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Breitbart Told the FBI It Was the Victim of a Cyberattack. But Apparently Its Own Advertising Was to Blame.

Breitbart Told the FBI It Was the Victim of a Cyberattack. But Apparently Its Own Advertising Was to Blame.

by Jacob Brogan @ Slate Articles

In January 2016, Breitbart News Network—the far-right media company currently chaired by White House exile Steve Bannon—realized it had a problem. Describing the issue in an email to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a representative of the company wrote that its site had been “under constant DDoS attack for the past two days.” Hoping that the bureau could help ascertain “the identity of the criminal,” the Breitbartian asked, “Is this something we can possibly collaborate on?”

That email appears in a trove of heavily redacted documents available on the FBI’s public “Vault,” a collection of documents made available under the Freedom of Information Act. As other emails and memos in the file indicate, the FBI took Breitbart’s request seriously, as it should have. The investigation, however, soon revealed that things weren’t quite what they seemed.

DDoS—or distributed denial of service—attacks are one of the most important weapons of contemporary cyber warfare. They typically involve sustained and repeated requests from multiple computers or internet-enabled devices on a site, a process that often takes it offline. In October of last year, an Internet of Things-enabled botnet temporarily downed much of the internet on the United States’ east coast. On other occasions, DDoS attacks have served more explicitly political functions, which seemed to be the case when one disabled Planned Parenthood’s website in 2015.

It stands to reason, then, that the Trump-aligned Breitbart might have been the victim of similarly inclined malefactors. In fact, a popular post from February of this year on Reddit’s r/The_Donald accused a “former Berkeley student” of advocating just such an attack on the media company. In response, one seemingly appalled commenter offered a link to the FBI’s tip line.

As Gizmodo’s Brendan O’Connor noted on Twitter, however, the supposed attack in January 2016 seems to have been nothing of the kind. The majority of the problematic traffic didn’t appear to be coming from malicious attackers at all. Instead, a bureau representative wrote in a later memo, “a large portion of that traffic was due to a malfunctioning ad network.”

The call, in other words, was coming from inside the house. No free speech martyr, Breitbart instead appears to have been the victim of its own sales team.

To be fair, redactions in the FBI’s documents make it hard to determine the exact details of the story. The investigation does appear to have continued after the advertising revelation, but the bureau’s subsequent analysis and findings have been removed from the FOIA’d file. It’s certainly possible, then, that a “criminal” really was behind the attack. Possible, but not likely.

In any case, Breitbart may not have to worry about a repeat incident. Advertising on the site has declined precipitously since the presidential election, thanks in part to a sustained boycott effort. If that trend continues, it’s possible that Breitbart will soon be safe from its most dangerous enemies.

Generate more leads with Shopify and BigCommerce plugins

by John Habib @ Vertical Response Blog

Easily collect customers' contact information that flows right to your VerticalResponse account

The post Generate more leads with Shopify and BigCommerce plugins appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

How Predictions Can Change the Future

How Predictions Can Change the Future

by Ed Finn @ Slate Articles

Can computers predict the future? We desperately want them to, if you count the sheer tonnage of science-fiction tales we’ve consumed over the decades featuring all-knowing techno-oracles using their massive calculating power to work out every detail in the same way IBM’s Deep Blue games out a chess match. The magnificent Minds modeling the behavior of entire civilizations while calculating hyperspace jumps in Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels. C-3PO rattling off the odds of survival to Han Solo in Star Wars.

For now, however, silicon seers aren’t prophesizing the distant future like A.I. gods. Instead, they’re creeping into the near future, gradually extending the reach of what computer engineers variously call foresight, anticipation, and prediction. Autonomous cars slam on the brakes seconds before an accident occurs. Stock-trading algorithms foresee market fluctuations crucial milliseconds in advance. Proprietary tools predict the next hit pop songs and Hollywood movies. The ways in which computation is sidling up to the future reminds me of the old William S. Burroughs line: “When you cut into the present, the future leaks out.”

Better near-future predictions are beginning to appear in all sorts of consumer products, too. We used to laugh at wacky Amazon recommendations and Microsoft’s infamous Clippy popping up to ineffectually “help” you write a letter in Word, but the predictions we see these days more often feel eerily accurate.

Consider Google autocomplete, those helpful little strings of suggested text that pop up as you start typing in a search query. As a genre of prophecy, this might seem pretty lame. But consider how often the typical internet user relies on those little pop-ups every day, using them not just to save typing a few more letters but as a kind of microquery in its own right: a rapid spell-check, fact check, and zeitgeist check all rolled into one. Does the name you’re searching for pop up with “girlfriend” or “married” appear after it? What does Google suggest after you type in “how do i”? (Google’s suggestions for me are “get home; renew a passport; get a passport; love thee.” Thanks, Google.) These predictions are based on the words thousands of other people typed into their search bars, but they are also customized for you based on your own browsing history, location, and whatever else Google might care to reference in its extensive file on you.

This may seem like an unremarkable convenience, but it is also a way to reinvent the relationship we all have with “now” and “soon.” Years ago, Google realized that people get annoyed by delays in response time—even if it’s less than a second. In fact, humans can be bothered by any lags that are perceptibly longer than the speed at which our own nervous system can respond to stimuli (about 250 milliseconds). So if Google wants to get you something now, it strives to do it in about the time it takes for your foot to report that you have stubbed your toe just now. In doing so, it pushes the envelope of instant gratification by attempting to guess what you want before you even articulate it. Autocomplete leaps ahead of now to offer you the near future on a silver platter.

The predictive quality of the algorithm gets more interesting when you pick an autocomplete suggestion that wasn’t quite what you were searching for but was close enough that you went along with it because you are a lazy mammal. For in this matter of your query about cats or clown anxieties, Google has not just predicted the future but changed it. Now multiply that possibility by the 3.5 billion or more search queries the company processes each day.

Autocomplete provides just one small example of the many ways algorithms’ predictions shape the future. Think about your relationship with Facebook: the primary source of news for many people. The social network has deployed extensive predictive resources to figure out populate your feed with content and connections that will keep you coming back to the site. Are you liberal or conservative? Rich or poor? What’s your ethnicity, your geographical location, your favorite brand of clothing? Advertisers also want to know—and have been flocking to Facebook’s increasingly formidable abilities to hone in on your demographics, influences, and preferences. As the ads become better targeted, they’re more likely to influence the products you purchase, gifts you get, trips you take, neighborhood you move to, or when you make major decisions such as changing jobs or getting married. And the algorithms’ decisions about who to share your next big life event with continue the feedback loop for others. That data may also be used to discriminate against you. It may have already done so, as it did with an old Facebook advertising system that allowed clients to exclude particular “ethnic affinities” from seeing housing, credit, and employment ads. (The company now claims it’s enacting policies to prevent this kind of deliberate bias.)

Even if there’s no large manila folder in Palo Alto labeled “black people on Facebook,” the algorithms are written to differentiate perceived demographics in an instrumental way. The program will populate your feed with posts and ads it thinks you—or rather, its sometime uncanny but ultimately imprecise understanding of you—will enjoy, each with the potential to become a self-fulfilling prophecy of what you will like. The feed look similar for those it thinks are similar to you but very different for someone it associates with other demographic and social categories. This is yet another kind of future-shaping: It manipulates the information we’re aware of—not just the things we concentrate on, but the things on the horizon we are vaguely aware of. But those things on the margins often come back and become the future. Since we have only so much capacity to think about the decisions that aren’t in the immediate now, catching a glimpse of something out of the corner of the eye—say a promo for a sneaker company your friends on Facebook like—can influence you later because the ad puts those kicks onto the fairly short list of things you might think about wanting later. It also makes the decision to buy sneakers from that company easier for you (a fact advertisers know full well). Our algorithms snuggle right in there between our complacency and our anxiety to fill the empty places. That ad for a realtor or an engagement ring might be close enough to the thing we thought we wanted that it’s easier just to click on it. But by doing so, we become the flattened versions of ourselves that the algorithm predicted, and along the way, limit the possibilities of our experience. Lazy mammals.

This kind of prediction will only become more prevalent, and more seductive in its convenience, as algorithms improve and we feed them more data with our queries, our smart home devices, our social media updates, and our expanding archives of photos and videos. Facebook, for one, is beavering away at literally reading your mind. At its annual developer conference, it unveiled a new technology that can transcribe text directly from thought. It made for a very cool demo, but it also opened up a host of questions. What if, like autocomplete, the text is almost what you thought? What if your brain, an incredibly adaptable tool, reshapes its thinking to better suit the algorithm, and you find yourself thinking in Facebook, like you dreamed in French for a few weeks before the big Advanced Placement exam? Now the futures you can think about are shaped by somebody else’s code.

This is an extreme version of how computers might predict the future, at least in its particulars. But in its generalities, it’s happening all the time. We slice and dice the present in millions of different models, and making all sorts of assumptions about what we can and can’t predict. The more we depend on computers to handle the near-future for us (where do I turn? what should I read? who should I meet?), the more limited our map of the present and potential future becomes. We’re reversing William S. Burroughs: cutting up the future and turning it into discrete pieces of the present that have been denatured of ambition, of mystery, of doubt, and of deeper human purpose. We may get an answer to our question, but we don’t know what it means.

For most of us, most of the time it’s not the long-term, hazy-outline future that matters. It’s the next five minutes, the next day, the next line of conversation. These are the predictions that algorithms want to make for us because they shape the real decisions that move our lives forward. But the future isn’t just about the coming decisions in our field of view. It’s the blank space on the map, the zone of possibility and hope. On good days, it’s the telescope through which we see our best selves finally coming into being. But these algorithms can be so compelling in the ways that end up mapping out our near future that they obscure the slow, dramatic changes that might take decades to pull off. Algorithms are so effective at filling every available moment of free time with pings and updates that they foreclose vital opportunities for daydreams and self-reflection: the times when you suddenly realize you have to quit your job or write a book or change who you are. We’ve all had that experience of discovering a whole new version of ourselves totally unpredicted by any model. Those futures are not something we should give up to an algorithm.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

The 4 elements every event landing page needs

by Amber Humphrey @ Vertical Response Blog

Preparing to host a big event? A landing page may be just what you need to spread the word to your customers. Follow these optimization tips to create a landing page that encourages visitors to take action

The post The 4 elements every event landing page needs appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Streamlining hospital communication – An interview with Brad Goldsmith, Co-Founder of MDsyncNET

by Markitors @ Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors’s Co-Founder, Brad Goldsmith, recently had an interview with Markitors discussing his business, inspiration and the three things he can guarantee his customers. What inspired you to start MDsyncNET? During the internet boom in 2001, I wasn’t sure what I … Read More

The post Streamlining hospital communication – An interview with Brad Goldsmith, Co-Founder of MDsyncNET appeared first on Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors.

3 Storytelling Strategies to Inexpensively Improve Your Content Marketing

by Guest Poster @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of FreepikThe whole landscape of marketing is shifting; marketers who succeeded by wielding a large megaphone and blasting potential customers with promotional material (“COME BUY OUR PRODUCT!”) are finding their tactics less and less effective as consumers skip, mute, or otherwise tune out commercials. In marketing’s new epoch, businesses create leads and valuable customer […]

SEO Agency in St. Petersburg, Florida

by CEO and Founder @ Digital Marketing Agency

Experience Advertising SEO agency in St. Petersburg, Florida specializes in helping local and national businesses climb higher up the search results ladder using SEO practices customized for their needs. If you want your Florida business to flourish and get a steady stream of search engine traffic, then Evan Weber of Experience Advertising can help you. […]

Should I Host My Website With My Website Design Company Or Host My Own Site?

by Christopher Williams @ Elite Web Professionals

There are several factors to consider with regards to website hosting. I have found that many companies prefer to host with their web designer instead of being responsible for their own hosting. As rule of thumb a website should have … Continue reading

Not Segmenting Your Audience? Big Mistake if You’re Chasing Conversions

by Today's Industry Insider @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

You’ve done your best to find your target audience, but if you’re treating each of your leads the same way, you’re basically throwing conversions out the window. Even though your audience shares an interest in your brand, they’re not all at the same stage of getting to know you. So speaking to them as if […]

The 7 Best Places To Advertise Your Business Online - 3Bug Media

The 7 Best Places To Advertise Your Business Online - 3Bug Media

3Bug Media

If you aren't advertising online yet, or are looking for new avenues to pursue, below are 7 places you can market your small business online. While I'm a huge proponent of optimizing your website so you can get found in the search engine results for free, the reality is that it takes alot of time, patience and persistence to rank high in the search engines

Our campaigns will generate local traffic to your…

by admin @ Spotlight Media

Our campaigns will generate local traffic to your site and we will track all phone calls and leads generated by…

The post Our campaigns will generate local traffic to your… appeared first on Spotlight Media.

How to Grow Your Editorial Calendar From One to 60

by Amanda Dodge @ Spokal

Marketers tend to apply the same level of commitment to their blogs as their diets and gym memberships. Getting back into the habit of publishing might be a New Year’s Resolution (or a Q3 resolution) but after a surge of posts, the content sputters and the blog goes dark. While the content manager certainly intends […]

Why Advertising Is Failing On The Internet

Why Advertising Is Failing On The Internet


1. There Must Be Something Other Than Advertising: The expected drop in internet advertising revenues this year was neither unpredictable nor unpredicted,..

GoDaddy Joins the Resistance

GoDaddy Joins the Resistance

by Will Oremus @ Slate Articles

Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.

For years, an online speech battle has played out on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit. It typically goes like this: Activists pressure the company to crack down on content they consider offensive. In some cases, they call for a user or organization to be banned outright. The social media company then has a choice: Take action, or disclaim responsibility for the content.

That war is still raging, and the violence by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend prompted an unprecedented crackdown by Facebook on both article links and private groups affiliated with the movement.

But this week also saw the opening of a new front, in which the stakes are potentially even higher than they are on social media. That front lies deeper within the web’s infrastructure, in the realm of web hosts, domain registrars, and various other web services. The companies that provide the back-end services of the web have historically resisted pressure to police the behavior of sites that use them and have mostly avoided the spotlight in controversies over online speech. After Charlottesville, that may be changing.

For months, groups including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have been pushing various web providers to cut off service to openly racist and anti-Semitic sites. The breakthrough came on Monday, when the domain registrar GoDaddy canceled the registration of the Daily Stormer, a neo-Nazi site that published an article attacking Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer. The Daily Stormer transferred its domain registration to Google, and almost immediately, Google shut it down too. As of Wednesday, the site could not be reached—but a copy of it was posted to a Tor hidden service, part of what’s known as the dark web because it isn’t indexed by search engines. For now, it seems, the Daily Stormer has been driven underground.

To those who believe that the Daily Stormer’s blatant racism has no place in civil discourse, that might sound like an unambiguous victory. Facebook has long permitted racist organizations to flourish on its private group pages; Twitter has famously struggled to enforce its own policies against hate speech; Google’s search engine dutifully links to the Daily Stormer and other hate sites for anyone seeking them, as long as they’re on the public web. Yet in a matter of hours, the entire site disappeared when a pair of prominent domain-name registrars refused to serve it. Building on their momentum, activists are now taking the fight to Cloudflare, a web performance and security firm that as of Tuesday was still listed on the Daily Stormer’s nonfunctional website as protecting it from denial-of-service hacks. On Wednesday, there were reports that even Cloudflare had backed away.

But the campaign’s success comes with some risk for those who care about free expression on the web. Cutting off domain hosting is a potent weapon against the purveyors of objectionable content—and it could be double-edged.

The most recent time GoDaddy and other domain-name hosts were at the center of a dispute over online speech, the battle was over a piece of legislation called the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. The targets then were not neo-Nazis, but websites alleged to be in violation of copyright laws. The tech industry and free-speech advocates banded together to defeat the bill, arguing, among other things, that targeting websites at the level of the domain registrar amounted to the internet equivalent of a “death penalty.” (Interestingly, GoDaddy initially broke ranks with Google and other big tech firms in that debate, incurring a boycott by supporting SOPA before eventually changing its stance.)

Now, some of the internet advocates who opposed SOPA find themselves conflicted to see that same punishment applied in a different context.

“I’m torn here,” says Eric Goldman, a law professor at Santa Clara University and a director of its High Tech Law Institute. He supports the right of companies such as GoDaddy and Google to exercise discretion as to the content they host on their servers. But he points out that GoDaddy wasn’t actually hosting the Daily Stormer’s files; it merely served as the site’s domain registrar, directing internet traffic toward it. “The domain hosting is a relatively rarely focused-on chokepoint” for political pressure, Goldman told me. “Turning on or off content at that level is much deeper into the infrastructure layer than we’re used to seeing.”

Nate Cardozo, staff attorney for the nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation, expressed similar concerns to the Verge’s Russell Brandom: “We feel that the infrastructure that serves up the internet must remain neutral. It’s pipes versus houses.”

Yet in a time when hate-spewing “alt-right” groups are using the web to organize violent demonstrations, previously obscure tech companies have come under mounting pressure to police those pipes. In May, Vocativ’s Sara Morrison blasted the hosting company Squarespace as “the web platform of choice for the alt-right,” noting that it appeared to be ignoring its own policies against bigotry. That same month, ProPublica took aim at Cloudflare for the services it provides to the Daily Stormer in an article headlined, “How One Major Internet Company Helps Serve Up Hate on the Web.” The piece exposed a particularly troubling practice in which Cloudflare passed on to the Daily Stormer the names and email addresses of anyone who complained to Cloudflare about the site’s neo-Nazi content. Several of them were subsequently harassed and threatened. Cloudflare later told ProPublica it would amend that policy.

But Cloudflare’s CEO, Matthew Prince, had until now staunchly maintained his right to work with even the most incendiary clients, including the Daily Stormer. “A website is speech. It is not a bomb,” he wrote in a 2013 blog post defending his company’s relationship with a Chechen site accused of fomenting terrorism.

Other internet companies’ stances have proved more malleable, as the industry appears to be re-evaluating its posture toward hate groups in the wake of Charlottesville. WordPress on Tuesday stopped hosting, the website of a fascist alt-right group in which alleged Charlottesville killer James Fields claimed membership. As Fast Company explains, that was a reversal from its previous “no-censorship” posture. Axios names Reddit, PayPal, GoFundMe, and Airbnb among the other major platforms that have taken measures against the alt-right in recent weeks. The CEO of chipmaker Intel joined several other CEOs in resigning from one of President Trump’s business advisory councils. Even Tiki, maker of the Tiki torches that the white supremacists held at the Charlottesville march, has publicly distanced itself from the movement.

Among internet companies, GoDaddy represents the most noteworthy flip-flop. In July, GoDaddy had declined to take action when the Daily Stormer threatened the families of CNN staffers, despite language in its terms of service prohibiting “morally offensive activity” or specific threats of violence. The site’s director of network abuse, Ben Butler, told the Daily Beast at the time:

While we detest the sentiment of this site and the article in question, we support First Amendment rights and, similar to the principles of free speech, that sometimes means allowing such tasteless, ignorant content.

This week, GoDaddy amended its stance. Butler reiterated his earlier statement to the New York Times on Tuesday but added the following:

In instances where a site goes beyond the mere exercise of these freedoms, however, and crosses over to promoting, encouraging, or otherwise engaging in violence against any person, we will take action. In our determination, especially given the tragic events in Charlottesville, crossed the line and encouraged and promoted violence.

Goldman, the Santa Clara law professor, told me domain hosts such as GoDaddy and Google Domains are well-protected by the law when it comes to providing or denying service to any given client. But he takes issue with the way they seemed to use their terms of service as a cover for what was at root a business decision. Indeed, it’s hard to see how the Daily Stormer’s article mocking the Charlottesville victim crossed a line that the explicitly racist and anti-Semitic site—which was read by Charleston, South Carolina, mass killer Dylann Roof—hadn’t crossed many times before. What changed was the degree of public pressure on domain hosts to take action. Because domain hosts have such power over the structure of the web, Goldman says, “We assume they’ll exercise that discretion in the best interest of society. If they’re really just going to exercise it in the best interest of their profits, we should be worried about what we’re going to lose.”

Of course, it would be naïve to expect such companies to perfectly enforce their terms against all clients at all times. Public pressure has long been an important lever by which activists can compel companies to take actions that it otherwise might not. And while it’s fair to argue that GoDaddy should have cut ties with the Daily Stormer long ago, that doesn’t make it wrong to do so now.

Generally speaking, the argument that social media platforms bear no responsibility for what people post on them has failed. Twitter, which once dubbed itself the “free-speech wing of the free-speech party,” backed down from that stance in recent years as it became clear that abuse and harassment posed an existential threat to its business. Facebook has typically been more comfortable removing content that it deems offensive, but it only reluctantly agreed in the past year to exercise some forms of editorial judgment in response to its fake-news problem. Google has blacklisted fake-news sites from its ad network. All three have now come around, in various ways, to the view that they have at least some role to play in promoting civil discourse, beyond simply handing a megaphone to anyone who wants it.

That’s in part an acknowledgement of the reality that the structure of their platforms plays an important role in shaping the way we communicate online. For example, Facebook’s news feed, as I’ve explained, inherently prioritizes certain types of speech and interaction over others. In other words, it can’t credibly claim neutrality with respect to content when its algorithms are already tilting the playing field.

The argument that web hosts and domain registrars should refrain from policing the content of the sites they serve, however, seems like a stronger one. GoDaddy’s service doesn’t distinguish between “high-quality” and “low-quality” content the way Facebook’s or Google’s algorithms do. Cloudflare may serve hateful or violent clients along with laudable ones, but it isn’t in the business of recommending or suppressing their content.

Moreover, if Facebook or Twitter bans a group, it can still take its message to any number of other social networks, or start its own. When domain registrars blacklist it, they effectively banish it from the public internet. It’s a far blunter instrument, wielded by a company with no experience or expertise in passing editorial judgments, and little track record of public accountability for its actions. (One could make the case that Google’s search engine has similar power, but there is still a distinction between a company that ranks websites and one that just directs traffic.)

The distinction between the Daily Stormer and an antifa site, or even a Black Lives Matter site, might seem clear as day to those urging GoDaddy to intervene against the former. Yet if our president himself finds them equivalent, it isn’t hard to imagine a private tech-infrastructure firm deciding to ban the latter along with the former.

Those back-end service providers may look like attractive targets for progressive activists today, when they hold the power to exile a noxious and violent white supremacist group to the web’s shadows with the flick of a switch. And perhaps this will all end well if it leads to a sustained campaign to get web infrastructure providers to enforce their terms of service more consistently—that is, if it reinforces rather than removes the high bar for taking action against blatant offenders. But it’s hard to shake the feeling that concentrating editorial discretion in these companies’ hands is a gambit that will eventually backfire.

Fensterstock & Partners obtains decisive ruling for their client, defeating a motion to dismiss, in an action involving a stock purchase agreement

by Connie Fensterstock @ Fensterstock & Partners LLP

Fensterstock & Partners LLP obtains a decisive ruling for their client, Cypress Group Holdings, Inc., defeating a motion to dismiss, in an action involving a stock purchase agreement and alleging causes of action for breach of contract, indemnification, fraudulent concealment, common law fraud, and seeking a declaratory judgment.  Decision on Motion to Dismiss

The post Fensterstock & Partners obtains decisive ruling for their client, defeating a motion to dismiss, in an action involving a stock purchase agreement appeared first on Fensterstock & Partners LLP.

Publishers on Instagram – video formats are boosting engagement across the app

Publishers on Instagram – video formats are boosting engagement across the app

by Anne Freier @ mobyaffiliates

Publishers on Instagram have seemed to pick up pace as they increasingly use video formats to share their content. According to findings from Newswhip, overall, top publishers across the platform are producing more video content. Indeed, Sports Illustrated, People Magazine and TIME have seen 90% to 100% increases in their video outputs since May 2016. So what does the platform have to offer publishers? How can they benefit and which video formats perform the best? Across the 700 million monthly active user-strong platform, photo engagements are still higher compared to video. However, whilst the average engagement for photos increased 46%, that for video posts jumped 53%. That means, video engagement growth is now outpacing photos. And although photos tend to attract around 29% more likes than

The post Publishers on Instagram – video formats are boosting engagement across the app appeared first on mobyaffiliates.

What’s New in Digital: Recent Updates

by Tyler Byrne @ Driven Local

If you are someone who fears change, the digital world is probably not for you. Updates come and go like LIRR trains (when they’re on schedule), and if you can’t keep up, your business may suffer as a result. Luckily, that’s why you’ve partnered with us. It’s our job to stay on top of these […]

The post What’s New in Digital: Recent Updates appeared first on Driven Local.

The Damage Caused by the 93-Day Internet Blackout in Cameroon

The Damage Caused by the 93-Day Internet Blackout in Cameroon

by Sophie Ngassa @ Slate Articles

Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.

On Jan. 17, the internet went out in Bamenda, the English-speaking city where I live in the Northwest region of Cameroon.

The internet shutdown affected the Anglophone regions of Cameroon—approximately one-third of the population of the country. Meanwhile, Francophone Cameroonians continued to enjoy internet access. Why? The government claimed that Anglophone Cameroonians were using social media to spread rumors, fuel anti-government protests, and threaten national unity.

Just a day before services disappeared, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications issued a statement that warned social media users of criminal penalties if they were to "issue or spread information, including by way of electronic communications or information technology systems, without any evidence." The statement also confirmed that the authorities had sent text messages direct to mobile phone subscribers, notifying them of penalties, including long jail terms, for "spreading false news" via social media.

