to 1994. By 1998, almost all vehicle
manufactured by General Motors had some type of event data recorder (EDR) in it. And, in 1998 General Motors began installing advanced EDRs that recorded parameters such as speed and brake use. Until 1998, accident reconstruction experts could generally only download crash pulse information and diagnostic data. By 2001, almost all vehicles manufactured by General Motors recorded speed, brake use, and other pre-crash data,
giving accident reconstructionists a means of identifying many causal factors that occurred well before the actual collision. In 2002, General Motors EDRs became the basis for EDR technology being tested and accepted under the Frye standard in Illinois. Today, most General Motors EDRs record 2 ½ or 5 seconds of pre crash data. General Motors EDRs can also record data in deployment (airbag) or non-deployment (no airbag) crashes. Event data recorders (EDRs) can be configured to record a variety of data including pre-crash speed, brake use, or restraint and safety system performance. The majority of vehicle manufacturers have already made their crash data available to the public*. If you do not see the specific vehicle you are looking for, please contact us . * While the listed vehicles are already available for download, NHTSA has ruled that ALL vehicles manufactured after September 1st, 2012, will have to make their crash data available to the public if the vehicle contains an event data recorder. To learn more about NHTSA's ruling, click here . The second longest running family of vehicles available for download is manufactured by Ford Motor Corporation. The Ford family of vehicles includes: Ford , Lincoln and Mercury . Click here to view a full coverage list .On select models, coverage for Ford family vehicles extends back to 2001. In 2003, Ford began installing advanced
EDRs in their vehicles, capable of recording pre-crash parameters such as speed and brake use. Until 2003, accident reconstructionists could only download crash pulse information and diagnostic data. However, once these advanced Ford EDRs were installed, they were often capable of recording about 20 seconds of pre-crash data, as well as 5 seconds of post-crash data, giving reconstruction experts a clear illustration of how the vehicle was being operated before, during and after a crash sequence. Today, Ford vehicles can record anywhere from about 5 to 20 seconds of pre-crash data. The most modern vehicles can also record data in deployment (airbag) or non-deployment (no airbag) crashes. The third American auto manufacturer to make vehicles commercially available for download is Daimler Chrysler Motor Corporation. The Chrysler family of vehicles includes: Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep . Click here to view a full coverage list .From the beginning of their coverage on select models in 2005, Daimler Chrysler vehicles recorded pre-crash data
such as speed and brake use. And, by 2008, almost all vehicles manufactured by Daimler Chrysler had advanced EDRs installed in them. Today, most Daimler Chrysler vehicles record about 5 seconds of pre-crash data, sampling the various parameters every 1/10th of a second, making them the best in the industry as far as resolution (sampling rate) is concerned. The most modern Daimler Chrysler EDRs can give accident reconstruction experts data in deployment (airbag) or non-deployment (no airbag) crashes. Disclaimer: Crash Data Services, LLC and crashdataservices.net provide the information in this web site for informational purposes only. The information is not intended to be legal advice or an expert opinion and should not be construed as such. The use of this site does not create a contractor/client relationship with any employee of Crash Data Services, LLC. Each investigation is different. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case. The results of any investigation/reconstruction do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken by Crash Data Services, LLC
In June of 2011, Toyota became the next family of vehicles that could be downloaded by Bosch's Crash Data Retrieval Tool. Toyota family vehicles include Toyota , Lexus and Scion . The addition of Toyota family vehicles was a substantial supplement to the number of vehicles that our accident reconstruction experts can access, as Toyota annually accounts for about 15 '' 22 percent of the new car sales for North America. Click here to view a full coverage list .Toyota family vehicle coverage will go as far back as 2001 on many models and, in many cases, includes pre-crash
data, such as brake use, throttle application and speed for five seconds before impact. The most modern Toyota family event data recorders can provide accident reconstructionists valuable data in deployment (airbag) or non-deployment (no airbag) collisions. In March of 2012, Honda released the information from its event data recorders to the public via Bosch's Crash Data Retrieval Tool. Honda family vehicles include Honda and Acura . Coverage for these vehicles began with model year 2012. While only select vehicles were covered during the original release, Honda generally accounts for about 10 percent of the market share of vehicles sold in North America. Click here to view a full coverage list . Supported General Motors Family Vehicles Supported Ford Family Vehicles Supported Chrysler Family Vehicles Other Supported Vehicles: A select number of other vehicles, not manufactured by the previous families, are also available for download.These vehicles include:
Mitsubishi, Isuzu, Fiat, Suzuki, Volvo and Sterling Trucks .Click here to view a
full coverage list . Supported Toyota Family Vehicles Supported Honda Family Vehicles If you do not see the specific vehicle you are looking for, please contact us . Our experts are always available to fulfill your accident reconstruction needs.Call today for a free consultation: (847)-217-6644
or reach our reconstruction experts by email In August of 2012, Bosch's Crash Data Retrieval System acquired access to the Nissan family of vehicles. Nissan family vehicles include Nissan and Infinity . Nissan vehicle represent a substantial portion of the total vehicle sold in North America (about a 7 % market share). These vehicles are compliant with the NHTSA part 563 requirements, and can provide information about pre-impact speed and brake use for about 5 seconds before a collision. Click here to view a full coverage list . Supported Nissan Family Vehicles In December of 2012, event data recorders from BMW family vehicles also became available. BMW family vehicles include almost all 2013 model BMW cars and SUVs, as well as select Rolls Royce vehicles. BMW holds about 3% of the market share for North America. BMW vehicles are configured to record multiple events, both deployment and non-deployment, and can capture about 5 seconds of pre-crash data. Click here to view a full coverage list . Supported BMW Family Vehicles In September of 2012, Mazda released the data from its vehicles' event data recorders to be read by the Bosch Crash Data Retrieval Tool. While Mazda account for only about 2 % of the market share for North America, this number still represents over 250,000 vehicles sold in 2012. These vehicles can record multiple events, including pre-crash speed and brake use before an accident. Click here to view a full coverage list . Supported Mazda Family Vehicles In June of 2013, Mercedes Benz released the data from their event data recorders to be read by the Bosch Crash Data Retrieval Tool. Mercedes Benz generally accounts for less than 2% of the market share for North America, but they are advertised as
lavish, and therefore expensive, vehicles.The EDRs from
Mercedez Benz vehicles can record pre-crash data such as speed, brake use, and throttle percent, consistent with NHTSA regulations. In 2012, the provisions of Title 49 of (US) Code of Federal Regulations, part 563 (49 CFR 563) took effect. This NHTSA regulation required manufacturers to provide a commercially available tools capable of accessing and retrieving the data stored in a vehicle's Event Data Recorder (EDR). The overwhelming majority of vehicle manufacturers have obtained compliance through a contract with Robert Bosch, producer of the Bosch Crash Data Retrieval Tool.However, in 2012,
Hyundai Motor Company and Kia Motors opted to use a tool(s) made by Global Information Technology (GIT) in order to be ''Part 563 compliant.'' Since 2001, GIT has been the Original Equipment (OE) supplier for diagnostic tools for both Hyundai and Kia. When the GIT produced EDR application(s) for Hyundai and Kia were announced, the Hyundai kit became available through GIT America's Aftermarket Support division and the Kia-specific system from Snap-On Business Solutions.Both Hyundai and Kia vehicles have the ability to
record crash data, to include longitudinal delta-v, as well as pre-crash data, such as speed, brake use, and throttle application, consistent with the requirements of the part 563 ruling. Vehicle coverage generally includes all Hyundai and Kia models for 2013 and beyond (manufactured after September 1st, 2012). Hyundai and Kia vehicles account for about 9% of total car sales for North American Market.
How data is revolutionising car insurance
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 19:14
Octo Telematics' Jonathan Hewett argues that IoT apps and algorithms are leading to real-time data which will change insurance going forward.
We don't drive cars anymore. We drive computers on wheels. Depending on the model, cars these days sport somewhere between 50 and well over 100 embedded microprocessors. These computers fine-tune our engines, keep us on the road, and help us find our way. They also generate a huge amount of data. Most of us, however, allow this data to go to waste. It's as if we'd be driving cars that fire on just a few cylinders each; we'd constantly allow petrol go unburned through the exhaust.
We fail to capture the data, even though we know it is the fuel powering today's digital economy.
This attitude, however, is changing rapidly. The data revolution is reaching cars. The algorithms underpinning modern data analytics are now beginning to revolutionise the economics of driving.
Everybody in the automotive value chain '' from the drivers to manufacturers to transport authorities to insurers '' are beginning to understand the huge potential that today's Algorithm Economy can offer to the transport sector.
Experts predict that by 2020, connected cars will collect more than 11 petabytes of data a year, including from embedded telematics devices. To put this in context, 11 petabytes of songs playing continuously would last for over 22,000 years, assuming the average MP3 encoding for mobile is around 1MB per minute, and the average song lasts about four minutes.
You might like to read: Insurers urged to adopt IoT technologies
Making sense of the dataOne of the first industries to feel the immediate impact of this Algorithm Economy is car insurance.
The change, of course, will not come from the numbers themselves, but from making sense of the data. The data we once allowed to go uncaptured now can be feed into algorithms, which provide us with insights into driver behaviour, which in turn allows both drivers and insurers to take action.
Let's start with the driver: just like a health app on your smartphone, getting instant feedback on your driving can provide powerful nudges to change behaviour '' maybe drive more carefully and economically.
This in turn has a direct influence on something that data capture finally makes truly measurable: risk. Currently, insurers have to price their policies based on very rough and ready assumptions; the risk premium of an insurance, for example, is currently determined by the driver's age or the model of car they own, regardless of their actual driving behaviour. However, by harnessing driver data and applying sophisticated data analytics, technology companies can give insurers the insights they need to forecast individual risk.
The impact can be immediate: more careful drivers pay lower premiums, while insurers can reduce their costs through fewer claims.
Insurers will also know immediately when a driver had an accident, and can alert emergency services or offer roadside assistance. More importantly, insurers now have the data to understand why an accident happened. Crash reconstructions will be much more accurate, which in turn will both speed up the claims process and can dramatically reduce fraud.
Right now, about £50 of every annual car insurance policy covers the cost of insurance fraud. With telematics and data capture in place, most of that fraud could be spotted straight away. Here's a startling statistic: Insurance policies that are underpinned by telematics on average result in 50 percent fewer claims than traditional policies.
In other words, using telematics to bring the Algorithm Economy to the automotive sector will sharply reduce insurance fraud and bring down premiums. Eventually, while today we use this information to draw insights from complex and dynamic data sets, and to understand risk and driver behaviour, it will lead ultimately to connected and autonomous vehicles.
The Algorithm Economy, of course, is set to change and support our lives wherever data capture happens. As the Internet of Things spreads, everyday objects will soon be defined by the sophistication of the algorithms powering them. And customers, manufacturers and service providers will have to rely on companies skilled in secure data analytics to extract the data and provide the information needed for rapid insight and action.
Most of us still see the computerisation of our cars as being about driving convenience and fun. But that will be just one aspect of the transformation. Thanks to the Algorithm Economy, driving will also be cheaper, safer, and an integral part of the Internet of Things.
Jonathan Hewett is Chief Marketing Officer at Octo Telematics
You might like to read: IoT set to disrupt insurance industry, finds report
If you'd like to learn from real-life IoT case studies and from some of the world's biggest insurers and reinsurers (including Allianz, AXA, Marsh, RSA, Vitality and many more), why not sign-up to attend our Internet of Insurance conference, which takes place in London this June.
Gen X Is in the Most Financial Trouble - The Organic Prepper
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 16:28
by Daisy LutherEveryone picks on Millennials these days but a new study by Lending Tree shows that out of all the generations, Gen X is the one dealing with the deepest financial problems.
First, some definitions.
Gen Z or Centennials: Born 1996 '' current dayMillennials: Born 1977 '' 1995.Gen X: Born 1965 '' 1976.Baby Boomers: Born 1946 '' 1964.The Silent Generation: Born 1945 or beforeWe all know that two major financial mistakes are getting into debt and failing to have an emergency fund. A recent study looked into the debt levels of each generation.
The studyLending Tree, an online lending marketplace, did a study on the 3-year changes in each generation's debt.
As each generation moves into different stages of their personal and economic lives, the amounts and types of debt they carry shifts, too. We compared the debts of members of the four adult generations '-- millennials, Gen Xers, baby boomers and silents '-- between March 2016 and March 2019 to see what's changed.
Specifically, we calculated the changes in the average balance of each major debt category '-- personal loans, credit cards, auto loans, student loans and mortgages '-- and the change in the percentage of each generation that carries each type of debt. (source)
Here were the key findings:
Millennials saw the greatest spike in overall debt. Their total balances rose by an average of $16,714 '-- almost 29% '-- between 2016 and 2019.Gen Xers now have the highest average debt burden of any generation. They increased their average debt burdens by about 10%, or $11,898, between 2016 and 2019, thanks to steady dollar increases across all debt categories.Older generations '-- boomers and silents '-- are winding down their debt, thanks to decreases in average mortgage balances. However, they've increased their average debt across all other categories.Boomers decreased their debt burdens by 7%, or $10,424. Members of the silent generation dropped their overall debt by $9,486, or 8%. (source)But what about Gen X? Why are they in so much trouble?
Gen X has financial problems in many ways.Marketwatch did an analysis on that the ways that Gen X is financially wrecked and it's not pretty. This is my generation so I was especially interested in their analysis.
They've got the most credit card debt of anyone '-- yet still spend more than anyone on non-essentials'...Despite their sky high credit card debt, Gen X spends big on non-essentials, according to data released in 2018 from finance site Bankrate.com. Indeed, ''Gen Xers (ages 38-53) spend $3,473 annually on restaurant food, prepared beverages and lottery tickets, the most of any generation,'' the report reveals.
They're woefully under-saved for retirement'...Median retirement savings for Gen X is only $35,000, the same median amount as millennials, despite Gen Xers being much closer to retirement,'' according to a study of 3,000 Americans by Allianz Life. Having just $35,000 in retirement savings '-- especially when you're a Gen Xer ages 37- 51 '-- is not even close to enough. Fidelity recommends that by age 40 you have three times your salary saved for retirement. Gen Xers may be so under-saved thanks to the competing financial demands of children'... and caring for aging parents.
Their average debt now tops $150,000. Not only is their credit card debt high, the total amount of debt they have is. Those in the 35-44 age group have ''the highest debt levels of any age bracket,'' SmartAsset notes, citing Federal Reserve data.
They're more likely than other generations to say they can't meet their financial goals. All of this debt and the lack of savings may explain why fewer than 1 in 3 members of Gen X says they think they can reach their long-term financial goals, according to a survey released in 2017 by FICO. (source)
That's not a pretty picture for people between the ages of 37 and 51.
Some of the reasons for this financial messReading over the data, the thing that jumps out at me is that people of my generation are at the point where they're taking care of everyone. Some still have kids at home, while others have adult kids who have returned home. We are often lending a helping hand to our adult children who are in college or trying to get their feet on the ground. Some of this generation are taking care of aging parents.
It's pretty tough to save for retirement when you have all these people depending on you.
Regarding the credit card debt, that one is kind of a mystery to me. While I have used credit cards to fund medical care I couldn't fully pay for with my emergency fund, I rarely use them otherwise. It seems to me that it is essential to get this high-interest debt under control immediately. (If this is a problem for you, check out this article about paying down debt fast.
Spending on non-essentials seems to be a problem too. A lot of folks think that being on a budget means you can never have any fun, you can't travel, you can't go out to eat. So instead of creating a budget, they throw caution to the wind, spend while they have money, and complain when they don't. I'd never say that you cannot travel, dine out, or do fun things. I do all of these and on a fairly tight budget. But I work it into my budget, I fund it with cash, and this comes after savings and all my other bills.
The biggest concern I see is that the money we Gen X-ers are paying into social security right now is going to fund the retirements of the Baby Boomers. The social security system is at a near-breaking point right now and most folks believe it may not even be there by the time we get to retirement age, much less for millennials. All that money that has been taking from our paychecks our entire working life'...and none left when we need it. And if you think times are tight now, just wait until you're too old to work and there's no social security.
What do you think about this study?Do you agree with this study that says Gen X is the generation is the one in the most financial trouble? Why do you think that is? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
I asked an online tracking company for all of my data and here's what I found | Privacy International
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 15:36
In fact, Quantcast's deceptive design is so effective, that the company proudly declares that it achieves a 90 percent consent rate on websites that use its framework.
Data brokers and the hidden data ecosystem The fact that countless companies are tracking millions of people around the web and on their phones is disturbing enough, but what is even more disturbing about my Quantcast data is the extent to which the company relies on data brokers, credit referencing agencies, and even credit card companies in ways that are impossible for the average consumer to know about or escape.
Advertising companies and data brokers have been quietly collecting, analysing, trading, and selling data on people for decades. What has changed is the granularity and invasiveness at which this is possible.
Data brokers buy your personal data from companies you do business with; collect data such as web browsing histories from a range of sources; combine it with other information about you (such as magazine subscriptions, public government records, or purchasing histories); and sell their insights to anyone that wants to know more about you.
Even though these companies are on the whole non-consumer facing and hardly household names, the size of their data operations is astounding. Acxiom's Annual report of 2017 , for instance, states that they offer data ''on approximately 700 million consumers worldwide, and our data products contain over 5,000 data elements from hundreds of sources.''
Part of the problem is that this data can be used to target, influence, and manipulate each and every one of us ever more precisely. How precisely? A few years ago, an advertising company from Massachusetts in the US targeted ''abortion-minded women'' with anti-abortion messages while there were in hospital. Laws in the US are very different from what is legal in the EU, yet the example shows what it technically possible: to target very precise groups of people, at particular times and particular places. This is the reality of what targeted advertisement looks like today.
While uncannily accurate data can be used against us, inaccurate data is no less harmful, especially when data that most of us don't even know exists and have very little control over is used to make decisions about us. An investigation by Big Brother Watch in the UK , for instance, showed how Durham Police in the UK were feeding Experian's Mosaic marketing data into their 'Harm Assessment Risk Tool', to predict whether a suspect might be at low, medium or high risk of reoffending in order to guide decisions as to whether a suspect should be charged or released onto a rehabilitation program. Durham Police is not the only police force in England and Wales that uses Mosaic service. Cambridgeshire Constabulary, and Lancashire Police are listed as having contracts with Experian for Mosaic.
How Privacy International is challenging the hidden data industry If you have been following the Cambridge Analytics and Facebook scandals over the past few months, you might get the impression that privacy scandals are about bad actors misusing well-intended platforms during major elections, who are guilt of responding too slowly. Our interpretation has always been that we are faced with a much more systemic problem that lies at the very core of the current ways in which advertisers, marketers, and many other exploit people's data.
The European General Data Protection Regulation, which entered into force on May 25, 2018 strengthens rights of individuals with regard to the protection of their data, imposes more stringent obligations on those processing personal data, and provides for stronger regulatory enforcement powers.
That's why Privacy International has filed complaints against seven data brokers (Acxiom, Oracle), ad-tech companies (Criteo, Quantcast, Tapad), and credit referencing agencies (Equifax, Experian) with data protection authorities in France, Ireland, and the UK.
These companies do not comply with the Data Protection Principles, namely the principles of transparency, fairness, lawfulness, purpose limitation, data minimisation, and accuracy. They also do not have a legal basis for the way they use people's data, in breach of GDPR.
The world is being rebuilt by companies and governments so that they can exploit data. Without urgent and continuous action, data will be used in ways that people cannot now even imagine, to define and manipulate our lives without us being to understand why or being able to effectively fight back. We urge the data protection authorities to investigate these companies and to protect individuals from the mass exploitation of their data, and we encourage journalists, academics, consumer organisations, and civil society more broadly, to further hold these industries to account.
This piece was written by PI's Data Exploitation Programme Lead Frederike Kaltheuner
Verve partners with Acxiom to improve offline data accuracy across mobile ads
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 15:32
Source VerveData company Acxiom, has partnered with location mobile marketer Verve, to boost mobile ads and offline data accuracy. By expanding precision, insight and a location-based approach, marketers can reach their intended audiences more easily across mobile devices.Anne Doherty, Senior VP of sales, Acxiom's Audience Solutions, says:
''We are pleased to deepen our relationship with Verve, an organization that shares our approach to maintaining the highest levels of data precision and accuracy. This partnership underscores our commitment to provide our clients with an ever-expanding network of partners through which they can activate first- and third-party data and extrapolate powerful insights. By leveraging two best-in-class partners, Acxiom and Verve clients will be able to build more robust mobile strategies that delight consumers and drive business outcomes.''
In addition, the partnership empowers clients of Acxiom and Verve to create mobile experiences that are relevant and encouraging for better consumer engagement. As part of the move, Verve is being added to the Acxiom publisher partner ecosystem. Clients can then integrate the Verve location and app publishing network into their campaigns. In return, Verve customers can make location-mobile media purchases across the platform using the Acxiom data which has been optimized for AbiliTecidentity resolution technology, combining online and offline data.Tom Kenney, President and CEO at Verve, adds:
''We are thrilled to work with Acxiom on a deeper level and access their world-class data to help our clients execute mobile campaigns based on location intelligence and imaginative creative experiences. This partnership will elevate advertisers' location-powered mobile strategies, amplifying their ability to drive sales by reaching mobile consumers in innovative new ways.''
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 15:27
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Acxiom pitched feds on large-scale Web-surveillance project | Computerworld
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 15:08
The data broker wanted $500,000 a year to track 'extreme' sites, EPIC says By Angela Gunn
Computerworld | PT
");});try {$("div.lazyload_blox_ad").lazyLoadAd({ threshold : 0, // You can set threshold on how close to the edge ad should come before it is loaded. Default is 0 (when it is visible). forceLoad : false, // Ad is loaded even if not visible. Default is false. onLoad : false, // Callback function on call ad loading onComplete : false, // Callback function when load is loaded timeout : 1500, // Timeout ad load debug : false, // For debug use : draw colors border depends on load status xray : false // For debug use : display a complete page view with ad placements}) ;}catch (exception){console.log("error loading lazyload_ad " + exception);}});In November 2001, Acxiom Corp. proposed to the U.S. Department of Justice that it conduct an Internetwide surveillance of Web sites touching on topics such as "abortion, racial superiority, politics, religion, immigration, and foreign affairs," using technology designed to extract business contact information from dot-com sites.
Information about the proposed surveillance was included in documents (download PDF) released Thursday by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. The documents stated that information thus obtained could be used for both terrorism-related data analysis and an "Identity Verification System to be used by airlines, rental car agencies, and other business and government agencies."
The research proposal, jointly authored by Little Rock, Ark.-based Acxiom and the University of Arkansas' Department of Computer Science, was released to EPIC this week as a result of a 2004 Freedom of Information Act request.
In it, Acxiom described a process for crawling the Web, collecting information, parsing it for "marker words and phrases," and extracting data such as names, titles, phone numbers, and e-mail and mailing addresses. Such information would have been sifted, indexed and, in the words of the proposal, "made available to the proper authorities for further action."
According to the proposal, the system would continually crawl the Web seeking sites using "marker" words appearing in specific patterns. The proposal lists sample words in categories such as verbs (including bomb, kill, burn, kidnap and hijack), buildings, places, people, organizations, racial epithets, titles and "suspicious words" (such as explosives, bomb, jihad and kamikaze). Identification and contact data would also be gathered. A sifting function would validate the data against previously established facts and rules. Once validated, data would be entered into a database for official use. The proposal requested a total of $1 million in funding for two years.
The documents indicate that Acxiom's proposal was delivered to the Justice Department by Congressman Vic Snyder (D-Ark.) in late 2001. Michael Chertoff, then assistant U.S. attorney general, responded by mail in June 2002, thanking the company for the proposal and noting, "We have been in contact with a variety of computer companies, including Acxiom Corporation, and are well aware of its impressive technical capabilities."
No paperwork released as a result of EPIC's Freedom of Information Act request indicates that the proposal was pursued further. Previous EPIC FOIA requests have revealed that Acxiom was considered a primary information provider for the controversial Total Information Awareness (TIA) program during the spring of 2002 (download PDF).
The data brokerage has been in the news several times over the past few years for security and privacy breaches. In 2003, it was revealed that Acxiom had given data on millions of passengers of JetBlue and other airlines to an Alabama firm preparing an antiterrorism study for the Department of Defense. While JetBlue apologized to passengers for violating its own customer-information policies, Acxiom drew fire from privacy advocates for not notifying those affected that private information -- including passenger names, addresses, gender, home-ownership status, income, number of children, Social Security number, occupation and vehicle information -- had been turned over to Torch Systems for use in development of its "Homeland Security: Airline Passenger Risk Assessment" study.