For me, this shutdown was devastating. I’m a STEM advocate and a tech instructor for girls ages 10 to 18. I run after-school and holiday programs, where I teach girls hands-on digital skills at the Center for Youth Education and Economic Development (CYEED). My goal is to share my passion for STEM and to inspire them early on with the help of mentors, so they will stay engaged throughout their school year and their lives. In Cameroon, less than 30 percent of students in STEM programs are girls. My dream is to narrow the gender tech divide, so our women can have equal access to the economic opportunities STEM careers can provide. I am on a mission to eradicate the stereotypes about STEM education being for boys.

Naturally, the internet is one of the tools I use on a daily basis to access free online resources to train girls. I also belong to social online platforms where I gain skills and training. It is not an exaggeration to say that when I discovered that I could not connect to the internet, it was one of the most horrifying issues I have faced in life. I could not believe that it would now be impossible to express myself to the world, reach emergency services, or communicate with my family.

The nearest strong and reliable internet connection was three hours away on a very bad road, in a nearby French-speaking region. Every weekend, I packed my little backpack, bought a bus ticket, and traveled to the town of Baffoussam. It was the only way I could keep my work alive.

During the blackout, I was working on two main projects that required internet access. One was the Technovation Challenge, an international project to bring girls into STEM. As a regional ambassador for this program, I recruit and train girls to build mobile Android apps that will address problems in their community, using MIT App Inventor software. I estimate that because of the internet blackout, about 200 girls in Bamenda lost the ability to take part in the Technovation Challenge. That privilege was now reserved only to the girls from French-speaking regions of Cameroon.

The girls who could not take part have kept on contacting me to seek solutions. Many of them had taken part in the year before and were eager to do it again. But it was too expensive to move them to Baffoussam for training. It was a lost opportunity.

My second project at the time was the World Pulse Advanced Digital Changemaking program. In this project, I was not a leader, but a participant. World Pulse is a powerful digital platform uniting people from around the world who strive to speak out and build solutions to today’s biggest challenges. It empowers these leaders by advancing their digital skills and leadership, empowering them to mobilize others and create real social transformation.

I had only been in the program training for three weeks when the internet was shut down. I needed internet to access training material, do my assignments, run live calls in virtual classrooms with classmates, and have Skype calls with my assigned mentor, who helped me craft my vision and transform my project in to a reality.

I made up my mind to complete this training despite the internet blackout. It was a nightmare, very frustrating and painful, but I kept forging ahead while keeping a positive attitude. Thanks to my trips to Baffoussam, I was able to complete my online training after three months. In a competition between 30 women around the globe, my project titled “Bring a Girl to STEM” came first. Recently I was awarded as Featured Impact Leader for World Pulse. I will receive mentoring and financial assistance for my project that aims to attract and retain girls in the STEM fields. Had I not been able to pay for the bus trips to Baffoussam, I would have lost out on this wonderful opportunity.

The situation was even more serious for businesspeople, such as my co-worker who runs a big cyber cafe. Workers lost their jobs, and many businesses that rely on internet have also been shut down. People were left unable to support their families.

Finally, after 93 days, the internet was restored on April 20. All of us were happy to reconnect, but we will never forget the bad experience and all the opportunities lost. And it could happen again: The government statement announcing the restoration of the internet included a warning that the government reserved the right to kick people offline again if they “misused” it.

This threat is frightening to me. I call on the government of Cameroon to keep the internet on forever. The internet is a great tool for the development of a country. Furthermore, access to internet is a human right. It should be made accessible and affordable for all. I envision a country where internet is free for everyone to use.  I envision a society where everyone is trained on internet best practices and productive usage—especially women and girls.

Smart list management for savvy retailers

by John Habib @ Vertical Response Blog

Stand out from the clutter in people's inboxes with careful segmentation of your retail customers

The post Smart list management for savvy retailers appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

The Five Stages of Grief When Your Content Fails

by Amanda Dodge @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of Drawnhy97/FreepikThere’s a lot riding on your content. For each blog article, infographic, white paper, and ebook that you share, the company is counting on you to generate a certain amount of brand engagement and ROI. The more you invest in the creation process, from hiring designers to contracting a copy editor, the […]

Spotlight Media Solutions’ expert team can handle…

by admin @ Spotlight Media

Spotlight Media Solutions’ expert team can handle an entire online profile on all major social media platforms….

The post Spotlight Media Solutions’ expert team can handle… appeared first on Spotlight Media.

Do You Trust Online Advertising? POLL!

by knowonlineadvertising @ Know Online Advertising

Advertisers: Understand and Speak to the “Digital Moms”

by Jessica Lee @ SearchForce

For time out of mind, mothers have been powerful forces in and outside of the home. Today, they are a significant segment of the consumer population, as well as consumers of digital media and advertising. Despite this, moms feel they’ve […]

The post Advertisers: Understand and Speak to the “Digital Moms” appeared first on SearchForce.

The Future of Fashion

The Future of Fashion

by Jacob T. Swinney @ Slate Articles

How have a century of movies imagined what we’d wear in the future? They vastly overestimated the size of our present headwear, for one thing. The video above traces more than a dozen sartorial visions of the future on film, from the dramatic wares of a 1924 silent picture all the way to the chic dystopian stylings of this fall’s Blade Runner 2049. Let’s just hope capes come back in time to catch us up to Rollerball’s inspired ideas for 2018.

Read more from Future Tense’s Future of the Future series.

Final Boarding Call for Content Marketing World: Don’t Miss these 10 Presentations

by Joshua Nite @ Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Does anyone look forward to getting on an airplane anymore? Sure, you may be excited about where you’re going or what you plan to do when you get there. But anyone happily anticipating the screening, boarding, and flying part—well, I’ll have whatever vitamin supplement they’re on. If you’re headed to Content Marketing World, odds are [...]

The post Final Boarding Call for Content Marketing World: Don’t Miss these 10 Presentations appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Why Segmentation is Vital to Your Marketing Success

by Sherice Jacob @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

When I say “segmentation” with regards to marketing, what comes to mind for you? Chances are, you immediately think of email segmentation. Segmenting your emails is crucial to improving your customer engagement and conversion rate. But although emails are the most widely talked about segmentation type, there are countless others. Unfortunately, it’s a process that’s […]

Fensterstock & Partners LLP Secures Favorable Ruling in Archie Comics Dispute

by John Paslaqua @ Fensterstock & Partners LLP

In a dispute over who should control a trust owning the shares of Archie Comics, Acting Surrogate Thomas E. Walsh of the Westchester County Surrogate’s Court delivered a thoughtful and deliberate 12-page Decision rejecting the attack on Fensterstock & Partners’ client Nancy Silberkleit’s position as co-trustee. To view a copy of Surrogate Walsh’s Decision and […]

The post Fensterstock & Partners LLP Secures Favorable Ruling in Archie Comics Dispute appeared first on Fensterstock & Partners LLP.

Orphan Black Was Never About Cloning

Orphan Black Was Never About Cloning

by Joelle Renstrom @ Slate Articles

This article contains spoilers about the series finale of Orphan Black.

After five seasons of clone cabals, the BBC America/Space series Orphan Black has come to a mostly happy end. Yet an ellipsis follows wrapping of the show, hinting at bigger questions that transcend the characters’ storylines. Orphan Black’s conspiracies, camp, and Tatiana Maslany’s riveting performances as a dozen different clones make it easy to overlook its prescience and profundity. From the opening scene in which Sarah Manning sees her clone kill herself by stepping in front of a train, questions of identity—both existential and scientific—provide the show’s narrative thrust. Who created the clones? How? Why? How much control do their creators have over them? The show’s final season provides answers while raising questions that transcend science fiction. What role should ethics play in science? Do scientific subjects have the right to self-determination?

If you stopped watching a few seasons back, here’s a brief synopsis of how the mysteries wrap up. Neolution, an organization that seeks to control human evolution through genetic modification, began Project Leda, the cloning program, for two primary reasons: to see whether they could and to experiment with mutations that might allow people (i.e., themselves) to live longer. Neolution partnered with biotech companies such as Dyad, using its big pharma reach and deep pockets to harvest people’s genetic information and to conduct individual and germline (that is, genetic alterations passed down through generations) experiments, including infertility treatments that result in horrifying birth defects and body modification, such as tail-growing.

In the final season, we meet the man behind the curtain: P.T. Westmoreland, who claims to be 170 years old thanks to life-extension treatments such as parabiosis (transfusions of young blood). Westmoreland wants to harness the healing powers of the particular LIN28A gene mutation found in the fertile clones’ kids. (Real-world studies suggest that while LIN28A mutations are linked to cancer, its RNA-binding protein promotes “self-renewal of embryotic stem cells.”)

Westmoreland—ultimately discovered to be a fraud who assumed the original Westmoreland’s identity after he died—personifies one of the show’s messages: that pseudoscience and megalomania can masquerade as science. Just because someone has a genetic sequencer and a lab coat doesn’t mean he’s legitimate, and just because someone’s a scientist doesn’t mean he’s ethical.

Orphan Black demonstrates Carl Sagan’s warning of a time when “awesome technological powers are in the hands of a very few.” Neolutionists do whatever they want, pausing only to consider whether they’re missing an opportunity to exploit. Their hubris is straight out of Victor Frankenstein’s playbook. Frankenstein wonders whether he ought to first reanimate something “of simpler organisation” than a human, but starting small means waiting for glory. Orphan Black’s evil scientists embody this belief: if they’re going to play God, then they’ll control not just their own destinies, but the clones’ and, ultimately, all of humanity’s. Any sacrifices along the way are for the greater good—reasoning that culminates in Westmoreland’s eugenics fantasy to genetically sterilize 99 percent of the population he doesn’t enhance.

Orphan Black uses sci-fi tropes to explore real-world plausibility. Neolution shares similarities with transhumanism, the belief that humans should use science and technology to take control of their own evolution. While some transhumanists dabble in body modifications, such as microchip implants or night-vision eye drops, others seek to end suffering by curing human illness and aging. But even these goals can be seen as selfish, as access to disease-eradicating or life-extending technologies would be limited to the wealthy. Westmoreland’s goal to “sell Neolution to the 1 percent” seems frighteningly plausible—transhumanists, who statistically tend to be white, well-educated, and male, and their associated organizations raise and spend massive sums of money to help fulfill their goals. Critics raise many objections to transhumanism, including overpopulation and the socioeconomic divide between mortals and elite immortals, which some think might beget dystopia. Researchers are exploring ways to extend the human lifespan whether by genetic modification, reversing senescence (cellular deterioration with age), nanobots, or bio-printed tissues and organs, but in the world of Orphan Black we don’t have to speculate about the consequences of such work.

The show depicts the scientists’ dehumanization of the clones from its first scene, when Beth, unable to cope with the realities of her cloned existence, commits suicide. When another clone, Cosima, tries to research her DNA, she gets a patent statement: This organism and derivative genetic material is restricted intellectual property. It doesn’t matter that Cosima is sick or that she’s in love. She’s not a person: She’s a trademarked product, as are the other clones.

The show’s most tragic victim is Rachel, the “evil” clone. She’s the cautionary tale: Frankenstein’s monster, alone, angry, and cursed. The only one raised with the awareness of what she is, Rachel grows up assured of her own importance and motivated to expand it by doing Neolution’s dirty work. Westmoreland signs a document giving Rachel sovereignty, but later she sees computer files in which she’s still referred to by her patent number. Despite her leadership, cunning, and bravery, even those working with her never regard her as human. Her willingness to hurt her sisters and herself shows what happens to someone whose experience of nature and nurture is one and the same.

We, the viewers, also dehumanize Rachel by writing her off as “one of them.” When she lands on the side of her sisters, she does so not out of morality but out of vengeance. At the end, Westmoreland, the closest thing she has to a father, taunts her: “it’s fitting you return to your cage. All lab rats do.” But her childhood flashbacks suggest she doesn’t want others to experience what she has. When Neolutionists take 9-year-old Kira from her home at gunpoint, Rachel initially supports the plan to load Kira with fertility drugs and then harvest her eggs to access her mutated gene. But when Kira gives Rachel a friendship bracelet (and perhaps her first friendship), Rachel’s haunted expression suggests that beneath her usually unflappable demeanor, she’s still a frightened little girl. When Kira asks, “Who hurt you?” Rachel responds, “They all did.”

Whether motivated by retaliation, morality, or both, Rachel helps save Kira and takes down Neolution. Yet it’s unclear what’s left for her as she’ll never be welcomed into “Clone Club.” Her last act is to provide a list of clones around the world so Cosima and former Dyad researcher Delphine can cure them. Rachel gives the clones control over their lives—and in so doing, asserts control over her own.

Ultimately, Orphan Black is all about choice. There’s much in life we can’t choose: our parents, the circumstances of our birth, our DNA. It’s no surprise that a show that espouses girl power (“the future is female” is both spoken and seen on a T-shirt in the final two episodes) dwells on the importance of choice. The finale flashes back to Sarah in front of Planned Parenthood debating whether to have an abortion. Reckless, rough Sarah surprises herself (and Mrs. S, her foster mother) by deciding to keep the baby. Years before she learns how many decisions others have made about her body, she makes a decision for herself.

On Orphan Black, denial of choice is tantamount to imprisonment. That the clones have to earn autonomy underscores the need for ethics in science, especially when it comes to genetics. The show’s message here is timely given the rise of gene-editing techniques such as CRISPR. Recently, the National Academy of Sciences gave germline gene editing the green light, just one year after academy scientists from around the world argued it would be “irresponsible to proceed” without further exploring the implications. Scientists in the United Kingdom and China have already begun human genetic engineering and American scientists recently genetically engineered a human embryo for the first time. The possibility of Project Leda isn’t farfetched. Orphan Black warns us that money, power, and fear of death can corrupt both people and science. Once that happens, loss of humanity—of both the scientists and the subjects—is inevitable.

In Carl Sagan’s dark vision of the future, “people have lost the ability to set their own agendas or knowledgeably question those in authority.” This describes the plight of the clones at the outset of Orphan Black, but as the series continues, they challenge this paradigm by approaching science and scientists with skepticism, ingenuity, and grit. The “lab rats” assert their humanity and refuse to run the maze. “Freedom looks different to everyone,” Sarah says in the finale. As she struggles to figure out what freedom will look like for her—should she get her GED? Sell the house? Get a job?—it’s easy to see how overwhelming such options would be for someone whose value has always been wrapped in a double helix. But no matter what uncertainties their futures hold, the clones dismantle their cages and make their own choices, proving what we’ve known all along—their humanity.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

4 Tips to Stop Killing Your Content Team from Workfront & Nordstrom

by Ashley Zeckman @ Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

The pressure is on! Content marketers are being expected to create more with less. And often, that means creating more content without adding additional team members. Unfortunately, the content copywriters are often the ones that bear the brunt of these situations which can be exhausting and cause content burnout. To help ease the pain, Workfront’s [...]

The post 4 Tips to Stop Killing Your Content Team from Workfront & Nordstrom appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

5 Lies You Tell Yourself About Your Analytics (And How to Fix It)

by Today's Industry Insider @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

Consulting data is good. But being a slave to data is not. There is such a thing as being too data-obsessed. Confirmation bias pops up. And you miss the good, albeit, intangible stuff that comes along with your efforts. The solution is to uncover those biases and misunderstandings that lead you astray. It’s not easy. […]

ICYMI: Globe Runner and Black Lab Creative Have Merged

by Amy Haley @ Globe Runner

Apologies for the delayed announcement, but Globe Runner has been busy teaching an old dog some new tricks. Back in January of this year, we acquired Dallas branding agency, Black Lab Creative, to help us take our clients’ brands and businesses to the next level. The two agencies have a long collaborative history as well as a deep respect for the other’s knowledge base and online activation abilities. Together, our new team members are helping us evolve to meet the ...

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3 tips to wake up nonresponders and boost email open rates

by Contributing Author @ Vertical Response Blog

Don't give up on email nonresponders. We walk you through three tips to wake them up and give your email open rates a boost

The post 3 tips to wake up nonresponders and boost email open rates appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Advanced Link Building Techniques for Future SEO

by Seo Tuners @ SeoTuners

When creating content for your company’s website, several things will influence your decisions regarding what to include. One of the most crucial features of your site are links, directing visitors to other sites for additional information. Making sure that links are in working order and contain accurate, appropriate information is extremely important. A custom link […]

The post Advanced Link Building Techniques for Future SEO appeared first on SeoTuners.

Back to the Future: 5 Marketing Predictions That Were Right on the Money

by Anne Leuman @ Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Great Scott! The TopRank Marketing blog has been around since 2003, way back when content marketing and blogging were relatively new to the business world. We are proud of the fact that we were early adopters of the blogging trend—one of today’s leading content marketing strategies for improving brand visibility and engagement. Trends and predictions [...]

The post Back to the Future: 5 Marketing Predictions That Were Right on the Money appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

4 Mistakes I Learned About Marketing and Data While Working at a Fortune 50 Company

by Today's Industry Insider @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

For the past nearly 3 years, I’ve been in charge of Audience Development for one of the largest media companies in the US. I learned a LOT during that time. Even more important, I learned a lot about what NOT to do. Not all of these things were personal ‘mistakes’ per se. Some were top […]

Meet PropellerAds Team at DMEXCO 2017

Meet PropellerAds Team at DMEXCO 2017

by Artyom Dogtiev @ mobyaffiliates

This article was first published on PropellerAds blog. The 2nd stop in PropellerAds European trip is DMEXCO 2017, the huge trade show packed with digital economy innovations and online marketing trends. Two main reasons why we love DMEXCO, is the atmosphere of future coming to life right in front of your eyes and, of course, a chance to meet our most valuable partners in person. Yeah, we’re talking about you! Delivering targeted advertising message across all channels is more important than ever. We have some tremendous updates (RTB / XML, retargeting, audience targeting, new ad formats) which can help your business easily build personalised, omni-channel customer experiences that lead to great results. Schedule a meeting with our team of experts today to learn more about how to optimize

The post Meet PropellerAds Team at DMEXCO 2017 appeared first on mobyaffiliates.

How Much Is the Future Worth?

How Much Is the Future Worth?

by Will Oremus @ Slate Articles

This article is part of “Future of the Future,” a series about the practice—and future—of prediction.

Scientists have known for some time that climate change was likely to result in more severe hurricanes and flooding along the U.S. Gulf Coast, including in cities like Houston. They couldn’t predict the timing or the specifics, of course. And the beating the city has taken in the past three years, which have brought three “500-year” storms, has exceeded even the most dire warnings. It might not have mattered even if scientists had accurately called the coming carnage: Local officials have consistently ignored the predicted effects of climate change in their planning, opting to develop huge swaths of land that were known to be either prone to flooding or essential to the city’s defenses against floods.

But let’s imagine that scientists had known for decades that a storm such as Hurricane Harvey was likely—and that Houston’s public officials had accepted the science and attempted to plan accordingly. That raises the question: How much would the city have been willing to spend in, say, the 1990s, to mitigate the misery it is experiencing now? Or, more pointedly: How much should it have been willing to spend?

Looking at Houston today, with the city’s streets submerged, dozens dead, and countless homeless, you might think the answer would be, “whatever it took.” But economists have a different answer. It’s based on a concept called social discounting. And the fierce debate over just how to calculate it is gradually reshaping how policymakers think about long-term issues ranging from flood protection to nuclear power to the laying of high-speed rail.

The debate may be relatively obscure; it has played out largely in academic literature and the occasional government-commissioned report, rather than in the media or on the political stage. But the stakes are astronomical: Assume an average social discount rate of roughly 1.5 percent—as the famous 2006 Stern Review on climate change proposed—and global warming becomes an intensely urgent problem that demands deep and immediate fiscal sacrifices. Likewise, the risks involved in nuclear power generation and nuclear waste storage might border on untenable. But set that same rate closer to 3 percent, as Yale economist William Nordhaus suggested, and you might conclude we’re better off making only modest investments today, perhaps through the sort of clean-energy subsidies enacted by the Obama administration. Bump it to 5 or even 10 percent, as others have recommended, and inaction starts to look like the sneaky-smart move—even if it means weathering more disasters like Hurricane Harvey down the road.

So what, exactly, does that rate represent, who decides how to set it, and how is it actually used? How, in other words, do we put a price on doom?

* * *

For starters, it’s worth understanding how discounting works in the abstract. Let’s say that if you do nothing today, you can expect to suffer a loss of $100,000 a decade from now due to a giant robot attack. A classical economist would begin by asking: How much would you pay right this moment to prevent this giant robot attack from happening?

If you said $100,000, you’re implying that a dollar 10 years from now (when there are giant robots) is worth just as much to you as a dollar today. But economists would question your decision. For one thing, behavioral research shows that most people value their present well-being more dearly than their future well-being. In the economic literature, that’s sometimes called “pure time preference.” Even if you cared about your future self, what with the giant robots and all, just as much as you care about your present self, there would still be reasons not to spend that $100,000 today. After all, there’s at least some chance you won’t be alive 10 years from now, in which case you would have needlessly impoverished yourself in the final years of your life. And then there’s the opportunity cost. For example, if you invested that $100,000 today at a healthy interest rate, it might be more like $150,000 by the time the robots rise up. So in effect, you’d come out $50,000 ahead by not spending to prevent the attack. (Note that this assumes the cost of the robot attack can be fully measured in dollars. The accounting gets a lot trickier if lives were lost, psychological traumas inflicted, public confidence in robots irreparably lost, or other hard-to-quantify damages sustained.)

To figure out how much you should spend today, then, you’d need to apply a discount rate: some percentage by which you devalue a future benefit for each year that you have to wait to receive it. At an annual discount rate of 5 percent, $100,000 in the year 2027 would be worth about $65,000 right now. So, according to classical economic theories, you should pay no more than that to build your giant-robot–killing slingshot.

This logic—which reflects the behavior of individuals and corporations in the marketplace—might work well enough when it comes to a straightforward financial decision. And for much of the late 20th century, it was the prevailing model in cost-benefit analyses of projects public and private alike. In 1972, President Nixon’s Office of Management and Budget imposed a discount rate of 10 percent on cost-benefit analyses for all federal agencies, to discourage spending on projects whose returns were unlikely to exceed those of a sound private investment. That rate, which now seems incredibly steep, stood for 20 years until the OMB dropped it to a still-hefty 7 percent in 1992.

But thoughtful economists have long recognized that this approach carries some seriously uncomfortable implications when it comes to spending on future public goods. If you extrapolate a 10 percent discount rate over 50 years, $100,000 in 2067 equates to less than $1,000 today. Make it 100 years, and it’s less than $10.

On an individual level, that might make intuitive sense: Almost nobody plans that far into their future, because in 100 years we’ll all be dead. When talking about a public investment on that kind of time scale, however, you run up against the obvious problem that the people who’ll be receiving the benefit in 50 or 100 years are not the same people making it today. A private citizen might be perfectly justified in preferring $10 today to $100,000 in 2117—but is the government justified in valuing today’s citizens 10,000 times as highly as their great-grandchildren? Not only does that seem rather unfair to the great-grandchildren, but when we’re talking about things like climate change and nuclear power, it amounts to a shockingly high tolerance for risking the near-annihilation of the entire human species.

To return to our initial thought experiment: a relatively high discount rate, based on market returns, would imply that Houston officials of decades past would have been largely justified in prioritizing short-term economic growth over long-term flood risk—even if they had known that something like Hurricane Harvey was bound to happen someday.

Which, to look at Houston today, feels like an unacceptable conclusion.

* * *

Classical discounting was developed to deal mostly with analyses of infrastructure investments that would benefit society over a long time frame, such as the U.S. highway system. Yet some of its limitations became apparent even before the current climate change debate, when planners in the 1970s tried to apply it to questions of nuclear energy generation and the storage of nuclear waste. Like climate change, nuclear energy involves risks on a scale of hundreds of years or more, which simply don’t apply to something like a high-speed–rail project. Likewise, warnings of biodiversity loss prompted economists to think about how values such as “sustainability” could be incorporated into cost-benefit calculations. In recent decades, they’ve increasingly turned to alternative ways of defining the social discount rate—ones that seek to better capture our intuitions about the balance between short-term gain and long-term risk.

A flashpoint in the debate came in 2006, when a team led by the economist Sir Nicholas Stern published a report on the costs of climate change commissioned by the British government. That report, known as the Stern Review, reached the startling conclusion that immediate, painful sacrifices were required to avert the catastrophic long-term effects of human-induced climate change. Specifically, it recommended investing as much as 1 percent of global GDP per year—many times more than the world is currently spending—to curb greenhouse gas emissions. In 2008, Stern raised that figure to 2 percent of global GDP.

The recommendation broke so sharply with prior analyses that it touched off a string of public responses from other economists examining how Stern had arrived at his conclusions. Economist William Nordhaus of Yale identified Stern’s approach to discounting as the crux of his analysis. Rather than use market-based interest rates as a proxy for the social discount rate, Stern had employed a different type of equation—one that took into account questions of equity between present and future generations, along with some rather pessimistic predictions about future economic growth. In Stern’s view, our grandchildren’s well-being deserved just as much consideration as our own: He set the rate of “pure time preference” at a miniscule 0.1 percent, simply to reflect the remote possibility that humans might go extinct in any given year. In other words, he placed the same weight on our descendents’ well-being as he did on ours—and not just our grandchildren, but our grandchildren’s grandchildren’s grandchildren’s grandchildren, and so on. He also re-evaluated the traditional assumption that future generations will be much wealthier than our own and therefore will value a dollar less. His analysis yielded an effective discount rate of just 1.4 percent, which was considered radical at the time.