In 2004, six Floridians associated with defunct e-mail marketing firm Snipermail.com were charged with hacking Acxiom's FTP servers and stealing 8.2GB of information on 1.6 billion consumers (see "Florida hacker indicted in big online theft case"). That data included names, e-mail and mailing addresses, and phone numbers, as well as banking and credit card data, including account numbers. A Snipermail executive, Scott Levine, was eventually convicted of 120 counts of unauthorized access to data in that case; a presentencing report released last month indicates that he could serve between 19-and-a-half and 24 years for those crimes.
On its Web site, Acxiom claims to work with nine of the top 10 credit card issuers, eight of the top nine automotive manufacturers, five of the top six magazine publishing companies, nine of the top 10 retail banks, seven of the top 10 retailers, eight of the top 10 telecommunications companies, and five of the top six media entertainment companies.
Follow everything from Computerworld
Watchdog: Is mobile app PrivacyStar a snooping tool? | Watchdog | Dallas News
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 15:06
For months, Ariel and Jasmine have pestered me to write about the PrivacyStar app for cellphones.
I know they sound like names of characters in a Disney movie, but actually Ariel and Jasmine are two publicists who send a steady stream of email news releases. Over and over, they promise that PrivacyStar can protect people from annoying telemarketing calls, scammers, debt collectors and other violators of the Do Not Call list.
Sounds too good to be true. I asked my Watchdog associate Marina Trahan Martinez to look into the company's operations and determine if the app is worth buying. (A one-time $4.99 charge for iPhones and $2.99 per month for Android phones.)
Her research raised several red flags. Two of the company's top executives are former execs at Acxiom, the highly secretive data collection company that keeps zillions of bytes of data on millions of Americans and sells that information to retailers and others willing to pay for it.
Both Acxiom and PrivacyStar are based in Conway, Ark. Charles Morgan was CEO of Acxiom before he left. He is now CEO of First Orion, the parent company of PrivacyStar. Jeff Stalnaker, the PrivacyStar founder and current CEO, was division president at Acxiom.
What does this mean? Two guys who made names for themselves at a company that collects secretive information on American consumers leave that company and form an enterprise that goes in the opposite direction. Snoops become anti-snoops?
Another red flag: News releases from Ariel and Jasmine insist that PrivacyStar sends more complaints to the Federal Trade Commission about debt collectors and telemarketing than anyone else. They even claim that more people complain to the FTC through PrivacyStar than through the FTC website itself. (The FTC says it doesn't have easily verifiable data on that claim.)
A final red flag? The app's terms and conditions allow the company to collect personal information including name, address, phone, email address, credit card information, mobile device information including ''unique device identifier,'' marketing interests and ''demographic information such as interests and ZIP code.''
The policy also gives the company permission to share this information with third parties.
Sounds a lot like the information Acxiom collects. Is this privacy app actually a snoop app? A creative way to collect more personal information about its customers under the guise of privacy?
Stalnaker, the PrivacyStar CEO, tells The Watchdog in a phone interview that all of those potential problems are nothing to worry about. Our red flags are false flags, he says.
The CEO says that Privacy-Star has no ties with Acxiom, does not collect personal data on customers other than a phone number and shares none of it with data brokers. He promises that the privacy app does its best to actually protect its customers' privacy.
For instance, the company does not take credit card information from customers. Instead, for Android phones, payment is made through Google Wallet, a separate pay system. For iPhone customers, payment goes through iTunes.
One problem with the app is that it works on Android phones, Stalnaker says, but its powers are limited on iPhones. Apple has strict rules about call blocking. Android phones are more open. That's why there's a price difference for the two types of phones.
For Android phone owners, PrivacyStar offers a real-time Caller ID system, reverse phone lookup for annoying numbers and Text ID (which is similar to Caller ID but for text messages).
The best-sounding Android feature is that PrivacyStar collects phone numbers of known scammers and debt collectors and blocks those from coming to your phone.
Stalnaker says, ''Every day we're tracking what numbers are used by scammers. When we identify that a phone number is used for this, we block those automatically for our user base. If you have our app on your phone, we block the known scammers.''
The iPhone version '-- called Lookup+ by PrivacyStar '-- can't block because of iPhone restrictions. But both versions offer a feature that allows customers to send the phone number of a scammer directly to the FTC complaint website. That's how PrivacyStar can claim that it provides so many complaints, Stalnaker says.
Of course, customers can do their own reverse phone lookups using whitepages.com for free. And as you probably know, not all scammers' numbers are available through Caller ID. So PrivacyStar doesn't always find the identity of the caller, although Stalnaker says the company can research numbers beyond Caller ID.
You don't need an app to complain to the FTC either.
I can't vouch for the app because, as an iPhone user, I couldn't test its best features. But it seems this app might help Android phone users who are harassed by debt collectors, who want to block calls from a specific person or who want to cut down the number of calls from known scammers.
Note that the app is not available for land lines.
Maybe now Jasmine and Ariel will leave The Watchdog alone and give me some privacy.
Coming Sunday: The Mafia in Dallas County.
Staff writer Marina Trahan Martinez contributed to this report.
Follow Dave Lieber on Twitter at @Dave Lieber.
LinkedIn partners with Acxiom for brand targeting - MarTech Today
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 15:00
With its half-billion users worldwide, LinkedIn contains a treasure trove of personal and professional data about businesspeople.
A marketer can target people on LinkedIn by their type of business, geography and other factors. Or a brand can export a list of email addresses for its customers and, through LinkedIn's Matched Audiences, target those customers on the professional site via addresses.
To help brands target their customers on LinkedIn, data service Acxiom '-- and its data onboarding subsidiary LiveRamp '-- have announced a product integration with LinkedIn.
Rick Erwin, President of the Acxiom Audience Solutions Division, told me that ''the number one reason'' why brands go through Acxiom to target LinkedIn users, when they could go to LinkedIn directly, ''is inertia.''
This arrangement is useful to the many brands that are his company's customers, he said, because Acxiom in effect acts as the brand's first-party data house. Their customer data is already in Acxiom, shined and ready.
Acxiom's customer data management includes not only cleaning or optimization to find the best customers, but matching it to conversion results '-- some of which come from offline sales '-- so that a brand can determine how well a particular campaign performed.
It's also possible that a brand might want to add a missing attribute to a customer list, such as car ownership for an insurance company's customer list of property owners, but Erwin said that wasn't a major focus of this announcement.
Acxiom has previously said that its database contains as many as 1,500 attributes for each customer profile.
Opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily MarTech Today. Staff authors are listed here.
About The Author Barry Levine covers marketing technology for Third Door Media. Previously, he covered this space as a Senior Writer for VentureBeat, and he has written about these and other tech subjects for such publications as CMSWire and NewsFactor. He founded and led the web site/unit at PBS station Thirteen/WNET; worked as an online Senior Producer/writer for Viacom; created a successful interactive game, PLAY IT BY EAR: The First CD Game; founded and led an independent film showcase, CENTER SCREEN, based at Harvard and M.I.T.; and served over five years as a consultant to the M.I.T. Media Lab. You can find him at LinkedIn, and on Twitter at xBarryLevine.
Acxiom Partners With 4Info For Mobile Retargeting And Attribution At Household Level 08/13/2013
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 14:59
by Steve Smith @popeyesm, August 13, 2013 Oneof the largest data and analytics providers to major brands, Acxiom is offering companies the ability to retarget their customers with mobile ads and offers. In a partnership with mobile ad techprovider 4Info, Acxiom customers will be able to match their first-party CRM data against 4Info's database of devices. By targeting a mobile ad campaign only to their own customer base, the marketershould then be able to see the impact of the campaigns on users through actual sales, the companies say.
''We have 152 million devices in 101 million homes,'' says 4Infro CMOChuck Moxley. The company uses a wide range of historical data along with geolocation to associate devices with specific households. In a client's Acxiom Collaboration Targeting Suite, the 4InfoAdHaven Bullseye product will be available to match CRM data against these households and deliver campaigns to the devices in them.
While the 4Info platform does not identify specific userswithin a household, Moxley says that the model usually maps well against the household level tracking that CPGs and other consumer brands often use. ''In most cases we find purchase decisions arehousehold decisions,'' says Moxley, although an advertiser can also target demographic segments within a household. 4Info says that by matching devices against households rather than people, theapproach does not expose any personally identifiable information.
Moxley says the partnership embodies the AdHaven Bullseye model the company has rolled out in recent months that useshousehold targeting that then can be tracked back to purchase. ''We know exactly which households we served ads to,'' he says. ''That data goes back to Acxiom and they can correlate itback to purchase data to see if people exposed to a mobile ad are purchasing more than those who are not exposed to a mobile ad.''
The companies also claim that the retargeting canachieve scale by working across the mobile Web and app platforms as well as Android and iOS operating systems.
Acxiom Releases Its Point of View on Ad Blocking - Acxiom
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 14:55
In my last blog post regarding the new IAB L.E.A.N. ads initiative, I mentioned that we would have more to say on the subject of ad blockers. Today, we are releasing a new Point of View on ad blocking, which is our detailed analysis of the current trends in ad blocking and what they mean for the digital media industry.
In some ways we are late to the party, as all the brouhaha about ad blocking spawned by the release of iOS 9 has now subsided. But for that very reason our timing is perfect, because we are past the point of knee-jerk responses and are entering a period where more thoughtful and data-driven conversations about the role of ad blockers can occur. Our Ad Blocking Point-of-View is intended to be thoughtful and thought-provoking. It is well-researched and hopefully will challenge at least some of the current assumptions that are taken as ''facts'' by the industry '' such as the current size of losses due to ad blocking. But we also hope it will provide clear guidance on what we think our clients should be doing to deal not only with ad blocking, but the underlying factors that have caused consumers to adopt the technology at an increasing rate.
You can download the full white paper by clicking here. But here is quick summary of our viewpoint:
The immediate impact of ad blocking in iOS 9 is overblown. The ad-pocalypse predicted for mobile is unlikely to occur, and the advertising industry has time to adapt to increasing viewer frustration with current advertising practices. Within four weeks, ad blockers have gone from two of the most popular apps in the iTunes store, with approximately 85,000 downloads a day, to effective invisibility. We do not expect ad blockers on mobile to achieve more than a 2-4% penetration in the US by the end of 2017. Still, we strongly advise advertisers and publishers to attend to viewers' frustrations with current advertising practices online and in mobile now to avoid a disaster in the future.Ad blocking potentially offers long-term benefits to online/mobile. The use of ad blockers indicates that the implicit bargain between publishers and viewers has gone awry. Ad blockers will force the equation back into balance, with significant long-term benefits to the ad industry. Short term, if ad blocker usage increases substantially, many advertisers and publishers will feel some short-term pain as they adapt to using more native ads, sponsored content and ''acceptable ad'' formats. Don't bet on industry-wide cooperation with ad blocker developers any time soon. The IAB has conceived its L.E.A.N principles initiative for the industry to engage around to counter ad blocking. Given that the IAB has called the fact that Ad Block Plus charges for being on its white list the extraction of ''mafia-like protection money'', there is clearly no desire to have Ad Block Plus or other ad blocking developers participate in any standards setting. So focus your efforts on L.E.A.N or similar initiatives driven directly by advertisers and publishers.Acxiom's Recommendations to Publishers:
Engage in conversations with your viewers around various strategies. Find out what bothers them most and which solutions they are most likely to tolerate.Follow the IAB's L.E.A.N principals. They are still new and evolving, but provide a good framework for adapting to the new reality of ad blockers.Shift your mix of media to more native advertising and sponsored content. Ad blockers find it difficult to distinguish native and sponsored content because they lack the telltale code snippets that ad blockers identify to block other formats.Implement the IAB's ad blocker sensing code along with intelligent ad serving. We do not recommend using this technology by itself. Instead, the ad blocker should be considered another signal used by ad serving algorithms that determines how ads are served to the viewer, which ads are served, in which format, and how often.Request viewers who use ad blockers to whitelist your site in return for implementing good practices. Good practices include those that viewers say they want, those that will emerge from the IAB's L.E.A.N initiative, as well as many of our recommendations.Consciously and judiciously use frequency caps on retargeting. We realize this technique yields the best return on ad spend (ROAS), but there are ways to implement that minimize the impact on viewers but have minimal impact on your results.Improve audience targeting with better recognition and data. Just undertaking smarter retargeting is insufficient. Serving more relevant content to viewers will increase their satisfaction with ads on your sites, reduce their likelihood of implementing ad blockers, and also reduce the impressions needed to maintain (or even increase) your ROAS.Paywalls. Set up an intelligent paywall. Numerous potential approaches exist. Which one is best for a specific publisher depends on its business model.Set up an intelligent ad recommendation engine. Provide ''an intelligent ad recommender'' on your site that allows viewers to tell you which types of ads are most acceptable, and then only serve those ad types, formats and content they tell you are of interest to them. If they truly do not want any ads, then you can decide how best to monetize those viewers without reducing your reach.
Open Garden - Acxiom
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 14:51
Unite Marketing at the Data LevelOpen Garden is a blueprint for a marketing and advertising ecosystem that's connected at the data layer. This is a golden age for marketers with a huge range of technologies that help you engage consumers, measure results, and optimize. Now you can build a ruthlessly efficient, symbiotic marketing ecosystem that delivers an unobstructed view of every customer '' from any channel.
Bring Together Martech and AdtechConnect your fragmented platforms, partners, applications and channels '' then deliver the personalized, omnichannel experiences your customers love.
Squeeze Value Out of All Your DataDrive better-informed decisions and more meaningful, successful interactions in every channel.
Increase Reach, Revenue, and ROIImprove your targeting, conversion, retention, loyalty and up-sell by using data to optimize offline and digital marketing.
Keep Up With the Pace of InnovationWork seamlessly with every major tech vendor and publisher without giving up control of your data or limiting your reach to any channel or application.
Webinar: An Open Discussion On Open GardensLearn from Sony, Heathrow Airport and Top Marketers about Open Garden
View Webinar We Architect and Build Your Open Garden InfrastructureA next-generation marketing stack that ingests, enhances, connects, activates, distributes and governs your marketing data.
We Help You Manage and Optimize Your Marketing Data OperationTo maintain data quality and embrace new channels and partners.
We Provide Neutral, Open Connectivity in an Acxiom Safe HavenTo share data between you and your partners without breaching privacy.
Unified Data LayerAcxiom's Unified Data Layer (UDL) breaks down data silos with an open, trusted data framework for creating an omnichannel view of your customers and connecting your martech and adtech ecosystem.
Managed ServicesHelps you build a next-generation marketing stack, manage your marketing data operations, and execute campaigns.
Integration ServicesWe provide the connective tissue across martech and adtech systems that allow you to maximize the value of an integrated, omnichannel consumer data foundation across all your marketing.
Digital Transformation ServicesMaximize the Value of Your Marketing Technologies with Digital Transformation Services
InfoBaseComprehensive consumer data on approximately 250 million U.S. addressable consumers for powerful audience insights and targeting.
Identity Solutions Enable exceptional experiences by leveraging nearly 50 years of expertise in global consumer data and omnichannel identity that deliver a robust suite of offerings that power people-based engagements everywhere.
Insights eBook: The Definitive Guide To Open Gardens Download eBook
Insights Forrester Report: The Strategic Role of Identity Resolution Read Report
Contact Us About Open Garden
The Purge
@TeamYouTube Not only are you now demonetizing initially, but now this is every video.... https://t.co/8c3RROv6vh" / Twitter
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 14:00
Log in Sign up ðŸ'® Tristen ðŸ'® (Nerdettes) @ tristen_just Wtf
@YouTube @TeamYouTube Not only are you now demonetizing initially, but now this is every video....
pic.twitter.com/8c3RROv6vh 12:44 PM - 20 Jul 2019 Twitter by: ðŸ'® Tristen ðŸ'® (Nerdettes) @tristen_just Ryan McEdgelord @ Metalngames
18h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube Tristen too spicy for YouTube apparently
View conversation · Jesse Spencer @ JeCull80
18h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube Why are they doing this to you now? Wth.
View conversation · Robert 'Staredcraft' Willing @ staredcraft
18h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube pic.twitter.com/tZ9hUhiZzQ View conversation · ðŸ'® Tristen ðŸ'® (Nerdettes) @ tristen_just
18h Replying to
@JeCull80 @YouTube @TeamYouTube I wish I knew
View conversation · RisingGear @ JessyLeger
18h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube You must have offended their corporate overlords.
View conversation · Alex The Burger Loving Ghost @ TheLibertyGhost
18h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube Not cool YouTube! You used to be fun and edgy!
View conversation · FRANCIS ZEN GAMER @ ZenVehicles
18h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube Make a second channel and then go hard on social media to let people know is the only fix at this point
View conversation · Chris Lee Jack @ ChrisLJackson_
18h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube Now YouTube just toying with you....
View conversation · ðŸ'® Tristen ðŸ'® (Nerdettes) @ tristen_just
18h Replying to
@ZenVehicles @YouTube @TeamYouTube You might be right
View conversation · Brians81 @ Brianscott81
18h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube YouTube
pic.twitter.com/XJtu7JN7qK View conversation · Marshal_Victory @ Marshal_Victory
18h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube I keep telling people Google is working hard on being the next Yahoo! An Youtube for them could have been the new media but bent the knee to the old media. So now it is just..
pic.twitter.com/fLapP8Qhbg View conversation · Dr Venkman @ RealDrVenkman
18h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube No one is allowed to be mean on YouTube anymore. Garbage was a red flag for the algorithm. Also I don't think they want people talking about SDCC for some reason lol
View conversation · The Abominable MrMordrid @ MrMordrid
18h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube Shit you pissed somebody off at Google
View conversation · H4ppyConquer0r91 @ conquer0r91
18h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube Wtf? Wow
@YouTube really doubling down on this safe space bullshit smh
pic.twitter.com/ICG0P05y6k View conversation · Dr Venkman @ RealDrVenkman
18h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube Also
pic.twitter.com/Hgvo7NeeQr View conversation · Deadpunk Gage @ DeadpunkG
18h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube So did they give you any credible reason why they're demonitizing you or is it just because they can?
View conversation · MOXROX1103 @ Moxtweets1
18h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube a few shows i mod have the same problem, and when they upload after the stream they are in suggested vids of children section. even tho its a paranormal show. YT is dirty
View conversation · JAM @ JAM_Creates
17h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube pic.twitter.com/HXZRlN9Xlc View conversation · Lord Nurgle @ The_Spore666
17h Replying to
@tristen_just @YouTube @TeamYouTube Yup they are purging I get it too on every vid as well
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Berkeley, California gender neutral: City to ban gendered language like "manhole cover," "manpower" and "firemen" after ordinance by Rigel Robinson passes - CBS News
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 20:16
Gender - The Space Between
The city of Berkeley, California, is banning some commonly used words in favor of more gender-neutral alternatives. "Manhole" and other gender-specific language will be eliminated from the municipal code.
An ordinance on gender neutral language, introduced by council member Rigel Robinson in March, was passed on Tuesday night, CBS San Francisco reports.
"In recent years, broadening societal awareness of transgender and gendernonconforming identities has brought to light the importance of non-binary gender inclusivity," Robinson's ordinance reads. "Therefore, it is both timely and necessary to make the environment of City Hall and the language of city legislation consistent with the principles of inclusion."
The ordinance includes a list of gendered terms in existing city code and the new gender-neutral terms that can be used to replace them.
"Bondsman" will now be "bonds-person," "firemen" and "firewomen" will now both be referred to as "firefighters," and "manpower" will be replaced with "human effort" or "workforce." Sororities and fraternities will now go by "Collegiate Greek system residence" and a pregnant woman will be referred to as a "pregnant employee."
The extensive list also includes instances where he, her, she and him are used in city code and the new pronouns that should be used. For example, if an attorney is mentioned, they will always be referred to as "the attorney" '-- not a gender pronoun such as him or her.
Supporters of the new policy say it is a small move in recognizing non-binary gender inclusivity. A second reading of the ordinance has been scheduled for next Tuesday, according to CBS San Francisco.
In 2018, the state of California stopped defining gender as just male or female and recognized non-binary as a third gender option on official documents. Then-Governor Jerry Brown signed SB179, also known as the Gender Recognition Act, which allows people to identify as non-binary on driver's licenses and birth certificates, and eases requirements for transgender people to change their gender on identification documents.
Maine and Washington D.C. have also made moves to recognize gender-neutral individuals on drivers licenses.
The Berkeley ordinance includes a lengthy list of "gendered terms" commonly found in the city code, and the "non-gendered" terms that should now be used instead.
The Berkeley ordinance includes a list of gendered terms in existing city code and the new gender-neutral terms that can be used to replace them. The City of Berkeley
When Democrats Threatened To Deport A Top Trump Aide, Media Yawned
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 20:57
The mainstream media can't stop talking about how President Trump is a racist for tweeting that four Democrat members of Congress can ''go back to where they came from.'' But when Democrats threatened to deport naturalized U.S. citizen Sebastian Gorka over phony allegations, the media yawned.
Reps. Ilhan Omar, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib '-- also known as ''The Squad'' '-- were spewing anti-Semitic rhetoric, calling Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi racist, and insinuating that if you aren't an activist for any non-white race or ethnicity, the Democrats don't need you.
''We will never be a Socialist or Communist Country. IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE,'' Trump tweeted.
We will never be a Socialist or Communist Country. IF YOU ARE NOT HAPPY HERE, YOU CAN LEAVE! It is your choice, and your choice alone. This is about love for America. Certain people HATE our Country'....
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019
'....They are anti-Israel, pro Al-Qaeda, and comment on the 9/11 attack, ''some people did something.'' Radical Left Democrats want Open Borders, which means drugs, crime, human trafficking, and much more'....
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019
'....Detention facilities are not Concentration Camps! America has never been stronger than it is now '' rebuilt Military, highest Stock Market EVER, lowest unemployment and more people working than ever before. Keep America Great!
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019
The media has gone absolutely wild over these tweets. CNN even hosted white nationalist Richard Spencer to weigh in on them in an attempt to associate Trump with his odious views.
Yet when Democrats spearheaded deportation efforts against former Trump adviser Sebastian Gorka, the media was silent. In 2017, Rep. Jerry Nadler (D-NY) asked the White House to hand over Gorka's immigration paperwork to the House Judiciary Committee. Gorka is a British-born Hungarian-American who was naturalized in 2012, five years before Nadler attempted to use state power to intimidate him.
Nadler cited a hit piece written by The Forward attempted to link Gorka to far-right anti-Semitic groups in Hungary. The headline of the article read: ''EXCLUSIVE: Nazi-Allied Group Claims Top Trump Aide Sebastian Gorka As Sworn Member.''
However, as David Harsanyi at The Federalist points out, the author of this hit piece admitted that there is no solid evidence for its headline or even the smears against him as an anti-Semite. The author concludes:
There is no evidence that Gorka himself has ever engaged in overtly anti-Semitic acts or participated in any of the Guard's activities. But Gorka and some of his political supporters have argued that he has fought anti-Semitism throughout his career. The newly available video footage signals that Gorka not only failed to fight anti-Semitism, but also supported an openly intolerant paramilitary group and publicly rejected the Jewish community's concerns about their own safety and the safety of other minorities due to the group's founding.
The Nazi-allied group in question is called the Vit(C)zi Rend. The Forward article claimed that Gorka wore a Vit(C)zi Rend medal during Trump's inauguration ball. However, after real journalists stepped in and asked Gorka what the medal stood for, we soon found out Gorka wears a 'V' pin to honor his father.
''Since childhood, I have occasionally worn my father's medal and used the 'V' initial to honor his struggle against totalitarianism,'' Gorka told The Tablet.
Despite the poor journalistic integrity of The Forward author, Nadler and other House Democrats still used her article to attack Gorka and the White House. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), and Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) pressed the departments of Homeland Security and Justice to confirm whether Gorka was under investigation for falsifying his U.S. naturalization application.
So, let me get this straight: Democrats want to use government power to threaten new U.S. citizens if they have right-leaning political ideologies, but we should let every foreign citizen who illegally enters the United States in and give them voting rights, no questions asked? This is political hypocrisy at its finest.
Omar's anti-Semitic tweets are legitimate proof of her horrific ideology. All Democrats had on Gorka was a poorly written article. Yet Democrats will not condemn Omar for her anti-Semitic rhetoric, while his association with the Trump administration is enough to trigger calls for deporting a U.S. citizen. The American people see through Democrats' obvious and ridiculous double-standard on race-related rhetoric.