Nordhaus and many other mainstream economists rejected Stern’s approach, arguing that it substituted arbitrary value judgments for empirical market data. Nordhaus raised the compelling point that such a low discount rate might look less benign when applied to arenas other than climate change:

Imagine the preventive war strategies that might be devised with low time discount rates. Countries might start wars today because of the possibility of nuclear proliferation a century ahead; or because of a potential adverse shift in the balance of power two centuries ahead; or because of speculative futuristic technologies three centuries ahead. It is not clear how long the globe could long survive the calculations and machinations of zero-discount-rate military strategists.

Out of that academic battle emerged a tentative consensus that put discount rates higher than Stern’s, but still far lower than those used in 20th-century policymaking—and significantly lower than market returns to private investment. A 2010 federal working group, tasked with establishing an official cost of carbon to be used in evaluating climate policies, settled on a rate of 3 percent.

Yet some environmental economists today insist that even that rate is much too high, and that the profession’s entire approach to discounting must change when it comes to global risks such as climate change. A 2012 paper by Laurie Johnson, then chief economist for the nonprofit Natural Resources Defense Council, and Chris Hope of the University of Cambridge, argued against the default assumption that future generations will be better off than we are in a world that keeps getting hotter. Johnson, now executive director of the nonprofit Climate Cost Project, points out that the people most affected by climate change are likely to be society’s poorest.* If that’s the case, it would seriously undermine the notion that they’d value a dollar less than we do, even if GDP overall continued to rise. “If you just look at the overall financial impact, you’re going to miss the inequality caused by climate change,” Johnson told me in a phone interview. “You can’t just treat a dollar as a dollar as a dollar.”

Johnson says she’s now convinced that economists should analyze climate change through the lens of minimizing risk, rather than maximizing utility. She notes that most insurance policies have an expected value of less than zero for the buyer—that is, the policy is likely to cost more than it pays out. Yet people still buy them, because if something awful happens in the future, they’ll be much worse off than they are today.

Meanwhile, a growing group of economists has developed yet another approach in which discount rates on long-term projects start out approximating market interest rates, but decline over time. This draws on behavioral research showing that, while people much prefer a dollar today to a little more than a dollar a year from now, they’re less concerned with the difference between waiting 20 years for a payout and waiting, say, 21 years for a somewhat larger payout. In other words, we apply a different framework when thinking about long-term benefits as opposed to short-term ones.

Such considerations, which complicate the process of setting a discount rate, appear to be seeping into the policy mainstream, albeit gradually. The landmark 2014 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change included a deep and subtle discussion of discount rates, working its way toward a formula that incorporated issues of justice between generations and between rich and poor, along with risk aversion, without entirely abandoning traditional assumptions about economic growth. The economist Charles Kolstad, who helped lead the team that wrote that chapter, told me he believes the consensus among economists has shifted since 1996, when a previous IPCC report used much higher discounting rates.

But he said the more relevant gap today is not the one that divides economists such as Nordhaus and Stern. Rather, it’s the chasm between the academic consensus—loose though it may be—and the realities of politics and policymaking in a messy democracy. Even as Nordhaus was knocking Stern’s “radical” approach to discounting in 2008, both ultimately favored more aggressive action on climate change than almost any national government was actually taking at the time. Johnson may have found the 2010 U.S. working group’s carbon price to be far too low (it was later revised upward), but Donald Trump this year issued an executive order effectively canceling the entire project of calculating greenhouse gas emissions’ social cost. Back in Houston, the then-head of the Harris County flood control district told ProPublica last year that his agency had no plans to study the potential impacts of climate change on local flooding.

All of that is evidence of the disconnect, Kolstad said, between our own self-interest, and sometimes short-sighted, calculations about the future, and the ones that economists debate in academic journals. “If you asked individuals in Houston in 1990” to invest in hurricane prevention, Kolstad mused, “a lot of them would probably say, ‘Who knows where I’m going to be living in 20 years? If I’m worried, I can move away.’ But the city of Houston isn’t going anywhere.”

*Correction, Sept. 1, 2017: This article originally misidentified the nonprofit of which economist Laurie Johnson is executive director. It’s the Climate Cost Project, not the Carbon Cost Project. (Return.)

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Netizen Report: If You Want to Run a Group Chat in China, Be Ready to Censor Your Friends

by @ Slate Articles

The Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in internet rights around the world. It originally appears each week on Global Voices Advocacy. Mahsa Alimardani, Ellery Roberts Biddle, Oiwan Lam, Elizabeth Rivera, Nevin Thompson, and Sarah Myers West contributed to this report.

New regulations in China will make chat group administrators responsible—and even criminally liable—for messages containing politically sensitive material, rumors, violent or pornographic content, and news from Hong Kong and Macau that “has not been reported by official media outlets.” This represents a bold policy shift by extending the work of regulating online content beyond government workers and companies to the users themselves.

The new rules also require internet chat service providers such as WeChat and QQ to verify the identities of users and keep a log of group chats for at least six months. The rules require the companies to moderate users’ access to chat services depending on their “social credit” rating: those who break rules may see their rights to manage group chats suspended and be reported to the government. Group managers will be seen as responsible for the management of the group.

Social media users take sides on Myanmar’s Rohingya conflict
More than 100,000 people from the ethnic minority Rohingya group have been displaced from their homes in northwest Myanamar in recent weeks. Tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees, who are mostly Muslim, are crossing into Bangladesh to escape the fighting between the Myanmar military and a pro-Rohingya insurgent group.

There is plenty of coverage of the situation by various media, ranging from mainstream wire services to independent Rohingya-run outlets like Rohingya Blogger. But for it is still difficult to obtain accurate information about the conflict, as journalists both from the region and abroad have been struggling to gain access to the conflict areas, and local media have a history of being punished for—and barred from—covering the Rohingya. Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar, has even accused various media of circulating “fake news” on the topic. Her government has established a Facebook page, known as the Information Committee, that claims to offer verified information about the conflict.

Ample anti-Rohingya propaganda has also spread online, reinforcing the Myanmar government’s contention that Myanmar-born Rohingya are in fact “Bengalis,” or undocumented immigrants from Bangladesh. While many such messages have spread organically, researchers saw a spike of 1,500 new Twitter accounts after clashes broke out on Aug. 25. The accounts are spreading pro-Myanmar government messages and feature hashtags such as #Bengali and #BengaliTerrorists. It is unclear who is behind the new accounts.

The conflict is a hot topic in South and Southeast Asian social media circles, and has proven to be a divisive issue for both citizens and governments in the region.

In Indonesia, which is majority Muslim, a veteran journalist was accused of defamation for comparing former Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri to Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi in a Facebook post. In the post, journalist and documentary filmmaker Dandhy Dwi Laksono wrote that if Myanmar’s government is being criticized for its treatment of ethnic Rohingya, the Indonesian government should similarly be held liable for suppressing the independence movement on the Indonesian island of West Papua. He further compared Suu Kyi’s silence on the persecution of the Rohingya to Megawati’s role as party leader of the government, which has recently intensified the crackdown on West Papuan independence activists. If he is prosecuted for and convicted of defamation, Dandhy could face up to four years in prison.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Indian government requested that Twitter locally censor a tweet expressing solidarity with the Rohingya. An estimated 40,000 Rohingya live in India, where their citizenship status has been in legal jeopardy due to recent efforts by conservative legislators to render them “illegal” immigrants.

Palestinian human rights activist arrested over Facebook post
Palestinian human rights activist Issa Amro was arrested by the Palestinian Authority for criticizing a journalist’s arrest in a Facebook post. The post, which is no longer visible on the platform, denounces the arrest of Ayman Qawasmi, who was arrested after openly criticizing the PA and calling for the resignation of Palestine’s president and prime mminister. Qawasmi was released, but Amro remains under arrest, charged with stirring sectarian tensions and “speaking with insolence.” He is also facing challenges in an Israeli military court on disputed charges relating to his political protest activities. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights published a statement expressing concern at his arrest and urging his release.

Salvadoran journalists face violent threats on social media
El Faro
and Revista Factum, two highly regarded independent news websites in El Salvador, received violent threats on social media targeting specific journalists who have been covering corruption in the country’s criminal justice system. One threatening tweet said Factum and El Faro journalists would "end up like Christian Poveda," a French-Spanish journalist killed by members of the Mara Salvatrucha gang (also known as MS-13) in 2009. The head of the Salvadoran national police, Howard Cotto, and Vice President Óscar Ortiz said they were aware of reports of illegal activity by police officers and promised to open an investigation.

Japanese activists take to the streets, stomp on hateful tweets
Demonstrators gathered outside Twitter’s Japan headquarters in Tokyo, demanding the company take more action to rein in hate speech. Tokyo No Hate, a volunteer collective of activists, led the demonstration by covering the sidewalk in front of the office with printouts of abusive tweets. Protesters symbolically stomped on the tweets before crumpling them up and depositing them in recycling bins.

Chile doubles down on data retention (literally)
A secret decree by the Chilean government recently made public by investigative journalists modifies the country’s law about the interception of communications. It extends requirements for companies to retain data on digital communications made in Chile from one to two years, and asks companies to store additional metadata on communications. It also contains provisions that could stymie the use of encryption technologies that would hinder the delivery of this information. The Santiago-based digital rights group Derechos Digitales says the law may be unconstitutional.

New Research

You Can’t Stay Here: The Efficacy of Reddit’s 2015 Ban Examined Through Hate Speech”— Eshwar Chandrasekharan et al, ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction

Korean Child Monitoring Applications: Insecure by Design”—Citizen Lab

Make ‘Em Laugh: The Funny Twitter Bio and Why You Need One

by Bryan Johnston @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of FreepikWe’re all online looking for someone. Our next fan, follower, employee, lover, business partner, critic, cheerleader, investor, mark, or exorcist (that last one is admittedly rather specific to my needs this week). Everyone’s searching for something. And we’re turning to social media in snowballing numbers to do so. A full 78% of […]

Best Questions To Ask A Website Design Company – Most Common Internet Advertising Questions About Domains, Website Design and Hosting

by Christopher Williams @ Elite Web Professionals

What should I look for in an great website design company? When it comes to finding a good website design company there is a lot more that goes into it then simply how well your site looks. Many companies find … Continue reading

How to Build a Lead Magnet Into Your Product to Fuel Growth

by Today's Industry Insider @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

If you’re looking for new ways to prospect new business for your product or service, a lead magnet could be a valuable investment. A lead magnet is essentially a gateway drug or a bribe to coax your target audience into your marketing or sales funnel. You ‘bribe’ a prospect with a specific piece of value […]

Margaret Atwood, Prophet?

Margaret Atwood, Prophet?

by Ed Finn @ Slate Articles

Few writers have been so close to the pulse of this past tumultuous year than Margaret Atwood. Over several decades her wry, lyrical prose has framed dystopian futures that manage to feel visceral and fable-like all at the same time. Readers have been turning and returning to her work as they confront the rise of authoritarian conservative politics, rapidly evolving biotechnologies, and the slow-motion disaster of climate change. Her harrowing 1985 novel of misogyny and oppression in a near-future fundamentalist Christian America, The Handmaid’s Tale¸ has reached millions of viewers as a Hulu series and prompted numerous costumed protests with “handmaids” advocating for reproductive and civil rights. Her MaddAdam trilogy (2003, 2009, 2013) envisions a calamitous finale for the human race in an all-too-near future dominated by bioengineering, rampant consumerism, and climate change.

The worlds Atwood describes are uncomfortably close to our own, and they seem to be drawing closer. I had the chance to talk with her recently about how stories shape our relationship with the future and why people sometimes mistake her work for prophecy. This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Ed Finn: Many people have remarked on the seeming prescience of The Handmaid’s Tale and the MaddAddam trilogy. Did you predict the future in these books?

Margaret Atwood: The answer is no, I did not predict the future because you can’t really predict the future. There isn’t any “the future.” There are many possible futures, but we don’t know which one we’re going to have. We can guess. We can speculate. But we cannot really predict.

As someone who tells stories that frequently are set in a future, what kind of relationship do you see between the worlds you imagine and what we might call the nonfiction future, the changes we actually expect to see?

Well, all stories about the future are actually about the now. However, it’s also true that you generally look ahead of you to see where you’re going and that’s what those kinds of books are like. They’re like blueprints of the possible futures that help us to decide whether that is where we want to go. 1984 was actually about 1948 and looking down the road what might happen should England become like the Soviet Union of the now. So the Handmaid’s Tale was about trends that were already there in the now event, and what might happen if those trends continued on in that way. Would we like that? Is that where we want to live?

So how do you react to those who see works like the Handmaid’s Tale as prophetic or predictive of trends today?

I would say to them exactly what I have just said to you.

That’s what I thought you might say. Do you see a difference between the way people respond to the social dystopia of The Handmaid’s Tale and how they respond to the MaddAddam trilogy with its depiction of science and technology?

MaddAddam is a social dystopia, too, just as the Handmaid’s Tale is also an environmental dystopia. And those things are very much joined at the hip. I’m reading a book right now about the deep distant past. I’m at the part where it’s describing a climate change period that’s having kicked off a lot of warfare and village burnings. And this is a long time ago. It’s like 5000 B.C. So in general, when there’s enough food, you get less war—not always, but in general. And when you have a climate change events, you get less food. So that’s the connection. Social upheaval is frequently triggered by economic upheaval as in the French Revolution, as in the Great Depression. When things go wrong, of course, people want somebody else to blame.

Do you think the relationship between science fiction and reality is changing? It seems like speculative fiction and science fiction are everywhere now, infiltrating all sorts of other genres.

Isn’t it amazing? We wouldn’t have said that in the year 2000 at all. I think you might have said it in the ’30s when it was new in magazines. You might have said it, in the ’50s when a lot of people were writing science fiction because it was a way of writing about McCarthyism without actually naming it. But in the ’90s, after the Berlin Wall came down and the USSR collapsed, people were less interested in it because they thought everything was going to be fine. It’s when people think that everything isn’t fine that these stories come out. There were huge numbers of utopias in the 19th century, and a lot of them took off from the state of urban squalor and poverty and such that the people were seeing in London.

So they were writing utopias in which the world had been made quite a lot better through, quite frequently, technological improvements, because that’s what was happening in their now. There were all those improvements. And some things have gotten better. And so they didn’t see why that shouldn’t continue.

But the first world war put paid to that. And people’s illusions about the superiority, for instance, of white people kind of went out the window. You couldn’t blame the war on anybody else. They were doing it to one another.

And if you weren’t convinced by that, along came the second world war. So that’s why utopias became harder to write unless they were set on another planet. And dystopias became easier to write.

It’s interesting that you pinpointed the ’90s and the year 2000 because I agree with you that for a while there everybody in the West was sort of euphoric about the possibilities of a new era of peace and cooperation.

Yes. That’s when we got the book called The End of History. Remember that? Another prediction about the future that didn’t work out.

So, having talked about the ’30s and the two world wars, how would you characterize the current uptake in science fiction and speculative fiction?

Young people are worried about the future! The next question you may ask: Why are young people worried about the future?


What’s to worry about? Well, there’s climate. And it’s not just global warming. Probably the thing we should be most worried about is the death of the oceans, which is not due just to global warming. It would also be due to toxicity and the amount of plastic that’s going into the ocean. And should the oceans die, of course, there goes the major planetary source of oxygen without which we cannot breathe.

And young people are also worried about the fact that all of the global political chess pieces are in motion. We don’t have a stable state of affairs. And when you don’t have a stable state of affairs, it’s very hard to plan your own future, because you don’t know, for instance, if the currency that you are using in your country is suddenly devalued. There go your savings.

So naturally they’re worried. However, I like to give a little glimpses of hope. There’s a new book called Drawdown. It’s something like the most useful ideas for combating and reversing climate change. These are solutions that already exist. And people are already doing them.

Do you feel a responsibility or a motivation to respond to that anxiety?

Well, I’ve kind of already responded to it. So having written The Handmaid’s Tale, the MaddAddam trilogy, a not inconsiderable number of words, and more recently The Heart Goes Last, how much more response do you think it is in me to come up with at my age? Enough is enough.

My other adventure, and another response, is the Angel Catbird graphic novel trilogy, which is at heart a bird conservation project. Have you come across that?

I’ve seen it online. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m quite excited to.

Oh Ed, I’m ashamed of you.

I’m sorry. At least, I didn’t lie to you.

No, you didn’t. You wouldn’t have gotten away with it, anyway.

Angel Catbird is in three volumes, which is a response to the fact that the four big enemies facing migratory birds are glass windows, habitat loss, toxicity, and cats. Conservationists have generally tiptoed around the cats because they didn’t want the death threats and hate mail. How dare you say that my kitty-witty is killing 2 billion birds a year?

Do not cross the cat lovers.

Oh, you don’t, no, you don’t want them to piss off. And anyway, it wouldn’t do any good if you did. What you want them to do is, is treat their cats the same way you would treat a dog. So if you’re going to have a pet and companion, you should take care of that entity better than cat lovers frequently do. And therefore, in the Angel Catbird, we have the kinds of facts that people really ought to know such as the chances of your cat being returned if it gets lost is 3 percent. And some cities hire people to go around at night and pick up all the dead cats that have been hit by cars because the sight is distressing. They’re not smart about cars.

Well, this makes me glad I’m a dog person. One thing that I’ve been thinking about a lot is the notion of time as a cultural construct, something that changes across different cultures. Do you think that our broader social relationship to the whole idea of the future has changed? Have politics or the rise of the internet changed it?

I think that, once upon a time, people didn’t think about the future much at all. And just in the same way, they didn’t much think about the distant past because they knew very little about it. If you’re living in a stable society, the future is going to be much the same as the present.

Thinking about the future took off partly when people discovered deep time—just how old a lot of things were and that there are many, many different cultures that had preceded theirs and were no longer around. When people started digging things up, in other words—when archaeology got going. And people realized that civilizations had risen and fallen. Was theirs going to do that, too?

So some of the early sci-fi writers were pretty fixated on that. For instance, The Time Machine goes into the future and finds that very thing happening, so that scared people. And once you’re talking about things changing, you’re talking about stories, about worlds in which we do not yet live. So I think that’s when that whole trend in literature got going. You don’t find much about it earlier. You find people traveling to different places. There are a lot of stories like that in Gulliver’s Travels. Gulliver’s Travels are not time travels. Time traveling doesn’t come in until the 20th century, late 19th and 20th. Even Frankenstein is not a time-travel book.

One thing that I wonder about is whether the span of the future that we think about today is actually shrinking. We’re no longer thinking 10 or 20 years ahead. We’re not creating that many long-term projects. We’re not doing things that last more than one election cycle. Do you think that’s true?

No, I don’t think it’s true. And when you read Drawdown, you’ll realize that it’s not true because they’re all thinking in terms of 2050. How long does it take for a project X to sequester Y amounts of carbon? That’s what’s on their minds. Of course, if we had started these kinds of projects in the 1970s, we wouldn’t be in the fix that we are in today. Because we already would have dealt with this problem. So the later we leave it, the worse it is going to be and the harder it will be to clean up. But when you read Drawdown, you will see that help is on the way.

At the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University, which I direct, we’re almost finished with a comic book that takes on the same challenge called Drawn Futures: Arizona 2045, which is about what it will be like to live in Phoenix in the midst of climate change. (Disclosure: ASU is a partner with Slate and New America in Future Tense.)

That’s long-term thinking. In other words, if we do these things, what will Arizona look like in 2045?

Yeah. And we’re writing it for fifth- to eighth-grade students.

That’s a good plan. Those are the people who will put it into practice.

Do you think we need new kinds of stories to pose these questions to the young people who are going to be inheriting this planet?

I think we need new ways of deploying stories. But those ways already exist and you just did one of them. So there’s graphic novels. There’s podcasts. There’s audiobooks. There’s interactive projects. There’s a lot of different ways. But I think it’s really about: Are we going to like the results of how we are living today? Will we like it? And that goes on and gets more magnified. Is that who we want to be? Is that how we want to live? And or, even worse, if we keep on going this way, will we live?

So aside from Drawdown and Angel Catbird, both of which I’m going to order right after we finish talking, what else should we be reading or looking at these days to help us understand this whole notion of the future of the future?

I am loath to tell people what they ought to read and do because everybody is different. If their interests are in the human race not remaining viable on the planet, there have been some pretty good studies on gene splicing. So maybe they would want to be reading those.

Why do you think people want to hear the story where everybody dies?

That story usually is about how almost everybody dies except the protagonist of the story. Because if everybody dies, there’s just a lot of blank paper after that. So it’s usually about what would you do if and how would you et cetera and so forth? And people like thinking about that because it’s like planning. It’s like if the worst comes to the worst, I would at least have some idea of what to do.

And if you really want those kinds of books, there’s a group of books by a man called Survivorman. And they’re very good practical guides. What to do if you’re lost in the woods? What to do when the lights go out? All those kinds of things. What not to do? You can make really good foot insulators out of the stuffing from the upholstery in your car; that kind of thing.

I’m going to hang on to that one. That’s a good tip.

Survivorman. His name is Les Stroud, He’s got a TV series too. How not to burn yourself up in the shelter you have built?

These sound like extremely useful tips. But aside from practical survivor guides, if you were to think about a kind of cultural or psychological survival strategy, what’s the most important thing that young people need to survive to be resilient to adapt in the future that is coming?

To survive what?

Well, whatever happens.

No, you’ve got to be more specific.

Well, I guess, let’s go with climate change.

OK. So it’s going to depend where you live, isn’t it? And it’s going to depend how the weather patterns in your particular area are affecting what is going on in that area. So it’s going to depend on are you in a place where it’s going to rain a lot more? Or are you in a place where it’s going to rain a lot less, just for instance? Look up from your phone for one instant and figure out where you yourself are actually living. What kind of a place are you living in? How are conditions likely to alter? What will you do if they do alter? And alter how? Hotter, colder, wetter, drier?

What things can you eat? Does all the food that you’ll eat come from somewhere else? And what will happen to you if the supply chain is interrupted, just for instance? Since World War II, because of cheap energy, food has been brought in from far, far away to people. And they’ve come to take that for granted. But suppose that condition alters. Then you’re going to have to figure out what is it that you can eat that is more immediately available to you and does not include such menu items as your next-door neighbor.

I was in Rome a long time ago and I found the famous sunken temple where a lot of cats hang out. So I went back to the landlady of the pensione where I was staying, and I said, “Why are there all those cats at the temple of whatever it was?” And she said, “During the war, there were far fewer.” What did that mean? It meant that people were eating them. So after you’ve eaten Rover, what else are you going to eat?

Well, I think that sounds like a pretty good place to wrap up this interview.

Isn’t it dark? That’s why you need to get Drawdown, which has much more cheering ideas. I like to follow sites and entities that are acting positively. On Twitter, you might look up Professor Trash Wheel, which is busily collecting plastics in Baltimore Harbor. It’s a solar-powered wheel that looks a lot like a paddle-wheel steamer. And it picks up these floating plastics and keeps them from getting into the ocean. And there’s another project called the Ocean Cleanup. And the X-Prize Science Fiction Advisory Council. They’ve instituted a panel of sci-fi writers, including me, to think about some of these concepts and come up with out-of-the-box ideas. Ask a sci-fi writer, they’ll invent something. And then sooner or later, somebody might try to do it. So, yes, those are pretty positive.

Those are great. I feel like we could all use a little more optimism these days.

It’s absolutely true. If you tell people it’s all doom and gloom, they’re going to say, “Well, in that case I’m just going to party.” But if you say there is something practical that you can do, nine out of 10 people will do it.

The other thing is don’t look to the billionaires for help because they already have their fallback position. They’re going to buy a lot of oxygen makers and stick themselves in a cave somewhere with all modern conveniences. And that is their private solution. They probably each have one. But you are not one of those people. And in fact, most of us are not those people. So it’s up to us if we really want them, if we’re really that keen on the human race to act in such a way that there will be one.

Retreating to a hole is really not our best aspiration as a species.

Well, it’s also very expensive. So you and I cannot afford to retreat to such a hole. And such holes are vulnerable, anyway, because if somebody finds your energy supply and cuts the line, which they might well out of resentment, that’s it for you. We’ve read those sci-fi books. We know what happens.

Well, this was fantastic. Thank you so much for taking the time.

You’re so welcome. And I hope everything is going to be going well in Arizona in 2045.

Oh, well me too. We’ll see about that.

Maybe you’ll see about it. I’m not going to be around but possibly you will be.

Well, I’ll write you a letter.

OK. You’ll be very, very surprised if you get an answer.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Lauren Persico Awarded 30 Under 30 by LIBN

by Cassie Olivos @ Driven Local

We are excited to announce our own Lauren Persico has been awarded 30 Under 30 by Long Island Business News! The 30 Under 30 awards honor the bright and dynamic young professionals who are under the age of 30, who contribute to the Long Island community through public service and who have made significant strides […]

The post Lauren Persico Awarded 30 Under 30 by LIBN appeared first on Driven Local.

10 Obvious Ways To Increase Your Readership That You Might Not Be Doing

by Alexandra Skey @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of FreepikIs your blog traffic growing slower than you want, or not at all?Everyone says you should spend as much time promoting your posts as you do writing them. But sometimes you just don’t have time. So, what else can you do?Here are 10 obvious ways to increase your readership that you might not […]

SEO Agency in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

by CEO and Founder @ Digital Marketing Agency

Experience Advertising is an SEO agency and one of the best in the business for folks in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. If you want your web property to rank higher on the search results, then you need to hire an SEO consultant who has a proven track record, someone like Evan Weber who has helped local […]

50 Influential Women in Content Marketing 2017 #CMWorld

by Lee Odden @ Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

With over 200 speakers, moderators, panelists and workshop leaders at the 2017 Content Marketing World conference, it is a substantial task to investigate the influence of so many accomplished marketing professionals. For this year’s list of influential content marketing speakers, I went a step further and took into account those who have presented at Content [...]

The post 50 Influential Women in Content Marketing 2017 #CMWorld appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Why Case Studies Are Great Marketing Tools

by Carlo Thomas @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of FreepikDid you know that humans spend half of their waking time daydreaming? Our brains wander by nature, jumping from one thought to the next. If there’s nothing important for our minds to focus on, whether it be a conversation with a friend or the latest episode of Game of Thrones, they simply […]

Why Data About the Opioid Epidemic Is So Unreliable

Why Data About the Opioid Epidemic Is So Unreliable

by Jeremiah Lindemann @ Slate Articles

Headlines about the opioid epidemic come with often staggering reports of the numbers of deaths, of overdoses, and of lives saved by Naloxone. According to data released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 52,404 total deaths in 2015, or 144 drug overdose deaths per day. Overdoses are now considered the leading cause of death of people under the age of 50, according to a New York Times analysis using preliminary data.

As staggering as those numbers are, though, there are many reasons to believe the numbers we have are unreliable. One recent study estimated that due to variations from state to state in filling out death certificates, opioid deaths may be underreported nationally as much as 24 percent. If that is true, it’s dangerous: It means that we aren’t fully grasping what is already considered an epidemic or responding appropriately. To help fight this epidemic, we need numbers that are accurate and reflective of the current moment. Community-based coalitions can have a stronger impact if they have access to timely, accurate data that reflect the situation on the ground.

In April, the CDC presented a report explaining that opioid-related deaths might be underestimated for several reasons. For one thing, many autopsies show pneumonia as the cause even when the toxicology report shows a high level of opioids in the body. Furthermore, coroners’ guidelines state that a death can only be classified as an overdose if the toxicology report shows a certain blood level. That may seem reasonable, but drug levels can drop fairly quickly after death. If the medical examiner doesn’t do the autopsy soon enough, the toxicology report may not be accurate. In addition, rural counties faced with strained budgets don’t always do toxicology reports due to cost, and without a toxicology report, a death can’t be labeled as an opioid overdose.

Lastly, lots of people die in ways that are related—but difficult to formally connect—to opioid addiction, like suicide or car accidents caused by driving while under the influence. More than 1,000 families affected by the opioid epidemic have contributed to the Celebrating Lost Loved Ones interactive map, a project I created to help break stigma and raise awareness about the epidemic after I lost my little brother JT to the opioid epidemic. He was the first person to be listed on the map.

Read some of the biographies on the Celebrating Lost Loved Ones site, and you’ll see that many of the deaths don’t officially fall into the overdose category. Some of the families believe that their lost loved ones weren’t officially labeled overdose deaths because of their community’s strong desire to avoid any reporting of drugs. Regardless of the reasons why, it is clear our nation isn’t getting a full picture of this epidemic no matter how high the numbers may seem.

One way to help tackle this problem would be for county and state health departments to start examining “opioid related deaths”—for instance, if the toxicology report shows traces of opioids in the system of a person who died by suicide or if recently used drug paraphernalia was found at the scene. Some agencies are starting to examine data in this way. For instance, Oakland County, Michigan, has created an opioid-related deaths map. While it still may not be comprehensive, it gives local officials a far more realistic picture of the state of opioid abuse. Duplicating that could be difficult for county governments with larger populations and massive numbers of autopsy reports, but perhaps they could use technology to comb through all these records to look for signs that opioids may have been involved.

We also suffer from out-of-data information. Thanks to a lengthy process, it takes a while for an opioid death to be counted in statistics. Typically, a local county coroner or medical examiner will report data to the state health agency, which in turn passes the information to the CDC. The most recent data on the CDC website contains information on overdose deaths from 2015.

But concerned citizens, nurses, elected officials, law, and health staff from government agencies need real-time data (or close to it) to support their efforts of education, prevention, and treatment. Having better information could help direct resources where and when they are most needed. To be exact, communities need access to three key datasets that could be monitored and mapped locally in real time:

  1. Death data from the local coroner or medical examiner.

  2. Overdose data from law enforcement agencies and their record management systems. Some overdoses may result in a death, though many cases people survive. What’s critical here is the location where these ODs are happening.

  3. Data about the number of naloxone saves (that is, people resuscitated using naloxone, an anti-overdose medication) from first responders such as fire departments, police or sheriff departments, and emergency medical services. Communities could also crowdsource this data. Naloxone is now readily available from pharmacies, and many local task forces offer trainings on how to administer. If the community helps track where naloxone saves are coming from, it will help fill in data gaps to complement what first responders are capturing.

Of course, we have to be careful with this data due to sensitivity and privacy concerns. But there are many ways to abstract the data for public awareness. For instance, Tri-County Health in Colorado creates heat maps. You can also aggregate by a geographic boundary such as a ZIP code or municipality—the information doesn’t have to be as specific as a street address. Being too guarded about sharing the data won’t create the actionable information a community needs.

Addressing this nationwide crisis will require collaboration between citizens, local officials, health departments, and law enforcement. Knowing where and how to respond to treatment and awareness efforts will not happen efficiently unless these individuals can see up-to-date, accurate data streams.

Of course, there are other societal issues related to the opioid epidemic. Rising homelessness and people entering and leaving jails are related to the increase in opioid use. As communities address the opioid epidemic, they can also share their information with other projects such as Data-Driven Justice.

Technology and data have helped solve and address many social problems in recent years. But local governments still aren’t doing enough data sharing about health-related issues. Down the road, we will face another epidemic that seems unlikely, even impossible right now. Laying down a practice of using data in a transparent and up-to-date fashion will arm agencies to respond and collaborate better in the future. Communities across the nation are struggling with the opioid epidemic, and getting control of their own data will be a huge support in their mission to save lives.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Facebook’s New TV Feature Isn’t a Threat to YouTube

Facebook’s New TV Feature Isn’t a Threat to YouTube

by Will Oremus @ Slate Articles

This week, Facebook began rolling out a new hub for online video, called Watch. The feature, which will show up as a separate tab from the news feed in the Facebook app, will encourage users to subscribe to their favorite shows, see what their friends are watching, and find new shows that might match their interests.

The feature drew immediate comparisons to Google’s YouTube, and it does look awfully familiar. BuzzFeed’s Alex Kantrowitz described it as “more similar to YouTube than any other major video platform in existence today.” As with YouTube, there will be some shows produced professionally by corporate partners—including one live MLB game per week—but the company says the focus will be on videos uploaded by Facebook users. That makes it quite different from the likes of Netflix and fits Facebook’s self-conception as a platform rather than a media company.

Facebook’s video products already challenge YouTube in some respects. The news feed algorithm helps individual videos go viral on a scale that is harder for YouTube videos to achieve. While YouTube creators were irked early on by Facebook’s permissive attitude toward “freebooting,” the company has taken steps to address their concerns and even lure them away. Watch should make Facebook more viable as a destination for video, as opposed to just a place where people encounter video interspersed with news stories and updates from their friends.

Facebook’s video platform has at least one natural advantage over YouTube: the social network’s ability to connect you with friends and others who are watching the same thing. In a post announcing Watch, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote: “Watching a show doesn't have to be passive. It can be a chance to share an experience and bring people together who care about the same things.” Banal as that sounds, he might well be right that the ability to see what your friends are watching, and to form social groups around certain shows, will be Watch’s main selling point.

Still, it’s hard to imagine Watch posing a serious threat to YouTube anytime soon. The history of social media teaches us that people generally spend most of their time in an app’s main feed, with relatively few taking the trouble to regularly toggle to different tabs. (Snapchat may be helping to change that, at least for younger users.) Getting people to think “Facebook” instead of “YouTube” when they want to watch videos will take a lot of work.

But there’s another company that should be very worried about Watch: Twitter. The company has struggled to compete for advertising money with Google and Facebook, because it can’t match the scale of either their audience or their data. It has also had a hard time finding ad formats that work well on its platform, where people are constantly scanning and scrolling.

Throughout its difficulties, one of Twitter’s few big selling points to advertisers has been its ability to connect them with people who are watching and discussing a specific show or video in real time . It has sought, in other words, to become the dominant “second screen” where people interact around what they’re watching on TV. Increasingly, it’s turning to live video—including professional sports broadcasts—to unify the second screen with the original content.

Viewed through this lens, Watch isn’t just a YouTube rival. It’s Facebook’s answer to Twitter’s big bet on the future. And while Facebook isn’t big enough to beat Google through sheer scale, it has already shown it can do just that to smaller rivals, including Twitter. Its live video platform, Facebook Live, was viewed by many as a shameless ripoff of Twitter’s Periscope when it launched. But it quickly gained traction, because Facebook simply has far more users, giving it a broader base of both video creators and viewers.

Facebook Watch may look a lot more like YouTube than it looks like Twitter. But when it comes to the competition for online advertising money, it represents a bigger blow to Twitter’s ambitions than it does to Google’s. Twitter helped to pioneer the follower model, the hashtag, real-time public chat, and live video—all of which Facebook has since copied. Now Facebook wants to usurp Twitter’s role as a hub for online socialization around video and TV. Its content today may be uploaded mostly by amateur users, but if the model works, it won’t hesitate to partner with more and more professional producers of video content.

For TV fans who use Facebook but not Twitter, that’s great news. For Twitter—not so much.

Finding the Online Marketing Course That’s Right for You

by admin @ Online Advertising

Internet Marketing Company | Leading Digital Marketing Agency for SEO, PPC, Social Media | IMI

Internet Marketing Company | Leading Digital Marketing Agency for SEO, PPC, Social Media | IMI

Internet Marketing Inc

Internet Marketing Inc. is a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO, PPC, Social Media, Web Design, Email Marketing, Display, and Analytics.



by Rachel Withers @ Slate Articles

When Disneyland opened its doors in Anaheim, California, on July 17, 1955, the word astronaut was not yet a household term. But a bright white rocketship towered over Tomorrowland (and, in fact, the entire park), poised to blast off into soon-to-be explored galaxies. Behind it stood a geometric space station, red letters over the entrance labeling it “Rocket To The Moon,” with two large spherical theatres jutting from the rear. Though it would be almost 14 years to the day before Neil Armstrong would take that one giant leap for mankind, Disneyland visitors would soon get close, experiencing a thrilling virtual trip around the moon and back again.

The Clock of the World, an extravagant chronometer telling visitors the exact minute and hour anywhere in the world, stood by the entrance to Tomorrowland, symbolizing the land’s temporal transition. According to a 1955 Disneyland insert in the Los Angeles Examiner, “1955 becomes 1986 as you enter the new era—Tomorrowland where our hopes and dreams for the future become today’s realities.” Shiny metallic orbs, symbols of the Atomic Age, clustered around poles and decorated the futuristic buildings. Inside those buildings, visitors could find innovative technology—Circarama, U.S.A. showed a 360-degree film, the first of its kind, over a ring of nine encircling screens, while Space Station X-1 gave visitors a “satellite view” of Earth, two years before Sputnik would be launched into space. Autopia, which became a Disneyland icon, celebrated cars and the American freeway, one year before President Eisenhower was to sign the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act into law.

The future was exciting, optimistic, radiant, and at Tomorrowland, it was a place you could visit and enjoy, marveling at what was to come.

But at some point in the last six decades, Tomorrowland went from a land of possibility to a land of nostalgia. Today, on that same land in Anaheim, California, stands a retrofuturistic attraction, full of old-fashioned, cutesy ways of thinking about space travel, transportation, and robots. Even the 2015 Tomorrowland movie flopped. Disneyland seems to have lost its passion for futurology, letting what was once an innovative, optimistic, imaginative Tomorrowland slip into a symbol of yesteryear. What happened to Walt’s Tomorrow?

Walt Disney—storyteller, visionary, and one of Time’s 20 most influential innovators of the 20th century—saw the future as a wondrous and magical place. He embraced new technology throughout his career: His early animations used what were then cutting-edge effects, such as color and sound, and he was obsessed with mass transit, with the concept for Disneyland coming out of his passion for increasingly large model trains. Plus, he loved outer space. From 1954 to 1958, he hosted Disneyland, a weekly show on ABC, to finance the park’s construction. His passion for futurology came across in his Tomorrowland segments:

Tomorrowland, referred to in early plans as The Land of Tomorrow and envisioned by Walt to be “the factual and scientific exposition of things to come,” was one of four imaginative realms that park-goers could visit (Fantasyland, Adventureland, Frontierland, and Tomorrowland). Walt Disney always intended his park to be educational as well as entertaining. In his Tomorrowland dedication speech, displayed in the park to this day, Walt promised the land would be a:

vista into a world of wondrous ideas, signifying man’s achievements ... a step into the future, with predictions of constructive things to come. Tomorrow offers new frontiers in science, adventure and ideals: the Atomic Age ... the challenges of outer space ... and the hope for a peaceful and unified world.

But the problem with the designing the world of tomorrow soon became apparent: Tomorrow very quickly becomes today, and then yesterday. The future never stays that way for long.

For a time, the Walt Disney Co. attempted to keep up. Incomplete upon opening, most of Tomorrowland’s original attractions were actually temporary corporate installations rushed in time for the launch—but Walt never intended for his park to remain static. The forward-thinking entrepreneur and his team of Imagineers continued to tinker with Tomorrowland through the ’50s and ’60s, keeping it not just up-to-date but ahead-of-the-date, one step ahead of the rapidly encroaching future. Tomorrowland addressed all the major scientific advancements of the midcentury as they unfolded: space travel, submarines, the freeway, the monorail, and nuclear power.

Walt, a Republican in his later years, believed firmly in the innovative power of the free market and formed close relationships with American industries. Of the four lands, Tomorrowland was the greatest benefactor of these corporate partnerships, becoming the most heavily sponsored area in the park: The Hall of Chemistry was sponsored by Monsanto, and the Hall of Aluminum Fame by Kaiser Aluminum, while the Bathroom of Tomorrow was basically a giant ad for Crane Plumbing: “This fabulous bathroom, actually designed for the future, is available for your home today!”

Monsanto sponsored another attraction in 1957, the House of the Future, which remains one of Tomorrowland’s most iconic attractions. The strange plastic house was home to household gadgets that today seem commonplace—a flat-screen TV, a microwave oven—but would not be available to 1957 audiences for many years to come. At the Monsanto House of the Future, Junior could try out the (public) electric toothbrush:

In 1959, Tomorrowland became home to the first permanent monorail in the Western Hemisphere, the Disneyland-ALWEG Monorail System. Walt Disney invited then–Vice President Richard Nixon and his family to open the attraction. The monorail, and the 1967 PeopleMover to follow, were more than simply rides to Walt: They were policy suggestions. In his letter to Nixon, he wrote that the mode of transport was a “prototype of a rapid transit system which many solve many of the traffic problems of our modern day.” He was frustrated when Los Angeles policymakers did not follow his lead.

After a decade of adding and subtracting attractions while leaving the core in place, Tomorrowland’s “tomorrow” had begun to feel antiquated—much of its future forecast had already come true, making it time for an overhaul. Between 1964 and 1967, $20 million was spent demolishing and rebuilding the land, more than the cost of the entire 1955 theme park. Though he would not live to see it completed, Walt was heavily involved in New Tomorrowland’s design, and his futuristic fingerprints were all over it when it opened on July 18, 1967.

A grand reopening was held, and it seemed Tomorrowland’s optimism was back: Astro Mickey, wearing a space helmet built to accommodate his ears, waved from the stage, while a human astronaut hovered over the park by jetpack, which is cool even by today’s standards. New attractions included the scientific Adventures Thru Inner Space, a microscope-themed ride in which guests were “shrunk” to the size of an atom, and the glorious Carousel of Progress, designed by Walt himself, a rotating theater showing—to the tune of “There’s a Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow”—how industrial advances had improved the lives of generations of (audio-animatronic) American families. Yellow, red, and blue carriages ferried park-goers along white overhead conveyer belts in the Goodyear-sponsored PeopleMover (“Ride Tomorrow’s Transportation… Today”).

The ’70s and ’80s brought more incremental change. In 1975, Rocket/Flight to the Moon was changed to Mission to Mars as the moon landing six years prior had dated the attraction. In 1986, one of the world’s first 4-D films opened at Disneyland, starring amusement park aficionado Michael Jackson. Shot on Disney’s state-of-the-art 3-D camera and accompanied by in-theater smoke and laser effects, Captain Eo was—at the time—the most expensive film per minute ever made. (Each minute cost $17.6 million.)

In the early ’90s, plans were drawn up for another radical Tomorrowland revamp, “Tomorrowland 2055” (2055 being the year Disneyland will turn 100). However, budget cuts caused by the poor performance of Euro Disneyland—which featured its own intentionally retrofuturist “Discoveryland” inspired by the writing of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells—caused the Walt Disney Co. to shelve the “2055” plans. In 1998, Tomorrowland went fully retro, repainted in browns and golds similar to those of Discoveryland’s cartoonish mechanical instruments. For Disneyland’s 50th anniversary in 2005, Tomorrowland was repainted to a modern white, silver, and blue color scheme, which remains to this day.

Walt Disney wasn’t just interested in capturing the future: He was interested in creating it. In the final months of his life, he was hard at work on a new concept, his most ambitious to date. The Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow was to be a living breathing city of the future, “the world’s first futuristic metropolis,” on land Disney had purchased in Florida. Walt wanted to build an urban laboratory—population 20,000—with which to solve America’s “urban crisis”: congestion, pollution, civil unrest, and lack of community. By now used to the difficulty involved in keeping the tomorrow in Tomorrowland, Disney declared that EPCOT would never be completed: It would be in a permanent state of “becoming,” forever in progress.

Today’s Epcot is far from the one Walt envisioned. After his death in 1966, the land put aside for the model city became part of Florida’s Walt Disney World instead. Disney World visitors can still check out the Epcot Center, a theme park dedicated to human achievement and international culture, sometimes likened to a permanent world’s fair, and resembling Walt’s EPCOT in name only.

Building an experimental city from scratch was always going to be a complex, expensive, problematic task—even Walt would have struggled to pull this one off. But the Walt Disney Co. seems to have abandoned all efforts at serious futurology. Since the abandonment of the “2055” project, the original Tomorrowland—home of Walt’s starry-eyed vision of space, atoms, and transit—has displayed little of Walt’s futuristic spirit. The park’s current “Googie” architecture is a relic from the past, “a space age look that was enormously popular during the 1950s,” according to the Disney website. The rides are a mixture of vintage classics (Autopia, the monorail, and the submarine still run) and Pixar/Star Wars–themed attractions that are more science-fiction than science-future. The most future-focused science at Tomorrowland today is also the least technological: The “visionary landscaping” is edible, representing an “ecologically astute future where humanity makes the most of its resources.” Hipsters rejoice. It’s been almost two decades since Tomorrowland debuted an attraction focused on scientific discovery.

Projecting the future is a difficult, expensive, not to mention never-ending task—but not an impossible one. If 1960s Imagineers could overhaul their 1950s ideas to create New Tomorrowland, why are we here in the 21st century stuck in Never-Never Land? After decades of trying to keep up with ever-accelerating technology, Disney seems to have embraced the stagnant future of the past.

What might Tomorrowland be like if its mission continued today? In the months leading up to his 1966 death, Walt was obsessed with finding solutions to the “urban crisis,” which he saw as the greatest challenge of his day, spending his free time reading books on urban planning. Would he bring the same zeal to designing today’s smart cities, or developing clean energy? A friend to industry and a fan of NASA, would the Walt of 2017 be partnering with Google and Apple? Would Autopia now feature self-driving, voice-operated cars? It’s hard to imagine Tomorrowland would be remain stuck in the past for long with Walt at the wheel.

If there is a Walt Disney of 2017, it might be Elon Musk. The Tesla and SpaceX founder shares Walt’s starry-eyed foresight, his dual passion for interplanetary travel and redefining transport here on Earth. Born seven decades apart, Musk’s dreams of Mars and the Hyperloop don’t seem so different to Walt’s 1950s fantasies—though we’ve now been imagining that next small step/giant leap for so long that even journeying to Mars feels too retrofutury for Disneyland.

So why isn’t the Walt–Elon vision of the future to be found in today’s Tomorrowland? Perhaps it’s not the Disney Co. Perhaps it’s us. Tech doesn’t exactly wow us like it used to—after all, it’s now in our homes, in our cars, even in our pockets. Touristing in a technological wonderland would probably feel underwhelming, considering we’re basically already in one. And why would anyone want to immerse themselves in the future? Popular imagination holds that today’s future will be a dystopia, not a utopia. In this age of climate-change doom and job-killing automation, of “unplugging” and “logging off,” perhaps the future is no longer a place we want to go, no longer the land of exciting promise, of “hopes and dreams.” In the 1950s, the future was an inviting fantasy, something to gaze towards, to marvel at, to reach for. Now Walt’s tomorrow is here … and well, we’re drowning in it.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Digital Marketing Company & Internet Marketing Services | Markitors SEO

Digital Marketing Company & Internet Marketing Services | Markitors SEO

Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors

Markitors is a full service digital marketing company that offers internet marketing services including SEO, Email, Social, PPC & Website Development.

Know How to Communicate with Your Future Customers

by Jim LaSalle @ Driven Local

All of our customers want their phones to ring and their emails to be filled with new business inquiries — this is not some big mystery. For that reason, it is no surprise that most businesses focus their marketing message on “call now,” “buy now,” “use this promo code,” “while supplies last,” etc. These calls […]

The post Know How to Communicate with Your Future Customers appeared first on Driven Local.

The U.S. Supreme Court Moves Toward Requiring Prospective Intervenors to Demonstrate Standing at the Outset

by Connie Fensterstock @ Fensterstock & Partners LLP

To intervene as of right in a federal lawsuit, a would-be party must, pursuant to Rule 24(a) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, show that it (1) has an interest, (2) disposition of the case without intervention would, as a practical matter, impair or impede its interest, (3) the interest is inadequately represented by […]

The post The U.S. Supreme Court Moves Toward Requiring Prospective Intervenors to Demonstrate Standing at the Outset appeared first on Fensterstock & Partners LLP.

Decoding Data Management platform(DMP)

by Prashant Nandan @ Know Online Advertising

Data Management Platform: In a layman term, it’s a data warehouse, it’s a software that houses information and disseminates in a way that is useful to any business like agency, publisher. Agency now buy media across sites, exchanges and ad network, DMP help us to tie all this at one central place and help us […]

Advertise to Millennials, Not Millennial Stereotypes

by Jessica Lee @ SearchForce

Millennials get lumped into a stereotype, and there’s plenty of conversation on how to reach them. However, new research from Google suggests that Millennials aren’t as narrowly defined as once thought. How do advertisers connect with these real, young people? […]

The post Advertise to Millennials, Not Millennial Stereotypes appeared first on SearchForce.

We’re Hiring: Digital Marketing Manager

by Markitors @ Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors

Our Mission: to connect small businesses with customers…and to have a good time doing it. Our Values You Are Unique: Respect the uniqueness of every human being. Always Fresh, Always Thrilling: Innovate to keep things exciting. Bias For Action: When … Read More

The post We’re Hiring: Digital Marketing Manager appeared first on Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors.

Happy World Emoji Day iOS users! But only bleak em…

by admin @ Spotlight Media

Happy World Emoji Day iOS users! But only bleak emptiness for Android fans #emoji #socialmedia #happy #world…

The post Happy World Emoji Day iOS users! But only bleak em… appeared first on Spotlight Media.

How to Get Free Advertising

by admin @ Online Advertising

Pinterest hires Macintosh icon pioneer Susan Kare….

by admin @ Spotlight Media

Pinterest hires Macintosh icon pioneer Susan Kare. She will influence the way Pinterest looks — much in the same…

The post Pinterest hires Macintosh icon pioneer Susan Kare…. appeared first on Spotlight Media.

Russian Operatives Bought U.S. Political Ads on Facebook. Here’s Why That’s a Big Deal.

Russian Operatives Bought U.S. Political Ads on Facebook. Here’s Why That’s a Big Deal.

by Will Oremus @ Slate Articles

Pressed by investigators in Congress, Facebook said Wednesday that it has found evidence that a pro-Kremlin Russian “troll farm” bought $100,000 worth of ads targeted at U.S. voters between 2015 and 2017. The finding was first reported by the Washington Post, and Facebook published its own statement Wednesday afternoon.

A few of the roughly 3,000 ads that Facebook traced to the Russian company mentioned presidential candidates Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton directly, according to the Post’s sources. The majority focused on stoking people’s emotions around divisive issues such as “gun rights and immigration fears, as well as gay rights and racial discrimination.”

Facebook wouldn’t disclose the ads in question, nor exactly how the scheme worked. But it said the tactics were consistent with those outlined in a white paper on information operations that the company published in April. That white paper described how trolls and foreign agents can use false accounts to amplify divisive messages and disinformation on Facebook’s platform.