Ambtenaren krijgen mogelijk training over 'wit en intersectioneel privilege' - AT5
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 12:54
De gemeente onderzoekt wat het kost om alle ambtenaren een zogenoemde privilegetraining te laten volgen. Ook wordt er onderzoek gedaan naar andere manieren om discriminatie op de arbeidsmarkt tegen te gaan.
Dat staat in het 'Werkplan Aanpak Arbeidsmarktdiscriminatie 2019-2020' van wethouder Rutger Groot Wassink (Diversiteit). De training moet over 'wit en intersectioneel privilege' gaan.
BIJ1-raadslid Sylvana Simons diende het voorstel voor de privilegetraining in maart in. De ChristenUnie, Denk, GroenLinks, Partij voor de Dieren en PvdA steunden het plan. Daarmee werd de motie, met de krapst mogelijke meerderheid, aangenomen door de gemeenteraad.
Lees ook: Niet-westerse sollicitant moet extra brieven schrijven voor positieve reactie
Het is de bedoeling dat het stadsbestuur aangenomen moties uitvoert, al mag het stadsbestuur wel aangeven dat niet te kunnen of willen. Dat deed burgemeester Halsema bijvoorbeeld nadat een meerderheid van de gemeenteraad een alcoholverbod op de grachten wilde. Halsema noemde dat 'onwenselijk'.
Naming & shamingIn het gisteren gepresenteerde werkplan van Groot Wassink staat verder onder meer dat de gemeente discriminatie door bedrijven wil tegengaan. 'De gemeente stelt de norm en maakt duidelijk dat discriminatie ontoelaatbaar is. Het college gaat daarbij naming & shaming niet uit de weg.'
Zo zal het onderzoeksbureau van de gemeente (OIS) uitspraken van het College voor de Rechten van de Mens over meldingen van discriminatie analyseren en publiceren. 'Doel is om te leren van de uitspraken.'
Lees ook: Wethouder snapt niets van kritiek op mystery guests bij sollicitatie
True ColorOok wordt er een 'serious game' over vooroordelen voor ambtenaren ontwikkeld. 'Deze serious game bestaat uit twee delen: True Color is een kort spel van 15 minuten gericht op bewustwording en 'Blend in, stand out '' Iedereen telt' is een uitgebreidere variant, waarin een team een dag een fictieve opdracht moet uitvoeren en waarin digitaal spelen en gezamenlijke reflectie elkaar afwisselen', schrijft de gemeente in het werkplan.
Eerder dit jaar werd al bekend dat de gemeente mystery guests in gaat zetten om het eigen sollicitatiebeleid te beoordelen. Deze methode wordt mogelijk ook toegepast bij bedrijven die plek bieden aan stagiaires. Hiervoor zou de gemeente in dat geval samenwerken met 'Doetank Peer' en 'Artikel 1'.
Lees ook: Wethouder wil met ROC mystery guests inzetten tegen arbeidsmarktdiscriminatie
Identieke CV'sDie twee organisaties willen twee identieke cv's naar veertig stagebedrijven uit verschillende sectoren sturen. 'Daarbij is (C)(C)n cv van een fictieve studente met een niet-westerse naam, waarbij een foto van een dame met hoofddoek wordt meegezonden en (C)(C)n cv van een studente met een westerse naam, waarbij een foto van een dame zonder hoofddoek staat', schrijft de gemeente.
De organisaties en de gemeente denken dat de sollicitant met westerse naam vaker wordt uitgenodigd. 'De bedrijven die voor de persoon met westerse naam hebben gekozen worden nagebeld om duiding te vragen. Van het gehele proces van begin tot eind zal een pakkende video worden gemaakt, waarin de reacties van de bedrijven worden verwerkt.'
Lees ook: Vier horecazaken krijgen waarschuwing na discriminatie aan de deur
De video zou daarna naar journalisten worden gestuurd om 'brede aandacht' voor het onderwerp te krijgen.
Boeing vs Airbus
Are Cellphones a Flight Danger? They Are on These Boeing Jets
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 12:04
(C) Photographer: Dado Galdieri/Bloomberg Inside The International Brazil Air Show (Bloomberg) -- U.S. government officials in 2014 revealed an alarming safety issue: Passenger cellphones and other types of radio signals could pose a crash threat to some models of Boeing 737 and 777 airplanes.
More than 1,300 jets registered in the U.S. were equipped with cockpit screens vulnerable to interference from Wi-Fi, mobile phones and even outside frequencies such as weather radar, according to the Federal Aviation Administration, which gave airlines until November 2019 to replace the units made by Honeywell International Inc.
Boeing 737-800 cockpit
Today, potentially hundreds of planes worldwide are still flying with the unsafe systems cited in the FAA report. Flight-critical data including airspeed, altitude and navigation could disappear and ''result in loss of airplane control at an altitude insufficient for recovery,'' the FAA said in the safety bulletin, known as an airworthiness directive.
Honeywell hasn't heard of any blanking display screens caused by cell phones or other radio frequencies while an airplane was in flight, spokeswoman Nina Krauss said. When airlines and Honeywell argued that radio signals were unlikely to cause safety problems during flight, though, the FAA countered that it had run tests on in-service planes -- and the jets flunked.
Boeing Co. found the interference in a laboratory test in 2012 and hasn't seen similar issues on other aircraft, a company spokesman said. Honeywell is aware of only one case where all six display units in a 737 cockpit went blank, Krauss said. The cause was a software problem that has been fixed and is currently being flight-tested, she said.
The affected 737s are the so-called Next Generation model, a predecessor of the Boeing Max, which was involved in two crashes in less than five months. Cockpit displays on the Max were made by Rockwell Collins, now a unit of United Technologies Corp., not Honeywell. Boeing's 777s also were covered by the FAA order.
The FAA order didn't quantify the amount of radio signals needed to cause interference problems. Still, the radio-signal threat extends beyond that specific display system and FAA warning.
Numerous cell phones left on during any airplane flight ''could be a real problem," said professor Tim Wilson, department chair for electrical, computer, software and systems engineering at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. The greater the number of phones emitting radio signals, he said, the greater the potential for interference with a plane's flight system.
Airplane ModeMany airlines now permit passengers to turn their phones to ''airplane mode," which allows Wi-Fi transmissions. But mobile phones operate at higher power levels, Wilson said, since the signals must reach a cell tower and not just a local antenna or router. ''So cellular service is potentially more impactful," he added.
The FAA in 2013 began the process of allowing wider use of electronic devices on planes, provided airlines could demonstrate it was safe. That prompted an outcry from consumer groups concerned about passengers being subjected to the cellphone conversations of seatmates.
No U.S. airlines allowed it and, in 2018, Congress barred the use of cellphones for calls during flights.
Honeywell initially told the FAA that 10,100 display units -- or the equivalent of almost 1,700 planes -- were affected worldwide. When asked this week about the progress of the fixes, Honeywell's Krauss said that 8,000 components had been replaced and fewer than 400 needed upgrading.
The lower number reflects the fact that some airlines might have had the work performed at non-Honeywell facilities, and regulators in other regions of the world might not have ordered the units replaced. In addition, some planes might have been taken out of service due to age.
Depending on how many planes are still in service, the global number flying with display units that could cause critical data to disappear could be in the hundreds. But Krauss said that ''even if a blanking incident were to occur," the units are backed up by multiple redundancies.
Both Delta Air Lines Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. have completed their overhauls, according to the companies. American Airlines Group Inc. has 14 more jets that need refurbished units, and United Airlines still needs to replace components across 17 aircraft, representatives from those companies said.
Ryanair Holdings Plc, the large Irish-based discount carrier, told the FAA in 2014 that its planes held 707 of the affected Honeywell units and argued at the time that changing out all of them ''is imposing a high, and unnecessary, financial burden on operators.'' A Ryanair spokeswoman said the airline hasn't upgraded all 707 screens but that the carrier inspected all of its display units and ''any affected DUs have been replaced.''
'Potentially Disastrous'In just the past three years, mystified pilots flying Boeing NG or 777 jets -- the same models cited in the FAA warning on cellphones -- have reported more than a dozen instances of important flight information disappearing. Calling the situations ''critical,'' the pilots filed their concerns with the Aviation Safety Reporting System, or ASRS, which is administered by NASA.
Last September, pilots of a 737-700 noticed that various flight information was flashing on and off, and showing different air speeds and altitudes. Then a primary display unit went blank. ''At that time,'' the pilots wrote, ''we decided it was best to get the aircraft on the ground.''
In January 2017, pilots of a 737 flying out of Costa Rica lost all of their map displays and the flight-management computers on both sides of the plane ''during a critical phase of flight in mountainous terrain,'' according to the crew's ASRS report. If the flight information had disappeared in bad weather or at night, ''it could have been a potentially disastrous outcome,'' the pilot wrote.
Later that year, the captain of a 737-800 reported that key flight data intermittently disappeared as the jet was climbing through turbulence and the screens blanked even more during the descent. After the plane landed, maintenance crews couldn't find any reason for the blanking display units. ''Due to no known cause for a known recurring problem,'' the pilot reported to ASRS, ''I refused the aircraft for the next leg.''
The NASA-administered database scrubs the reports of identifying details, including names of airlines, pilots and usually the locations. Aviation experts caution that the ASRS filings are based on crew reports and don't provide official findings. And blanking display screens haven't been cited in crashes, only in scary incidents.
Two years ago, the pilot of a 737-800 reported multiple episodes of important flight information ''blanking or simply not functioning,'' including an incident where the plane flew into a wind shear due to lack of data. ''The so-called momentary blanking," the pilot wrote, ''is a puzzle."
--With assistance from Thomas Black, Justin Bachman, Christopher Jasper and Jonathan Morgan.
To contact the reporter on this story: Anita Sharpe in Atlanta at asharpe6@bloomberg.net
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Flynn McRoberts at fmcroberts1@bloomberg.net, Elizabeth Wasserman
For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com
Related video: Boeing 737 Max planes could be grounded into next year, reports say [via Yahoo Finance]
Cellphones a Flight Danger? Could Be on Some Boeing Jets - Bloomberg
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 15:50
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Labor fight roils Bernie Sanders campaign, as workers demand the $15 hourly pay the candidate has proposed for employees nationwide - The Washington Post
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 03:34
Unionized campaign organizers working for Sen. Bernie Sanders's presidential effort are battling with its management, arguing that the compensation and treatment they are receiving does not meet the standards Sanders espouses in his rhetoric, according to internal communications.
Campaign field hires have demanded an annual salary they say would be equivalent to a $15-an-hour wage, which Sanders for years has said should be the federal minimum. The organizers and other employees supporting them have invoked the senator's words and principles in making their case to campaign manager Faiz Shakir, the documents reviewed by The Washington Post show.
Sanders has made standing up for workers a central theme of his presidential campaigns '-- this year marching with McDonald's employees seeking higher wages, pressing Walmart shareholders to pay workers more and showing solidarity with university personnel on strike. The independent from Vermont has proudly touted his campaign as the first presidential effort to unionize its employees, and his defense of the working class has been a signature element of his brand of democratic socialism and a rallying cry for the populist movement he claims to lead.
Details about the negotiations between Shakir and the union representing Sanders's campaign workers have not been publicly reported until now. A review of emails, instant messages and other documents obtained by The Post show that the conflict dates back to at least May and remains unresolved. The documents were provided to The Post on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the private talks.
The Sanders campaign late Thursday issued a statement lauding its union contract. ''We know our campaign offers wages and benefits competitive with other campaigns, as is shown by the latest fundraising reports,'' Shakir said. ''Every member of the campaign, from the candidate on down, joined this movement in order to defeat Donald Trump and transform America. Bernie Sanders is the most pro-worker and pro-labor candidate running for president. We have tremendous staff who are working hard. Bernie and I both strongly believe in the sanctity of the collective bargaining process and we will not deviate from our commitment to it.''
It was unclear when or whether Sanders had been made aware of the situation.
In a statement issued earlier Thursday night, the union representing the campaign workers, United Food & Commercial Workers Local 400, said it could not comment ''on specific, ongoing internal processes between our members and their employer.''
''As union members, the Bernie 2020 campaign staff have access to myriad protections and benefits secured by their one-of-a-kind union contract, including many internal avenues to democratically address any number of ongoing workplace issues, including changes to pay, benefits, and other working conditions,'' the statement said.
''We look forward to continuing to work closely with our members and the management of the Bernie 2020 campaign to ensure all workers have dignity and respect in the workplace.''
A draft letter union members earlier had prepared to send Shakir as soon as this week said that the field organizers ''cannot be expected to build the largest grassroots organizing program in American history while making poverty wages. Given our campaign's commitment to fighting for a living wage of at least $15.00 an hour, we believe it is only fair that the campaign would carry through this commitment to its own field team.''
The draft letter estimated that field organizers were working 60 hours per week at minimum, dropping their average hourly pay to less than $13. It said that ''many field staffers are barely managing to survive financially, which is severely impacting our team's productivity and morale. Some field organizers have already left the campaign as a result.''
Field organizers are the lowest caste in politics apart from unpaid volunteers '-- often people in their 20s who uproot themselves and move to far-flung parts of the country to work long hours and gain campaign experience in high-stress environments.
By encouraging these workers to unionize, Sanders and his campaign opened a path to negotiate for more than the low wages that typically have prevailed in past campaigns. They are seizing the opportunity.
The Sanders campaign made history in March when it announced that all employees below the rank of deputy director would be represented by a union.
''We're honored that his campaign will be the first to have a unionized workforce,'' Shakir said in a statement at the time. Other campaigns have followed suit, with workers unionizing in at least two other active campaigns: those of Sens. Elizabeth Warren (Mass.) and former housing secretary Julin Castro.
The union and the Sanders campaign reached a collective bargaining agreement that went into effect on May 2 and expires on March 31, 2021. The agreement established wage classifications for national and state staff, ranging from $15 an hour for interns and canvassers to $100,000 annual salaries for bargaining unit deputies.
Field organizers, who are on the front lines of the campaign's crucial voter contact efforts, were to be paid not by hours worked but via an annual salary set at $36,000. Regional field directors were to be paid $48,000 annually, and statewide department directors were allocated $90,000 per year.
It was not completely clear why the wage dispute began so swiftly after the campaign and the union reached the initial agreement, though at that point the campaign had yet to assemble its sprawling roster of field organizers. But on May 17, Shakir convened an all-staff meeting, during which he recommended raising the pay for field organizers to $42,000 and changing the workweek specifications, according to an email he later wrote to staff. The union draft indicated he was seeking to extend the workweek to six days.
Shakir pressed for a swift vote so he could make budget decisions and decide how many field organizers to hire, according to his email.
The union rejected his offer, because the raise would have elevated field staff to a pay level responsible for paying more of their own health-care costs, according to the draft proposal the union was preparing this week.
The campaign workers decided to press harder. On July 11, dozens logged into Slack, the popular instant-messaging service used by the campaign's employees, and began bombarding Shakir with appeals to raise pay for field organizers.
''Hi @Faiz,'' the messages began. They poured in from across the country.
''I am struggling financially to do my job, and in my state, we've already had 4 people quit in the past 4 weeks because of financial struggles,'' wrote one field organizer. Another employee said his co-workers ''shouldn't have to get payday loans to sustain themselves.''
A third said he supported the demands for higher wages ''because I need to be able to feed myself.'' A fourth quoted a line Sanders often uses in speeches, writing, ''As you know, real change never takes place from the top on down, it always takes place from the bottom on up.''
The messages caught Shakir's attention, and later that day he sent an email to the staff thanking them for their comments. ''I do believe you are owed an explanation for the situation we find ourselves in,'' he wrote in an email obtained by The Post.
In his email, Shakir recapped his thinking from May 17 and expressed regret with the outcome.
''I have no idea what debates and conversations were had, but candidly, it was a disappointing vote from my perspective,'' he wrote of the union's decision to reject his proposal. ''But the campaign leadership respected the union process and the will of the membership.''
Shakir said that it would be damaging to the campaign's budget to implement a pay hike after expanding field staff based on previously planned salary figures. In conclusion, he said, he would negotiate the matter only through the channels established by the union arrangement.
This week, the union, in conjunction with the Sanders campaign staffers it represents, has been preparing to send Shakir a new proposal. According to a draft of the proposal obtained by The Post, they are asking for $46,800 for field organizers and $62,400 for regional field directors.
The draft also asked the campaign to cover 100 percent of the health-care costs for employees making $60,000 per year or less. Under the current agreement, the campaign pays all premiums for salaried employees making $36,000 or less per year. Those making more are covered at a rate of 85 percent.
It also requested that the campaign reimburse field staff for automobile transportation at $0.58 per mile.
''We expect negotiations and concessions to be given to this committee by July 31st at the latest, given the urgent nature of raising pay for Field staff and the unsustainability of the current situation,'' the draft said.
Sanders, meanwhile, has continued his push for a $15-an-hour wage across the country, hailing the bill recently passed by the House to set that as the federal minimum. In an online video, his campaign featured an Iowa woman who has fought cancer and says she is struggling on $8.25 an hour from her job at McDonald's.
''Today, we say as loudly and clearly as we can to McDonald's: Pay your workers a living wage and negotiate with a union!'' Sanders says as the video concludes.
Off to the Races: An Analysis of the First 2020 Democratic Primary Debates | Wordwatchers
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 03:37
Off to the Races: An Analysis of the First 2020 Democratic Primary DebatesJune 28, 2019
Kayla N. JordanUniversity of Texas at Austin
While candidates for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination have already been campaigning for months, the primary season hit a new phase this week with the first debates between the candidates. Here, in the first of several blog posts about the 2020 election, I use computer-based text analysis methods to start to get a sense of the psychology of the candidates. Rather than their positions or policies, the goal of these posts will be to understand the candidates as people by considering questions like how are they thinking, how are they relating to other people, and how are they communicating their ideas.
The system the majority of the analyses will rely on is a program developed in the Pennebaker Lab at UT Austin called Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count, or LIWC2015 (available for academic research at liwc.net or for commercial application at Receptivit.com). LIWC can analyze any text to determine the percentage of words in the text indicative of negative emotion and cognitive processing and 80+ other dimensions. LIWC has been used in hundreds of studies in multiple disciplines ranging from psychology to business to medicine to political science to computer science. To learn more about some of these studies, check out this link.
So what can LIWC tell us about the 2020 presidential candidates? As the election season unfolds I will be looking at many dimensions including motivations, confidence, and time orientation, but for now I want to look at three central psychological dimensions: thinking style, emotional tone, and authenticity. Also, rather than cramming in all 20 candidates, I am going to focus on the ten candidates who, at the moment at least, seem to have the best chances of securing the nomination: Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Beto O'Rourke, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, Julian Castro, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and Kristen Gillibrand.
Thinking Style
People naturally differ in the ways that they think and communicate ideas. On one end of the spectrum, there are people who are very analytic, logical thinkers. Analytic thinkers organize their ideas in formal, hierarchical ways focusing on concepts and ideas. On the other end of the spectrum are people who think in narrative, intuitive ways. Narrative thinkers organize their ideas more informally, often telling stories and focusing on people and actions. Linguistically, analytic thinkers use more articles and prepositions while narrative thinkers use more pronouns, auxiliary verbs, adverbs, negations, and conjunctions. Check out this link or this link to learn more about the research on analytic thinking. So where do the Democratic candidates fall on this spectrum?
The Analytic Thinkers: Of the 10 candidates, 3 stand-out as the most analytic: Buttigieg, Gillibrand, and Sanders. These candidates talked about their policies and ideas in logical ways. They relied more on facts and figures focusing on concepts and details rather than stories and anecdotes. For example, take Bernie Sanders. When talking about his health care plans, he laid out the problem, gave statistics, and stated his proposals rarely making his positions personal.
The Narrative Thinkers: On the narrative end of the spectrum, Klobuchar, Biden, and Castro stand out. Unlike their analytic counterparts, they tell stories and anecdotes focusing on people and actions more than concepts and abstractions. Rather than making structured arguments, these candidates communicates their ideas in looser, more informal ways. Compare Biden's discussion of health care to Sanders'. Where Sanders gave impersonal arguments, Biden connected his policy plans to his families' personal experiences with cancer.
The In-Between Thinkers: Rather than falling on either end of the spectrum, four candidates fall somewhere in the middle: Harris, Booker, O'Rourke, and Warren. Drawing on both styles, these four candidates use both formal, logical structures as well as stories and personal experience. For example, when Elizabeth Warren talked about gun violence she used not only statistics and structured policy proposals but also anecdotes from her time on the campaign trail talking to voters.
Note. Analytic thinking scores are standardized composite scores ranging from 0 (most narrative) to 100 (most analytic).
Emotional Tone
Emotion has become a central feature of political campaigns and has been studied in a variety of ways such as fear appeals and negative advertising. Here, however, I focus on what the use of emotional language might say about a person's general outlook. A more optimistic, upbeat outlook is indicated by positive emotional words such as love, respect, and happy. A more pessimistic outlook is indicated by the use of negative emotional words such as anger, death, and hurt. What were the candidates' emotional outlooks in the first debates?
The Optimists: Three candidates were high in positivity: Gillibrand, Harris, and Klobuchar. These three women candidates all presented optimistic, upbeat messages. Gillibrand and Klobuchar, in particular, come across as affable during the debates occasionally mixing in humor and provide hopeful views of the future.
The Pessimists: Four candidates were on the negative side: Buttigieg, Sanders, Biden, and Booker. These candidates presented less positive images painting more pessimistic views of the future. Bernie Sanders was the clearest representation of negativity. For Sanders, there are many serious problems that must be addressed immediately and decisively to avoid a future filled with doom and gloom.
The Realists: The three remaining candidates fell in the middle: Warren, Castro, and O'Rourke. For these three candidates, their outlook is mixed with serious, urgent problems needing solutions, but with a hopeful outlook that such problems are solvable.
Note. Tone scores are standardized scores ranging from 0 (most negative) to 100 (most positive).
Politicians are often portrayed as less than honest, hence a final important dimension to consider is authenticity. Individual high on authenticity come across as honest and straightforward while those low on authenticity come across as evasive and impersonal. Linguistically, studies have found that authentic individuals tend to use more I-words, present-tense verbs, and relativity words (e.g. old, far, here) and fewer she-he words and discrepancy words (e.g. could, should). How authentic are the Democratic candidates?
The Most Authentic: The most authentic candidate was Pete Buttigieg closely followed Sanders and Castro with Booker is a somewhat distant fourth. In their debates, Buttigieg and Castro, in particular, came across open and personal giving straightforward, clear answers to questions. Warren, Klobuchar, Biden, and Gillibrand fall in the middle of pack, but were slightly closer to the authentic candidates than to the inauthentic candidates. These four generally came across as straight-forward and personal but with moments of distance and evasion.
The Least Authentic: The least authentic candidate was Beto O'Rourke with Kamala Harris in a close second. O'Rourke was particularly striking in the debates. Despite the large amount of attention he received in his 2018 Senate Run, O'Rourke during the first debate came across as distant and impersonal often giving responses seeming robotic and rehearsed.
Note. Authenticity scores are composite standardized scores ranging from 0 (least authentic) to 100 (most authentic). In political contexts, the range is generally limited with scores effectively ranging from 0 to 50.
Going Forward
These are just a few initial insights into the 2020 Democratic candidates, and as we gather more data throughout the primary season, we will gradually gain a clearer sense of who these candidates are and how they might behave as leaders. That said, there is one broad takeaway from this first look at the 2020 candidates. While many of the candidates have similar (or even identical) policy positions, the analysis presented here shows the candidates have very different personalities and communication styles. The ideological similarities between candidates in a primary election can make choosing between them difficult, and I hope that the psychological views on the candidates that I will be presenting in these blog posts can provide additional information for voters who want another perspective of the candidates.
Check back later for further insights of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates as I analyze the debates and other (linguistically) interesting campaign events this election cycle. For more information on this project, contact Kayla Jordan (kaylajordan@utexas.edu). For more information about LIWC, check out this link.
Four Horsewomen
Father of Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib Says She Lied About Where She Lived to Get Elected
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 03:32
The father of U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) said that his daughter lied about where she lived in order to get elected.
Tlaib's father Harbi Elabed made the accusation during a March 2010 interview with The Detroit News.
The newspaper article was scrubbed from the internet when The Detroit News migrated to a new website but was available in a subscription-based digital archive, according to the Daily Wire, a conservative news outlet that uncovered the article.
In an affidavit, Tlaib claimed that she lived in a house at 9123 Rathbone in Detroit. But the house at that location was owned in part by her father, who said that she didn't live there.
Here's the March 11, 2010, report in The Detroit News pic.twitter.com/rFe5lH0iLt
'-- Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) May 3, 2019
''She lied,'' Elabed said. ''She lied big-time to get elected. I never teach her that way. I teach her the right way. It's my house. She didn't live there. She lived in Dearborn in her house with her husband and boy.''
Dearborn was not a part of the district that Tlaib was elected to represent. While there's no law that says a person must spend a particular amount of time at any of their houses, enabling politicians to have multiple houses and spend most of their time outside their district if they wish, perjury is an offense punishable by up to five years in prison and a $1,000 fine.
Tlaib said that her father was wrong.
''People have questioned that a lot, but never my father and I'm sad about that. The point is I complied with the law. I moved into the district before I filed. Period,'' she said. She claimed to have bills proving where she lived but never produced them.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) in Washington on Jan. 3, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)The article revealed bad blood between Elabed and Tlaib, the former claiming it stemmed from her siding against him in a custody battle, calling it ''a complete breach of family values.''
Tlaib claimed that her father abused her when she was a girl, adding: ''What do they say, you can't choose your family?''
Tlaib, a Muslim, is part of a group of congresswomen elected in late 2018 representing the far-left wing of the Democratic Party, advocating for a slew of socialist proposals, such as the Green New Deal and ''Medicare for All.''
Tlaib has come under fire for a number of reasons, including having prominent backers who posted pro-terror content and saying she feels more Palestinian in Congress than anywhere else.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) in Washington on Jan. 3, 2019. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)In a recent interview, Tlaib said that she was ''really afraid of my fellow Americans'' after the Islamist terror attack on the twin towers on 9/11.
''I was probably my second year in law school when 9/11 happened. And I was'--I was really terrified of what was going to happen to my husband, who's only a green card holder at the time,'' she told Makers, a feminist media brand.
''I immediately called my brothers and told them to be very careful who you hang out with, telling my sisters, you know, just be real careful out there, and being really afraid of my fellow Americans. It really pushed me to be more involved, and I got really curious and really angry. And I think that combination got me, you know, in front of a number of issues in the city of Detroit.
After she used an expletive against Trump in a rant earlier this year calling for his impeachment, over 200,000 people signed a petition calling for her removal.
Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 04:55
Photo credit: MinnPostOn October 22, 2008, the U.S. State Department stopped accepting applications for the Priority 3/Refugee Family Reunification program '-- the process by which refugees can apply for asylum if one family member is already a legal U.S. resident. State halted the program because DNA testing '-- primarily of Somalis '-- had concluded that perhaps 87 percent of applicants were fraudulently claiming family relationships.
Despite continuing war, Somalia of 2008 was not comparable to the open hell of the early 1990s, when an eight-year-old Ilhan and her family fled to Kenya's Dadaab refugee camps. She lived there from 1991 until 1995, aged eight to 12. Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services then helped Ilhan, her sister Sahra, and their father Nur Said receive asylum in the United States along with thousands of other Somalis.
The complicated moral question of fraud, let alone fault, among this 1990s wave of refugees escaping civil war will never be answered with accurate statistics. We will have to settle for adjectives like ''widespread'' and ''rampant.'' Yet the negative outcomes cannot be ignored. Even refugees with strong desire to assimilate with Western civic order are hampered by the possible discovery of conflicting documents. And compromising information becomes leverage in a community already difficult to police.
Twelve-year-old Ilhan had no say on the manner in which she arrived in the United States.
However, U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Abdullahi Omar (D-MN) is now under scrutiny for acts she took beginning in 2009 '-- not 1995. In 2009, Omar was a 26-year-old U.S. citizen. She had been a U.S. citizen for nearly nine years.
Additionally, the foreign national Omar apparently helped commit fraud was not fleeing hell in 2009, either. Ahmed Nur Said Elmi was a long-time citizen of the United Kingdom. He even possessed a high school diploma from the United States: Elmi attended a St. Paul, Minnesota high school for his senior year of 2002-2003, and graduated before returning to London.
We look to 1995 not to incriminate a kid, but to answer questions about what Omar did 14 years later as an adult U.S. citizen.
Please read the verified evidence below '-- and read it alongside the three years of verified evidence published by Scott Johnson, Preya Samsundar, and myself (our work is linked here). The answers to those questions about 2009 appear to give probable cause to investigate Omar for eight instances of perjury, immigration fraud, marriage fraud, up to eight years of state and federal tax fraud, two years of federal student loan fraud, and even bigamy.
To be clear: The facts describe perhaps the most extensive spree of illegal misconduct committed by a House member in American history.
The proceeding information was given to me by multiple sources within the Minneapolis Somali community. The verifiable evidence corroborating their information follows below:
In 1995, Ilhan entered the United States as a fraudulent member of the ''Omar'' family.
That is not her family. The Omar family is a second, unrelated family which was being granted asylum by the United States. The Omars allowed Ilhan, her genetic sister Sahra, and her genetic father Nur Said to use false names to apply for asylum as members of the Omar family.
Ilhan's genetic family split up at this time. The above three received asylum in the United States, while Ilhan's three other siblings '-- using their real names '-- managed to get asylum in the United Kingdom.
Ilhan Abdullahi Omar's name, before applying for asylum, was Ilhan Nur Said Elmi.
Her father's name before applying for asylum was Nur Said Elmi Mohamed. Her sister Sahra Noor's name before applying for asylum was Sahra Nur Said Elmi. Her three siblings who were granted asylum by the United Kingdom are Leila Nur Said Elmi, Mohamed Nur Said Elmi, and Ahmed Nur Said Elmi.
Ilhan and Ahmed married in 2009, presumably to benefit in some way from a fraudulent marriage. They did not divorce until 2017.
Above: This chart summarizes how multiple sources in the Minneapolis Somali community describe key events in the life of MN Representative Ilhan Abdullahi Omar '-- whom these sources state was born as ''Ilhan Nur Said Elmi.''
Confirming some of the above information, as it might appear on their 1995 U.S. immigration papers, is not difficult. A basic background search shows that ''Nur Omar Mohamed,'' ''Ilhan Abdullahi Omar,'' and ''Sahra Noor'' all received SSNs in 1995 or 1996 in Virginia. Verified address records show adult members of the Omars living at three addresses in Arlington, Virginia at that time: 1223 South Thomas Street, 1226 South Thomas Street, and 1107 South Thomas Street.
The United Kingdom records of the relevant individuals are similarly easy to find. Try with a simple Ancestry.com account and similar online tools: There appears to be only one ''Leila Nur Said Elmi,'' only one ''Mohamed Nur Said Elmi,'' and only one ''Ahmed Nur Said Elmi'' in the UK.
The remaining evidence below verifies a sibling relationship between Ilhan and Ahmed.
Sahra Noor is the only person Ilhan Omar has ever publicly identified as her sister. Ilhan and Sahra have also, publicly and often, referred to the same man as their father. And, per Preya Samsundar's 2016 investigation, they both identified this man as ''Nur Said'':
The above image, a screenshot of Sahra Noor's confirmed Facebook account, was first published by Preya Samsundar in 2016.
He also identifies himself as ''Nur Said''.
See below '-- this is a screenshot of his current Facebook account. As of this article's publication, it is active and searchable by anyone online. (I have archived his page with archive.is):
Note this thumbnail of ''Leyla Cilmi,'' listed as a friend of Nur Said.
In 2018, as I published a series of articles investigating Ilhan's past, this account name changed from ''Leila Elmi'' to ''Leyla Cilmi.''
However, the URL did not change. It still refers to ''leila.elmi'':
Below, see the 1997 marriage certificate for the only Leila Nur Said Elmi listed in the United Kingdom.
I retrieved this certified copy from a government records center in London in February of this year; note the date in the document's lower right corner. This is a public record. Anyone can retrieve this document to verify its authenticity.
See that Leila attests to her father's name being ''Nur Said Elmi'':
So far, we have verifiable evidence that Ilhan Abdullahi Omar, Sahra Noor, and Leila Nur Said Elmi referring to their respective fathers as ''Nur Said'' or ''Nur Said Elmi.''
Next, we have verifiable evidence showing the three are sisters, and are all referring to the same man.'--'--'--'--'--'--''
See below: These two posts appeared on Ilhan Omar's confirmed Instagram account in 2013 and 2015, respectively. (Instagram user ''hameey'' became the blue-checked ''IlhanMN'' account at some point in 2016. A cursory search through older posts on the ''IlhanMN'' account still reveals many instances of commenters addressing ''IlhanMN'' as ''hameey.'')
In August 2016 '-- after Scott Johnson and Preya Samsundar originally broke the story about Ilhan's curious marriage '-- the below post disappeared from Ilhan Omar's Instagram account.
However, a source within the Minneapolis Somali community had downloaded much of Omar's Instagram account before posts were deleted.
The source recently reviewed these two deleted posts, recognized their significance, and sent them to me via email. I made these emails available to Power Line to confirm how I received these posts, and to confirm that this particular source had provided several other pieces of information that had proven authentic and verifiable:
You are looking at what appears to be Leila Elmi, Nur Said, and Ilhan Omar '-- together. According to Ilhan, they are pictured on an August 2011 trip to East Africa.
Now, see below: You are looking at what appears to be Leila Elmi in white, Ilhan in black, and Ilhan's amazing caption in red:
Further, the above post, with the #londontrip hashtag, depicts Ilhan Omar's infamous 2015 trip to the UK. This is the same trip on which Ilhan was photographed with Ahmed Nur Said Elmi himself:
Below, see one more piece of evidence establishing Leila Elmi as Ilhan's sister. This post is currently live, and I have archived it.
In December 2016, Ilhan reported that she was harassed by a cab driver while in Washington, D.C. attending meetings. She claimed that the cab driver called her ''ISIS'' and threatened to remove her hijab. A few days later, Ilhan filed a report with the D.C. Department of For-Hire Vehicles and the D.C. Office of Human Rights.
Ilhan initially stated that she was accompanied in the cab by her ''sister.'' A Star Tribune reporter in 2016 claimed to have a copy of her complaint, and that it stated she had been in the cab with her sister.
I few months ago, I received a copy of Ilhan's report via FOIA request. The description of the person Ilhan had been in the cab with was redacted.
Suleiman Axoow, per his profile, is a frequent host of social events for the Washington, D.C. Somali-American community. On December 9, 2016, Suleiman Axoow stated that he was with Ilhan soon after the cab incident:
On Wednesday night I had an opportunity to have dinner with State Representative-Elect Ilhan Omar & her lovely sis Leila Elmi '...
Check the ''Edit History'' on Suleiman's Axoow's post. He even initially included a link to the Leila Elmi/Leyla Cilmi account:
It is not plausible to believe that Axoow simply made a mistake.
One would have to believe that Axoow:
Had dinner with Ilhan and a second woman;that the woman was introduced to him as any other person alive;and that a couple days later he made the 1-in-7-billion mistake of misremembering this woman as Ilhan Omar's ''lovely sis Leila Elmi.'' A random name of a woman from England he has no clear reason to know.Ilhan has steadfastly refused to give media the names of any of her siblings besides Sahra Noor. The only rational explanation: Leila Elmi was in the United States to visit Ilhan Omar, attended this dinner with her, and Ilhan (carelessly?) introduced her as Axoow describes.
We now have verifiable evidence that Ilhan Omar, Sahra Noor, and Leila Elmi are siblings with a father named Nur Said Elmi.
All that remains is to verify our sources' claims that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi is indeed Leila Nur Said Elmi's brother.
We have a great, easy start: Leila and Ahmed already appear to be two of the only three ''Nur Said Elmis'' in the United Kingdom.
Next, view the marriage certificate again: It attests that Leila Nur Said Elmi lived in Camden, a borough of London, in 1997, and that she was 24 years old at the time.
Ahmed Nur Said Elmi was 12 in 1997. Per his own admission, he attended a school in Camden for students aged 11 to 18: Haverstock School. (See its address here; ''Camden'' is in the school's URL: https://www.haverstock.camden.sch.uk/.)
This link on Ahmed's confirmed Facebook account is currently live, and I have archived the page:
(Note that he lists his current location as ''Nairobi, Kenya.'' See here for definitive evidence that Ahmed has recently been working in Nairobi with '-- of all people '-- Sahra Noor.)
Back in August 2016, Preya Samsundar posted two finds now worth revisiting:
Ahmed Nur Said Elmi's Instagram post calling two young twin girls with a backpack from a primary school in Camden his ''nieces.'' Ilhan's Instagram account ''loved'' the post.Ilhan's Instagram post picturing herself with the same twin girls. Ilhan marked her location as ''Camden Lock Village.'' Ilhan also calls the girls ''her nieces.'' The post is yet another that is tagged #londontrip from 2015.The twin girls are, indeed, the daughters of Leila Nur Said Elmi. This can be confirmed by anyone through posts that are currently active on Mohamed Nur Said Elmi's Facebook account.
We now have verifiable evidence that:
Sahra Noor, Ilhan Omar, and Leila Elmi are siblings with a father named Nur Said Elmi.Leila Elmi and Ahmed Nur Said Elmi both lived in the same neighborhood of London, and know each other.Both Ilhan Omar and Ahmed Nur Said Elmi call Leila Elmi's children ''nieces.'''--'--'--'--'--'--''
Earlier this year, a source gave me one more piece of information that would inform UK law enforcement '-- if granted a warrant '-- where to locate conclusive proof that Ahmed Nur Said Elmi married his sister Ilhan Omar.
Ahmed Nur Said Elmi apparently arrived in the United Kingdom in 1995 or 1996, only 10 or 11 years old, without a parent. Who looked after him until he arrived in the United States in 2002?
According to my sources, it was Leila.
There is no adoption record (which can be public in the UK); it would have been a ''Kinship Care'' or ''Family and Friends Carer'' arrangement. I am advised that Haverstock School would have records of student Ahmed Nur Said Elmi living at the same address as Leila Elmi with her listed as his guardian.
However, these two very recent posts '-- currently active on Instagram and archived '-- already put a nice bow on everything. Here are Leila and Ahmed calling each other ''mum'' and ''son'':
On August 10, 2017, Ilhan swore under penalty of perjury '-- literally, she signed a half-inch or so under ''penalty of perjury'' '-- that she'd had zero contact with Ahmed Nur Said Elmi after June 2011.
Further, Ilhan swore that she did not know where to find him, and that she did not know a single person who was likely to know his whereabouts. She did this to apply for a default divorce from Ahmed '-- a divorce where one spouse cannot be located and served.
Now, a tremendous amount of evidence '-- from this article and our prior articles '-- shows that Ilhan perhaps perjured herself eight times with her nine answers. Minnesota's perjury statute allows for a sentence of up to five years '-- for each instance:
Yet this may be the least worrisome of her current legal exposures.
Consider the disturbingly inadequate evidence used to obtain FISA warrants on members of Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign. Consider that Democratic representatives have demanded that Attorney General William Barr release grand jury testimony '-- itself an illegal act.
Yet here we have:
Verifiable UK and U.S. marriage recordsVerifiable address recordsTime-stamped, traceable, archived online communications (Convictions and settlements based upon social media evidence are commonplace, Anthony Weiner being a notable example)Background check confirmations of SSNs and birthdatesArchived court documents signed under penalty of perjuryPhotos which can be examined to rule out digital manipulationThe 2019 Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board investigation, which found Omar filed illegal joint tax returns with a man who was not her husband in at least 2014 and 2015Three years' of evidence published across many articles '-- none of which has been shown to be incorrect, or have even been challenged with contradictory evidence from Rep. Omar or any other sourcePerjury evidence that stands on its own '-- regardless of whom she married:Long after June 2011, she was clearly in contact with the only man in either the U.S. or the UK with the same name and birthdate as the man she married. She was clearly in contact with several people who were in contact with him.Further, Preya Samsundar did contact him, published how she managed to contact him, and published his email admitting to being photographed with Omar in London in 2015. To be clear: Omar was legally married to an ''Ahmed Nur Said Elmi'' at the time she was photographed next to a man who admits his name is Ahmed Nur Said Elmi, and that he is in the photo.Samsundar published all of this information on how to contact Ahmed Nur Said Elmi a few months before Omar swore to that nine-question court document.Rep. Omar has refused all inquiries from her constituents, elected officials, and media outlets to provide any specific evidence contradicting even a single allegation suggested by three years of now-public information.In fact, Omar has responded by making information less available:In August 2016, after Scott Johnson and Preya Samsundar posted the allegations, Omar's verified social media accounts were taken offline.Ahmed Nur Said Elmi's social media accounts were also taken offline.When the accounts returned, a large amount of potentially incriminating evidence had verifiably been deleted.I found and published at least ten additional ''before and after'' instances of evidence still being deleted in 2018.Omar has released carefully worded, Clintonian statements that denigrate those seeking answers from her as racists. Yet she has repeatedly refused to answer questions or issue anything other than public relations statements.I have a large amount of information that we have not published for reasons including the protection of sources.Sources have expressed fear regarding published video and photo evidence confirming threats from Omar's campaign team. These sources have shared other evidence of threats. I have contacted the federal authorities to share this and other unpublished information. Providing knowingly false information to the DOJ is a serious crime.I believe Scott Johnson, Preya Samsundar, and me, with our three years of articles, columns and posts, have provided more than enough evidence to give law enforcement authorities probable cause to open an investigation. Now would be the chance for law enforcement, and especially for Rep. Ilhan Omar's House colleagues, to make a sincere stand against corruption and for the uniform application of the law.
David Steinberg was New York City Editor at PJMedia from 2009-2019, primarily handling coverage of Israel, homeland security, and political corruption. His investigation of Eric Cantor's 2014 primary campaign is credited (ask Dave Brat!) with tipping the historic loss, perhaps the beginning of the ''Trump Era.'' As noted above, since 2018 Steinberg has published several articles of exclusive evidence covering Rep. Ilhan Omar's past; they can be accessed here: https://bit.ly/2FJq529. Follow David Steinberg on Twitter: https://twitter.com/realDSteinberg
Angela Merkel, Justin Trudeau Back 'The Squad' After 'Go Back' Tweets
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 18:43
World leaders are expressing support for four far-left Congresswomen in the wake of a series of comments in which President Donald Trump challenged the lawmakers to leave the United States if they continue to criticize the country.On Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel claimed President Trump's remarks about the ''Squad'' '-- made up of Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) '-- ''undermine America's strength.'' She also said she stands ''solidarity'' with the lawmakers.
''I distance myself from this decidedly and stand in solidarity with the women who were attacked,'' Merkel said in her remarks at a press conference in Berlin, according to CNN. ''US's strength lies exactly in the fact that people of very different nationalities contribute to the strength of the American people.''
President Trump on Sunday sent Democrats into a rage after calling on the freshman Congresswomen to ''go back'' and fix the ''crime infested places from which they came.'' He has since doubled down on his remarks at his Wednesday rally in Greenville, North Carolina, saying: ''I have a suggestion for the hate-filled extremists who are constantly trying to tear our country down. They never have anything good to say. That's why I say, 'Hey, if you don't like it, let 'em leave. Let 'em leave.'''
At one point during the rally, some in the crowd broke out into chants of ''send her back,'' in reference to Omar. The president distanced himself from the moment the following day, telling reports in the Oval Office: ''I felt a little bit badly about it, but I will say this: I did start speaking very quickly'... I was not happy with it. I disagree with it, but, again, I didn't say that; they did.''
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined Merkel in denouncing President Trump's comments at a news conference with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg in Ottawa.
''I think Canadians, and indeed people around the world, know exactly what I think of those comments,'' Trudeau told reporters.
''That is not how we do things in Canada. A Canadian is a Canadian is a Canadian,'' he added.
British Prime Minister Theresa May also condemned the president's statements through her press office as ''completely unacceptable.''
Portugal wildfires: Huge blazes force evacuations - BBC News
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 14:03
Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media caption Some people attempted to extinguish fires near their homesHundreds of firefighters have been deployed to central Portugal where several wildfires have forced people to flee their homes.
One person has suffered serious injuries. At least seven firefighters have also been hurt.
Helicopters and planes have been used to douse three blazes in the mountainous Castelo Branco region, where one village has been evacuated.
On Sunday, officials said two of the fires had been brought under control.
The fires started on Saturday afternoon and were fanned by strong winds that made them more difficult to contain. "We are ready for a difficult day," Belo Costa, a civil protection official, told reporters early on Sunday.
Hundreds of vehicles, including four bulldozers, have been used to tackle the fires. Army soldiers have been deployed.
Several major roads are closed.
Image copyright AFP Image caption At least one village was evacuated as the huge fires spread Image copyright AFP Image caption At least 800 firefighters have been deployed A person who suffered first and second degree burns was taken by helicopter to a hospital in the capital, Lisbon.
Temperatures in the Castelo Branco region are expected to reach 31C (88F) on Sunday. Six regions in central and southern Portugal have been placed on maximum fire alert.
Wildfires are an annual problem in Portugal. The country is warm, heavily forested, and affected by strong winds from the Atlantic.
Dozens of people were killed in huge fires there in 2017.
Epstein Denial of Bail - Court Order | Remand (Detention) | Bail
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 03:04
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Government, - ag ai nst - JEFFREY EPSTEIN , Defendant.
19 CR. 490 (RMB)
This ruling follows the
Court s
bail hearing held on July 15 , 2019. Th e issue before the Court is whether the Defendant should continue to be remanded (incarcerated) pending trial or whether he sho uld be granted release while the case proceeds.
matter the answer to this questi on and no matt er what has been said in Cou rt in analyzing the matte r, this is a criminal case and the Defendant, Jeffrey Epstein, is innocent
the Federal charges alleged against him
and until such time,
i f
it comes, that a
or the Co urt finds ( after fair and th orough consideration
o f
the facts and the law) that he is guilty. See Transcript, dated July
2019 ( 7/8/19 Tr. ), at 2-3; Transcript, dated July 15, 2019 ( 7/15/19 Tr. ), at 40. It should also be borne in min d that the Court has not (yet ) been presented with a motion to dismiss the Indictment. This is a federal as o pposed to a state case . We proceed un der federal law and federal rules . Th e key federa l statute that applies here is
U.S.C. § 1591 which sets forth the crime
o f
sex trafficking with whic h Mr . Epstein is charge d. Mr . Ep stein is also charged with conspiring with others to commit sex trafficking under
U.S.C. § 371. With respect to the issue
versus release,
U.S.C. § 3142 applies. It sets forth a presumption in favor
o f
exception to the presump tion in most cases which favors
Case 1:19-cr-00490-RMB Document 32 Filed 07/18/19 Page 1 of 33
pretrial release. § 3142 states that:
i f
there is probable cause to believe that the person committ ed an offense involving a minor victim under section 1591, th en
it shall be presumed that
condition or combination
conditio ns will reasonably assure the appearance
the person
required and the safety
the community.
U.S.C. § 3142(e)(3)(E) (emphasis added); see United States
Martir, 782 F.2d 1141, 1144 (2d Cir. 1986) . The Ind ictment in this case was returned by a grand
thus establishing probable cause that the defendant committed the crimes
sex trafficking and sex trafficking conspiracy. See United States
Contreras, 776 F.2d 51,
(2d Cir . 1985) ( [A]n indictment returned
a duly constituted grand
conclusively establishes the existence
o f
probable cause for the purpose
o f
triggering the rebuttable presumptions set forth in § 3142( e ) ). In most federal cases the rebuttable presum ption tha t applies favor s pretrial release, not remand. There is anoth er very important issue to be considered i n this case .
has to do with victims
o f
the crimes charged in the Indictment. Victims refer to t he min or girls who a re alleged to have been sexually trafficked by the Defendant. Under
U.S.C. § 3771, victims are entitled to be heard in court, including
the question
o f
whether the defendant is to be released or remanded. Victim s have, among o ther things, been given the opportunity to testify at the bail hearing.
B. Counsels' Submissions
The Government's letter application, dated July 8, 2019, requests that the Court remand Mr. Epstein.
argues that Mr. Epstein poses
an acute danger to t he community and, grounded
past experience with this Defendant, that
i f
[M r. Epstein is] allowed to remain ou t on bail, the defendant could attempt to pressure and intimidate witnesses and potential witnesses in this ca se, including victims and their fam ilies, and otherwise attempt to obstruct justic e. Dkt .