One hundred thousand dollars in ad spending might not sound like a lot of money, but it’s a big deal for at least five reasons.

First, it confirms that Facebook was one of the pathways by which Russian operatives sought to influence the U.S. election.

Second, it raises the question of how those Russian operatives knew which U.S. voters to target, and whether the Trump campaign might have played any role.

Third, it casts a new light on Facebook’s “fake news” problem, which looks more sinister if some of the misinformation spread on the platform in the runup to the U.S. election was fueled by Russian-funded ad dollars or troll networks.

Fourth, it suggests that Facebook may have a more widespread oversight problem in its ad sales. As the Post’s story notes, it’s illegal for foreign nationals or governments to buy ads or spend money aimed at influencing a U.S. election. It now seems clear they’ve been using Facebook to do just that.

Finally, while $100,000 amounts to a minuscule fraction of U.S. election spending, it could go a long way in amplifying posts among a targeted audience. Facebook said only about 25 percent of the ads were geographically targeted. But it’s worth remembering that the company has a history of not being forthcoming when it comes to the scale and mechanisms of misinformation on its platform. It’s possible that the activities the company has uncovered and disclosed so far represent only a small part of a larger problem.

Google Fred Update

by Eric McGehearty @ Globe Runner

Another year, another Google algorithm update. This update specifically targets ad heavy, low value content websites. What do these sites look like, exactly? An example would be a website that is very text heavy, with the content being in article form. These articles clearly will be targeting industry related keywords and offer little to no value. Lastly, the content will be tailored towards generating ad revenue versus actually trying to answer the user’s question.

The Top 20 Places Your Business Needs To Be Listed Online

The Top 20 Places Your Business Needs To Be Listed Online

Vertical Response Blog

It’s vital to get business listed on all applicable online directories. Here's a guide to the top 20 online directories and links to their sign-up pages:

Top Mobile Advertising Companies - mobyaffiliates

Top Mobile Advertising Companies - mobyaffiliates


Now that most of us are officially mobile-first internet users, how is the mobile advertising industry responding? A report by comScore reveals that 65% of digital media time is spent on mobile, largely driven by smartphone app usage (consumers spend 85% of their time on smartphones in apps, according to Forrester Research). It’s no surprise then that mobile advertising spend has soared. The latest figures from IAB UK show that in 2015, mobile ad spend grew by 60% (from the previous year) to reach a whopping £2.6 billion. Mobile advertising can include anything from video ads and mobile website display to in-app ads. The very nature of mobile (as a personal device) calls for a personalised approach with precisely targeted advertising campaigns for the best

The Equifax Hack Conundrum

The Equifax Hack Conundrum

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

Late Thursday the credit reporting agency Equifax revealed that it was subject to one of the most damaging data breaches in recent memory: Intruders accessed up to 143 million Americans’ names, Social Security numbers, birthdates, and driver’s license numbers. Credit card numbers for about 209,000 consumers were also exposed, according to Equifax.

Equifax set up a website,, where you can check whether you’ve been affected. (And if you are an adult in the U.S., it’s a pretty safe bet that you were affected.) The company is also offering a year of free credit monitoring and identity theft protection, called TrustedID, for people who had their info stolen. (Whether such services really work is another matter.) TrustedID also appears to be running the part of that allows people to see whether they were impacted by the hack.

The problem with using Equifax’s free ID protection, though, is that in signing up, you have to agree to terms of service that appear to force you into arbitration and waive the right to participate in any class-action lawsuit against TrustedID, the credit monitoring service. (Arbitration is the technical term for settling a dispute outside of court.)

Some outlets, such as the Washington Post and Ars Technica, are saying that the Equifax program that checks if you were a victim of the hack has terms of service conditions that could bar people from participating in class-action lawsuits. But that’s not necessarily the case. The terms of service for the TrustedID service that lets people check whether they’re impacted by the data breach are different than the terms of service for Equifax.

Simply checking whether you were affected by the breach or signing up for TrustedID doesn’t automatically make you ineligible to participate in a class-action suit against Equifax about the breach. According to Robert Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, a prominent public-interest advocacy organization, those terms may mean instead that you can’t engage in a class action against TrustedID, the service that checks if you were a part of the breach.

But if you’ve ever been a customer of Equifax, like by obtaining a credit report from the company, then you’ve already likely waived your right to sue Equifax with regard to the breach. That’s because Equifax has inserted a clause into its own terms of service that forces customers to go into arbitration, too. It’s confusing, because although the TrustedID’s terms of service—that’s the site used to check if you were a victim of the Equifax breach and obtain identity protection services—only appears to apply to TrustedID, Equifax itself has broadly worded terms of service that bar anyone who uses “all other websites owned and operated by Equifax and its affiliates” from engaging in class action, too.

But Equifax’s terms might not be enforceable anyway. As Joanne Doroshow, the executive director of the Center for Justice and Democracy at New York Law School explained to me, a clause in Equifax’s terms of service says that claims that fall under the Fair Credit Reporting Act are exempted. The FCRA is supposed to protect the privacy of information kept by consumer-reporting agencies like Equifax, which would mean that customers would not be forced to arbitration and thus could particulate in a class-action suit.

So to clarify:

  1. Checking whether you were a victim of the hack doesn’t necessarily automatically bar you from engaging in a class-action lawsuit against Equifax.
  2. But it does bar you from launching a class-action suit against TrustedID.
  3. However, Equifax’s larger terms of service could be interpreted as barring forced arbitration that would cover checking whether you’re a victim of the hack, too.
  4. That is, unless the claim is being filed under this one law: the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

Confused yet? So are the lawyers.

Complicating things further is that financial institutions often try to force customers into arbitration. Wells Fargo, for example, asked a judge last year to force people into arbitration who were suing the company for opening fake accounts in their name without their permission.  Outrageously, the court agreed with Wells Fargo, and the bank settled outside of court.

So what to do? “I’d recommend waiting until Equifax states where it will permit anyone harmed by the hack to have their day in court,” says Michael Fuller, the Oregon attorney working on the first class-action lawsuit that was brought against Equifax on Thursday evening.

“It seems to be pretty outrageous to say, ‘Hey, I’m looking at your website to look up whether or not I’m a victim, and therefore when I look to see if I’ve been harmed by you, just by looking I’ve now found myself to not go to court,’ I think that may be a bridge too far, even for our courts,” says Ira Rheingold, the executive director of the National Association of Consumer Advocates.

Still, if you think you might want to engage in a class-action suit, it might be better not to check whether you’ve been a victim on Equifax’s free site at all. Instead, you should keep a close eye on accounts—like a bank account or insurance—that authenticate your identity by using your Social Security number or date of birth. If you’re (understandably, given the news of this week—and really, the past decade) reticent to trust a private company but still want to check for unusual activity, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has a free credit-reporting service.

To put the Equifax hack in perspective, it affects about 44 percent of the U.S. population. And it includes people who have never signed up for any Equifax services or don’t even necessarily know what Equifax is. That’s because the credit-reporting agency is also as a massive multibillion-dollar data compilation company.

“People go to Equifax for credit reports, but what their business really is about is commoditizing your financial and personal information by slicing and dicing it and selling it in all sorts of manners,” says Rheingold. In other words: A company has been collecting private financial information on millions of people (many of whom have no relationship with it), making money off of it, and not even keeping it secure.

You can also lodge complaints to your state attorney general, as well as with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, according to Rheingold. Some people may even wish to put a credit freeze on their accounts to prevent their financial information getting into the wrong hands, like an imposter applying for credit in your name, for example.

Equifax, according to Fuller, appears to be a $17 billion company. “We’re estimating up to $70 billion for the cost to make everyone whole,” Fuller continues. That money could go to all the consumers who now need to pay for credit repair services for the next several years.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

How Bad Is the Equifax Hack?

How Bad Is the Equifax Hack?

by Josephine Wolff @ Slate Articles

We’ve all become so numb to having our personal information stolen again and again and again that in the aftermath of yet another massive data breach—in this case, the 143 million U.S. consumers whose information was stolen from credit reporting agency Equifax—there’s a tendency to try to explain why this one is bigger and scarier and more important than all the previous breaches. Sure, your date of birth and Social Security number and credit card information have been stolen at least a half-dozen times before, but this time you should really care—and take action!

But it’s actually pretty hard to know immediately after a breach is announced whether it’s going to be especially big or scary or important. The long-term consequences and costs, especially to consumers, will depend largely on who has taken the data and what they intend to do with it (and how effective they are at doing it). And less than a week after Equifax announced its breach, we still don’t have the answers to any of those questions—which means it’s way too soon to be declaring it the “worst leak” ever. Nor do we know how the breach was perpetrated or what safeguards Equifax did or did not have in place—so it’s also way too soon to be denouncing it as delinquent in its data protection duties. (It’s not too soon, however, to lambaste it for a truly disgraceful incident response strategy.)

We know that lots of information was stolen, and we know that the immediate response was a mess. That’s about it. By the time we can say anything meaningful about whether Equifax did a reasonable job protecting its data or how this breach will affect the 143 million whose information was stolen, most of those people will probably have lost interest in the story. And in a way that’s a pity, because the Equifax breach has the makings of some truly fascinating and complicated post-breach maneuverings and battles.

To understand why, it helps to know a little bit about what typically happens in the aftermath of major data breaches and what makes Equifax different. After a breach—after the notification letters go out, and the credit monitoring services are activated, and the public apology (or nonapology) statements are issued, and the news cycle has run its course—there are a few different ways organizations may be held responsible and affected consumers may protect themselves. Credit reporting agencies such as Equifax play a role in just about every single one of those efforts.

For instance, when you receive a free credit monitoring service because your data has been stolen, that service relies on one of the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion) to alert it to any new accounts or loans taken out in your name. So people affected by the Equifax breach will, unsurprisingly, apparently be offered a year of credit monitoring by … Equifax (or rather, by TrustedID, which was acquired by Equifax in 2013). If you don’t find that especially reassuring, you can go the next step of freezing your credit, so that no one can make inquiries about your credit without your express permission. But in this process, you will, yet again, be relying on the credit bureaus to keep you safe (and, in many cases, paying them for the privilege). Not to put too fine a point on it, but major data breaches are kind of a bonanza for credit reporting agencies—all our consumer protections pretty much rely on them.

Individual consumers could—and probably will—file class action suits against Equifax, but those suits are typically only successful insofar as consumers can point to specific instances when their money has been stolen as a direct result of a breach—like, say, fraudulent transfers or withdrawals from your bank account. Your loss of privacy or time or peace of mind is unlikely to matter to a court. And part of what often makes those losses difficult to demonstrate is that there are several protections in place to insulate individual consumers from bearing the costs of fraud—many of which come back to credit cards and, yes, credit bureaus.

Odds are good that if someone steals your information through Equifax and uses it to open up a new account or manufacture a fraudulent credit card or file a fake tax return in your name, you will not end up paying for those losses. (You will lose time and sleep and all sorts of other important things, but the direct financial losses will most likely be borne by someone else.) For instance, when someone else uses your credit card information to make charges, the credit card payment network (e.g., Visa or MasterCard), or your issuing bank, or potentially even the retailers where your stolen information is used to make fraudulent purchases end up paying for those, so long as you call up and report that your card has been compromised.

Your credit card company has to do that for you—both because there are legal protections in the U.S. to protect consumers and because the banks are desperate to keep their credit card customers in a cutthroat competitive credit card market. But in order to cover those losses in the wake of major breaches, the credit card companies and banks sometimes file lawsuits against whoever let the information be stolen in the first place. That’s why, for instance, Target ended up paying $67 million to Visa in 2015, after the retailer was breached in 2013. It’s not a perfect system, by any means, but it’s how liability gets assigned and costs get distributed. And it’s much harder to envision how such lawsuits would play out when the responsible party is a credit reporting agency—one of a very small number of trusted entities that the entire credit card industry is deeply, deeply dependent on.

A final line of defense is the Federal Trade Commission, which can, and does, file complaints against companies that fail to take reasonable measures to safeguard consumer data. But it’s unclear whether Equifax did, in fact, fail to take reasonable measures since we don’t yet know how it protected the stolen data—and there’s still a fair bit of uncertainty about what constitutes a reasonable amount of security in the first place.

There’s something both terrifying and a little bit comforting about the sheer scale of the Equifax breach and others like it. On the one hand, possibly everyone’s in big trouble—but on the other hand, at least it’s not just you who’s at risk. It remains to be seen whether that scale will translate into record amounts of fraud or theft—we don’t even really know whether whoever stole these records wanted them in order to make money or for some other purpose entirely, like espionage. But it’s worth paying attention to how this breach plays out not just for the next week or two in the news, but over the next few years in court, as we figure out how to hold accountable an institution that is deeply and inextricably embedded in just about every mechanism we have for dealing with large-scale data breaches.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Back to the Future: 5 Marketing Predictions That Were Right on the Money

by Anne Leuman @ Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Great Scott! The TopRank Marketing blog has been around since 2003, way back when content marketing and blogging were relatively new to the business world. We are proud of the fact that we were early adopters of the blogging trend—one of today’s leading content marketing strategies for improving brand visibility and engagement. Trends and predictions [...]

The post Back to the Future: 5 Marketing Predictions That Were Right on the Money appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Relevance or Authority? Perhaps the Answer Should be “Both”

by Seo Tuners @ SeoTuners

In the world of online advertising, a company’s name and reputation are crucial. Without a tangible storefront, everything a brand does to bring customers to their website is part of an important web that supports these factors. Link building is the proverbial string with which this web is woven, and is the foundation to creating […]

The post Relevance or Authority? Perhaps the Answer Should be “Both” appeared first on SeoTuners.

Meet Mappy, a Software System That Automatically Maps Old-School Nintendo Games

Meet Mappy, a Software System That Automatically Maps Old-School Nintendo Games

by Jacob Brogan @ Slate Articles

Many of the classic Nintendo Entertainment System games are marvels of level design. The introductory moments of Super Mario Bros., for example, famously teach players to search for magic mushrooms by making it difficult to avoid the first one they encounter. In the decades since their initial release, those titles have been extensively explored, their every secret unveiled by avid enthusiasts.

Nevertheless, it has remained difficult to make clear, simple maps of the games and their worlds. As Joseph Osborn, a Ph.D. student in computer science at the University of California–Santa Cruz told me, the conventional method has remained largely unchanged for years.

“Traditionally, game maps are made by taking a lot of screenshots and pasting them together,” Osborn said. “Even in early video game strategy guides or things like that, you’d have somebody with a capture card or a camera set up in front of a TV, and they would have to take pictures multiple times in the level and stitch it together by hand.”

In collaboration with his colleagues Adam Summerville and Michael Mateas, Osborn set out to find an alternative to that labor-intensive and error-prone process. Their answer comes in the form of a software system called Mappy that they describe in a paper available now on the scholarly preprint service arXiv.

In essence, Mappy (not to be confused with the game of the same name) autonomously generates maps of a game’s levels (or, in some cases, its whole world), suturing together long scrolling screens and figuring out how distinct rooms connect to one another. “At a high level, what we do is look at what’s visible on screen at any given time. We record what the player could be seeing, and automatically stitch it together into a large map,” Osborn says. The process allows them to generate images that display the total makeup of a room, even as it changes in response to the player’s actions or other on-screen events.

Mappy is not a fully autonomous system, in that it doesn’t figure out how to actually navigate the game on its own. Osborn and his collaborators first have to feed it information from a playthrough, including data about which buttons were being pushed at any given time. But, as Osborn explains, “During Mappy’s execution, it’s automatically pressing the buttons” based on that information. It even has rules in place to make sure that what it’s seeing is actually part of the playable world and not, for example, a separate cut scene.

Though the process is made easier by the relatively simplicity of the NES’s graphics hardware, Mappy’s work is still difficult. Osborn and his co-authors write, “Mapping out a minute of play (3600 frames) takes between five and six minutes, mainly due to the expensive scrolling detection and game object tracking.” Some of those challenges would likely be amplified if they attempted to apply their method to a more complex console such as the Super Nintendo Entertainment System, which employs graphical layering to generate effects such as fog drifting by in the foreground. Nevertheless, they argue that similar techniques should still be feasible on other game systems.

Osborn imagines an array of possible applications for Mappy. For one, he suggests, it might help those who are experimenting with procedurally generated game levels, giving them a consistent dataset from which to train machine learning algorithms that could produce playable worlds of their own. He also proposes that it might empower a kind of search engine that lets you look up a specific section of a game and then leap directly to that moment, letting you play through your memories.

Whether or not Mappy gets us there, it already stands as a charming and impressive accomplishment. As it demonstrates, modern computer science still has a great deal to teach us about the cartography of our digital past.

How To Advertise On Snapchat

by Eric McGehearty @ Globe Runner

So this is a follow up from a previous blog. In it, I talked about how Snapchat was primed to IPO, and with it, open up the advertising floodgates. If you recall, Facebook and Twitter very much followed the same path. In the early days of Snapchat advertising, you had to create a campaign with a very prolific agency and it could cost you a lot of money. Now, you have the creative freedom to use the self-serve tools they ...

Read More

Time to Start Thinking About Your Holiday Ads

by Jessica Lee @ SearchForce

Technically, it’s still summer. However, some shoppers will begin planning and researching for their winter holiday shopping within the next few weeks. If you want to be one of the names on their “good” list, start prepping now. In honor […]

The post Time to Start Thinking About Your Holiday Ads appeared first on SearchForce.

Come to a Free Screening of Gattaca Hosted by Francis Fukuyama

by @ Slate Articles

Join Future Tense and Francis Fukuyama in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 20 for a screening and discussion of Gattaca. The 1997 science fiction cult classic explores the widespread deployment of genetic engineering in the near future to design a more perfect society.

Fukuyama has served as a member of the White House Council on Bioethics and is a senior fellow at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute. He is the author of The Origins of Political Order and The End of History and the Last Man.

This latest installment of Future Tense’s “My Favorite Movie” series will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at Washington, D.C.'s Landmark E Street Cinema at 555 11th Street NW. For more information and to RSVP, visit the New America website. You may RSVP for yourself and up to one guest. Seating is limited.

Raising the Bar in Home Care: Interview with Carl Santoro, Owner of Compassionate Assistance in Arizona

by Emily Lierle @ Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors

What’s the Compassionate Assistance story? Compassionate Assistance is a family-owned, non-medical home care provider. Our branch provides home care in Scottsdale, Arizona. My father owns the Pennsylvania branch. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality, compassionate in-home personal care to … Read More

The post Raising the Bar in Home Care: Interview with Carl Santoro, Owner of Compassionate Assistance in Arizona appeared first on Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors.

From Zero to a Million: 20 Lessons for Starting an Internet Marketing Agency

From Zero to a Million: 20 Lessons for Starting an Internet Marketing Agency


This post is a combination of stories and thoughts about what I have gone through building Nifty Marketing. My hope is that a few of you who are out there hustling will benefit from doing some of the things that I did, and most of the things that I didn't.

Driven Local Is Proud to Announce Our Very Own Executive Circle Honoree, Lauren Persico!

by Cassie Olivos @ Driven Local

Age ain’t nothin’ but a number — just ask Lauren Persico, our Senior Executive Vice President and the youngest recipient of Long Island Business News’ Executive Circle Award! The Executive Circle Awards celebrates c-suites, directors and other senior level executives who consistently demonstrate remarkable leadership skills, integrity, values, vision, commitment to excellence, company performance, community […]

The post Driven Local Is Proud to Announce Our Very Own Executive Circle Honoree, Lauren Persico! appeared first on Driven Local.

The Department of Justice Demands Records on Every Visit to Anti-Trump Protest Site DisruptJ20

The Department of Justice Demands Records on Every Visit to Anti-Trump Protest Site DisruptJ20

by Jacob Brogan @ Slate Articles

If you’ve visited the website DisruptJ20, which helped organize protests during the inauguration of Donald Trump, the Department of Justice is interested in learning more about you.

On Saturday, a judge in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia approved a search warrant that would require DreamHost, DisruptJ20’s provider, to turn over a wide range of information about the site and its visitors. In addition to information about the site’s creators, the DOJ demands “logs showing connections related to the website, and any other transactional information, including records of session times and duration.” In short, the government is looking for records of everyone who even visited the site, which is to say it's effectively compiling info on those who showed even a modicum of interest in protesting the administration.

DreamHost is resisting the effort. In a blog post, the company acknowledges that it has “no insight into the affidavit for the search warrant (those records are sealed).” Nevertheless, DreamHost also writes that its general counsel “has taken issue with this particular search warrant for being a highly untargeted demand that chills free association and the right of free speech afforded by the Constitution.” As it goes on to explain, turning over the requested records would mean providing 1.3 million visitor IP addresses along with “contact information, email content, and photos of thousands of people.”

As ZDNet notes, “Several purported members of [DisruptJ20] were arrested for alleged violent conduct during the protests.” It links to a Washington Post article from January that claims, “Police said in court filings that the damage caused by the group was in excess of $100,000.”

In advance of the inauguration itself, however, the organizers claimed on their site laid out sweeping, but still legal, goals. “We’re planning a series of massive direct actions that will shut down the Inauguration ceremonies and any related celebrations–the Inaugural parade, the Inaugural balls, you name it,” they claimed.

DreamHost’s blog post stresses that those who came to the site in search of information about such activities had every right to do so, just as they had every right to protest the inauguration. As such, it’s not clear why the DOJ would need their IP addresses and other related data. “That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment,” the post reads. “This is, in our opinion, a strong example of investigatory overreach and a clear abuse of government authority.”

This is not, of course, the first time that the Trump administration has sought sweeping information about citizens. In late June, the DOJ demanded massive amounts of voter registration data, information that many states refused to provide. While that may have been part of an ongoing effort to purge voter rolls, this new warrant is troubling in part because it suggests the Trump administration is also actively gathering records about its opponents.

We’ll likely know more after a hearing about the request, currently scheduled for Friday, Aug. 18 in Washington.

Am I on the Right Digital Advertising Platform?

by Chris Scala @ Driven Local

With so many digital advertising options in 2017, it is easy to choose the wrong platform, or not choose one at all. From Google to Facebook to Snapchat, you may be asking yourself — “Do I really need to be on every online advertising platform?” The answer will surprise you. Your customers spend their free […]

The post Am I on the Right Digital Advertising Platform? appeared first on Driven Local.

9 Reasons Online Advertising Should Be Part of Your Marketing Mix

9 Reasons Online Advertising Should Be Part of Your Marketing Mix

ReTargeter Blog

Online advertising is essential to the marketing mix. The 9 reasons you should advertise online include lower costs, targeting, scale, reach.

The Essential VoIP Guide For Small Business

by Gary @ 3Bug Media

Being able to make phone calls through the internet has become fairly common, there are hundreds of mobile apps and services that allow you to make Voice Over IP calls or VoIP for short.  From Skype to Gmail Voice, it seems like VoIP communications are everywhere. But is the VoIP quality and reliability there so […]

The post The Essential VoIP Guide For Small Business appeared first on 3Bug Media.

The Complete Guide to Vetting and Hiring Freelance Writers

by Amanda Dodge @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of Dooder / Freepik2017 means a fresh start and new budget. While many businesses are excited at the prospect of new resources, they might not know where to employ them to their maximum effect. However, it’s easy to stretch your budget when you work with freelance creatives, especially when the alternative is working […]

Technology is a job creator

by admin @ Novocan

For the past 150 years people have been in panic about a machine uprising.  The idea of machines and robots taking away our jobs is nothing new; recently many people have sounded the alarm in fear of artificial intelligence and robust mobile applications displacing workers.  If history teaches us anything however, it’s the fact that […]

The post Technology is a job creator appeared first on Novocan.

The History of Online Advertising

The History of Online Advertising

AdPushup Blog

A look at the history of online advertising starting from '80s taking you to the current date. Covers Online Banner, CPM, CPC, Social Ads, Popups & RTB.

Secret Online Marketing Strategies Explained

by admin @ Online Advertising

Missinglettr Review: Create Targeted & Automated Social Campaigns

by Gary @ 3Bug Media

I love social media.  No other marketing channel allows you to reach so many people with your content.  But it can also be a beast to try and manage several social media accounts, let alone use them effectively. But, I also know that creating content is only a part of content marketing, promoting it effectively […]

The post Missinglettr Review: Create Targeted & Automated Social Campaigns appeared first on 3Bug Media.

Can You Match the Prediction to the Year It Was Made?

Can You Match the Prediction to the Year It Was Made?

by Nick Thieme @ Slate Articles

One of humanity’s favorite games is guessing what will come next. It’s a low-pressure way to think about our future and the world we’ll leave behind. Some people, like Nostradamus, will always be remembered because of their (allegedly) prescient predictions. Others, like Steve Ballmer, will never live down their bad ones. The most amazing soothsayers are the ones who see far into the future, their predictions carrying no hint of their time period. We’ve gone through history looking for interesting predictions—the good, the bad, and the just plain weird—to see whether you can guess what decade these predictions were made in.

*Correction, Sept. 1, 2017: This quiz originally misspelled Roger Ebert’s first name. It also misidentified the decade the “three most pernicious adult diseases” would be eliminated, and it misidentified the decade of a prediction made by Nikola Tesla.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Free App Offer

by admin @ Novocan

Every week customers come to us with great ideas for apps or software, many of the customers have already thought through all the development obstacles and marketing strategies. Unfortunately cost often prevents many of these great ideas from coming to market!  At Novocan we would like to offer a helping hand by building an application at […]

The post Free App Offer appeared first on Novocan.

SEO Agency in Jacksonville, Florida

by CEO and Founder @ Digital Marketing Agency

Experience Advertising is a Jacksonville SEO agency that helps Florida businesses by providing a full suite of digital marketing services, including a detailed SEO package. If you wish to reach out to clients in Jacksonville, Florida, North America, or the whole world, you need to show up on the search engines when people search for […]

Key Principles To Improve Your Marketing ROI

by Guest Poster @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of Freepik/Shahsoft1In the world of business, your ROI is one of the most important areas that needs to be constantly monitored. In monitoring your ROI it tells you if your business is a profitable investment to place your time and energy into or if changes are needed. If you’ve found that your marketing […]

The Next iOS Update Has a Feature to Prevent Cops From Searching Your iPhone

The Next iOS Update Has a Feature to Prevent Cops From Searching Your iPhone

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

The iPhone’s Touch ID fingerprint unlocking is one of the most intuitive security features in consumer technology. Strong passwords are hard to remember and annoying to type. And biometric security, like fingerprint IDs, is great for keeping things locked down. But like anything, Touch ID is really great until it isn’t. Your fingerprints are, after all, readily available, and it’s not that hard for someone to force you to press a button to unlock your phone, which, let’s face it, is probably packed with all kinds of private information, like credit card numbers, search histories, or clandestine texts.

The good news is that Apple’s next iPhone update, slated to be released this fall, will come with a new feature that lets users quickly disable Touch ID as a way to unlock the phone. In the new iOS 11, if you quickly tap your home button five times, the phone reverts to a password-only screen lock (with an option to dial 911 if needed). Reverting to a password-only mode offers an extra layer of privacy protection from a police officer, or an abusive partner, or anyone else who may force or coerce a person into touching their iPhone to unlock it. The new feature was discovered by someone on Twitter who installed the beta version of the soon-to-be-released iPhone update.

While police are technically required by the Supreme Court to get a warrant to search your phone if it’s locked—in the same way they need to get a warrant to search your house—some courts have ruled that law enforcement can force you to use your fingerprint to unlock a phone. But cops can’t force you to reveal your password. The idea is that police can make you turn over something you have (a fingerprint, a driver’s license) but not something you know (like a passcode).

The new feature should be of particular interest to protesters or anyone else who would rather the police not read all their contacts and text messages. Currently, you have to navigate through settings and multiple screens to change how your phone is secured—which is difficult to do rapidly if you sense an impending arrest. With the update, if you think you might get approached by law enforcement, you can just reach into your pocket and tap the button five times.

The new iPhone update is also expected to include a new face-recognition unlockingfeature. That makes this screen-lock shortcut even more important, considering how easy it would be for someone to confiscate your phone and hold it up to your face.

There are a lot of reasons to protest these days, but this is also useful in other circumstances. For instance, searches of mobile phones by border agents have skyrocketed in recent years. According to data from the Department of Homeland Security reported by NBC, in 2015 there were fewer than 5,000 cases of cellphone searches by border agents. But in 2016, that number grew to nearly 25,000. DHS reportedly searched 5,000 phones in February of this year alone.

To be sure, in some cases, federal law enforcement may demand your password anyway, especially at the border. But having that extra layer of protection is a welcome move.

It’s also in keeping with Apple’s philosophy. In 2016, the company fought a court order compelling it to break the encryption on an iPhone in the course of the San Bernardino terrorist investigation. At that time, the company was lauded as a champion of civil liberties to the deep annoyance of the FBI, and it’s hard to imagine law enforcement will to be too thrilled about this new feature, either. (The FBI eventually found a third-party company to break into the iPhone in question.)

So don’t sleep on the new iPhone update. Whether it’s protecting your data from warrantless searches or your private information from nefarious hackers, it’s super important to have all latest security features on deck. Plus the new face-unlocking feature looks pretty cool, too.

The Science Police

The Science Police

by Keith Kloor @ Slate Articles

A version of this piece originally appeared in Issues in Science and Technology.

In 2013, Canadian ecologist Mark Vellend submitted a paper to the journal Nature that made the first peer reviewer uneasy. “I can appreciate counter-intuitive findings that are contrary to common assumption,” the comment began. But the “large policy implications” of the paper and how it might be interpreted in the media raised the bar for acceptance, the reviewer argued.

Vellend’s paper challenged a core tenet of conservation biology: that local and regional landscapes had become ecologically depleted, following an accelerated global rate of species extinctions known as the biodiversity crisis. This core tenet was reinforced by dozens of experimental studies that showed ecosystem function diminished when plant diversity declined. Thus a “common assumption” was baked into a larger, widely accepted conservation biology narrative: Urbanization and agriculture, among other aspects of modern society, severely fragmented wild habitats, which, in turn, reduced ecological diversity and eroded ecosystem health.

And it happens to be a true story—just not the whole story, according to the analysis Vellend and his collaborators submitted to Nature. They argued that plant diversity at localized levels had not declined. To be sure, in landscapes people had exploited (for example, for agriculture or logging), habitat became fragmented, and non-native species invaded. But there was no net loss of diversity in these habitats, according to the study. Why? Because as some native species dropped out, newer ones arrived. In fact, in many places, species richness had increased.

The peer reviewer did not hide his dismay:

Unfortunately, while the authors are careful to state that they are discussing biodiversity changes at local scales, and to explain why this is relevant to the scientific community, clearly media reporting on these results are going to skim right over that and report that biological diversity is not declining if this paper were to be published in Nature. I do not think this conclusion would be justified, and I think it is important not to pave the way for that conclusion to be reached by the public.

Nature rejected the paper.

Although it was published soon after by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences—without triggering media fanfare, much less public confusion—the episode unsettled Vellend, who is an ecology professor at the University of Sherbrooke in Québec. Vellend’s uneasiness was reinforced when he presented the paper at an ecology conference and several colleagues voiced the same objections as the Nature reviewer, as he recounts in a collection of essays titled Effective Conservation Science: Data Not Dogma, to be published by Oxford University Press in late 2017.

Vellend’s experiences have left him wondering if other ecology studies are being similarly judged on “how the results align with conventional wisdom or political priorities.”

The short answer appears to be yes.

In their introduction to the upcoming book, the ecologists Peter Kareiva and Michelle Marvier write: “Working as editors for some of the major journals in our field, we have seen first-hand reviewers worrying as much about the political fallout and potential misinterpretation by the public as they do about the validity and rigor of the science.”

The book tackles the philosophical and scientific issues that have divided the field of conservation biology in recent years. A major theme in the fractious debate is the underlying tension between science and advocacy, both of which are coded equally into the DNA of the field.

The rift is also a power struggle. The ecologists who founded conservation biology in the 1980s have served as influential advocates for the preservation of endangered species and biodiversity. They were instrumental in elevating the issue to the top of the global environmental agenda. These well-known scientists, such as E.O. Wilson, Michael Soulé, and Stuart Pimm, have strong feelings about the best way to achieve what they believe should be a nature-centric goal. They are protective of the successful cause they launched and, unsurprisingly, dubious of new “human-friendly” approaches to conservation that Kareiva and Marvier, among others, have proposed in recent years.

If conservation science is in service to an agenda, then it seems inevitable that research would at times be viewed through a political or ideological prism. The Nature reviewer’s politically minded comments provide a case in point. When I talked to Vellend about this, he shared a haunting concern. “The thing that’s worrisome to me, as a scientist, is that here’s one person [the reviewer] who actually, to their credit, wrote down exactly what they were thinking,” he said. “So how many times has someone spun their reviews a little to the negative, with those sentiments exactly in mind, without actually stating it?”

In 2012, the editor of the field’s flagship journal, Conservation Biology, was fired after she asked some authors to remove advocacy statements they had inserted into their papers. As Vellend told me: “People get into our field, in part, with a politically motivated goal in mind—to protect nature and a greater number of species.” That’s totally fine, even admirable, but it also goes to the heart of the conflict roiling conservation biology: how to reconcile its purpose-driven science with its values-driven mission.

Vellend’s article was caught in the crossfire. His paper revealed a nuanced, complex picture of biodiversity that some ecologists feared would undermine the conservation cause. In case Vellend didn’t get the message, a fellow scientist has gone even further and repeatedly harangued him by email. At one point, Vellend asked the individual to desist, unless his tone became more constructive. The answer was disconcerting and a little creepy: “You better get used to it, because you’re going to be hearing a lot more from me,” the person responded by email. “Consider me your personal scientific watchdog.”

In an article in the winter 2017 edition of Issues in Science and Technology, I reported on the different ways journalists and researchers working in the scientific arena are hounded and sometimes smeared by agenda-driven activists. A similar activity that is equally pernicious, if not much discussed, is the different ways scientists are sometimes aggressively policed by their peers. It’s the ugly side of science, where worldviews, politics, and personalities collide.

It seems that highly charged issues, such as climate change and genetically modified organisms, engender the most active policing in the scientific community. I’ve also observed another common strand: scientists who become preoccupied with the public interpretation or political implications of scientific findings tend to deputize themselves as sheriffs of scientific literature and public debate.

Although this appears to explain Vellend’s experience, he considers himself one of the lucky ones. “My story stops a few steps short of the horrors I’ve heard,” he says. Ecologists like Vellend who have been critical of traditional conservation approaches, such as the focus on large wilderness preserves or on the primacy of biodiversity, have faced blowback from their peers. You’re not helping, they are told.

In the introduction to Effective Conservation Science: Data Not Dogma, Kareiva and Marvier write: “In a field that frequently relies upon fear appeals to motivate action, data that run counter to doom-and-gloom messages can be especially unwelcome.” In part, this stems from a long-standing reliance on crisis imagery and rhetoric to highlight environmental issues. In addition, as the ecologists Brian Silliman and Stephanie Wear write in their essay in the forthcoming book, “[M]any in the conservation community fear that admitting some key principle or strategy is wrong will embolden those in opposition to conservation.” This seems to explain the negative reaction to Vellend’s paradoxical study on biodiversity, which a number of his peers thought would undercut the conservation cause.

Never mind that such political reluctance to engage with provocative research and findings undercuts the very purpose of science.

Future Tense is a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Why You Should Be Suspicious of That Study Claiming A.I. Can Detect a Person’s Sexual Orientation

Why You Should Be Suspicious of That Study Claiming A.I. Can Detect a Person’s Sexual Orientation

by Sonia Katyal @ Slate Articles

Recently, the A.I. community was left largely stunned when a study released by two Stanford researchers claimed that artificial intelligence could essentially detect a person’s gay or straight sexual orientation. For those of us who have been working on issues of bias in A.I., it was a moment that we had long foreseen: Someone would attempt to apply A.I. technology to categorize human identity, reducing the rich complexity of our daily lives, activities, and personalities to a couple of simplistic variables. The now-infamous study is really only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the dangers of predictive analytics mapping onto nuanced questions of human identity. Here, using entirely white subjects, all of whom had posted their profiles on dating sites, along with their photographs, the study concluded that its neural technology could predict whether a person was gay or straight roughly over 70 percent of the time (though it depended on gender and how many images were presented).

The study was deeply flawed and dystopian, largely due to its choices of whom to study and how to categorize them. In addition to only studying people who were white, it categorized just two choices of sexual identity—gay or straight—assuming a correlation between people’s sexual identity and their sexual activity.  In reality, none of these categories apply to vast numbers of human beings, whose identities, behaviors, and bodies fail to correlate with the simplistic assumptions made by the researchers. Even aside from the methodological issues with the study, just focus on what it says about, well, people. You only count if you are white. You only count if you are either gay or straight.

“Technology cannot identify someone’s sexual orientation,” stated Jim Halloran, GLAAD’s chief digital officer, in a statement. “What their technology can recognize is a pattern that found a small subset of out white gay and lesbian people on dating sites who look similar. Those two findings should not be conflated.” Halloran continued, “This research isn’t science or news, but it’s a description of beauty standards on dating sites that ignores huge segments of the LGBTQ community, including people of color, transgender people, older individuals, and other LGBTQ people who don’t want to post photos on dating sites.”

Unsurprisingly, the researchers claimed that critics were rushing to judgment prematurely. "Our findings could be wrong,” they admitted in a statement released Monday. “[H]owever, scientific findings can only be debunked by scientific data and replication, not by well-meaning lawyers and communication officers lacking scientific training," they claimed.

It may be tempting to dismiss this study as a mere academic exercise, but if this sort of research goes unchallenged, it could be applied in terrifying ways. Already, LGBT people are being rounded up for imprisonment (Chechnya), beaten by police (Jordan), targeted for being “suspected lesbians” (Indonesia), or at risk of being fired from military service (United States). What if homophobic parents could use dubious A.I. to “determine” whether their child is gay? If A.I. plays a role in determining categories of human identity, then what role is there for law to challenge the findings of science? What is the future of civil rights in a world where, in the name of science, the act of prediction can go essentially unchallenged? These are not just questions involving science or methodology. Indeed, they can often mean the difference between life, liberty, equality—and death, imprisonment, and discrimination.

The irony is that we have seen much of this before. Years ago, constitutional law had a similar moment of reckoning. Critical-race scholars like Charles Lawrence and others demonstrated how the notion of color blindness actually obscured great structural inequalities among identity-based categories. The ideals enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, scholars argued, that were meant to offer “formal equality” for everyone were not really equal at all.  Indeed, far from ensuring equality for all, the notionally objective application of law actually had the opposite effect of perpetuating discrimination for different groups.

There is, today, a curious parallel in the intersection between law and technology. An algorithm can instantly lead to massive discrimination between groups. At the same time, the law can fail to address this discrimination because the rhetoric of scientific objectivity forecloses any deeper, structural analysis of the bias that lies at the heart of these projects and the discrimination that can flow directly from them.

In this case, the researchers are right that science can go a long way toward debunking their biased claims. But they are wrong to suggest that there is no role for law in addressing their methodological questions and motivations. Instead, the true promise of A.I. does not lie in the information we reveal about one another, but rather in the questions they raise about the interaction of technology, identity, and the future of civil rights.  We can use A.I. to design a better world.  But if we leave civil rights out of the discussion, we often run the risk of reproducing the very types of discrimination we might hope to eradicate.

Advertising in a Market that Favors Bigger Vehicles

by Jessica Lee @ SearchForce

Low gas prices and excellent SUVs are making the market tough for small car advertisers, not to mention a wide range of manufacturers and dealerships. Today, we’ll explore recent numbers and talk about how to effectively advertise those small cars […]

The post Advertising in a Market that Favors Bigger Vehicles appeared first on SearchForce.

How Small Businesses Can Win In SEO

by Eric McGehearty @ Globe Runner

Can a small business compete with a large conglomerate? I was at a conference recently and I heard an answer from a speaker that I absolutely hated. The answer was “Stay hyper local and try to win your battles accordingly.” I just don’t accept that. What if you want business from a slightly larger audience? Here’s the trick. Go deeper than any of your larger competitors would ever dare to do. Let’s look at the travel industry, for example. Big ...

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The Practical Guide To Creating A Blogging Strategy That Actually Works

by Alexandra Skey @ Spokal

 Blogging isn’t hard, but blogging on a regular basis can be. This is why it’s critical to create a blogging strategy that works for you.According to the recent Content Marketing Institute’s survey, 46% of marketers have a documented strategy for managing content as a business asset, and there’s no question about it that you should […]

5 Ways to Make Local Marketing More Interactive

by Guest Poster @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of FreepikThe world of marketing is ever evolving on a massive scale and at a faster rate than most of us can keep up with. The world’s biggest corporations spend billions on global marketing campaigns, social media ads and award-winning television commercials. Shrink down the scale a bit, and you’ll get an interesting […]

Mobile ad expenditure predicted to account for 62.5% of Internet and 26.4% of all ad spend in 2019

Mobile ad expenditure predicted to account for 62.5% of Internet and 26.4% of all ad spend in 2019

by Anne Freier @ mobyaffiliates

Global advertising spend is forecast to grow 4% in 2017 to $558 billion according to the latest Zenith Media predictions. The forecast is still 0.2 percentage points below one made in June 2017, and whilst Zenith expects growth to continue for now, it is likely to decline over the coming three years. When it comes to regional growth rates, the report reveals that North America was quick to recover from the effects of the financial crisis. Ad expenditure for the region is predicted to increase 3.6% this year with an average 3.4% growth a year to 2019. Meanwhile Latin America is set to grow ad spend by 2.5% in 2017 and 2.7% annually until 2019. Western and Central Europe are seeing annual average growth rates

The post Mobile ad expenditure predicted to account for 62.5% of Internet and 26.4% of all ad spend in 2019 appeared first on mobyaffiliates.

Behold, the Eclipsternet!

Behold, the Eclipsternet!

by Heather Schwedel @ Slate Articles

Nature qua nature is great and all, but let’s not kid ourselves: Whether you journeyed to the path of totality or not, the total eclipse of 2017 was built to be enjoyed with a second screen. One astronomer declared in advance that the first-in-a-century occurrence would be the “most photographed, most shared, most tweeted event in human history,” and the people and brands of the internet did not disappoint. Though it was as short-lived as the astronomical phenomenon itself, the eclipsternet was no less dazzling or dramatic—a rare mass-cultural celebration in which the internet’s absurdist, ironic, meme-spewing lingua franca was put to an entirely earnest use and was all the more edifying for it. When was the last time an entire day on the web felt pleasant? Here’s who won it for us.

Winner: Circular-shaped foodstuffs

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, and the official snack cake of the eclipse is blotting out the sun. Though Hostess’ ask-for-forgiveness-not-permission tactic of claiming a nonexistent title led to a feud with MoonPie, the company was far from the only dessert brand to seize upon its rare similarity to the moon (both round, baby!) with a weird and obviously preplanned Photoshop job. Sometimes the social media strategy of asking “How can we make this event about us?” goes very, very wrong, but in this case, it was an innocent—even charming—effort. Pass the Golden CupCakes and the MoonPies.

Winner: The West Coast

We’ll give you this one. Enjoy continuing to experience Game of Thrones and The Bachelor on a time delay.

Winner: Colanders, cereal boxes, and other large weird objects and vessels for eclipse-viewing

Finally, a chance for these awkward, cumbersome, and little-loved objects to shine on social media! Slay, Frosted Flakes box! Cast those shadows, colanders. Werk those angles, random recycled cardboard box. This is your moment.

Winner: Moon emojis

Have you ever, until today, used every moon emoji at the same time? In all the time you’ve spent yearning for emojis that aren’t part of the collection but that would significantly improve your communication, were you ever like, “yup, I really need every single phase of moon emoji, each one is vital and has many uses”? No, you were not. But today it was cool, and now all is forgiven.

Winner: Bonnie Tyler and Bonnie Tyler fans

Last week, it was reported that during the eclipse, Bonnie Tyler planned to sing her hit song “Total Eclipse of the Heart” while aboard a Total Eclipse Cruise sailing through the path of totality in the Caribbean. Destiny would have it no other way. But the eclipse chasers who didn’t have the foresight to book the cruise wanted a piece of Bonnie too, so in honor of the eclipse today her song shot to No. 1 on the iTunes chart, with views spiking on YouTube as well. It was a win for Tyler, and it also led to a surge of activity among Tyler’s, if not long-suffering, then at least usually quiet, fans. The bonnietylerfans Instagram account posted an image from the 1983 single, and another fan commented, “She's trending on Twitter. Never thought I'd ever say that.” Today, we were all living in a powder keg and giving off sparks.

Loser: People who stared directly at the sun

There’s only one on record so far.

What You’ll Get in Apple’s New iPhones

What You’ll Get in Apple’s New iPhones

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

On Tuesday, live from its new, spaceship-shaped headquarters in Cupertino, California, Apple celebrated the 10th anniversary of the phone that, it’s no stretch to say, changed the world. And it unveiled what it hopes is another one.

That device—the iPhone X—was one of three phones Apple announced, all of which are compatible with wireless charging. The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus make some modest leaps beyond the 7. But the X goes much further, beginning with the home button: There is none. On top of that, it has a screen that stretches to the edges of the device, and you unlock it not with your fingerprint but with your face. And yes, it will retail for $1,000.

Here are the specs of Apple’s new toys.

The iPhone 8 and 8 Plus

All three new phones have a glass back and front, and they’re all microscopically sealed to prevent dust and water from ruining the phones. The iPhone 7 was also waterproof. But unlike the iPhone 7 series, the 8 and 8 Plus has a new retina HD display that adapts to ambient light. The stereo speakers are 25 percent louder than the 7 and have deeper bass. (THRRROOOOOM.) The 8 is also 25 percent faster than the iPhone 7, Apple says, thanks to the upgraded A11 Bionic chip. And the graphics processing is also 30 percent faster on the new models.

The iPhone 8 also has new camera sensors that work better in low-light conditions and can also detect depth with heightened sensitivity. The portrait mode on the 8 also has some serious upgrades. When composing a photo, the 12 megapixel dual cameras sense the objects in the photos and can separate the subject from the background, adjusting the light to complement the contours on your face or whomever you’re snapping a photo of. Apple isn’t using filters here but rather real-time analysis of a face. And for video, the iPhone 8 has faster frame rates too—4K videos at 60 frames per second.

These phones come in space gray, silver, and a new gold finish that isn’t rose gold. The iPhone 8 is selling for $699 for 64GB. And the slightly larger iPhone 8 Plus is going to cost $799 for the same storage. Preorders start Friday, and the phones go on sale on Sept. 22.

iPhone X                                                                                                      

The real star of the show was the iPhone X—a huge jump from the comparably incremental changes in the 8 and 8 Plus. The iPhone X doesn’t have a home button, for one. Its screen sweeps past where the home button used to live, as it stretches to curve to contour the edges of the phone, which measures 5.8 inches diagonally across.

While the iPhone X has a similar user interface of every other iPhone once you get to the screen, the way you get there is different. Instead of pressing on the home button, all users have to do is swipe up from the screen. And if the screen is locked, users need only look at their phone to unlock it, since the iPhone X is loaded with an infrared camera and dot projector, which the phone uses to analyze your face to match it with the image of your face stored on the phone. Apple is calling this new facial recognition feature Face ID and boasts that it is multitudes more secure than the current fingerprint Touch ID unlock feature. (More on that on Slate later.) Touch ID had a 1-in-50,000 chance of having another person registering as a match that could unlock your phone with their fingerprint, Apple claims. But with Face ID the likelihood of someone else being able to unlock your phone with their face is 1 in 1 million, according to Apple.

The new X also uses what Apple is calling a Super Retina display, and the panels used on the phone reportedly cost Apple $125 a piece, which is one reason why the company is able to justify the high price tag. The phone comes with a dual 12-megapixel rear camera, and portrait mode is now available on the front camera, too.

Importantly, the new X has two hours more battery life than the iPhone 7. All three new phones are also optimized for augmented reality, and Apple showed off some impressive demos of that at the event.

But even with all the bells and whistles of the latest caravan of iPhones, what may shock people the most is the price on the sticker of its fanciest model. The iPhone X costs $1,000, more expensive than any iPhone to date. But that’s unlikely to deter people from lining up to buy one. You can start to preorder one on Oct. 27, and they’ll be for sale in stores Nov. 3.

Why Your Ads Should Look 100 Years Old

by Today's Industry Insider @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

Think ‘lead magnet’ ads are new-age? Think again. Free opt-in ad campaigns like that have been around for almost a century. Everyone’s looking for the hot new thing. A watch that counts your steps, takes notes, answers your calls, and oh yeah, also tells time. An iPhone that has a new update every time you […]

Port Authority to Pay $5.2 Million Verdict in 1993 WTC Bombing Suit

by John Paslaqua @ Fensterstock & Partners LLP

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will finally pay a $5.2 million jury verdict to Linda Nash, 72, a New York woman gravely injured during the February 25, 1993 World Trade Center bombing. The Port Authority had fought the verdict tooth and nail, disingenuously maintaining that a related consolidated case precluded her […]

The post Port Authority to Pay $5.2 Million Verdict in 1993 WTC Bombing Suit appeared first on Fensterstock & Partners LLP.

Future Tense Event: Franklin Foer to Discuss World Without Mind With Jacob Weisberg

by @ Slate Articles

Tech companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook have revolutionized our lives, connecting us in ways that were once unimaginable—to one another, to information, and to entertainment. Conventional wisdom leads us to believe that the technologies unleashed by these corporations have empowered us as individuals. But is that really the case?

In World Without Mind: The Existential Threat of Big Tech, a powerful critique of the role these companies play in our economy and in our lives, Franklin Foer argues that the success of these tech juggernauts, with their gate-keeping control over our access to the world's information, has created a new form of dangerous monopoly in America life. Does our infatuation with the technological wonders these companies offer distract us from the price we pay as a society in terms of surrendered privacy, intellectual property rights, and diversity of worldview? Is our sense of individual empowerment merely an algorithm-fed illusion?

Join Future Tense on Wednesday, Oct. 4, in New York for a conversation with Franklin Foer and Slate Group Chairman Jacob Weisberg to discuss World Without Mind and the role of these new technologies in our lives. For more information and to RSVP, visit the New America website.

Legality of Online Marketing

by admin @ Online Advertising

The New iPhone’s Most Adorable Feature Is Also Its Most Troubling

The New iPhone’s Most Adorable Feature Is Also Its Most Troubling

by Jacob Brogan @ Slate Articles

The audiences at Apple’s annual announcement events are notoriously vocal. Presented with a parade of incremental advancements—and the occasional real leap forward—they dutifully hoot and applaud, their celebrations so routinized that it’s hard to distinguish real enthusiasm from mere signs of life.