Case 1:19-cr-00490-RMB Document 32 Filed 07/18/19 Page 2 of 33
11, Ex. 1 at
The Govern ment also contends that [i]n light
the strength
the Government's evidence and the substantial incarceratory term the defendant would face upon conviction [
years], there is an extraordinary risk
flight, particularly given the defendant's exorbitant wealth, his ownership
and access to private planes capable
international travel, and his significant international ties. Id . The Government also provides the following background information: In or about 200 5, the defendant was investigated by local police in Palm Beach, Florida, in connection with allegations that he had committed similar sex offenses against minor girls. The investigation ultimately also involved federal authorities, namely the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District
Florida and the FBI's Miami Office, and included interviews with victims based in the Palm Beach area, including some
the alleged victims relevant to Count One
the instant Indictment. In the fall
2007, the Defendant entered into a non-pr osecution agr eement ( NP A ) with the Southern District
Florida in connection with the conduct at issue in that investigation, which the non-prosecution agreement identified
including investigations into the defendant's abuse
minor girls in the Palm Beach area. Id . at
In June 2008, the defendant pled guilty in [Florida] state court
one count
procuring a person under the age
for prostitution, a felony, and one count
prostitution, [also] a felony. As a result, the defendant was designated as a sex offender with registration requirements under the national Sex Offender Registration and Notificatio n Act. Id . The Defense moved on July 11, 2019, for pretrial release
Mr. Epstein, arguing that Mr. Epstein's strict compliance with the various monitoring requirements associated with his sex-offender registration actually decrease[
any danger that he might otherwise pose and also that Mr. Epstein has never once attempted to fle e the United States. Dkt. 6 at
The 3
Case 1:19-cr-00490-RMB Document 32 Filed 07/18/19 Page 3 of 33
Online Trolls Are Threatening to Raid Jeffrey Epstein's 'Orgy Island'
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 13:53
Skip to content''A 6 man team could take the island in under an hour''Online trolls are threatening to mimic the Area 51 raid by storming billionaire sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein's 'orgy island'.
The /pol 4chan account on Gab highlighted one such post, in which the user reveals, ''His island is 2 miles from my front porch.''
The post asserts that there are no police on the island to stop the raid and that the locals would be sympathetic to it.
''A 6 man team could take the island in under an hour,'' states the post.
Several respondents to the post were enthusiastic about the idea.
''Good on them! Bring down Satan's empire one brick at a time if we have to!'' remarked one.
''USVI law is that all beaches are public accessible up to the tide line. Anyone can go to this island and stand on any beach that may be present,'' said another.
However, others expressed concern that any ''raid'' of the island would destroy evidence against Epstein.
''They might accidentally destroy or ruin evidence. I don't wanna see that scumbag walk on a technicality!'' commented one.
''What if it gets used to say the site has been compromised and evidence has been planted. Not too smart imo,'' added another.
As we previously highlighted, the island, known to Epstein as Little St. James but to locals as ''orgy island'' or ''pedo island,'' looks virtually deserted if high quality drone footage is anything to go by.
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Iran: US May Have Downed Its Own UAS By Mistake - "We've Not Lost Any Drones" | Zero Hedge
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 15:53
Iran has issued a surprise astounding contradiction of the US account related to Thursday's drone downing.
President Trump had announced that the amphibious assault ship, the USS Boxer, shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz in a defensive action. The president said in a press briefing it was "immediately destroyed," when it came within 1,000 yards of the ship according to the president, "threatening the safety of the ship and the ship's crew."
But Iran has denied losing any of its drones following the perplexing statement from Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif yesterday evening saying he was not be aware of any drone downing following Trump's announcement, according to Reuters. ''We have no information about losing a drone today,'' Zarif had told reporters at the United Nations. Instead, Iranian officals are now suggesting the US Navy actually shot down its own drone by mistake. Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said on Twitter early Friday:
"We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else. I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) by mistake!"
And Iran military spokesman, Gen. Abolfazl Shekari, was also quoted by the semi-official Tasnim news agency as saying that "all Iranian drones that are in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, including the one which the U.S. president mentioned, after carrying out scheduled identification and control missions, have returned to their bases."
We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else. I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!
'-- Seyed Abbas Araghchi (@araghchi) July 19, 2019According to President Trump's account of the incident, the Iranian operators of the drone refused calls to stand down, after which it was "immediately destroyed," when it came within 1,000 yards of the ship, "threatening the safety of the ship and the ship's crew."
Trump has called on "other nations to protect their ships as they go through the Strait," also as a State Department official told Bloomberg that the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps which patrols the area has kept up ''continued harassment'' of vessels in and around the strait.
I want to apprise everyone of an incident in the Strait of Hormuz today, involving #USSBoxer, a U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship. The BOXER took defensive action against an Iranian drone.... pic.twitter.com/Zql6nAUGxF
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 18, 2019Concerning the now deeply conflicting narratives over the downed drone '-- which Tehran is now saying was actually American, but which Washington says was clearly Iranian'-- the evidence is out there somewhere in the Persian Gulf, and assuming it's recovered and presented to the world, could prove hugely embarrassing to one side or the other, most especially the White House if its claims are wrong.
Incoming EU chief von der Leyen says 'we don't want a hard Brexit' - Reuters
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 21:26
BERLIN (Reuters) - The future head of the European Commission said she would be minded to grant Britain an extension to talks on its exit from the EU if London gave good grounds, adding that an orderly departure was important to launch future ties on a good footing.
FILE PHOTO: Elected European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen attends a news conference after the vote on her election at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, July 16, 2019. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler/File Photo
In an interview with a consortium of European newspapers, including Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Ursula von der Leyen said the European Union would first wait for a new British prime minister to be chosen and then seek talks.
''We don't want a hard Brexit. That is not good for either side. We have a good exit agreement,'' she said, referring to a deal that has been rejected by both candidates to succeed British Prime Minister Theresa May.
The three-year Brexit crisis is deepening as Boris Johnson, the favorite to win the premiership, has pledged to leave the EU with or without a transition deal on Oct. 31, setting Britain on a collision course with the bloc and his own parliament.
British lawmakers on Thursday approved proposals to make it harder for the next prime minister to force through a no-deal Brexit by suspending parliament, showing again their resolve to stop a divorce from the EU without an agreement.
Von der Leyen said: ''If our British friends have good grounds for an extension, I am open to listening to them.''
In a separate interview with German daily Bild, von der Leyen said emotion needed to be take out of the issue of migration in Europe and pragmatic solutions found.
She said she was ready to overhaul the EU's Dublin convention, under which asylum seekers must lodge their requests in the first EU country they set foot in.
''We must reform Dublin to achieve more fairness and burden-sharing,'' von der Leyen told Bild.
Turning to Italy's deficit, von der Leyen said the finance rules enshrined in the EU's Stability and Growth Pact had to be respected, but added: ''There is much flexibility in the rulebook that can be used more fully to enable investment-led growth.''
''That is one of the steps we could take together,'' she said told the Sueddeutsche, offering a change in tone after months of bitter talks between Brussels and Rome over Italy's public finances. ''We must take the heated emotion out of the debates.''
Italy cut its 2019 budget deficit target earlier this month in an effort to avoid EU disciplinary action over its public finances, saying the revised data meant the country was fully compliant with EU rules.
FIRM RUSSIA STANCE On the rule of law in Poland and Hungary, von der Leyen said ''we want monitoring for all member states to avoid the impression that part of Europe fundamentally regards the others critically.''
''We must all learn that the full rule of law is always our goal, but nobody is perfect. On this basis, we can find better solutions.''
Poland and other eastern states blocked another candidate for Commission chief, Dutchman Frans Timmermans, because they considered him too tough on rule of law issues.
In a separate interview with German newspaper Die Welt, von der Leyen vowed to take a tough stance with Russia and maintain sanctions over Moscow's role in eastern Ukraine.
''The Kremlin does not forgive weakness. From a position of strength, we should stick to the Russia sanctions,'' von der Leyen said, adding that the EU should, in parallel, seek dialogue with Moscow.
Wading into a debate about the Nordstream 2 gas pipeline, which Washington opposes and which will allow Russia to bypass Ukraine in transporting gas to Europe, she warned in her Bild interview of ''the danger of over-dependence on Russian energy''.
Writing by Thomas Escritt and Paul Carrel
VIDEO - WATCH: Students Cry Racism Over Immigration Quote, Then Realize it's Obama's | Dan Bongino
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 15:00
Students at Georgetown University were outraged over a quote about tough immigration enforcement and the policy of deporting criminal illegal aliens until they learned it was actually said by President Obama in 2014.
Campus Reform's Cabot Phillips read students the following quote, telling them it came from ''a president'':
We are a nation of laws. Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable, especially those who may be dangerous. That's why over the past six years deportations of criminals are up 80 percent, and that's why we're going to keep focusing on threats to our security.
''I think that policy comes from a place of white American nationalism,'' one student replied.
Another said, ''Donald Trump has embraced this rhetoric of racism and xenophobia that's not beneficial to our country at all.''
''I don't think that quote stands true,'' another student stated.
Another said, ''It's just really awful.''
''Crimes do not nullify your humanity. And people are coming here in search of opportunity,'' explained another student.
Then, Phillips played a clip of President Obama in 2014 where he made that statement.
''I thought it was the Trump administration that said something like that,'' one student replied.
Another was shocked it was Obama, ''I didn't expect it to be Obama'... it never occurred to me that it could be him.''
''It's quite surprising. I thought that was from Trump,'' another said.
''My understanding of Obama vs Trump is that Obama was more liberal as far as amnesty'... I expected that quote to come from Trump,'' another student said.
VIDEO - Jon Stewart testifies to extend 9/11 victim compensation fund - watch live - YouTube
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 11:23
VIDEO - CNN Tries Desperately to Get GOP Women to Call Trump Racist - Watch How They Turn the Tables - The Mental Recession
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 11:10
CNN correspondent Randi Kaye hosted a panel of Republican women and tried desperately to get them to call President Trump racist, but to no avail.
The segment was presented following the controversy regarding the President's comments telling the 'Squad' they need to start loving America or they're free to leave.
Democrats have done their best to portray Trump's words as racist simply because the group '' Alexa Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Ilhan Omar (D-MN), and Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) '' consist of 'women of color.'
They even passed a resolution on Tuesday condemning President Trump's comments.
Latest: Joy Behar Wants Trump Charged For 'Hate Speech'
CNN entered the fray with a segment which, not only didn't convince any of the women to turn on Trump but led to them pointing out why the 'Squad' itself is racist.
What He Said Wasn't RacistThe segment begins with all eight women raising their hand in response to the question, ''How many of you don't think what the President said was racist?''
It goes downhill from there for CNN.
Sharon Bolan, one of the Republican women, explained ''I'm a brown-skinned woman. I am a legal immigrant. I agree with him.''
You mean it's actually possible to follow proper procedures to legally immigrate to the United States? Democrats will likely be shocked to learn of that fact.
Another GOP voter, Gina O'Briant, broke it down succinctly, noting that it's the 'Squad' that is actually inciting hatred towards themselves by acting the way they do.
''I'm glad that the president said what he said because all they are doing is inciting hatred and division,'' O'Briant explained. ''He didn't say anything about color.''
CNN Breaks Out a DictionaryNot content with multiple questions and different phrasing of the question trying to convince them to call Trump racist, Kaye broke out the ol' dictionary to prove it to them.
''Let me just share with you the definition of 'racism' from Merriam Webster dictionary,'' she began as if the group had no idea what the word means. '''A belief that race is the primary determinate of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.'''
''Based on that definition,'' Kaye pressed, ''do you not think that what the president has been saying '' ''
The immediate response '' ''No.''
The CNN reporter pivoted to making the point that all four members of the 'Squad' are not white.
One woman in the group responded, ''It's idiotic, what they're saying, so it doesn't matter if they're black or white.''
We ran that statement through our fact-checking database and determined it was, in fact, true. What they're saying is idiotic.
These GOP women see nothing wrong with Trump's comments
CNN's Randi Kaye speaks to a group of Republican women who say they don't have a problem with President Trump's racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color. https://t.co/35dvYQCfTY pic.twitter.com/vKi9h24tZz
'-- CNN Tonight (@CNNTonight) July 17, 2019
''Why haven't they befriended one of their white female congresswoman colleagues and let her join the group?'' one of the Republican women asks. ''They don't like white people. C'mon, they're racist.''
There's no doubt CNN ran this segment trying to portray these women as a bunch of racist buffoons, but the panel ran roughshod over Kaye presenting facts and evidence countering her every point.
Now Ask Them if CNN is RacistPerhaps Kaye's next segment can focus on whether or not her own network is racist.
Earlier this week, CNN pundit Ana Navarro suggested First Lady Melania Trump, along with Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, should go back to their home country.
Navarro, simpleton that she is, was trying to make a false equivalency. The main difference here is that Melania, Cruz, and Rubio all actually love America.
Political strategist S ymone Sanders, a former CNN contributor and current adviser for Joe Biden, once said: ''We don't need white people leading the Democratic party.''
And of course, we'd be remiss if we didn't remind viewers that CNN's Don Lemon has labeled ''white men'' as the biggest terror threat in America and launched multiple verbal racist attacks at Trump supporter, Kanye West.
Perhaps CNN should do a little self-reflection instead of trying to bait women into agreeing with them.
Read more at the Political Insider
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CNN Tries Desperately to Get GOP Women to Call Trump Racist - Watch How They Turn the Tables
CNN correspondent Randi Kaye hosted a panel of Republican women and tried desperately to get them to call President Trump racist, but to no avail.
Rusty Weiss
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VIDEO - Iran calls seizure of British tanker a 'reciprocal action' | TheHill
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 03:20
Iran reportedly called its seizure of a British oil tanker a "reciprocal action" after British assistance in the impounding an Iranian supertanker.
Iran's Guardian Council spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei told the semi-official Fars news agency that the Friday seizure of the British tanker was a legal "reciprocal action," according to The Associated Press.
Guardian Council comments are often seen as Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's views, according to the wire service.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister, said Saturday on Twitter that the July 4 seizure of the Iranian supertanker was "piracy" and that Iran's action was done "to uphold [international] maritime rules."
Unlike the piracy in the Strait of Gibraltar, our action in the Persian Gulf is to uphold int'l maritime rules.As I said in NY, it is IRAN that guarantees the security of the Persian Gulf & the Strait of Hormuz.
UK must cease being an accessory to #EconomicTerrorism of the US.
'-- Javad Zarif (@JZarif) July 20, 2019But British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said in a tweet that his country's response to Iran's interception of the British ship will be "considered but robust" and added that the country "WILL ensure the safety of our shipping."
He tweeted that he spoke with Zarif to express "extreme disappointment."
"This has 2 be about actions not words if we are to find a way through," he wrote. "British shipping must & will be protected."
Hunt also called the seizure of the Iranian tanker "legal," saying its oil was headed toward Syria.
1/2 Yesterday's action in Gulf shows worrying signs Iran may be choosing a dangerous path of illegal and destabilising behaviour after Gibraltar's LEGAL detention of oil bound for Syria.
'-- Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 20, 20192/2 As I said yesterday our reaction will be considered but robust. We have been trying to find a way to resolve Grace1 issue but WILL ensure the safety of our shipping.
'-- Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 20, 2019Just spoke 2 Iranian FM Zarif &expressed extreme disappointment that having assured me last Sat Iran wanted 2 deescalate situation they have behaved in the opposite way.This has 2 be about actions not words if we are to find a way through.British shipping must & will be protected
'-- Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 20, 2019The British Stena Impero ship was seized Frday in the Strait of Hormuz by Iranian forces. According to the AP, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard has released a video showing Guard boats surrounding the tanker and men rappelling onto it from a military helicopter.
VIDEO - (4) Monique Worthy *Aunty Tomasina👵👌* on Twitter: "Lets take a moment... To point something out when it comes to people calling my president racist... https://t.co/tIcr0HIHol" / Twitter
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 21:09
Jennifer LaTarte @ jenzfreetaxi
20h Replying to
@MoniqueWorthy May I ask you.....?Did you support Trump before he won in 2016?I ask because I was a Democrat before Hillary won the Primary.But when she won I knew I would vote for him over her. I never liked the Clintons.That's when I started really watching Trump.
#Trump2020 View conversation · Monique Worthy *Aunty Tomasina👵👌* @ MoniqueWorthy
20h Replying to
@jenzfreetaxi @tedcruz @realDonaldTrump No. I did not. I actually voted for
@tedcruz in the primary. In Texas. Now, I LOVE the man! I love me some Ted Cruz but I DOUBT he would have achieved as much as
@realDonaldTrump View conversation · LetFreedomRing '''¸ðŸš‚ðŸ'¨ðŸ'¨ðŸ‡ºðŸ‡¸ @ MariaMe42546452
19h Replying to
@MoniqueWorthy ''¤¸''¤¸''¤¸ Monique we are glad you're this outspoken and better yet that you're one of the Deplorables! God bless!
View conversation · Monique Worthy *Aunty Tomasina👵👌* @ MoniqueWorthy
19h Replying to
@MariaMe42546452 God bless you too!
View conversation · Monique Worthy *Aunty Tomasina👵👌* @ MoniqueWorthy
19h Replying to
@KAMEricaGA1 Why thank you. ðŸ
View conversation · andrew tomlinson @ andrewtomlinso6
19h Replying to
@MoniqueWorthy @bobwilson617 Can I come over for fry chicken
View conversation · @deucedeucebravo @ deucedeucebravo
18h Replying to
@MoniqueWorthy @DineshDSouza Holy shitsticks. This woman is awesome.
View conversation · Monique Worthy *Aunty Tomasina👵👌* @ MoniqueWorthy
18h Replying to
@deucedeucebravo @DineshDSouza ðŸ‚ðŸ‚ðŸ‚🂠shitsticks ðŸ‚ðŸ‚ðŸ‚ðŸ‚
View conversation · 🇺🇸 Sandy 🇺🇸 @ SandyBeach727
18h Replying to
@MoniqueWorthy I really love you! 🂠I have to say, you're a bit addicting. Spot on with this video, but can you tell me one thing? What is the brand/color of that lipstick you're wearing? I don't obviously get to dress up to go on base, but that's a gorgeous day off color!!
View conversation · ken talbott @ ken_talbott
17h Replying to
@MoniqueWorthy @DineshDSouza Thank you darling! If I leave my wife of 50 yrs, will you marry me?
View conversation · Monique Worthy *Aunty Tomasina👵👌* @ MoniqueWorthy
17h Replying to
@SandyBeach727 Cheap stuff... From Wal-Mart lol maybelline 325 cinnamon stick
View conversation · Monique Worthy *Aunty Tomasina👵👌* @ MoniqueWorthy
17h Replying to
@andrewtomlinso6 @bobwilson617 You sure can!
View conversation · Kishawn Joseph @ bebreezy504
7h Replying to
@shuper78 @JustAGirlIn415 and
3 others Black people outside of the White House need to help black people, but y'all ain't ready for that conversation.
View conversation · Monique Worthy *Aunty Tomasina👵👌* @ MoniqueWorthy
7h Replying to
@ken_talbott @DineshDSouza You better stick with ya wife boo! ðŸ‚ðŸ‚ðŸ‚
View conversation · Monique Worthy *Aunty Tomasina👵👌* @ MoniqueWorthy
7h Replying to
@bebreezy504 @shuper78 and
3 others Oh yea we ready .. Lets have it... Cuz seem to me like the 'white folks' outside the white house even inside the white house is doing more for blacks. . I rarely see anybody thank Kim Kardashian for what she is doing for black prisoners. They all just talk about her.
View conversation · Monique Worthy *Aunty Tomasina👵👌* @ MoniqueWorthy
5h Replying to
@j_marieX Be gone you crazy heffa. Don't like it, don't watch! Get you some business. And continue being the gnat gnat that you are. I have not the time. 👌
View conversation ·
VIDEO - (2) Epstein pals 'sweating' - YouTube
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 19:07
VIDEO - Can We Trust The Numbers? : TED Radio Hour : NPR
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 18:41
Cathy O'Neil on the TED Stage. Bret Hartman/TED hide caption
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toggle caption Matt Round/TEDxExeter Alan Smith: Why Do We Trust Intuition Over Even The Most Reliable Numbers? ' Like In Numbers Hollywood Film Music Orchestra
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toggle caption Courtesy Mona Chalabi Mona Chalabi: How Can We Tell The Good Statistics From The Bad Ones? Anne Milgram on the TED Stage. Marla Aufmuth/TED hide caption
toggle caption Marla Aufmuth/TED Anne Milgram: How Can Smarter Statistics Help Us Fight Crime?Older browse past shows Newer
VIDEO - Cathy O'Neil: Do Algorithms Perpetuate Human Bias? : NPR
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 17:18
Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Can We Trust The Numbers?
About Cathy O'Neil's TED Talk
Mathematician Cathy O'Neil says algorithms embed existing bias into code '-- with potentially destructive outcomes. Everyone should question their fairness, not just computer scientists and coders.
About Cathy O'Neil
Cathy O'Neil is a mathematician, data scientist, and author of the blog mathbabe.org.
After receiving a PhD in mathematics from Harvard University in 1999, she taught at Barnard and MIT. She then went on to work as a hedge fund analyst, and later a data scientist, designing algorithms for targeted ads.
O'Neil is the author of several data science books, such as Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy.
VIDEO - (2) How I'm fighting bias in algorithms | Joy Buolamwini - YouTube
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 16:58
VIDEO - (2) Machine Learning and Human Bias - YouTube
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 16:54
VIDEO - Identity Resolution & People-Based Marketing | Acxiom
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 14:42
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Discover What the Right Data Foundation Can Do for You
VIDEO - Google flipped seats, shifted millions of votes to Dems in 2018 midterms, researcher tells RT '-- RT USA News
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 14:03
Google's biased search algorithm actually flipped seats in the 2018 US midterm elections, according to a researcher who found the search engine's ''dramatically biased'' results could have shifted over 78 million votes to Democrats.
''Upwards of 25 percent of the national elections in the world are being decided without people's knowledge by Google's search algorithm,'' senior research psychologist Dr. Robert Epstein of the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology told RT, calling the search engine the ''deciding factor'' in close races.
Also on rt.com 'Steering' conservatives & policymakers: Google explains CPAC sponsorship in leaked audio Epstein, who received his PhD in psychology from Harvard University and is the former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today, said that his methodology was thorough and meticulous.
''We did this very, very carefully. We had field agents focusing on three congressional races in California which were very hotly contested races in Republican districts,'' Epstein told RT.
''And we gave to these field agents about 500 election-related search terms. Each one had different search terms for different districts, where there are different issues, of course.
''And the point is, we simply looked at what kind of search results they received when they were conducting election-related searches.''
Also on rt.com EU keeps piling on fines on Google, slapping tech giant $1.7bn for blocking rivals' ads Epstein's study of three 2018 California House races found Google played the deciding role in flipping those Republican-held seats to the Democrats, influencing millions of undecided voters by controlling what they saw when they searched 500 election-related terms. Google's results showed a ''significant liberal bias,'' unlike Bing's or Yahoo's '' and with 90 percent of the search engine's market share in the US, that bias is enormously influential.
Search results favoring one side of an issue can influence anywhere from 20 to 80 percent of undecided voters, depending on the issue and demographic group, Epstein said. He has spent six years investigating the role of what he calls the Search Engine Manipulation Effect (SEME) in swaying public opinion, more recently focusing on the political ramifications by looking at various countries' elections.
''People trust algorithmic output. They trust Google. They think because it's generated by a computer, they don't see the human hand - they think it's impartial and objective and, because of that, their opinions change,'' Epstein said.
Also on rt.com Tap 'Idiot' and get 'Trump', news is bad and my phone's a spy: Lawmakers complain to Google CEO While Google denies it manipulates search rankings to manipulate political sentiment or makes election-specific tweaks, Epstein says their response is disingenuous '' he never claimed they re-ranked results, merely that the results they displayed were biased.
We found very consistently that on Google they ended up with search results favoring liberals and favoring liberal news sources, and it was quite a dramatic effect.
Despite denials, Google has already faced hefty government fines for manipulating search results. In 2017, the European Union imposed a '‚¬2.4 billion ($2.7 billion) fine on the tech giant for purportedly tailoring search results to favor its own comparison shopping service.
Google was hit with a $21.1 million fine a year later '' this time in India, where the company was accused of directing web users who were searching for flights to its own flight search page '' depriving other businesses of gaining a foothold in the market.
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VIDEO - 06-24-2019 Christopher Harris on ICE raids cancelled, Trump on Meet The Press, Dr. Robert Epstein on Google - Jen and Don Show - Omny.fm
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 13:41
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VIDEO - Businesses hurting from Austin's growing homeless population | KXAN
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 19:28
AUSTIN (KXAN) '-- Complaints tied to Austin's homeless population are growing.
Two-and-a-half weeks after new city rules were approved to decriminalize homelessness, some business owners said they're seeing more problems.
They recognize: the real struggle is finding a solution everyone can agree on.
With the buzz of his blades, Oscar Rivera can clean up any mess. But he'll tell you his customer's hairline isn't the area that needs the most help.
''Sometimes you will see people laying right here, right on the ground, and when you come early in the morning you have to tell them to get away,'' said Oscar Rivera, the barber and manager of Gallery 44.
Gallery 44 is located right off Highway 290 and Manchaca. Rivera said his business isn't the only one in the area affected.
''It's nothing against those people, but when you are trying to build an establishment, it's hard to go further and grow.''
Oscar RiveraJust down the street, Strait Music has its own problems. Vice President and third generation owner, Clint Strait, has added locks to the bathrooms and dumpsters and said he regularly finds needles in the parking lot.
''I've had to call the police more times in the last four months than I did in the past 15 years,'' Strait said. ''This is affecting my business and I can't have some of these things going on.''
''I'm glad that businesses and citizens are dealing with this issue, its probably something that we should have been dealing with years ago,'' said Mark Hilbelink, the director of the Sunrise Homeless Navigation Center.
The Sunrise Homeless Navigation Center has made a significant dent in assisting those experiencing homelessness. According to Hilbelink, the center has placed 400 homeless people in permanent housing over the past four years.
Hilbelink said Austin is dealing with an issue of accountability. And the people of Austin need to offer more resources if they want to see change.
''It's hard to hold people accountable for not throwing away their trash when they don't have receptacles to put them in. It's tough to hold people accountable for being allowed to camp for using the bathroom in public places when they don't have a place to use the bathroom,'' Hilbelink said.
In August, city manager Spencer Cronk will make recommendations on how to better address the homeless issue, including potential changes to the sit-and-lie ordinance, adding new tools to help police enforce the law and provide options for temporary shelter for families.
The bottom line: Hilbelink said this is a complex issue which requires thoughtful solutions. And it's up to stakeholders, like the businesses near the homeless camps, to provide their input.
''One of the things that we can do is come together to come to a comprehensive solution,'' Hilbelink said.
A look at 311 complaintsA look at the numbers from 311 complaints show the issue is apparent to Austinites.
Calls for service requests, with the key word ''homeless'' or ''transient'', show more than 2,700 calls so far this year. That's nearly as many as all of 2018.
A look at the number of yearly 311 complaints regarding Austin's homeless pop. There have been nearly as many calls through July 2019 as there was in all of 2018.311 said the spike in calls is likely attributed to increased community discussion about the homeless ordinances. pic.twitter.com/LVdfwgjPoV
'-- Alex Caprariello (@alcaprari23) July 18, 2019But, it's also important to note, the rate of homeless increasing in Austin. Here's a look at the ''point in time'' count from ECHO. While the number of people living on the streets or in shelters has increased, that rate has been much more gradual compared to complaints.
Also important to note: the rate of homelessness is also increasing in #ATX. The ECHO # column is based on data from the yearly "point-in-time" count. You can see the rate of homelessness has been a gradual increase compared to the number of complaints. pic.twitter.com/iMxs9CpylF
'-- Alex Caprariello (@alcaprari23) July 18, 2019
VIDEO - Florida city hopes 'Baby Shark' song will drive homeless from park - YouTube
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 16:23
VIDEO - Pedophiles Rule the World - YouTube
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 14:11
VIDEO - Liberal Professor Warns: Google Manipulating Voters 'on a Massive Scale' - YouTube
Fri, 19 Jul 2019 12:31
VIDEO - 'The View': Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner called out by Meghan McCain
Thu, 18 Jul 2019 20:45
"The View" co-host Meghan McCain thinks Gwyneth Paltrow's part-time living setup with her husband Brad Falchuk is "rich people stuff." USA TODAY
President Trump's rally in North Carolina Wednesday night was a topic that elicited a passionate response from Meghan McCain on Thursday's "The View."
In a clip shown on ABC's daytime talk show, the crowd chanted "send her back" when the president mentioned Rep. Ilhan Omar.
McCain, who described the moment as "really dystopian," voiced concern for the future of her party.
"Try selling conservatism to a younger generation when all they see is this kind of crap on TV," the co-host said. "And the Trump administration, all of you '' Ivanka, Jared, 'cause you're around my age range '' where are you in this? Because if my parents were doing this, let me tell ya..."
Trump's daughter and his son-in-law serve as advisers.
McCain, an outspoken critic of Omar's, also expressed frustration that Trump was invalidating her arguments saying: "...you're taking away my agency to criticize her policy because you're making this so much about race, xenophobia, racism."
Related: Meghan McCain slams first family to Stephen Colbert: 'The Trumps are unwelcome around me'
'The View': Hosts say Scarlett Johansson 'needs to be more understanding of her words'
OUTRAGE OVER TRUMP'S RALLY CHANTS: The co-hosts react to the president ramping up attacks on freshman Democratic congresswomen at North Carolina rally Wednesday, leading the crowd to chant ''send her back.'' https://t.co/BVivesFDzIpic.twitter.com/CPVETiNhpq
'-- The View (@TheView) July 18, 2019Outrage and expressions of support for Omar flooded social media after the crowd's chant.
Trump called out Omar and three other liberal congresswomen, all of them minorities, who he says "hate our country." He has leveled attacks against the four women, known as "the Squad," every day this week, beginning with a series of tweets on Sunday telling them to "go back" to their countries of origin that were later condemned as racist in a House resolution.
Omar, who arrived in the U.S. more than 20 years ago after her family fled war-torn Somalia, is the only one of the four congresswomen not born in the U.S.
Contributing: William Cummings
More: Meghan McCain agrees with 'The View' hosts on Kourtney Kardashian criticism: 'I'm with Whoopi'
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US to deploy troops to Saudi Arabia as Gulf tensions soar
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 11:55
The United States has authorised the deployment of military personnel and resources to Saudi Arabia, the Pentagon has said, as tensions in the Gulf mount over the US's standoff with Iran, the kingdom's archrival.
The Pentagon said in a statement on Friday that the move would provide "an additional deterrent" in the face of "emergent, credible threats" in the region.
The statement on Friday came after Saudi Arabia's defence ministry confirmed that the kingdom would host US forces to boost regional security and stability.
"Based on mutual cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the United States of America, and their desire to enhance everything that could preserve the security of the region and its stability ... King Salman gave his approval to host American forces," a ministry spokesman was quoted as saying by Saudi state news agency SPA.
A US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the deployment would include about 500 military personnel and is part of a boost in the number of US troops in the Middle East that the Pentagon announced last month.
The US military also said it had patrol aircraft monitoring the Strait of Hormuz, and was developing a "multinational maritime effort" to ensure freedom of navigation in key Middle East waterways.
In June, acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan said he had authorised the deployment of about 1,000 more troops to the Middle East for what he said were "defensive purposes", citing concerns about a threat from Iran. The Pentagon did not say where the troops would be deployed at the time.
In response to attacks on four other tankers on May 12, US officials announced plans to send 900 more forces - including engineers and a fighter aircraft squadron - to the Middle East to bolster US defence, as well as extend the deployment of some 600 personnel manning Patriot missiles.
Washington also sent warships and a Patriot missile defence battery to the region, citing unspecified threats from Iran.
US military presence in Saudi Arabia started during the 1991 Gulf War and lasted 12 years. Until the US military withdrew from the kingdom in 2003, US aircraft were stationed at the Prince Sultan airbase, around 80km south of the capital, Riyadh.
Gulf tensionsTensions in the Gulf increased further on Friday after Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) said its forces captured a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz for allegedly violating international laws.
The British-flagged, Swedish-owned Stena Impero was carrying 23 crew members at the time of its capture, according to the company.
The British Foreign Office confirmed a second naval vessel, the Liberian-flagged Mesdar, had been seized in the Strait of Hormuz by Iranian authorities.
Iran's semi-official news agency, Fars, reported that Mesdar was briefly held in the Strait of Hormuz and given a notice to comply with environmental regulations before being allowed to continue on its way.
The incidents came as US President Donald Trump said on Thursday that a US Navy ship had "destroyed" an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz after it threatened the vessel, a claim Iran promptly denied.
Friction between the US and Iran has worsened since Trump unilaterally withdrew Washington from an historic nuclear deal signed in 2015 between Tehran and world powers and reimposed sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Last month, Iran downed a US surveillance drone that it said had violated Iranian airspace. The US said the drone had been over international waters.
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Amy Schumer - Stars who threatened to leave the U.S. if Trump was elected - Pictures - CBS News
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 11:44
Cher is one of many celebrities who threatened to leave the U.S. if Donald Trump won the presidential election. She said, ''I'm going to have to leave the planet.''
Click through to see who else said they'd move out of the country.
Credit: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Jon Stewart also said he'd leave the planet. At the 2015 Emmys, he said if Trump were ever in office, ''I would consider getting in a rocket and going to another planet because clearly this planet has gone bonkers.''
Credit: Kevin Mazur Photography/Getty Images
Ne-Yo said he'd move to Canada if Trump won.
''Me and Drake gonna be neighbors if Donald Trump becomes president,'' the singer told TMZ in October.
Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Chelsea Handler bought a house in Spain and said on ''Live with Kelly'' in May, ''I did buy a house in another country just in case, so all of these people that threaten to leave the country and then don't -- I will leave the country.''
Credit: Mark Davis/Getty Images
Keegan-Michael Key said he would move to Canada if Trump won.
''It's like, 10 minutes from Detroit,'' the comedian told TMZ in January. ''That's where I'm from; my mom lives there. It'd make her happy, too.''
Credit: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
Lena Dunham said she'd move to Vancouver if Trump won the election.
''I know a lot of people have been threatening to do this, but I really will,'' Dunham said in April. ''I know a lovely place in Vancouver and I can get my work done from there.''
Credit: Brian C. Frank/Reuters
Neve Campbell, who is from Canada, said in January that she would return to her home country if Trump triumphed in the election.
Credit: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters
In October, Bryan Cranston said of a Trump win, ''Absolutely. I would definitely move [to Canada]. It's not real to me that that would happen. I hope to God it won't. It wouldn't be a vacation. I'd be an expatriate.''
Credit: Mark Blinch/Reuters
Miley Cyrus wrote on Instagram in May, ''I am moving if this is my president! I don't say things I don't mean!''
Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images
Barbra Streisand said on Australia's ''60 Minutes'' of a possible Trump victory ''I'm either coming to your country -- if you'll let me in -- or Canada.''
Credit: Lucas Jackson/REUTERS
Raven-Symone said in February on ''The View'' that she would leave the country if any Republican got ''nominated,'' though she seems to have meant ''elected.''
Credit: Larry Busacca/Getty Images
Amy Schumer told the BBC that she would move out of the country if Trump won, but she clarified her comments after Trump's victory and said they were ''in jest.''
Credit: Jason Merritt/Getty Images
In December, Samuel L. Jackson said on ''Jimmy Kimmel Live'' of Trump, ''If that motherf***er becomes president I will move my black ass to South Africa.''
Credit: Anthony Harvey/Getty Images
Google Blacklists Free Speech Platform Gab's Latest App | Breitbart
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 11:42
Tech giant Google has blacklisted the free-speech focused social media app Gab from the Google Play Store, joining Apple in banning Gab users from accessing the platform using Gab-branded smartphone apps.Silicon Valley tech giant Google has reportedly banned the free-speech focused social media platform Gab from the Google Play Store. According to a screenshot posted by Gab to Twitter, Google banned the app from the store for ''Violation of User Generated Content (UGC) Policy.'' Essentially, it appears that Gabs refusal to censor users' content is what resulted in the app being removed from the store.
The tweet posted by Gab can be seen below, along with a number of links to similar apps that are still active in the Play Store and work with Gab's servers. Because Gab shifted its platform to a decentralized and open-source architecture, it can be accessed by other apps still available on both Android and Apple smartphones, some with nearly identical code to the blacklisted Gab app.
Google just banned the Gab app.
You can get the exact same app, which works with our server, here: https://t.co/Af91xXhZht
Or here: https://t.co/EzG1jCJCx6
Google's playing checkers.
We already won the chess match. pic.twitter.com/oQRHtwDKPL
'-- Gab.com (@getongab) July 20, 2019
Breitbart News reached out to Gab.com founder Andrew Torba for comment on the matter. Torba commented on and outlined the current situation with Google, saying:
Google has banned Gab's decentralized and open-source mobile app from their Google Play Store, claiming that it has ''non-compliant user-generated content such as hate speech.'' The Gab android app contains no user content. It is effectively a web browser that allows anyone to connect to any one of the thousands of decentralized microblogging servers, Gab included. So by Google's own standards, the Google Chrome web browser is also violating their user-generated content policy.
Gab's app was forked from an open source project. The exact same code exists on the Google Play Store, the only difference is this version has Gab's logo on it and was submitted by Gab. All of those apps with the exact same code are still up on the Google Play Store and ironically our one million Gab users can still utilize them to login to Gab.
Gab is now part of the Fediverse, a decentralized community of open source microblogging projects that are all built on top of the same open source protocol, ActivityPub. Any app that supports ActivityPub will allow Gab users to sign into Gab and get their feeds, notifications, and all other functionality. ActivityPub is used by multiple projects and by millions of users outside of Gab. Google will need to ban each and everyone of these apps in order to stop Gab.
The future of social networking on the web is decentralized and open source. Gab has been the tip of the spear in the fight for free speech online since August of 2016 and we continue to be the leading alternative technology solution to the Silicon Valley oligarchs.
We now have a decentralized and unstoppable social network, a web browser that blocks big tech trackers and ads, and soon our own free speech app store to circumvent the censorship of mobile apps. We will continue to build products that defend the fundamental human right to speak freely.
Breitbart News reporter Allum Bokhari recently reported that decentralized social media system Mastodon was also attempting to ban Gab and even shutting down users that refused to ban Gab from their servers. Bokhari writes:
Mastodon is an open-source social network that theoretically enables a decentralized network of online communities to thrive. Anyone can set up a Mastodon server, appoint moderators, and add it to the network of communities known as the ''Fediverse.''
However, although its technology is built around the principles of decentralization and federated content moderation, Mastodon's leadership leans to the left.
However, the very decentralized principles that allowed SJWs to set up Mastodon-based communities with trigger warnings and censorship on steroids also allowed free speech platform Gab to create a community based on First Amendment principles. By using Mastodon's open source technology to provide a new mobile app to its users, Gab would theoretically be able to bypass Apple and Google's anti-competitive bans of its original smartphone app.
The left-wingers behind Mastodon and many of the smartphone-based platforms built with the project's software have swiftly acted to contain Gab.
To remove Gab from the Fediverse, every host of a Mastodon server would have to agree to ban Gab '-- as a result, panicked left-wing Mastodon users are flagging and reporting any Mastodon-based app that doesn't agree to ban Gab. Merely by existing on the network, Gab has triggered a civil war within it.
Thanks to Gab, the people behind the Mastodon project are now at war with their own founding principles of decentralization. In abandoning their founding principles to pursue a strategy of censorship, they follow in the footsteps of the ''Good Censors'' at Google.
Read the full article at Breitbart News here.
Lucas Nolan is a reporter for Breitbart News covering issues of free speech and online censorship. Follow him on Twitter @LucasNolan or email him at lnolan@breitbart.com
Trump's bail offer for jailed rapper rings hollow in Sweden
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 11:37
BERLIN (AP) '-- U.S. President Donald Trump said he spoke with Sweden's prime minister Saturday about jailed rapper A$AP Rocky and ''offered to personally vouch for his bail,'' a hollow offer in a criminal justice system that doesn't include bail.
Trump tweeted that during ''a very good call'' with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven, he also ''assured him that A$AP was not a flight risk.'' The platinum-selling, Grammy-nominated artist has been in custody since early this month over an alleged fight.
While not an option in Sweden, bail is common in the United States. A defendant is allowed to post an amount of money set by the court to guarantee the defendant will appear for trial if he or she is freed pending those proceedings.
Urged on by the first lady and celebrities including Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West, the president had said in a Friday tweet that he would intervene to try to free Rocky, whose real name is Rakim May.
''Our teams will be talking further, and we agreed to speak again in the next 48 hours!'' Trump wrote Saturday after speaking with Lofven.
The prime minister's press secretary, Toni Eriksson, confirmed hours later that Lofven and Trump had a conversation that ''was friendly and respectful and lasted about 20 minutes.''
Lofven ''made certain to emphasize the complete independence of the Swedish judicial system, prosecutors and courts,'' Eriksson said in a statement. ''He underlined that in Sweden everyone is equal before the law and that the government cannot and will not attempt to influence the legal proceedings.''
The two leaders may have a follow-up call, ''but nothing has been booked or planned,'' she said.
Lofven had issued a statement earlier Saturday saying he would be glad to speak with Trump about A$AP Rocky's detention but giving the same warning about his government's unwillingness to interfere.
''I understand that President Trump has a personal interest in the case,'' the prime minister said before they spoke. ''He has expressed the desire for a conversation with me, which is certainly positive.''
Rocky has been behind bars while Swedish police investigate the fight in Stockholm he allegedly was in before appearing at a music festival. Videos published on social media appear to show a person being violently thrown onto the ground by Rocky. A defense lawyer has said it was self-defense.
Other recording artists have spoken on his behalf, including Sean ''Diddy'' Combs, Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, Nicki Minaj and Post Malone.
Trump Administration Changes U.S. Citizenship Test : NPR
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 11:17
New citizens take the oath of allegiance during a naturalization ceremony in Oakland Park, Fla., earlier this year. The Trump administration has announced there will be changes to the U.S. citizenship test. Wilfredo Lee/AP hide caption
toggle caption Wilfredo Lee/AP New citizens take the oath of allegiance during a naturalization ceremony in Oakland Park, Fla., earlier this year. The Trump administration has announced there will be changes to the U.S. citizenship test.
Wilfredo Lee/AP The Trump administration is planning changes to the U.S. citizenship test. The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services says it is revising the test to ensure that "it continues to serve as an accurate measure of a naturalization applicant's civics knowledge."
The test was introduced in 1986 and last revised in 2008. In a USCIS statement, acting Director Ken Cuccinelli said, "Updating, maintaining, and improving a test that is current and relevant is our responsibility as an agency in order to help potential new citizens fully understand the meaning of U.S. citizenship and the values that unite all Americans."
We're improving the current naturalization test to ensure it will continue to accurately measure a naturalization applicant's civics knowledge and reflect best practices in adult education assessments.
'-- USCIS (@USCIS) July 19, 2019Since assuming office, President Trump has attempted to implement broad changes to U.S. immigration laws and policies. Last week, the Trump administration announced a new rule requiring asylum-seekers to first apply for asylum in at least one country they pass through on their journey to the U.S.
The administration has also argued for a citizenship question to be added to the 2020 census. NPR's Hansi Lo Wang and Franco Ordonez reported on Trump's recent decision to drop those efforts. Instead, they wrote, Trump announced he "would sign an executive order to obtain data about the U.S. citizenship and noncitizenship status of everyone living in the United States."
Cuccinelli spoke with The Washington Post about changes to the U.S. citizenship test, which the USCIS plans to launch in December 2020 or early 2021. "Isn't everybody always paranoid that this is used for ulterior purposes?" Cuccinelli said. "Of course, they're going to be sorely disappointed when it just looks like another version of a civics exam. I mean that's pretty much how it's going to look."
In a statement, the USCIS said it had formed a naturalization test revision working group in December 2018 with "members from across the agency." The USCIS said it is "soliciting the input of experts in the field of adult education to ensure that this process is fair and transparent."
The exam currently asks applicants 10 randomly generated questions from a list of 100. The questions focus on three subjects: American government, American history and integrated civics, which includes American geography, symbols and holidays. Applicants for U.S. citizenship must get at least six out of the 10 questions correct to pass the test.
Last year, the USCIS naturalized more than 750,000 people, which the agency says is a five-year high. The USCIS reports a national pass rate of 90% for the citizenship test and says a pilot of its revisions will be rolled out this fall.
Then-USCIS Director Francis Cissna first announced upcoming revisions to the test in May. Cissna wrote, "Citizenship is the culmination of an immigrant's journey to fully join our nation and live with us in a common bond ... By revising this test every 10 years, we can ensure that the civics education requirements remain a meaningful aspect of the naturalization process."
London police Twitter blares 'F*CK THE POLICE' in apparent hack '-- RT UK News
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 10:59
London's Metropolitan Police has some explaining to do, after its website and Twitter account apparently got hacked and defaced with obscene messages.
''F**K THE POLICE FREE DA GANG!! #CHUCKLINGHELLA'' the unknown hackers posted on Twitter at 23:32 British summer time (1046 GMT) on Friday.
Around the same time, the same message '' and several others '' appeared as an official press release on the Met Police website.
More than a dozen messages have been posted so far. The hashtag appears to be a video game reference.
"We are aware that the @metpoliceuk has been subject to unauthorised access and our media team are working hard to delete the messages and ensure the security of the account," a police spokesman told reporters. "Please ignore any Tweets until we verify that it is back under official control."
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Johnson bracing to become Britain's Brexit PM
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 10:54
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The former London mayor is the runaway favourite to win the governing Conservative Party's leadership contest and replace Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday (AFP Photo/Tolga AKMEN)
London (AFP) - Boris Johnson is expected to become Britain's next prime minister this week, vowing to deliver Brexit on October 31 come what may, in the face of fierce opposition in parliament.
The former London mayor is the runaway favourite to win the governing Conservative Party's leadership contest and replace Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday.
The postal ballot of 160,000 grassroots party members is expected to return Johnson, 55, as the new Conservative leader over Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt when the result is announced on Tuesday.
Any remaining ballots must be delivered by the Monday 5:00pm (1600 GMT) deadline. Bookmakers give Hunt around a one in 15 chance of victory.
While Johnson spent a relatively trouble-free Saturday, Hunt, his successor in the Foreign Office, was dealing with Iran's seizure of a British-flagged tanker in the Gulf.
- Threat to majority -
The centre-right Conservatives command a razor-thin majority in parliament's lower House of Commons and Johnson's opponents -- both within and outside the party -- are keen to scupper his leadership.
Johnson has vowed to take Britain out of the European Union on October 31, with or without a divorce deal.
Opponents of Brexit, and especially of a no-deal departure, are plotting moves against Johnson.
Some Conservatives have hinted they are prepared to bring down their own government rather than accept leaving the EU without a deal.
Justice Secretary David Gauke said he would quit the government if Johnson became prime minister.
He told The Sunday Times newspaper that a no-deal Brexit would trigger national "humiliation".
The broadsheet reported that up to six europhile Conservative MPs were considering defecting to the centrist, pro-EU Liberal Democrats should Johnson win -- leaving him without a Commons majority.
- 'Right side of history' -
Pro-EU protesters rallied in central London on Saturday in anticipation of Johnson taking office.
The "No to Boris, yes to Europe" protest saw a giant balloon of Johnson -- inspired by the similar blimp of US President Donald Trump -- flying outside parliament.
"I want to be on the right side of history. I think anybody who considers Brexit to be a good solution, really hasn't considered the facts," demonstrator Tamara Bishop told AFP.
Claire Payton said of Johnson: "He's going to be absolutely appalling."
Michael Fowler, wearing an EU-flag beret, added: "He is a chancer that will say anything, promise anything and then do whatever suits him. Which might be completely the opposite to what he's promised."
- 'Good relationship': Trump -
Trump said he spoke to Johnson on Thursday.
"He is going to do a great job," the president said Friday.
Trump renewed his criticism of May, saying she had done "a very poor job" with Brexit and predicted that Johnson would fix the "disaster".
"He's a different kind of a guy, but they say I'm a different kind of a guy too. We get along well. I think we'll have a very good relationship," Trump told reporters.
After a month-long campaign, the winner of the contest will be announced on Tuesday as the new Conservative Party leader.
May will answer questions in parliament as prime minister for the final time on Wednesday before heading to Buckingham Palace to tender her resignation to Queen Elizabeth II, the head of state.
The sovereign will then invite the new Conservative leader to form an administration.
May, who took office following the seismic 2016 Brexit referendum, has vowed to be "absolutely" loyal to her successor.
She will remain in parliament as the MP for her Maidenhead constituency in southern England.
"It is important that we have a Conservative government, particularly given the nature of the opposition we have," she told the Daily Express newspaper.