One detail at this year’s event did, however, seem to produce a genuine reaction from the crowd: the company’s description of a new feature that it calls animoji, which has apparently been in the works since at least 2011. “We use emojis to communicate with others to express emotion,” declared Apple Senior Vice President Philip Schiller, gesturing broadly with his hands, his own face placid. “But of course you can’t customize emojis; they only have a limited amount of expressiveness to them.” Never mind that the relative simplicity of emojis is the key to their charm. It is, as many have argued, precisely their limitations that can make them such provocative tools. With animojis, Apple is prepared to change that, offering us the ability to bring these minimalistic characters to life.

Animojis “are emojis that you control with your face,” Schiler said as a toothy panda mask bobbed and grinned (somehow more menacing than charming) on the massive screen behind him. “Animojis track more than 50 facial muscle movements. They’ve been meticulously animated to create amazing expressiveness.” As Craig Federighi went on to explain, these animations are possible thanks to the facial recognition hardware packed into the new iPhone X. It is, in other words, of a piece with the same technology that will let you unlock your phone by looking at it and swiping up.

His salt and pepper hair a CGI’d swoosh, Federighi demonstrated that animoji will be included directly within the phone’s messaging app. “It immediately starts tracking me, so I can make whatever expression I want,” Federighi said as he snarled like a “ferocious” cat, bawked like a chicken, and whinnied like a unicorn, “mythical creature, favorite of the startup.” The system even lets you bring the poop emoji to life. Or, as Federighi put it, “If you were, by chance, wondering what humanity would do when given access to the most advanced facial tracking technology available, you now have your answer.”

The demonstration concluded with an exchange of audio animoji messages between Federighi (speaking as a fox) and Apple CEO Tim Cook (as an alien) in which the latter told his subordinate to “wrap this up.” It was a cute bit, but it was also one that should trouble those concerned with the increasing reach of mobile technology. Here, in ascending order of significance, are three reasons:

The first is the least worrisome, but it may be the most irritating. In effect, the potential for spoken, animated messages that Federighi showed off promises to reinvent voicemail for a generation of users who prefer text messages. It does so, however, with one crucial—and potentially maddening—difference: To watch the animation, you have to look at your phone while listening to the audio snippets (as you would while reading a text message) instead of holding it to your ear (as you would while checking a traditional voicemail).

This approach will likely encourage users to play the messages aloud through the phone’s speakers—possibly over and over again, especially if they find the animation amusing. In other words, unless you happen to have headphones attached, Apple is inviting you to fill the surrounding space up with the sonic clutter of your friends’ voices. Those sitting next to you on the bus are unlikely to find the results as amusing as you do.

Second, animoji looks like a sly gambit designed to help sell the almost $1,000 iPhone X. The feature likely won’t be available on devices without facial recognition technology—and the X seems to be the only handset in Apple’s lineup that has this capacity yet. But where I may not be able to create animojis on my iPhone 6, I almost certainly will be able to receive them through its messaging ecosystem.

Thus, like iMessage itself—which already distinguishes between your communications with Apple users and those on other platforms—the mere ability to use animoji will become a status symbol. It may, in effect, signify that your interlocutor was willing to plunk down a cool grand for the privilege of ventriloquizing an anthropomorphic pile of poop. While that arguably reflects poorly on them, your inability to respond in kind may say something even worse about you. In that respect, animoji itself is a kind of blackmail.

Third and finally, the very charms of the system are themselves troubling. As many have already noted, and as others will point out, employing facial recognition as a security feature comes at a risk, since it potentially makes it easier for others to unlock your device by holding it up to your face. It also represents the consumer-level creep of technology that can be used to identify protesters and otherwise put personal privacy in jeopardy.

Apple surely knows all of this, and that’s likely why it spent so much of its presentation focused on this adorable but largely inconsequential new feature. With animoji, Apple is, as the literary theorist Roland Barthes might put it, effectively inoculating us against such concerns. You may not, the company implicitly acknowledges, like living in a techno-surveillance state. But you’re going to love playing with this talking panda face. Have fun!!!!

The worst part? If the audience reaction is any indication, Apple is almost certainly right.

Fensterstock & Partners LLP Wins Appeal; First Department Compels Arbitration and Grants Discovery

by John Paslaqua @ Fensterstock & Partners LLP

In a lawsuit seeking 32% of RFD-TV, a rural lifestyle television network, a unanimous New York Appellate Court has reversed the lower court and granted Fensterstock & Partners’ motion to compel arbitration before the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”). Citing the plain language of a 1997 Financing Agreement, the Court held that each of the parties […]

The post Fensterstock & Partners LLP Wins Appeal; First Department Compels Arbitration and Grants Discovery appeared first on Fensterstock & Partners LLP.

How to Use Customer Feedback Loops to Reduce Churn

by Today's Industry Insider @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

Churn is a fascinating thing. When users keep coming back month after month, it helps you grow your business rapidly and it makes you a very happy business owner. But when you’re losing more customers than you’re gaining, it can spell disaster for your business. What makes it frustrating is that you don’t always have […]

7 Biggest PPC Nightmares Sinking Your ROI

by Today's Industry Insider @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

PPC advertising should be straightforward. You buy an ad. Your ad appears on Google. That ad gets clicked. You spend a little dough per click, and voila – you’re a marketing genius. Traffic is booming and you’re appearing in all the right places. Except that’s not always how it works. And for some strange reason, […]

New Fabric Interfaces Weave Together Textiles and Computers in Unexpected Ways

New Fabric Interfaces Weave Together Textiles and Computers in Unexpected Ways

by Grace Ballenger @ Slate Articles

Imagine sitting in front of a “Choose Your Own Adventure” tale. It’s just like the book format that you might remember from childhood, but instead of being on a page, it unfolds on the screen. You read through several paragraphs of text, and are presented with four colorful options to shift the direction of the story. Here’s the magical part: You select your preferred option by passing a certain color thread through a loom. That’s right—this game is loom-controlled.

When most people think of interacting with computers, they think of traditional interfaces, like a computer mouse, keyboard, or cellphone. However, as computer capabilities evolve, so do the variety of interfaces. One intriguing and nontraditional idea is to use fabric-based interfaces for fun or to achieve a goal. Because all of us are familiar with fabric as a material, the systems also aim to be more inclusive.   

One version of a cloth-based computer interface is a video game system called Loominary, which uses a tabletop loom as an interface to weave a scarf using a narrative videogame that follows the story of the Greek myths of Oedipus and Medusa (or a more child-friendly version with a story about a unicorn).

Here’s how it works. The yarn is loaded onto sticks called shuttles to pass it through the loom, and a computer tracks the movement of these shuttles using radio frequency identification (RFID) devices and integrating them into the mechanics of the loom.

Josh McCoy, a digital media professor at the University of California–Davis and one of the minds behind the game, explained how they managed to track the correct yarn colors. “We ended up using an RFID and an RFID tab on the shuttle, the things with the yarn on them that you pull through the [loom] to thread another line. It’s the same technology that you use when you put your hotel card against the hotel door and it reads it and opens the door, the same type of tab,” McCoy said

The sensing equipment to allow a computer to read the movements of the RFID cards is hidden under the loom in a box. To figure out the technology McCoy had the help of Sarah Hendricks, who worked on how to track the weaving as part of her undergraduate capstone project.

McCoy came up with the idea for the loom along with Anne Sullivan, a digital media professor at the University of Central Florida whose background is in crafting. They wanted to leave users with a tangible product once completed. The duo also worked with master’s student Bri Williams write the story in a program called Twine that allows users to create a branching story.

“When you beat a boss in a game, you have a unique story of how you got through it, and that tends to be what you kind of share with your friends. It's not the story about the game, it's what you did in the game,” Sullivan said. “The problem is that a lot of games don't capture that in any way, and so the inspiration for Loominary was … ‘How can we capture their story in a more tangible way?’ ” Sullivan said.

The makers hope that the game system will simultaneously appeal to both gamers who might be intrigued by the unusual interface and crafters who might not normally be attracted to video games. Crafting and computing have traditionally been viewed as disparate activities, but as Future Tense has explored before, one can easily inform the other. A movement known as computational crafting also blends the two disciplines.

Sullivan and McCoy hope that others will take the concept and develop it further. Loominary’s code and instructions are open source, which means that users can build their own versions, modifying the story as they desire. While both professors are interested in incorporating other crafts into future games, they also both plan to develop Loominary in different ways. McCoy wonders about the possibility of using artificial intelligence to generate a dynamic story each time rather than a static one, and Sullivan can also see incorporating other scarf references in pop culture into the gameplay (Harry Potter house scarf, anyone?).

While Loominary is unique, others have also experimented with fabric interface functions. As my fellow Slate intern Lisa Fierstein first brought to my attention,  Sean Ahlquist, an architecture professor at the University of Michigan, has created a large, flexible, fabric-based version of a touchscreen. Using an industrial-sized knitting machine, he makes large pieces of specially strengthened fabric that respond to the amount of pressure applied to them. It uses a combination of Microsoft Kinect software (which registers movement) and custom software that ties these changes in movement with changes in the fabric surface.

Ahlquist has developed two versions of the textile interface, which he currently intends to be used primarily by children with autism. (He was inspired by his daughter, who has autism.) In “Stretch Color,” the sensitive fabric is stretched out to resemble a large projection screen and serves as a high-tech coloring book. Unlike the typical projector screen, however, the images on the fabric respond to touch, allowing children to color in the designs by applying the correct amount of pressure. This helps children with autism learn how much force to apply to their gestures, something they sometimes struggle to do.

In “Stretch Play,” the same knit fabric is stretched out on a much more unusual frame, creating tunnels and structures that users can climb under and through. The programming for this interface triggers certain animations when specific spots on the structure are touched. Touching one spot might cause fish to appear and follow your movements, for example. Ahlquist designed the structure so that children could not easily trigger all of the functions simultaneously—they must work together to simultaneously trigger patterns for more interesting effects.

Although Loominary and Ahlquist’s projects have vastly different purposes—, they both integrate technologies and materials that seem familiar in other contexts and combine them in ways that are novel and intriguing. I, for one, wouldn’t mind if we were able to weave these ideas into daily life in the future.  

Online Marketing

Online Marketing


Online Marketing

4 Ways to Establish Trust on Your Product Pages

by Amanda Dodge @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of FreepikMost companies are happy with an average conversion rate of 3-4%. The marketing department will spend hours debating about the color of buttons and studying heat maps like tea leaves to understand how they can increase their conversions. When the conversion rate increases from 4% to 5%, there’s a party. — and […]

Hackers Can Now Store Malware on DNA

Hackers Can Now Store Malware on DNA

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

Your DNA is packed with a lot of information, but typically it comes pre-loaded. It’s your DNA, after all. But increasingly, scientists and researchers are learning ways to load all kinds of additional data onto DNA made in labs—including computer viruses.

New research that came out Thursday from the University of Washington demonstrates how hackers were able to encode malware into a short strand of DNA. It was then used to infect and take control of a computer connected to a DNA sequencing machine. And as if that alone isn’t alarming enough, the malware-infused DNA was programmed to launch the virus on its own when the DNA is analyzed. So instead of malware being spread through an email attachment, their research showed that “DNA can be a method of compromising the computer,” said Peter Ney, one of the Ph.D. students who worked on the research team at UW.

As you can probably tell, this hack was very complicated to carry out and, of course, it requires your computer to be connected to a genetic sequencing machine, which you presumably don’t have in your home office.

But the threat here isn’t (currently) to personal computers—it’s to research facilities and DNA sequencing labs. Hypothetically, a malicious actor could send DNA with malware in it to a lab for sequencing. When it’s run through the sequencing system, the malware would be unleashed onto the corresponding computer and take control over that system, where it can read future DNA sequences or even alter genetic data. This isn’t a hack that poses a near danger since it was so complicated to carry out, the researchers say. Still, gene sequencing’s price is dropping rapidly. In 2001, it cost about $100 million to sequence a genome. Now it costs about $1,000, and it will only get cheaper, particularly as the quest for precision medicine continues. The U.S. has a goal of sequencing the DNA of 1 million Americans to learn how to individually tailor medical treatment. So this hack could be a sign of larger problems down the road.

Malware isn’t the only thing that can be coded into DNA. Earlier this year, scientists at Harvard discovered a way to upload a GIF into a DNA sample. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights and 100 works of classic literature have been converted into digital data uploaded onto synthetic DNA. And DNA, it turns out, may be a viable alternative to the ways data is stored now, as companies typically keep digital records on servers in massive, power-hungry data centers. Hard drives and flash drives have relatively short shelf lives and can crash over the course of a few years, but DNA, on the other hand, could potentially store information for thousands of years.

Theoretically, it may even be possible to store files on our own DNA, allowing humans to carry malware or secret files. But it wouldn’t necessarily be easy to extract—not yet anyway.

“Once the DNA is inside you, it would be very difficult to pick that DNA out and amplify that specific piece,” says Yaniv Erlich, a professor at Columbia who previously has shown it’s possible to upload a computer virus or an Amazon gift card on DNA, though he didn’t actually carry out a hack, as the researchers at UW did.

“You might be able to store data on your skin or microbiome,” Erlich said. “If we take bacteria from your own skin, it could carry a file. We can also embed DNA with data into food.” Elrich has also worked on research aimed at making miniature DNA sequencers that are much smaller and more affordable.

If a piece of DNA inside you carries digital files, it doesn’t mean that DNA is going to reproduce all over your body. To do that, the file carrying DNA would probably have to be put into an embryo, and right now most of that kind of research is focused on curing genetic disease.

But the more researchers find ways to store information on DNA and or even hack into sequencer systems to alter results, the more this emerging field of research will need to think about security, too. Anything, it seems, can be hacked—even DNA.

Correction, August 10, 2017: This article originally misspelled Peter Ney’s last name.

“Flying Cars in the Future” Is the Perfect Meme for This Dumb Year

“Flying Cars in the Future” Is the Perfect Meme for This Dumb Year

by Jacob Brogan @ Slate Articles

Our present is always built on the ruins of possible futures. The history of science fiction is littered with hopeful, but unrealized predictions. When our prophecies do come true, they too often prove to be waking nightmares showing only that we often fail to heed the warnings of our predecessors.

That sense of frustration is central to a meme that’s recently been making the rounds on Twitter and other sites. Like all the best memes, its basic grammar is simple and easily replicable. At some point in the past, it proposes, we imagined the future would bring us flying cars. But here in 2017 … things are a little different.

The internet scholars of Know Your Meme trace the origins of this trend, which they title “I Bet There Will Be Flying Cars in the Future,” to a Facebook post from February. It subsequently populated through the Reddit ecosystem before ultimately exploding on Twitter. Its spread is likely a sign of the times: Where 2016’s best meme told concise personal stories of our collective fall from grace, this new one reminds us that we already live in fallen times, calling out the goofy reality of our supposed accomplishments.

A recent New York magazine headline describes the meme as “bleak.” That’s an understandable take, but it also misses the silliness that has precipitated the popularity of “Flying Cars in the Future.” As one recent study indicates, a significant percentage of Americans really do want autonomous flying cars. That we don’t have them yet isn’t so much a reason to mourn as it is an opportunity to laugh at the branching paths of technological progress. It is no surprise, then, that meme-makers frequently use it to poke fun at the debased state of innovation.

(Roughly translated, the sign in that last one reads, “We have fidget spinners with lights and Bluetooth.”)

These examples don’t suggest that 2017 is awful (though it is, in many ways), so much as they demonstrate that it is dumb. Flying cars are, as Slate’s Henry Grabar puts it, “the quintessential undelivered promise of future,” but we’re arguably closer than ever to making them a reality—and yet we’re no better off for it. Last year, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Google co-founder Larry Page had dumped more that $100 million into a flying car startup. More recently, news broke that DeLorean Aerospace was working to develop a two-seat vertical takeoff and landing vehicle.

If or when those contraptions do arrive, we’ll almost certainly roll our eyes at them too. The hype surrounding them is already, Grabar warns, a distraction from our willingness to invest in much needed public transportation infrastructure. By the time we get airborne taxis, we may be left with crumbling roads and nonexistent bus systems: hardly an ideal eventuality, let alone a future that will be fun to live in. Meanwhile, the vehicles themselves will surely serve as signifiers of ludicrous luxury, there because we were supposed to invent them, not because we really needed to. Like the original DeLorean, they will soon strike us as silly precisely because they speak to the future we once imagined, not what we want in the present.

That’s arguably as it should be. Today inevitably disappoints because it is not tomorrow. But as “Flying Cars in the Future” shows us, we can and should always laugh at our failures.

Getting Started with Automated Email Marketing

by Sherice Jacob @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

Email marketing is one of those pivotal, game-changing facets of online marketing that nearly every serious marketer needs to not only know how to do — but do successfully. As you’ve learned to grow your business, you no doubt have come across email marketing jargon such as segments and drip feeds. But what does it […]

WannaCry Hero Pleads Not Guilty to Malware Charges

WannaCry Hero Pleads Not Guilty to Malware Charges

by Jacob Brogan @ Slate Articles

On Monday, cybersecurity researcher Marcus Hutchins, better known by the nom-de-keyboard MalwareTech, pleaded not guilty to creating and distributing malware, Motherboard reports.

As April Glaser has previously explained in Slate, Hutchins rose to international prominence after he helped stop the WannaCry ransomware attack earlier this year. Accordingly, it came as a shock to many when he was arrested in August for his alleged contributions to a banking Trojan called Kronos, a piece of banking malware seemingly unrelated to WannaCry.

According to Motherboard, “[T]he prosecution said that Hutchins had admitted ‘that he was the author of the code that became the Kronos malware’ when he spoke to FBI agents” in an earlier hearing. Kronos, which first appeared in mid-2014 and reportedly sold for $7,000, primarily targeted banks in the United Kingdom and other countries, leading some, Motherboard writes, to ask why “a British researcher being indicted in the United States for a malware that apparently had no American victims.”

Even if Hutchins did contribute to the Kronos code, as prosecutors allege, it’s still not clear what, if any, evidence they have that he helped market it. The Guardian cites Jake Williams, a cyberscurity researcher who suggests it’s unlikely that Hutchins would have done so, since he refused payment for a legitimate project they worked on together around the time Kronos was active. “I have a hard time picturing him refusing money for work from me but at the same time taking money for illegal activities,” Williams tells the Guardian. More recently, as the paper also notes, Hutchins donated reward money that he received for helping shut down WannaCry.

For now, at least, Hutchins is out on bail and will, Motherboard reports, “be allowed full internet access so he can continue to work as a security researcher.” His trial is scheduled for October.

The best app ideas

by admin @ Novocan

Most people think that applications are a business for the young and tech savvy segment of society; there are may examples of great computer programmers inventing a great application and making billions of dollars in the process.  Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Evan Spiegel (Snapchat) or Reid Hoffman (LinkedIn).  In reality these characters are a rarity, they’re […]

The post The best app ideas appeared first on Novocan.

How To Use The Internet Generate Leads To My Business In Addition To SEO?

by Christopher Williams @ Elite Web Professionals

There are many ways to generate leads to your business outside of your website. These include social media, pay per click, yellow page directories, or classifieds. Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising usually refer to search engines including Google, Yahoo & … Continue reading

Why Outsourcing Doesn’t Mean You’re “Hands Off”

by Robin Faller @ Driven Local

From enterprise-level marketing managers to local business owners, one of the most common questions we hear is, “how do I know it’s working?” Beyond the KPI’s, the answer is an increase in more qualified inquiries and sales. That being said, while we can provide transparency down to keyword level lead-tracking, your input, in terms of […]

The post Why Outsourcing Doesn’t Mean You’re “Hands Off” appeared first on Driven Local.

How to create an effective email marketing campaign [INFOGRAPHIC]

by John Habib @ Vertical Response Blog

Use our checklist to create a great email campaign in eight easy steps

The post How to create an effective email marketing campaign [INFOGRAPHIC] appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Create CTAs readers can’t resist

by Reid Yoshimoto @ Vertical Response Blog

Test your way to the perfect CTA. One of our email experts explains how

The post Create CTAs readers can’t resist appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

The power of SEO

by admin @ Novocan

It’s hard to keep up with the rapidly changing trends of social media and content marketing. This is especially true for small business owners who have enough on their plate as it is. Search engine optimization, or SEO, is one of those terms thrown around by marketing managers to their clients, that most do not […]

The post The power of SEO appeared first on Novocan.

How To Ad Markitors To Your Facebook Ad Account

by Markitors @ Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors

Step 1: Go to Business Manager Settings Log in to Facebook Business Manager and click “Go to Settings” on the right side of the page. Step 2: Click Ad Accounts Click “Ad Accounts” on the left sidebar. Step 3: Click … Read More

The post How To Ad Markitors To Your Facebook Ad Account appeared first on Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors.

Google Was Right to Fire the Memo Writer

Google Was Right to Fire the Memo Writer

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

On Saturday, Motherboard reported that an anti-diversity manifesto penned by James Damore, a software engineer at Google, had gone “internally viral” at the company—and then, after Gizmodo obtained and published the 10-page document, it went viral-viral. The screed aired its author’s qualms with diversity and inclusion initiatives at Google, programs he deemed a waste of time because women are inherently less suited for technical roles than men. Or as he put it, in a faux-measured tone: “I’m simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don’t see equal representation of women in tech and leadership.” Throughout the memo, Damore dismisses internal programs that are supposed to address race and gender disparities at Google.

Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.

By Monday evening, Google had fired Damore, he confirmed to Bloomberg, after Google CEO Sundar Pichai said his memo violated the firm’s code of conduct. But that came after the company had let the document circulate for days. After it leaked to the press, it generated so much blowback that Pichai cut his family vacation short to deal with the uproar.

Firing an employee who made it clear he felt many of his co-workers were inferior was the right move, and it says something about what Google wants to be as a company. That someone felt comfortable disseminating the document in the first place, however, says even more about the company Google currently is. And the entire episode crystalizes the reckoning Silicon Valley is currently enduring, over why so many of the most forward-thinking companies in the world simply can’t seem to treat all of their employees equally and decently.

Damore’s memo was shocking both to outsiders and to many employees within the company. But for Google—and Silicon Valley writ large—it was also not terribly surprising. The author, after all, was describing a company that has a technical workforce that is 80 percent male and majority white. And one where other apparent Googlers were willing to come to his defense. “I’m impressed. It took serious guts to post that,” responded one person in a thread on Blind, an app where tech employees can talk anonymously, obtained by Motherboard. “I hope nothing happens to the guy.” (Only people with active email addresses could view the Google Doc where the memo was posted before it was leaked publicly.)

Another Blind commenter: “The fella who posted that is extremely brave. We need more people standing up against the insanity. Otherwise ‘Diversity and Inclusion’ which is essentially a pipeline from Women’s and African Studies into Google, will ruin the company.”

There is no major U.S. corporation that thinks a gender imbalance like Google’s is tolerable, even as most have a long way to go toward improving that ratio. (Google itself is under federal investigation by the Department of Labor for systematically underpaying female employees across its entire workforce.) It is not radical to think a company ought to improve its employment of underrepresented groups. And in the face of that status quo, it is not shocking that Damore’s manifesto took many of its arguments from the fringe rhetoric of men’s rights activists, who misapply victim status to a group that retains every systemic advantage. And yet this document did find a receptive audience within one of the world’s most valuable companies, even as most people at the company appear to have had strong negative reactions to it. Still, as Erica Baker, a former software engineer at Google, pointed out, what we actually need to re-examine is why he felt so comfortable sharing his plainly bigoted views on a companywide site.

“What about the company culture sends the message that sharing sexism and racism will be accepted?” Baker asked in a Medium post after the memo emerged publicly. “Do we want this to be an environment where racists and sexists feel safe and supported to share their views?”

Damore deemed that it was suitable to share his views in a professional setting—not, say, as an anonymous MRA enthusiast on 4chan but in an internally, widely circulated memo with his name on it. The new diversity and inclusion lead at Google, Danielle Brown, penned an internal response to the document in which she wrote that the engineer “advanced incorrect assumptions about gender.” And yet, as though to excuse his views, she continued that part of fostering inclusivity in Google means ensuring that those with “different political views, feel safe sharing their opinions.”

But as another ex-Googler, Cate Huston, wrote in another Medium post, the bigoted internal email didn’t reveal political views. Rather, his views “are dated nonsense that have been debunked by science — and not recently either.” They didn’t contribute to a productive discourse over company policies. They almost certainly made many Googlers feel unwelcome.

The memo also is, unfortunately, illustrative of an organization that allows someone with such hard-line prejudices to work there for nearly four years, perhaps even expressing these views in ways that do, in fact, harm the ambitions of women and people of color at the company. That could have happened simply through disrespecting colleagues, participating in hiring decisions, or ignoring Google’s mandatory trainings on “unconscious bias” in the workplace. Damore may point to “biological causes” that prevent women from being successful engineers; in all likelihood, however, he or someone with similar views may have been the variable preventing those women from advancing.

However these views played out, their chronicling in this manifesto are suggestive of a culture that is at least inviting enough for someone who views some of his fellow employees as lesser to share his opinions and for others to cheer him on. And consider the background this plays out against: Since the search giant started sharing diversity data in 2014, the company’s percentage of black employees in technical roles hasn’t improved at all. It was 1 percent in 2014, and it is 1 percent now. The percentage of female technical staff went up from 18 percent in 2015 to 20 percent this year. The dial hasn’t moved that much.