The Labour main opposition is riven with in-fighting over Brexit, anti-Semitism and veteran leftist Jeremy Corbyn's leadership.
"I will be doing everything I can to make sure that we have a Conservative government," said May.
The 62-year-old added that initially she would "take some time off, have a holiday and adjust to the new world".
UK defence minister rebuffs criticism over tanker seized in Gulf | Politics | The Guardian
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 10:36
The defence minister, Tobias Ellwood, has rejected the charge that a British-flagged tanker seized by Iran in the Gulf could have been better protected, and said the priority for the UK must be to de-escalate tensions.
Ellwood also called for more spending on the Royal Navy, and said the US's decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal had played a part in the increasing tensions in the region.
Among critics of UK government actions ahead of the seizure of the Stena Impero in what the British says were international waters has been Admiral Lord West, the former first sea lord.
Writing in the Observer, West said ministers should have done more, suggesting those responsible for such decisions were distracted by the race to succeed Theresa May.
But asked on Sky's Sophy Ridge on Sunday programme whether the UK had taken its ''eye off the ball'', Ellwood replied: ''No, not at all.''
While the UK was sending another destroyer and a support ship to the region, he said, British vessels were going through 100 nautical miles of waterway every day. ''It is impossible simply to escort each individual vessel,'' he said.
Ellwood added that the situation had also changed quickly. ''Let's place it into context '' this has been a sudden spike in activity, in threat, that's ratcheted up in the last few weeks. And it takes time to respond there.''
Asked what the response should be, he said: ''Firstly we need to try and de-escalate this. We've seen a ratcheting up of tensions in the Middle East.''
The situation with the tanker was, he argued, ''part of a wider geo-political challenge that Iran is facing with the west''.
Ellwood said: ''So our first and most important responsibility is to make sure we get a solution to the issue to do with the current ship, make sure that other British-flagged ships are safe to operate in these waters, and then look at the wider picture of having a working, proper, professional relationship with Iran.
''But this is a hostile act, let's not dodge away from that. This is a serious matter which Iran must recognise.''
Asked if sanctions were possible, Ellwood said the government's Cobra emergencies committee met on Saturday, ''so we're looking at the operational responsibilities from that but, yes, we are going to be looking at a series of options''.
He called for more money to be invested in defence. ''If we want to continue playing a role on the international stage '' bearing in mind that threats are changing, all happening just beneath the threshold of all-out war '' then we must invest more in our defence, including our Royal Navy.
''Our Royal Navy is too small to manage our interests across the globe, if that's our future intentions, and that's something the next prime minister will need to recognise.''
Asked if the US's withdrawal from the nuclear deal played a role, Ellwood said: ''There is a concern that we have a difference of opinion with the United States on the nuclear itself. France, Germany and ourselves believe that it has paid dividends, has actually prevented nuclear weapons being developed in Iran.
''We can't deny that this tactical threat, and escalation of issues in the Strait of Hormuz, factors into this bigger picture.''
Speaking later on the Sophy Ridge show, Labour's shadow justice secretary, Richard Burgon, said it was important to avoid the UK being sucked into a wider US-led conflict, and to prevent a repeat of the ''great tragedy of Iraq''.
Burgon said: ''What we want to ensure doesn't happen is that the mistakes of the past are repeated. The mistakes of the past cost many, many lives. The mistakes of the past made things worse, and fuelled terrorism and hatred. And that's what we don't want. We don't want to be a situation where things get out of control.''
Biden says he agrees with a $15 minimum wage for campaign workers - The Washington Post
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 10:32
LAS VEGAS '-- Joe Biden said Saturday that he thinks campaign workers should make at least $15 an hour, but he declined to weigh in on the standoff over pay between unionized field staffers and management on Democratic presidential rival Bernie Sanders's team.
''I think so, yes,'' Biden told reporters when asked whether $15 an hour should be the minimum wage for campaign staff. Asked whether his field organizers are being paid that wage, the former vice president replied, ''The answer is I think that's true but I gotta double-check it,'' and glanced at a nearby aide.
Asked for more clarity, Biden spokesman Andrew Bates said that interns on the campaign are paid at a rate of $15 an hour and that field organizers are paid a salary of $4,000 a month. The latter comes out to $48,000 a year.
The hours that organizers work each week vary, Bates said. During a 60-hour workweek, which is not atypical for presidential campaign organizers, they would be making the equivalent of $16.67 an hour.
Biden declined to offer an opinion about the recent back-and-forth between the Vermont senator's field staff and Sanders's campaign manager Faiz Shakir, which The Washington Post reported on Thursday.
''I don't have any idea what they're doing on Bernie's campaign. That's for Bernie to decide,'' said Biden, who spoke to reporters between campaign stops.
The Post obtained emails, instant messages and other documents showing that salaried field organizers in the Sanders campaign complained that because of the extensive hours they worked, they made less than the equivalent of $15 an hour.
Sanders has long demanded the nation adopt $15-an-hour as a minimum wage. Many Democrats, including his presidential rivals, have embraced that figure as well.
The Sanders campaign was the first presidential effort in history to unionize part of its staff, allowing for formalized, collective negotiations over salary and benefits.
Sanders campaign staff cited the senator's words and principles in making their case to Shakir for more money for field staff, according to the documents The Post obtained, which were provided on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the private talks.
Sanders field organizers make an annual salary of $36,000, and regional field directors make $48,000 annually, according to an agreement reached between the union and the campaign in early May. Sanders campaign interns are paid hourly and make at least $15 an hour.
According to a draft proposal union members were preparing this week, field organizers were estimated to work 60 hours a week at minimum, dropping average hourly pay to less than $13.
On May 17, Shakir recommended raising the pay for Sanders field organizers to $42,000 annually and changing the workweek specifications, according to an email he later wrote to staff. The union draft indicated Shakir was seeking to extend the workweek to six days.
They rejected his offer, because the raise would have elevated field staff to a pay level responsible for paying more of their own health-care costs, according to the union draft.
The union draft asked for $46,800 for field organizers and $62,400 for regional field directors. It also sought coverage for 100 percent of the health-care premium costs for employees making $60,000 a year or less.
Under the current arrangement, the Sanders campaign the pays all premiums for salaried employees making $36,000 or less per year. Those making more are covered at a rate of 85 percent.
Biden's campaign pays 80 percent of health-care premiums, Bates said. Biden's campaign workforce is not unionized.
In a Friday statement to The Washington Post, Sanders said he was ''very proud'' that his was the first presidential campaign to unionize workers and said that ''through that framework, we are committed to addressing concerns in good faith through the bargaining process.''
Other presidential campaigns have revealed some details of their compensation structure in recent days. Field organizers working for Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who also organized a union, make $3,500 a month, according to the Warren campaign, which works out to $42,000 a year.
The campaign of Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said its organizers are paid $3,500 a month and work 50-hour weeks, a rate of about $16 an hour. Former Texas congressman Beto O'Rourke's campaign said base pay for all staff is $50,400 annually.
The Warren and Buttigieg campaigns said they pay full health-care coverage costs for their field organizers.
AOC wants '9/11-style commission' to look into family separation policy '-- RT USA News
Sun, 21 Jul 2019 02:35
Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, known for calling US migrant detention facilities "concentration camps", has now said a special commission must investigate migrant family separations the same way the 9/11 terrorist attacks were investigated.
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents New York's 14th congressional district, is facing a new wave of conservative outrage after she appeared to drag the 9/11 issue into the debate about the Trump administration's zero tolerance policy on illegal immigration.
Read more
Speaking at a town hall in Queens on Saturday, Ocasio-Cortez told the crowd that the US is responsible for ''lifelong trauma'' the now phased-out practice of family separation has caused to the children. She argued that it takes only two days to incur the type of psychological scarring they would be suffering for the rest of their lives.
Noting that not all the children have been reunited and that in some cases parents were deported to third countries while their children stayed in the US, she said that ''one of the first things'' that should be done ''when we elect a Democratic Senate and a Democratic President'' is to ''convene a special commission'' to reunify all the children and investigate how it came to that.
''In the 9/11 commission, they were charged with investigating and making sure they dug out every nook and cranny of what happened and how it happened in our system. And I think that that kind of study is what's going to be required in order to reunify as many children with their parents as possible,'' she said.
READ MORE: Trump up in the polls, thanks 'vicious young socialist Congresswomen'
She also argued for the creation of a similar commission on Puerto Rico, regarding the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Maria that crippled its infrastructure in September 2017.
The proposed commissions, she said, will be ''charged with doing just as the 9/11 Commission did when they said what went wrong in the 9/11.''
AOC's remark immediately caused pushback from the Republican National Committee (RNC), which accused her of downplaying the 9/11 tragedy.
''Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez's divisive rhetoric never ends. Whether it's smearing the US as running 'concentration camps' on the border or downplaying 9/11, the socialist 'squad' has shown us how anti-American they are,'' the committee's spokesperson, Liz Harrington told the New York Post.
Also on rt.com Ilhan Omar brands Trump 'FASCIST' after 'send her back' chants at his rally Harrington, in turn, blamed Democrats for the failure to stem the flow of migrants from Central America and thus put an end to the crisis. ''If the Democrats truly cared about addressing the crisis on the border, they would fix the loopholes in our immigration laws,'' she said.
AOC is no stranger to controversy and using colorful, and some would argue, insensitive comparisons to prove her point.
In June, the progressive firebrand came under fire for likening migrant detention facilities on the US border to Nazi-style concentration camps. She chose to stand by her words even after facing a massive backlash from Holocaust memorial sites and conservatives.
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Peggy Siegal and Jeffrey Epstein: A Hollywood Event Planner's Symbiotic Relationship With a Sex Offender
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 21:02
As a curator of events and conduit to boldface names, Peggy Siegal has become a fixture of both the New York media scene and Hollywood's awards season. But her longtime association with convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein is generating fresh scrutiny after his July 8 arrest on charges of sex trafficking and trafficking a minor. On July 18, Epstein was denied bail, with a judge refusing to allow the high-flying financier to await trial at his Manhattan mansion.
Siegal helped facilitate Epstein's return to elite social circles after his conviction through private gatherings she organized at his Upper East Side home, as well as numerous events she hosted for studio clients as one of Hollywood's most formidable gatekeepers.
The 72-year-old publicist '-- whose central role in the annual film awards race, hosting intimate screenings and dinners with stars of the films she represents, provides her with social capital that money can't buy '-- explained to The New York Times on July 13 that she'd seen no reason to shun her friend after he completed his 13-month sentence for solicitation of prostitution, despite his post-release status as a Level 3 sex offender with a severe risk of re-offense. (He'd been charged with one count of molestation and four counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.)
''The culture before #MeToo was '-- 'You've done your time, now you're forgiven,''' she contended, asserting that he was a low-key presence at her screenings, showing up last-minute, seating himself in the back and skipping afterparties. Siegal added: ''He said he'd served his time and assured me that he changed his ways.''
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Siegal stressed her belief that it ''just wasn't common knowledge'' that Epstein had molested children prior to The Miami Herald's reporting late last year. ''Had I known that he had been accused of abusing underage girls, I would not have maintained a friendship with him.'' Referencing his notoriously favorable work-release deal, she added, ''I did not believe that the charges were very serious because I knew he was allowed to work from his office every day.'' (Allegations of child rape against Epstein became national news beginning in 2006.)
'‹Three former Siegal employees, who requested their names not be used for fear of retribution, shared their recollections of the relationship between Siegal and Epstein and provided THR with contemporaneous internal office communications and other documents that corroborated their accounts. They describe a symbiotic relationship wherein Siegal would receive gifts from Epstein, including substantial travel expenses, and that she at times kept her studio clients in the dark about her friend's attendance at their events. (Virtually every Hollywood studio has worked with Siegal at one time or another, and during the busy Oscar season, she may be responsible for as many as five or six gatherings in a given week, collecting five-figure paychecks per gig. Sources with ties to several studios say they don't recall seeing Epstein's name on Siegal lists.)
'‹Siegal declined to be interviewed for this story, but she acknowledged in a prepared statement that she received funds for travel from Epstein. However, she insists through her attorneys at the Clare Locke firm and Matt McKenna, a crisis PR consultant, that this financial arrangement ended by 2010, when Epstein was released from prison. She did not clarify why she no longer accepted support after his release.
'‹Siegal is known for her ''list,'' a series of bifurcated rosters segmenting key tastemakers in various categories, both voting members of the Academy as well as, primarily, New York society types she deems suitably influential '-- Hamptonites, the downtown crowd, media figures, etc. (There are also outer-orbit names, deemed of lesser importance, to fill bigger rooms.) Her job is to curate and wrangle a certain group for her studio clients, which is subject to their approval.
'‹But if Siegal has a favorite who doesn't make the cut, she has at least one known work-around. A 2017 communication with a client, obtained by THR, provides a window into her approach. ''Academy members are permitted to bring a guest,'' she explained. ''If one friend of mine wants to come, and it is important to me, I will make sure that one person is a plus one of an Academy member.''
'‹For decades, Siegal has utilized her singular professional perch to ascend into a rarefied social circle not frequented by other top publicists or event planners. ''If she's personally P.R.'ing you as a friend, you'll wind up at the right hand of God,'' the socialite Anne Hearst told Vanity Fair in 1998.
For her part, Siegal tells THR, ''generally speaking, I would submit a guest list to the studios for pre-approval. Those lists regularly changed from their approval by the studio to the date of the event, as celebrities and other guests would come into town after the studio approved a list. I know that this happened at least occasionally with Jeffrey.'' She adds, ''Regardless, I don't recall a studio ever voicing an objection either before or after he attended an event.''
Epstein, often described as private and rarely photographed, publicly resurfaced on Siegal's circuit two months after he completed his detention in Florida, at an early screening of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps in a Southampton mansion, where he reportedly caught up with finance friend Leon Black, chatted with current Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and sat near Rudy Giuliani. (''I don't know whether Jeffrey was pre-approved to attend the Wall Street event, as I don't have records dating back that far,'' Siegal tells THR.) As recently as March 2016, Epstein's presence attracted attention when she introduced him to guests at the New York premiere of Warner Bros.' Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Siegal's awards season events target Academy members but often embrace other prominent people. ''Part of her thing was also New York society,'' says one of the former employees. ''She would sneak her plastic surgeon onto the invitation list.''
Epstein, despite the conviction, remained among the prominent people on the Siegal circuit. ''He was always calling her and trying to hang out with her,'' another former staffer explains. ''He wanted to go to every party.'' Adds a third: ''When he was in town, she made a point of inviting him to things,'' noting that when he wasn't, including during his house arrest in Palm Beach, ''Peggy would send him screeners and keep him in the loop. Peggy was his connection to the entertainment world.''
As part of their duties (and as is typical in Hollywood), some of Siegal's employees were tasked with being on her calls and reviewing her emails. In the past decade, some also communicated with each other during the workday via Gchat, memorializing in real time her interactions with Epstein. One ex-employee shared with THR screen shots of a chat with a colleague from July 2010, in which this staffer overheard Siegal talking on the phone with Epstein. ''OMFG Jeffrey Epstein,'' the employee typed to her colleague. ''She's like, 'You're not dating anyone, right?' And he's like, 'Well, I am, but you know, she's very young.' And she's like, 'Stop!'''
Another employee believes Siegal, who primarily employs young women, was aware of Epstein as an ongoing risk. ''She said to me,'' this person asserts, ''Make sure you stay away from Jeffrey at that [upcoming firm-hosted] party.'''
Shocking report from Netherlands: many police officers involved in crimes, much due to "clan culture" - Voice of Europe
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 20:42
A secret report has sent shockwaves through the Netherlands. The report points out that significant parts of Dutch police have links to organized crime.
The report's content has been published by the Dutch newspaper Algemeen Dagblad (AD).
It is notable and shocking that something like this is happening in a country that is usually regarded as orderly and law-abiding.
Police officers with immigrant backgrounds seem to play a particularly important role in criminal activities. It is reported by,
among others, the otherwise extremely politically correct British newspaper The Guardian.
A bunch of police officers (''dozens'') have been fired for corruption, negligence, breaches of security and abuse of police computers.
The shock report concludes that these revelations may only be the ''tip of the iceberg''. Throughout the country, the police force has been infiltrated by the criminal underworld.
A total of 19 police officers from the central part of the Netherlands are accused of connections to the major criminal environment.
A leading policeman from Utrecht has been fired and accused of receiving bribes from a notorious drug lord named Ridouan Taghi. This Taghi and 15 other connected criminals now in the court, accused of organizing a series of murders in the underworld.
In Amsterdam, a 55-year-old police officer was arrested last week, according to Algemeen Dagblad. A number of officers in the Dutch capital have been suspended or fired for possession, document fraud, manipulation of public computers and disclosure of confidential information.
Jan Struijs, chairman of the police peoples' union NPD, demands that much more should be done to prevent the recruitment of police officers by the deeply criminal circles.
But a big question arises: How is it that so many police officers in a traditionally law-abiding country become so deeply involved in criminal activities?
A report published two years ago by the Dutch Ministry of Justice seems to provide a substantial part of the answer.
According to The Guardian, the report found that 40 percent of all cases of policemen's violations of their obligations involved policemen with migrant background.
It's an extremely high number. People with immigrant backgrounds represent only 7 percent of the total police force, a violent over-representation when it comes to relations with criminal circles.
The report by the Ministry of Justice pointed out that some of the ethnic groups among immigrants are far more criminal than the average of the population.
At the same time, the report pointed out that immigrant communities are characterized by very broad and strong ties within families and clans. One gives ''his own'' group loyalty to the rest of society.
For some Dutch police officers with an immigrant background, it has obviously meant that they are under great pressure from criminals in their own environment and that they often give in to this pressure.
The Dutch Ministry of Justice points to an absolutely crucial consequence of the deeply irresponsible immigration policy that has been conducted in the Netherlands and the rest of Europe:
There is an ever-growing and stronger parallel society of immigrants '' especially from the Muslim world. This creates deeply problematic connections between criminal environments and law enforcement.
Mueller witness George Nader charged with sex trafficking - Axios
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 20:15
George Nader, who served as a go-between for President Trump's transition team and Russian and Middle East officials in 2016 and 2017, was charged in a Virginia federal court on Friday with sex trafficking, child pornography and obscenity, as first reported by The Daily Beast.
Why it matters: Today's indictment adds additional child pornography incidents to last month's charges, as well as new counts of sex trafficking and obscenity. From Axios' Zach Basu: Nader was a key witness in special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation and is known to have set up a now-infamous meeting in the Seychelles between Trump associate Erik Prince and a Russian official with close ties to the Kremlin. He has presented himself as close to the United Arab Emirates' de-facto ruler, Abu Dhabi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, and was convicted of transporting child porn 28 years ago. Today's indictment adds additional child pornography to last month's charges, as well as new counts of sex trafficking and obscenity.
Mark MacKinnon on Twitter: "There's a new Top Gun movie coming out. And Maverick is wearing the same leather jacket - only this time it's Communist Party of China-approved, so the Japanese and Taiwanese flag patches are gone (screenshot on right is fr
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 20:12
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House orders Pentagon to review if it exposed Americans to weaponised ticks | US news | The Guardian
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 20:11
A New Jersey lawmaker suggests the government turned ticks and insects into bioweapons to spread disease and possibly released them
Lyme disease affects 400,000 Americans each year.Photograph: Pridannikov/Getty Images/iStockphotoThe US House of Representatives has called for an investigation into whether the spread of Lyme disease had its roots in a Pentagon experiment in weaponising ticks.
The House approved an amendment proposed by a Republican congressman from New Jersey, Chris Smith, instructing the defence department's inspector general to conduct a review of whether the US ''experimented with ticks and '... insects regarding use as a biological weapon between the years of 1950 and 1975''.
The review would have to assess the scope of the experiment and ''whether any ticks or insects used in such experiment were released outside of any laboratory by accident or experiment design''.
The amendment was approved by a voice vote in the House and added to a defence spending bill, but the bill still has to be reconciled with a Senate version.
Smith said the amendment was inspired by ''a number of books and articles suggesting that significant research had been done at US government facilities including Fort Detrick, Maryland, and Plum Island, New York, to turn ticks and '... insects into bioweapons''.
A new book published in May by a Stanford University science writer and former Lyme sufferer, Kris Newby, has raised questions about the origins of the disease, which affects 400,000 Americans each year.
Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons, cites the Swiss-born discoverer of the Lyme pathogen, Willy Burgdorfer, as saying that the Lyme epidemic was a military experiment that had gone wrong.
Burgdorfer, who died in 2014, worked as a bioweapons researcher for the US military and said he was tasked with breeding fleas, ticks, mosquitoes and other blood-sucking insects, and infecting them with pathogens that cause human diseases.
According to the book, there were programs to drop ''weaponised'' ticks and other bugs from the air, and that uninfected bugs were released in residential areas in the US to trace how they spread. It suggests that such a scheme could have gone awry and led to the eruption of Lyme disease in the US in the 1960s.
' This article was amended on 18 July 2019 to clarify that ticks are not insects.
Philip Giraldi: Did Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein Work for Mossad? '' Phi Quyá>>n Ch­nh '' Anarchism: The Tao Of Anarchy
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 19:04
PQC: Oh Phil! You are supposed to be experienced with been there done that things! It's a very naive question for the whole show is directed by the Jewish Controlled Cabal. Why not? The Statist system allows them to do so! The whole thing is statist game, game of power: Don't be a fool who is ever longing for justice for there will be none, '' Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely''. If you believe you need authority power, you got what you wished for. The late George Carlin was right: It's a freak show and the USA is a front row!
Did Pedophile Jeffrey Epstein Work for Mossad?July 11, 2019
Left photo: Jeffrey Epstein and his partner, Ghislaine Maxwell, with Donald and Melania Trump at Mar-a-Lago in 2000. Right photo: Ghislaine Maxwell at Chelsea Clinton's wedding. Credit: Davidoff Studios/Getty ImagesThe extent of Israeli spying directed against the United States is a huge story that is only rarely addressed in the mainstream media. The Jewish state regularly tops the list for ostensibly friendly countries that aggressively conduct espionage against the U.S. and Jewish American Jonathan Pollard, who was imprisoned in 1987 for spying for Israel, is now regarded as the most damaging spy in the history of the United States.
Last week I wrote about how Israeli spies operating more-or-less freely in the U.S. are rarely interfered with, much less arrested and prosecuted, because there is an unwillingness on the part of upper echelons of government to do so. I cited the case of Arnon Milchan, a billionaire Hollywood movie producer who had a secret life that included stealing restricted technology in the United States to enable development of Israel's nuclear weapons program, something that was very much against U.S. interests. Milchan was involved in a number of other thefts as well as arms sales on behalf of the Jewish state, so much so that his work as a movie producer was actually reported to be less lucrative than his work as a spy and black-market arms merchant, for which he operated on a commission basis.
That Milchan has never been arrested by the United States government or even questioned about his illegal activity, which was well known to the authorities, is just one more manifestation of the effectiveness of Jewish power in Washington, but a far more compelling case involving possible espionage with major political manifestations has just re-surfaced. I am referring to Jeffrey Epstein, the billionaire Wall Street ''financier'' who has been arrested and charged with operating a ''vast'' network of underage girls for sex, operating out of his mansions in New York City and Florida as well as his private island in the Caribbean, referred to by visitors as ''Orgy Island.'' Among other high-value associates, it is claimed that Epstein was particularly close to Bill Clinton, who flew dozens of times on Epstein's private 727.
Epstein was arrested on July 8th after indictment by a federal grand jury in New York. It was more than a decade after Alexander Acosta, the top federal prosecutor in Miami, who is now President Trump's secretary of labor, accepted a plea bargain involving similar allegations regarding pedophilia that was not shared with the accusers prior to being finalized in court. There were reportedly hundreds of victims, some 35 of whom were identified, but Acosta deliberately denied the two actual plaintiffs their day in court to testify before sentencing.
Acosta's intervention meant that Epstein avoided both a public trial and a possible federal prison sentence, instead serving only 13 months of an 18-month sentence in the almost-no-security Palm Beach County Jail on charges of soliciting prostitution in Florida. While in custody, he was permitted to leave jail for sixteen hours six days a week to work in his office.
Epstein's crimes were carried out in his $56 million Manhattan mansion and in his oceanside villa in Palm Beach Florida. Both residences were equipped with hidden cameras and microphones in the bedrooms, which Epstein reportedly used to record sexual encounters between his high-profile guests and his underage girls, many of whom came from poor backgrounds, who were recruited by procurers to engage in what was euphemistically described as ''massages'' for money. Epstein apparently hardly made any effort to conceal what he was up to: his airplane was called the ''Lolita Express.''
The Democrats are calling for an investigation of the Epstein affair, as well as the resignation of Acosta, but they might well wind up regretting their demands. Trump, the real target of the Acosta fury, apparently did not know about the details of the plea bargain that ended the Epstein court case. Bill and Hillary Clinton were, however, very close associates of Epstein. Bill, who flew on the ''Lolita Express'' at least 26 times, could plausibly be implicated in the pedophilia given his track record and relative lack of conventional morals. On many of the trips, Bill refused Secret Service escorts, who would have been witnesses of any misbehavior. On one lengthy trip to Africa in 2002, Bill and Jeffrey were accompanied by accused pedophile actor Kevin Spacey and a number of young girls, scantily clad ''employees'' identified only as ''massage.'' Epstein was also a major contributor to the Clinton Foundation and was present at the wedding of Chelsea Clinton in 2010.
With an election year coming up, the Democrats would hardly want the public to be reminded of Bill's exploits, but one has to wonder where and how deep the investigation might go. There is also a possible Donald Trump angle. Though Donald may not have been a frequent flyer on the ''Lolita Express,'' he certainly moved in the same circles as the Clintons and Epstein in New York and Palm Beach, plus he is by his own words roughly as amoral as Bill Clinton. In June 2016, one Katie Johnson filed lawsuit in New York claiming she had been repeatedly raped by Trump at an Epstein gathering in 1993 when she was 13 years old. In a 2002 New York Magazine interview Trump said ''I've known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy'... he's a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it '' Jeffrey enjoys his social life.''
Selective inquiries into wrongdoing to include intense finger pointing are the name of the game in Washington, and the affaire Epstein also has all the hallmarks of a major espionage case, possibly tied to Israel. Unless Epstein is an extremely sick pedophile who enjoys watching films of other men screwing twelve-year-old girls the whole filming procedure smacks of a sophisticated intelligence service compiling material to blackmail prominent politicians and other public figures. Those blackmailed would undoubtedly in most cases cooperate with the foreign government involved to avoid a major scandal. It is called recruiting ''agents of influence.'' That is how intelligence agencies work and it is what they do.
That Epstein was perceived as being intelligence-linked was made clear in Acosta's comments when being cleared by the Trump transition team. He was asked ''Is the Epstein case going to cause a problem [for confirmation hearings]?'' '... ''Acosta had explained, breezily, apparently, that back in the day he'd had just one meeting on the Epstein case. He'd cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein's attorneys because he had 'been told' to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. 'I was told Epstein belonged to intelligence and to leave it alone.'''
Questions about Epstein's wealth also suggest a connection with a secretive government agency with deep pockets. The New York Times reports that ''Exactly what his money management operation did was cloaked in secrecy, as were most of the names of whomever he did it for. He claimed to work for a number of billionaires, but the only known major client was Leslie Wexner, the billionaire founder of several retail chains, including The Limited.''
But whose intelligence service? CIA and the Russian FSB services are obvious candidates, but they would have no particular motive to acquire an agent like Epstein. That leaves Israel, which would have been eager to have a stable of high-level agents of influence in Europe and the United States. Epstein's contact with the Israeli intelligence service may have plausibly come through his associations with Ghislaine Maxwell, who allegedly served as his key procurer of young girls. Ghislaine is the daughter of Robert Maxwell, who died or possibly was assassinated in mysterious circumstances in 1991. Maxwell was an Anglo-Jewish businessman, very cosmopolitan in profile, like Epstein, a multi-millionaire who was very controversial with what were regarded as ongoing ties to Mossad. After his death, he was given a state funeral by Israel in which six serving and former heads of Israeli intelligence listened while Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir eulogized: ''He has done more for Israel than can today be said''
Trump (left) with Robert Maxwell (right) at an event Epstein kept a black book identifying many of his social contacts, which is now in the hands of investigators. It included fourteen personal phone numbers belonging to Donald Trump, including ex-wife Ivana, daughter Ivanka and current wife Melania. It also included Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia, Tony Blair, Jon Huntsman, Senator Ted Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, David Koch, Ehud Barak, Alan Dershowitz, John Kerry, George Mitchell, David Rockefeller, Richard Branson, Michael Bloomfield, Dustin Hoffman, Queen Elizabeth, Saudi King Salman and Edward de Rothschild.
Mossad would have exploited Epstein's contacts, arranging their cooperation by having Epstein wining and dining them while flying them off to exotic locations, providing them with women and entertainment. If they refused to cooperate, it would be time for blackmail, photos and videos of the sex with underage women.
It will be very interesting to see just how far and how deep the investigation into Epstein and his activities goes. One can expect that efforts will be made to protect top politicians like Clinton and Trump and to avoid any examination of a possible Israeli role. That is the normal practice, witness the 9/11 Report and the Mueller investigation, both of which eschewed any inquiry into what Israel might have been up to. But this time, if it was indeed an Israeli operation, it might prove difficult to cover up the story since the pedophile aspect of it has unleashed considerable public anger from all across the political spectrum. Senator Chuck Schumer, self-described as Israel's ''protector'' in the Senate, is loudly calling for the resignation of Acosta. He just might change his tune if it turns out that Israel is a major part of the story.
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is inform@cnionline.org
Michael Krieger | Posted Tuesday Jul 9, 2019 at 1:39 pm
To appreciate the significance of what I'm about to share, you really need to go back and read yesterday's post: The Jeffrey Epstein Rabbit Hole Goes a Lot Deeper Than You Think.
In that piece, I shared many lesser known, but extremely bizarre facts about Jeffrey Epstein and the people around him. I also noted that it appeared his real job was to run a blackmail operation to ensnare some of the most wealthy and powerful people on earth. I alluded to the possibility that he was collecting this priceless information on behalf of a third party, and then just today we learn the following via the Daily Beast:
''Is the Epstein case going to cause a problem [for confirmation hearings]?'' Acosta had been asked. Acosta had explained, breezily, apparently, that back in the day he'd had just one meeting on the Epstein case. He'd cut the non-prosecution deal with one of Epstein's attorneys because he had ''been told'' to back off, that Epstein was above his pay grade. ''I was told Epstein 'belonged to intelligence' and to leave it alone,'' he told his interviewers in the Trump transition, who evidently thought that was a sufficient answer and went ahead and hired Acosta. (The Labor Department had no comment when asked about this.)'...
For almost two decades, for some nebulous reason, whether to do with ties to foreign intelligence, his billions of dollars, or his social connections, Epstein, whose alleged sexual sickness and horrific assaults on women without means or ability to protect themselves is well-known in his circle, remained untouchable.
It should be noted the reason I attach credibility to the above is based on who wrote it, Vicky Ward. She has an extensive history of digging into Epstein, and wrote one of the earliest profiles on him back in 2003. As she notes in today's article:
I spent many months on his trail in 2002 for Vanity Fair and discovered not only that he was not who he claimed to be professionally, but also that he had allegedly assaulted two young sisters, one of whom had been underage at the time. Very bravely, they were prepared to go on the record. They were afraid he'd use all his influence to discredit them'--and their fear turned out to be legitimate.
As the article was being readied for publication, Epstein made a visit to the office of Vanity Fair's then-editor, Graydon Carter, and suddenly the women and their allegations were removed from the article. ''He's sensitive about the young women,'' Carter told me at the time. (Editor's Note: Carter has previously denied this allegation.) He also mentioned he'd finagled a photograph of Epstein in a swimsuit out of the encounter. And there was also some feeble excuse about the article ''being stronger as a business story.'' (Epstein had also leaned heavily on my ex-husband's uncle, Conrad Black, to try to exert his influence on me, which was particularly unwelcome, given that Black happened to be my ex-husband's boss at the time.)
Many people had assumed Epstein was untouchable merely because he had so much dirt on so many powerful people, but it increasingly looks far bigger than that. It appears he may have been untouchable because he was systematically collecting this information on behalf of an intelligence agency. If so, we need to find out precisely who he was working for.
This should be the number one story in the country right now. Blackmail at this level is a genuine national security issue.
If we can somehow get to the bottom of Epstein I suspect we'll learn a lot about how the world of the powerful really works, and why everything is so fked and corrupt.
'-- Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) July 9, 2019
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Philip Giraldi - Wikipedia
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 18:58
Philip Giraldi (born c. 1946)[1] is a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a columnist and television commentator who is the Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest.[2]. As an author and analyst, Giraldi writes a regular column for the neo-Nazi citation needed publication Unz Review. He is especially controversial for the many articles he has written denouncing Judaism and Jews whom he has compared to "a bottle of rat poison" and for his denial of the Nazi Holocaust.
Education [ edit ] He gained a Bachelor of Arts with Honors from the University of Chicago and a MA and a Ph.D from the University of London in European History.[1]
Career [ edit ] According to his official biography, Giraldi worked for the CIA for 18 years.[2]
Since 1992, Giraldi has been a consultant; he is president of the consulting firm San Marco International and a partner in Cannistraro Associates, another security consultancy.[3] Giraldi has written columns on terrorism, intelligence, and security issues for The American Conservative, The Huffington Post, and Antiwar.com and op-ed pieces for the Hearst Newspaper chain. He has been interviewed by Good Morning America, 60 Minutes, MSNBC, Fox News Channel, National Public Radio, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, the BBC, al-Jazeera, al-Arabiya, Iran Daily[4]Russia Today,[5]Veterans Today, Press TV[6] and other outlets.[2] During the 2008 presidential primaries, Giraldi was a foreign policy adviser to Ron Paul.[7][8]
Views and assertions [ edit ] In 2004, with his partner Vincent Cannistraro, a retired CIA counterterrorism chief, Giraldi wrote that Turkish sources had reported that Turkey was concerned by Israel's alleged encouragement of Kurdish ambitions to create an independent state and that Israeli intelligence operations in the area included anti-Syrian and anti-Iranian activity by Kurds. They predicted this might lead to a new alliance among Iran, Syria, and Turkey which have Kurdish minorities.[9]
In August 2005, Giraldi wrote that US Vice President Dick Cheney had instructed STRATCOM to prepare "a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States... [including] a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons ... not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States." The reason cited for the attack to use mini-nukes is that the targets are hardened or are deep underground and would not be destroyed by non-nuclear warheads.[10][11]
In 2005, Giraldi also wrote that the Italian Niger/yellowcake documents claiming an Iraqi interest in purchasing uranium from Niger were forgeries created by former CIA officers and Michael Ledeen. (See Niger uranium forgeries.) Giraldi also wrote that officials in the Office of Special Plans working for Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith had forged the "Habbush letter" allegedly written by Saddam Hussein's intelligence director regarding shipping the uranium.[12][13]
In 2009, Giraldi wrote that unnamed intelligence sources had told him that a document published by the London Times, which allegedly described an Iranian plan to experiment on a "neutron initiator" for an atomic weapon, was in fact a fabrication, which Giraldi speculated was created by the State of Israel. He claimed that Rupert Murdoch publications regularly disseminate false intelligence from the Israeli and sometimes the British government.[12][14] Further disclosures by The Times undermined the document's veracity.[15]
In August 2010, Giraldi wrote that unnamed "sources in the counterintelligence community" had told him that agents of Israel's Mossad intelligence agency were posing as American intelligence agents and visiting Arabs and Muslims in New York and New Jersey. This was allegedly done to help agents gain information about Iran, which they believed would not be forthcoming to known Israeli agents. The Israeli embassy, the United States Department of Justice, and Giraldi all declined to comment for an article on the allegations in the biweekly New York Arab-community newspaper Aramica.[7][16]
In April 2011, Giraldi wrote in opposition to the Libya intervention and was critical of humanitarian intervention in foreign countries. He wrote that "the problem with humanitarian intervention as a concept is that it opens the door to more of the same wherever there are violations of fundamental rights" and that "there are a whole lot of countries that are ripe for a little humanitarian intervention and even regime change in the more obdurate cases, but there are a couple of good reasons not to do so. First is the ethical consideration that interventions might be grounded in good intentions but they are generally based on inaccurate or even false information about the situation on the ground, which renders suspect the humanitarian aspect itself. Second, whenever a humanitarian intervention takes place it often produces a bad result."[17]
On Israel and Jews [ edit ] In September 2017, Valerie Plame encountered much criticism on Twitter when she retweeted Giraldi's Unz Review column "America's Jews are Driving America's Wars", and it was pointed out she had retweeted his previous column "Why I Dislike Israel" among other articles he has written critical of Israeli influence in American foreign policy.[18][19] In the article, Giraldi ties certain Jewish media figures and lobbying organizations to increased calls for military interventions in the Middle East, including Iraq and Iran, which he believes pose no direct threat to the U.S., but are viewed by Israel and its allies as enemies. In the article, Giraldi also accused Jews of controlling the American media and said they should be labelled as Jews when appearing on television,"like a warning label on a bottle of poison".
In April 2018, Giraldi wrote that "Israel's fingerprints are all over American interventionism, reflecting Jewish power in the United States and the presence of a plethora of well-funded Israel-centric lobbies, think tanks and media outlets" and that "Israel is not at all shy about what it wants to happen, namely a war in Syria targeting both Damascus and Tehran, leading to a much bigger war with the Iranians."[20][citation needed ]
Giraldi writes that Israel was involved as a perpetrator of the 9/11 attacks, concluding that "Why would the Israelis do it? [...] To be sure, 9/11 was a gift to Israel and it is a gift that keeps on giving. America is at war in a number of Muslim countries and its troops blanket the Middle East, to include a base in Israel dedicated to the defense of that country. It is all a result of the Global War on Terror and the GWOT started with 9/11. And just maybe it was a fire that was ignited by Israel."[21]
Giraldi believes that America's support for Israel is a result of Jewish power, writing: "The Israel-thing is Jewish in all ways that matter and its sanitized Exodus-version that has been sold to the public is essentially a complete fraud nurtured by the media, also Jewish controlled, by Hollywood, and by the Establishment... Sure, Congressmen will continue to be bought and sold and Jewish money and the access to power that it buys will be able to prevail in the short term in a conspiratorial fashion. But, in the long run, everyone knows deep down that loyalty to Israel is not loyalty to the United States."[22]
Founding member of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity [ edit ] Giraldi is a founding member of the Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.[23]In September 2015 Giraldi and 27 other members of VIPS steering group wrote a letter to the President challenging a recently published book, that claimed to rebut the report of the United States Senate Intelligence Committee on the Central Intelligence Agency's use of torture.
References [ edit ] ^ a b Philip Giraldi, NNDB ^ a b c CNI Foundation Staff list Archived 2010-12-03 at the Wayback Machine as of September 2010. ^ Huffington Post biography of Philip Giraldi. ^ Clinton to lean heavily toward Israel if elected president ^ https://www.rt.com/shows/sophieco/325829-syria-isis-us-allies/ Erdogan wants to turn Turkey into Islamist state, bets on uneducated masses ^ http://presstv.ir/Detail/2016/05/10/464923/US-Philip-Giraldi-antiIsraeli-boycott-Clinton Clinton to lean heavily toward Israel if elected president ^ a b Rachel Millard, Mossad at the Door?, New America Media reprint of Aramica News Report, September 26, 2010. ^ Ron Paul for President Press release: "Ron Paul Campaign Announces Addition of New Policy Advisors," February 1, 2008 ^ Seymour M. Hersh, "Plan B: As June 30th approaches, Israel looks to the Kurds", The New Yorker, June 28, 2004. ^ Philip Giraldi, "Deep Background", The American Conservative, August 1, 2005. ^ Tom Engelhardt, "Thelma and Louise Imperialism", CBS News, from The Nation article "Reckless Bush Putting U.S. On Edge Over Iran", February 17, 2007. ^ a b Gareth Porter, "US Intelligence Found Iran Nuke Document Was Forged", Inter Press Service, December 28, 2009 ^ Terry M. Neal, "Questions Remain About the Arguments for War", Washington Post, November 3, 2005 ^ Catherine Philp, Secret document exposes Iran's nuclear trigger, The Times, December 14, 2009. ^ Gareth Porter, More doubts over Iran's 'nuclear trigger', Asia Times, January 7, 2010. ^ Philip Giraldi, "The Mossad in America", The American Conservative, August 23, 2010. ^ https://original.antiwar.com/giraldi/2011/04/06/humanitarian-interventionism-by-the-numbers/ ^ Kirchick, James (September 25, 2017). "Valerie Plame's Real Blunder". Tablet . Retrieved May 20, 2019 . ^ http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/americas-jews-are-driving-americas-wars/ ^ http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/whose-wars/ ^ Israel's Role In 9/11 PHILIP GIRALDI ' MAY 28, 2019, Unz Review ^ Jewish Power Rolls Over Washington PHILIP GIRALDI, APRIL 2, 2019 ^ Andy Worthington (2015-09-15). "28 Veterans of US Intelligence Fight Back Against CIA Claims That the Bush Torture Program Was Useful and Necessary". Archived from the original on 2015-09-28. External links [ edit ] Philip Giraldi articles at American Conservative MagazinePhilip Giraldi articles at Antiwar.comColumn archive at The Huffington PostAppearances on C-SPAN
THE HONEY TRAP ON E 71ST Eric Margolis
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 18:52
July 20, 2019
NEW YORK '' I've had many strange experiences in my decades of covering intelligence affairs. These run from being invited to KGB HQ in Moscow, Chinese intelligence in Beijing, US intelligence in Virginia, Libyan intelligence in Tripoli, South African intelligence, and even Albanian intelligence in Tirana.
But none was odder than the day I was invited to lunch in New York City with the by now notorious figure Jeffrey Epstein. The golden boy of Manhattan and Palm Beach society now sits in a grim jail cell accused of having sex with underage girls. He's been doing this in plain view since the early 1990's but, until recently, he seemed bullet-proof.
Soon after I walked into the entrance of Epstein's mansion on E 71st Street, said to be the city's largest private home, a butler asked me, 'would you like an intimate massage, sir, by a pretty young girl?' This offer seemed so out of place and weird to me that I swiftly declined.
More important than indelicacy, as an old observer of intelligence affairs, to me this offer reeked of ye old honey trap, a tactic to ensnare and blackmail people that was old when Babylon was young. A discreet room with massage table, lubricants and, no doubt, cameras stood ready off the main lobby.
I had arrived with Canada's leading lady journalist who was then close to Epstein's sometime girlfriend, Ghislaine Maxwell and, it was said, procuress '' something Maxwell denies. Bizarrely, Maxwell believed that I could get KGB Moscow Center to release satellite photos that showed the murder on his yacht of her father, the press baron Robert Maxwell, who was a well-known double agent for Israel and KGB, and a major criminal.
Also present was the self-promoting lawyer, Alan Dershowitz, who had saved the accused murderer Claus von Bulow, as well as a titan of the New York real estate industry (not Trump) and assorted bigwigs of the city's elite Jewish society. All sang the praises of Israel.
Epstein reportedly had ties to Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Britain's Prince Andrew and repeatedly flew them about in his private jet, aka 'the Lolita Express.' All guests deny any sexual activity. I turned down dinner with Prince Andrew.
Epstein's residence in Manhattan and Palm Beach, both of which I visited, were stocked with young female 'masseuses.' All were working class girls making big money in their spare time. I did not see any interactions between these girls and the guests.
Epstein and Maxwell became too big for their britches. They flaunted their sexual adventures and laughed at New York society. Everyone wondered about the source of Epstein's lavish income but no one knew its origins. He claimed to be an exclusive money manager for a group of secretive millionaires. But the only one identified was billionaire Leslie Wexner, the owner of L Brands and Victoria's Secret. Wexner denied any knowledge of Epstein's alleged crimes.
Besides sexual frolics, Epstein and Maxwell were up to many odd things. The FBI found diamonds, cash and a fake passport when raiding his mansion and documents showing his net worth at $559,120,954.00. The IRS tax people will be eager to review the sources of this income.
It seems likely that political influence was brought to bear on then US attorney Alexander Acosta (he just resigned under fire last week) to make a sweetheart deal with Epstein, who had been charged by Florida with child molestation. Epstein got off with a token, 13-month jail sentence that allowed him to work from his office much of the day.
Were Trump or Clinton involved? How much did they 'party' with Epstein and revel in his fleshmart? There was talk of some sort of 'intelligence' angle to the affaire Epstein that spared him a harsh sentence.
A respected former CIA official, Phil Giraldi has come right out and accused Epstein of being an Israeli agent of influence. Epstein was let off with a slap on the wrist on his first child abuse charge, says Giraldi, because of his powerful Israel connections. To Giraldi and this writer, the Epstein 'massage' operation was a classic intelligence operation designed to blackmail men of influence into doing Israel's bidding. Clinton had reportedly already fallen into this trap years earlier while still president.
Now watch this stinking pile of corruption be hurriedly covered up. Talk about draining the swamp.
Copyright Eric S. Margolis 2019
This post is in: Intelligence, USA
Orwell, Inc.: How Your Employer Spies On You From When You Wake Up Until You Go To Bed | Zero Hedge
Sat, 20 Jul 2019 17:41
An increasing number of large companies are using data from employees' electronic devices to track such personal details like when you they wake up, where they go for coffee in the morning, their whereabouts throughout the entire day, and what time they go to bed according to a new Wall Street Journal article. What's the company explanation for this type of spying?
"An increasing number of companies are keeping track of such information to flag potentially suspicious activity and measure work-life balance," the article claims.
The article walks through the day in the life of a fictional worker, Chet. It starts by noting that his employer logs the time and his location when he first wakes up to check his e-mail in the morning.
From there, the company even sees as Chet logs onto the guest Wi-Fi connections at places like the coffee shop in the morning. Many companies require additional authentication when they try to access company information from unsecure Wi-Fi networks.
Then, a Bluetooth device and his ID badge mark what time he arrives at the office while tracking his movement around the building. These technologies are supposedly used to see what teams collaborate frequently and to make sure that employees aren't accessing unauthorized areas.
Then, as Chet gets to his desk, his web browsing is tracked along with his email. New software breaks down how workers interact with email and how quickly colleagues reply in an attempt to see which employees are most influential. Some software on company computers even snaps screenshots every 30 seconds to evaluate productivity and hours worked.
Even Chet's phone conversations can be recorded, transcribed and monitored. Companies use this information to find subject matter experts and measure productivity. Even conference room discussions and meetings can now be recorded and analyzed by software.
At the end of the day, if Chet goes to the gym or for a run, the company will know that too and just how many calories he has burned: his fitness tracker logs how many steps he takes and what exercise, if any, he is doing. Companies then use that information to determine how frequently employees are exercising and whether or not they should be paying for health and fitness services.
You can view the WSJ's full animated panel here.


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    you can step over the body Adam Curry
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    this is no agenda
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    I'm Adam curry from Northern California
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    where we're waiting the female for and
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    hoping for the male afro I'm John C
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    Dvorak this is rather interesting as I
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    checked into the shot room of trolls
  • 0:41
    today and all I can see is them talking
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    about some character and it's gonna be a
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    woman and they said what's going on and
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    was pissed off what is happening
  • 0:52
    apparently Natalie Portman is going to
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    be the female for everyone's all upset
  • 1:00
    about this well it's fun as stupid as
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    anything I've ever heard of but okay
  • 1:05
    let's just make a female Hulk then
  • 1:08
    you're talking and actually that'd be
  • 1:11
    more believable yeah and isn't there
  • 1:14
    like a bat woman or something else just
  • 1:17
    everyone there's a lot of bat women I'm
  • 1:24
    just surprised like of all the things to
  • 1:27
    care about in the world this is not high
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    on the list no but I've seen this go on
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    for at least a while I got bumped off of
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    course because my Wi-Fi problem but it's
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    just been ongoing garbage garbage movies
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    think nothing whole airplane viewing my
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    experience nothing holds a candle to the
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    Fast and Furious series and there's
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    always eight of them to watch so it's
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    oh how did I catch I think I was on a
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    plane once sitting next to somebody and
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    I was trying to watch some you know semi
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    good movie and the person next to me was
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    watching fast and furious five or
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    someone of the movement and I couldn't
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    keep my eyes off their screen exactly so
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    I had to put it on well this brings me
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    to some unscientific research I've been
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    doing about the use of closed captioning
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    amongst Millennials and a Generation Z
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    yes we got some notes about this I got a
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    polls over at No Agenda social calm I
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    three people are blaming it or
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    picked out here this is JV I watch
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    caption there you go Carbon captions
  • 3:20
    that's perfect I use watch everything
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    with closed caption / subtitles mostly
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    due to decades of frustrating sound
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    mixing movies and modern shows are mixed
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    with wide dynamic range room shaking
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