Racism and sexism have long found a home in Silicon Valley, despite the rich history of women’s and underrepresented minorities’ contributions to tech. This has manifested in directly racist and sexist comments and actions by the people who fund, start, and work at tech’s top companies. It has also manifested in alarming product design. From Google’s photo-labeling algorithm that marked black people as gorillas in 2015 to search results that surface mugshots when looking for images of black youth, Google’s products have, at times, reflected prejudicial thinking. Would these snafus have happened in a workplace that was more diverse—that made products for more people than the mostly white men who have a hand in engineering them?

To its credit, Google does have trainings for its employees to try to help them to be less bigoted. But clearly those trainings aren’t having an impact on everyone. The memo targeted Google’s unconscious bias programs as examples of the company pandering to political correctness over the author’s sexist, counterfactual understanding of evolutionary biology. That someone who felt compelled to write it was even employed at Google for so long suggests that the company’s practices aren’t working. Maybe now in the aftermath of Damore’s memo they will, at least a bit. Even if it creates an anti-PC martyr, firing an employee who was comfortable airing his harmful bigotry is a laudable stand. It should have been a no-brainer.

Damore is right that Google’s current diversity practices aren’t enough—just not in the way he thinks. If Google was actually serious about fostering a diverse workplace, the company wouldn’t tolerate the kind of sexism and racism that was broadcast by the engineer in the first place. What women could ever work alongside a colleague or anyone who supports him knowing they think women are less biologically suited for the job? That sounds like a horrible place to work.

The Quiet Rise of Killer Technology

The Quiet Rise of Killer Technology

by Steve Casner @ Slate Articles

Musk. Hawking. Gates. The tech visionaries have redoubled their warnings about how we could destroy ourselves with technology. But they’re not talking about deliberately pushing buttons to trigger annihilation—Kennedy and Khrushchev could have done that back in ’62. They mean accidentally killing ourselves with something that we invent for our own benefit, that later acquires a mind of its own and a shirty attitude.

But there’s no need to wait for the next big existential threat. We’re already designing a whole new world of ways to accidentally off ourselves, and no one seems worried about it.

As biochemists concoct new life-extending medications, calls to Poison Control after swallowing the wrong pills or the wrong number of the right pills have recently doubled. We put a smartphone in every hand, and now more than 1,000 distraction-related crashes happen on our roads every day (also steadily rising). Kids and pets succumb to heatstroke inside cars that are more environmentally sealed than ever—we’re on track to set a new record for hot car deaths in 2017. Falling off of ladders? Even those numbers are climbing, and if you’re wondering how that could possibly be related to technology, well, read on.

It’s a little embarrassing to have to admit that accidental deaths are increasing in a world that our forebears made safer for hundreds of years. Our grandparents saw the invention of the automobile, the blender, the bulldozer, and the radial arm saw—and they made them all safer. Is what we’re inventing today really more dangerous than that stuff? We may not have to worry about sentient A.I. any time soon, but our innovations are quietly outpacing our ability to figure out how to not get wiped out by them.

We rely on instincts—our common sense—to tell us what’s dangerous and what’s safe. Before technology came along, hazards were mostly self-explanatory. Bears, snakes, sharp sticks, cliffs—it’s hard to get any of this stuff wrong. And our instincts became exquisitely tuned to them across millennia. But the hazards we face today can be more subtle, harder to recognize, and even counter-intuitive.

We instinctively take a step back when we see something large, but technology is turning our fear of size on its head. Technology progresses by packing more and more power into smaller and smaller packages. One errant wave of a laser pointer and you could bring down an airliner. The number of people who visit emergency rooms following physical interactions with television sets is rising. It’s not hard to see why. In the old days, TVs weighed a ton, and they sat in the corner, mostly unbothered. Now TVs are light and portable. They invite us to pick them up, sit them on stuff, or hang them on the wall. And they’re shaped like giant guillotine blades. Put the TV in a phone and it’s more dangerous still. The lighter the TV, the less we fear it, and the higher the body count.

Invisible hazards lurk in the logic and code used to implement our technology. We place blind trust in complex systems that reveal little about how they work. Our medication prescriptions pass through computer systems accessed by professionals who majored in something other than computer science. Patient safety advocates loudly remind us that we are potential victims of human and machine error and that we need to think and ask questions before we swallow pills. But not many people are heeding their advice, and medication errors run rampant.

More insidious still, we create technology that assumes we have superhuman cognitive abilities, and consumers seem willing to play along. Put a phone, a latte, and a steering wheel in front of us doing 80 mph, and we’re proud multitaskers. Sure, other people on phones are dangerous, but you can smoothly switch your attention and notice when anything scary pops up, right? A psychologist in a gorilla suit debunked that idea some years ago, but we pound our chests in defiance. We imagine ourselves able to accurately assess risks in complex situations after watching a news story about a 15-pound flying sausage crashing through the roof of someone’s house. We even think we’re good at seeing oncoming trains while wearing earbuds.

The hazards of yesteryear gave us immediate feedback when we screwed up. When we misjudged a bear, the bear instantly let us know. But technology can place the consequences of our missteps at a distance. Delayed reactions, complex chain reactions, hidden reactions—these are all part of how technology works. But adapted to a world of instant feedback, we cruise through the day on autopilot, seldom stopping to consider what could go wrong later down the road. Worse still, technology is even hacking our feedback system. We get a blast of dopamine when we check our phone behind the wheel. Edith Harbaugh, whose company, LaunchDarkly, specializes in the controlled release of new technology into the wild, pointed out that we’re creating a dangerously lopsided system of actions and rewards: “We’re not given snow cones every time we do something safe.”

Technology is even reshaping our safety culture. My grandfather, a craftsman, taught me how to use tools. If I used a ladder wrong, I was quickly corrected. But then technology moved more than half of all grandparents into office jobs. Today people are firing up tools again in record numbers because DIY is in fact cool and arguably good for your soul. But we’re now getting hurt more while doing it.

Few stop to realize how much we have come to rely on the work of concerned, dedicated consumer product designers and the lawyers who incessantly sue them. But today we’re inventing stuff faster than we can design safety features. A town in Germany just installed sidewalk traffic lights to alert phone-immersed pedestrians. But what happens when wearables and VR kits come along and we’re looking up and through a device rather than down at it?

Even the government stepped in on our behalf to create safety standards. But our technology may now be even outpacing our ability to establish new standards. There’s a scene in Anchorman 2 where Will Ferrell flips on the cruise control and leaves the driver’s seat of his motorhome. When Paul Rudd points out that cruise control only handles the speed, not the steering, chaos ensues. But that confusion isn’t just a Hollywood comedy routine. Kelly Funkhouser at the University of Utah recently inventoried the names that car manufacturers are giving to speed control, lane-keeping, and blind-spot monitoring functions. She found that similar names are being given to different combinations of these functions across manufacturers. Hop in the wrong rental car, push a button, whip out your phone, and boom … you’re Anchorman.

So if you’re really worried about summoning the demon, relax. It’s already too late. The age of life- and limb-threatening technology is upon us. But our ancestral tendencies may be preventing us from changing our ways or even seeing why we should. In the midst of Silicon Valley, where some of the smartest people live and work, I spotted one driver doing a video call on one phone while texting on another phone. Meanwhile, the numbers keep rising and accidents are now the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. (For the record, bear-related fatalities remain relatively constant.)

There’s no magic Silicon Valley gadget that will fix this problem. Instead, we need to reconsider the very way we think about being careful—to learn the nuances of a more complex world that we must now navigate and to learn the limits of what our creative, analytical, sometimes fallible minds can and can’t get away with. The modern world is breaking everything we know about staying safe. If we harbor any hope of squaring off against the rise of the machines, we’re going to need to learn to survive the things we have today.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Time in a Bottle

Time in a Bottle

by Rebecca Onion @ Slate Articles

The time capsule is a concept perfectly pitched to an elementary school student’s sense of wonder. I loved them as a kid—thinking about them, reading about them, burying toys and little messages in bottles in our backyard. Now that I’m older, though, the whole idea reeks of a particularly American self-centeredness in relationship to the passage of time. “Time capsules are both optimistic and selfish,” writer Matt Novak told Mental Floss, “in the sense that they represent a belief that not only will anyone find them sometime in the future, but also that anyone will care about what’s inside.”

Over the 19th and 20th centuries, American time capsules went from containers for civic virtue, to carefully curated museums of popular culture, to catch-alls, capturing the overwhelming amount of stuff that drifts through a consumer society. Looking at the evolution of time capsule contents, it becomes clear that our ideas about which items future historians could use in order to figure out how we lived have changed drastically. But through it all, we’ve retained a touching faith in our own interestingness.  

The first recorded effort to bury a true time capsule in America took place at the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, spearheaded by a Civil War widow named Anna Diehm. While working as the publisher of the weekly Our Second Century, Diehm had the idea for the so-called Century Safe and executed it at her own expense. Diehm’s vision for what should go into the fireproof safe, to be opened a hundred years later, came straight out of the 19th-century interest in social structure, hierarchy, and worthy citizenship. The Century Safe contained photograph and autograph albums with the images and signatures of what the newspaper called “the most eminent men” who were alive in 1876. Though Victorians loved an autograph album, the people who opened the capsule in 1976 might have been forgiven for finding themselves less than thrilled. Another, more interesting capsule in this genre, the 1900 Detroit Time Capsule (opened in 2000), contained letters from prominent citizens describing the present state of life in Detroit and offering predictions as to its future, along with photos of businessmen, business cards, and rosters of organizations such as the Merchants and Manufacturers Exchange.

By the middle of the 20th century, the American concept of items that were important to send forward into the future had shifted from the prestigious to the everyday. The time capsule buried in Queens during the 1939 World’s Fair heralded the change. As one time capsule expert, Knute Berger, told the New York Times in 1989, the 1939 capsule buried by the Westinghouse Electric Company was an attempt “to do what we wish other civilizations had done—manufacture an archaeological find.” Rather than picking through garbage dumps and piecing together pot shards, the theory went, the diggers of the future could happen upon a midcentury time capsule and find everything they needed in one place. This notion appealed to a certain type of midcentury mindset that perceived the workings of modern industrial America as fascinating and wonderful. Americans could bring electricity to rural areas, cure terrifying diseases, and build highways; why not also gift future historians with the perfect representation of their world?

Following this ambitious ideal, the two midcentury Westinghouse World’s Fair capsules contain Camel cigarettes and a Sears catalog (1939), and an electric toothbrush and a Beatles album (1965), alongside representative bits of modern technology. A very large capsule from 1940, the Crypt of Civilization at Oglethorpe University, holds dentures, wigs, plastic savings banks, Lincoln Logs, and a package of Butterick dress patterns, along with recorded views of cities; seeds of flowers, trees, and vegetables; and “an apparatus for teaching the English language in case it is no longer spoken.” (Which it might not be: This capsule is supposed to be opened in 8,000 years.)

Other, more modestly inclined midcentury capsule assemblers put some humor into it. A time capsule buried by the American Legion in Centralia, Pennsylvania, in 1966 contained a pair of ladies’ bloomers, size large, donated by a resident. (“I remember him joking about these being his wife’s, and she promptly smacked him in the head,” a surviving Legionnaire recalled when the town opened the capsule.) That time capsule’s opening was extremely bittersweet—the town of Centralia was largely abandoned a few years after the capsule was buried, because of an ongoing underground fire in a nearby mine, and the capsule itself was mostly ruined when an apparent souvenir-seeker tried to break into it and it flooded with water—but the appearance of those bloomers in the unboxing process leavened the occasion.

The 1970s saw the dawn of the junk capsule. Andy Warhol stuffed 600 boxes with random crap from his daily life, calling them “time capsules” and thinking that he would eventually auction them off unopened. The capsules are now at Pittsburgh’s Warhol Museum, which has created a series of videos showing archivists unboxing them. Warhol’s flotsam and jetsam—Altoids tins (once used for Quaaludes), drink umbrellas, blank stationery, a piggy bank, used condoms, John Cale’s passport, magazines—is Warhol’s commentary on his own mortality, but also a joyful meditation on the object-cluttered state of contemporary life. The project is a sunnier take on Philip K. Dick’s concept of “kipple”—the useless stuff that accumulates, entropically, in the corners of every room in a consumer society.

But the trash capsule, as I think of it, wasn’t just a high-art idea. In Great Bend, Kansas, in 1972, organizers asked townspeople to bring items to throw into a capsule, and they tossed in random things from their pockets. “It was a minor scandal in the town that people didn’t prepare more by bringing things that had some value (sentimental or otherwise) to the burial,” Matt Novak wrote, but the end result was probably a pretty good picture of daily life in Kansas in the early ’70s. A Dodge City, Kansas, time capsule from 1972 had empty Pepsi-Cola, Jim Beam, and Coors bottles in it, along with more traditional capsule standbys. And who’s to say that these kinds of pieces of “trash” wouldn’t be just as valuable to a future archaeologist as the carefully selected Westinghouse pack of Camels?

Not everyone has given up on the idea of stuffing time capsules with traditionally historically significant things. The Martin Luther King Jr. Time Capsule (buried in 1988, scheduled to be opened in 2088) contains some of King’s possessions, as well as letters from his descendants reflecting on his legacy. The National Millennium Time Capsule in Washington (buried in 2000, scheduled to be opened in 2100) features such Smithsonian-worthy objects as a piece of the Berlin Wall, a helmet from World War II, and Louis Armstrong’s trumpet in it.

But as we’ve moved forward in time, our idea of what’s important about our culture has morphed. Now we see even trash as a message to the future. Wonder how that will reflect back on us.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University,New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Advertising terminology on the internet - Reference from

Advertising terminology on the internet - Reference from

This page provides brief definitions for the most commonly-used terms related to internet advertising, along with links to full definitions for many of the terms.

We Need a Law Requiring Faster Disclosure of Data Breaches—Now

We Need a Law Requiring Faster Disclosure of Data Breaches—Now

by Ted Lieu @ Slate Articles

The Equifax hack is highly disturbing not only because of its massive scope, but also because of the specific type of personal data that was stolen. Credit reporting agencies are supposed to be one of our lines of defense in data security and privacy protection—and Equifax failed in its core mission. Moreover, by waiting six weeks to notify customers, Equifax robbed them of the crucial window during which they may have been able to stem some of the damage. Now, people claiming to be the hackers are demanding Equifax pay roughly $2.6 million in Bitcoin, threatening to dump data on nearly all those affected if they aren’t paid by Sept. 15.

In a world where one line of faulty computer code can mean the difference between normalcy and chaos, it is often not a question of if, but when, the most sensitive systems will be hacked. Given this reality, we must improve our ability to react at every level after companies have been breached. The Equifax debacle exposed three deficiencies in our laws that need to be corrected: We need better protections for consumers, a national reporting system for data breaches, and strong cybersecurity standards for credit reporting agencies.

Companies that hold our most sensitive data need to rethink their relationship with the public. Executives at major firms swear no oaths, but they are just as responsible for the well-being of the American people as any member of Congress—especially today, when companies collect and analyze more data on the average citizen than the government does. Equifax failed not because its defenses were impenetrable. Rather, it failed because it took its role as digital gatekeeper for granted. Reports show that Equifax failed to apply a known patch that may have prevented the data breach.

In the aftermath of an attack, every employee—from the CEO to the interns—has to focus on two key goals: stop the bleeding and restore confidence. Instead, Equifax customers were faced with predatory and woefully inadequate services. The company’s rollout of a website used to inform customers of their account status was riddled with technical flaws. In some instances, the very programs Equifax offered to monitor the status of user data was flagged by antivirus software as a phishing scam itself.

If users did manage to get a straight answer about the status of their data, they soon discovered they were barred from suing Equifax due to a fine-print mandatory arbitration clause. Thanks to New York’s attorney general, Equifax has changed its policy—at least in the case of this hack. Yet the fact remains: It is outrageous that Equifax was planning to take advantage of its customers’ precarious position by stripping their rights to sue if they relied on the company’s identity theft service.

To end this consumer abuse, I plan to introduce legislation that would prevent companies from enacting their forced arbitration clauses in the event of a data breach. While my colleagues and I will focus intently on Equifax during the digital autopsy phase to come, we also have to turn our gaze inward. We need to pass a national data breach notification law—now.

Currently, a muddled patchwork of 48 different state laws governs when and how companies are required to report data breaches. Aside from disadvantaging people who live in states with more lax reporting requirements, it also complicates things for companies that want to comply. Increasingly, data isn’t stored in one single place. Depending on a firm’s network architecture, a user’s account information can exist in, say, Newark, Los Angeles, and Chicago all at the same time. That means three—or often more—competing sets of laws.

Add to this the fact that Equifax and similar firms often fall through the regulatory cracks when it comes to oversight (credit reporting agencies are less heavily regulated and monitored than banks, although they hold a goldmine of data) and a stark picture emerges. Strong cybersecurity standards may have prevented this breach. On this front, I plan to offer legislation that would compel credit reporting agencies to adopt clear cybersecurity standards similar to those of the financial industry.

In the coming weeks, Equifax and its top executives will be scrutinized by investigators at the FBI, FTC, and several congressional committees. Congress must serve as a catalyst for action, bringing together consumers who demand better cybersecurity, encouraging agencies to conduct thorough oversight, and helping firms recognize that post-incident services are a crucial part of good data stewardship. Together, we can begin to develop a system that works for the 21st century.

UK companies spent more than £10bn on online advertising last year

UK companies spent more than £10bn on online advertising last year

The Independent

The amount spent on UK internet advertising surged to a record high of over £10bn last year, according to a new study.

5 Tips for Enhancing Your Website

by John Blaze @ Driven Local

SEM, SEO, social media marketing, local listings — at the end of the day, what all of these digital marketing efforts come down to is getting more traffic to your business — whether it is actual foot traffic into your location or web traffic to your landing page. But, in order to see success in […]

The post 5 Tips for Enhancing Your Website appeared first on Driven Local.

Scaling Engagement: 5 Strategies to Connect With More Customers

by Today's Industry Insider @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

There’s 24 hours in a day. With customer engagement as your priority, it can seem like an impossible feat to connect with your audience on a daily basis. Tara Walpert Levy, managing director at Google, writes: “In the accelerating swirl of chaos, excitement, and yes, sometimes fear, the brands that win will prioritize engagement over […]

Silicon Valley’s Bad Culture Starts With Venture Capitalists

Silicon Valley’s Bad Culture Starts With Venture Capitalists

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.

Every time men in the tech industry attempt to paint gender disparities and sexism in Silicon Valley as an unreal problem—or even, as ex-Google engineer and new alt-right hero James Damore has put it, the result of biological differences between men and women—we seem get another real-life example of just how real it is.

In an excerpt from her new book in the Cut, Ellen Pao recounts her time at one of the tech industry’s most prestigious venture capital firms, offering a powerful, jarring look at exactly how the mechanics of Silicon Valley’s everyday sexism work. And as the tech-culture crisis over how companies like Google, Uber, and Facebook treat women and underrepresented minorities continues to shake the world’s most profitable industry, Pao’s account of her historic lawsuit against the investment firm points to one reason why this discriminatory culture, despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent to rectify it, hasn’t changed in the decade following her trial: The money men reflect it and fund it from the ground up.

If you follow the money that has backed Silicon Valley’s biggest successes, the venture capitalists behind those investments often reek with just as much sexism—often more—as the companies they fund. Take Uber, for example. If Uber’s early investors told the company’s former CEO Travis Kalanick at the beginning that he needed to build a company that was diverse and a safe place for women, it’s unlikely the massively funded ride-hailing startup would be in the mess it’s in today, with allegations of attempting to discredit a rape victim, as well as a culture of widespread sexual harassment at the company.

Pao’s story, however, tells of an investment culture in Silicon Valley that would be unlikely to ever caution a CEO to respect, value, and hire female employees. She opens with a scene that may have felt familiar to many women in male-dominated industries. On a plane in which Pao was the only woman among her all-male colleagues and bosses, a CEO who was also travelling with them started talking about porn and asked the other men on the plane what type of sex workers they prefer. “Somehow, I got the distinct vibe that the group couldn’t wait to ditch me,” Pao writes, remembering how she left the group of men right after they deplaned. She describes in detail how men at the company would leave her out of meetings, take male-only trips, steal women’s ideas, and how one colleague became routinely hostile after she decided to stop dating him once she learned he had lied about his marriage.

Venture capitalists advise the companies they invest in. They want to see them succeed and grow. And if a startup is acting stupidly—like by, say, writing a playful firmwide letter to employees advising them to only have sex on a company retreat if both people agree to it, as Uber’s former CEO Travis Kalanick did—an investor could object and even threaten future funding. If a company has abysmal diversity numbers, its VC backers could direct the company to fix them.

But venture capitalists generally haven’t done that. Instead, they’ve peddled the same sexist behavior that’s becoming emblematic of Silicon Valley. Prominent venture capitalist Justin Caldbeck stepped down from his position at Binary Capital earlier this year after six women accused him of making sexual advances in the context of trying to make business deals, often leveraging his power to make or break their startups. Another startup founder, Sarah Kunst, reported to the New York Times that when she was considering a job at 500 Startups in 2014, the founder of the venture capital fund, Dave McClure, wrote her a Facebook message that read, “I was getting confused figuring out whether to hire you or hit on you.” Last year, women-led startups got just 2.19 percent of venture capital funding, according to PitchBook.

Pao lost her sexual discrimination case, lacking the deep pockets of the venture capital firm she was suing, which was able to outspend her and invest in media outreach that worked to paint Pao as a greedy employee. Still, Pao says she’s hopeful that more women are going public, many of whom are inspired by her case. While it’s certainly less safe for men in tech to discriminate and harass women than it was even last year, the recent memo from Damore that went viral at Google and saturated the press shows that many men in tech who think women don’t deserve the same treatment feel emboldened to share those views.

More than ever, it’s up to the people in charge, the CEOs and the VCs, most of whom are men, to challenge the dominant culture of sexism in Silicon Valley, even if it that culture is in part to thank for their own success.

Digital Marketing Agency in West Palm Beach, Florida

by CEO and Founder @ Digital Marketing Agency

Experience Advertising is one of South Florida’s premier digital marketing agencies and offers its expertise to businesses looking to move ahead of the competition and stay ahead of the ever new challenges that come up when selling online and offline. Helmed by Evan Weber, Experience Advertising has more than 15 years of experience in online […]

Prejudgment Interest in the Federal Courts—Does Federal or State Law Apply?

by Connie Fensterstock @ Fensterstock & Partners LLP

Litigants (and federal district courts) that address awards of prejudgment interest must determine whether state or federal law applies to calculate the amount of interest. For example, in a case brought in a federal district court in New York State, when the claims concern purely federal law, should interest be calculated based on a federal […]

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Yikes! New cars are crazy expensive these days.

by Danny @

Is it me, or has anyone else noticed how expensive new cars and trucks have gotten?  According to a study [...]

The post Yikes! New cars are crazy expensive these days. appeared first on .

Want to Help Shape the Future?

Want to Help Shape the Future?

by Darlene Cavalier @ Slate Articles

Imagining what the world will be like in a decade or two can feel like flipping through a catalog of dystopian visions rooted in today’s dismaying headlines. Will smartphones make our children depressed and lonely? Are we on the brink of making the world nearly uninhabitable for humans? Will hacking and cyberterrorism lead to real-world warfare? Can bioterrorists use precision gene-editing to kill millions of people? Will technological innovations produce mass unemployment?

That many of these anxieties are connected to scientific advances and technological breakthroughs is no coincidence. The forces of science and technology that drive large parts of today’s economy catalyze vast social changes. Innovations emerge from corporations, universities, and laboratories that are remote from most people’s everyday experiences. Understanding them often requires specialized knowledge and training. And while these innovations can be enormously beneficial, they often come with tradeoffs. For example, social media platforms offer greater connectedness, but they can also allow information to be weaponized as a tool of asymmetric warfare.

It can sometimes feel like professional researchers and technologists are pushing us into a future that may not be one we envision for ourselves and our communities. Technological innovation can feel more like a natural disaster than the result of human decisions if you struggle to make a living or deal with toxic electronics waste. We fear losing control, ceding our agency to algorithms and tech companies and research scientists.

One way to help alleviate some of the concerns is greater public involvement in scientific research and technological innovation—no Ph.D. required. This can happen in several ways—including participating in research projects and collaborating with scientists. It’s an opportunity to combat precisely what makes many people anxious about the future: the lack of agency in how science and technology shape our lives.

Citizen science offers opportunities for people to engage in all sorts of fields, from biology and environmental science to astronomy and physics—whatever your interest might be. As you may have heard about before, there are lots of projects that ask for public help with data collection, for instance by monitoring your local environment or helping NASA document the solar eclipse. But there are also opportunities to take part in research design and prioritization. Participatory assessment of science and technology is a relatively new method of gaining public insight to help make technical and policy decisions. In partnership with the Kettering Foundation, for example, the Expert & Citizen Assessment of Science & Technology, or ECAST, network is organizing focus groups in which lay citizens can express their concerns about the deployment of self-driving cars in their communities. Patient advocacy groups can influence how medical technologies are developed (or even do the developing themselves) and how research money is spent.

We’ve written before about the need for experts to listen to public perspectives in order to enrich and improve their research, to better align the innovations they produce with social values and needs. But the responsibility runs both ways. Demanding that research programs are responsive to public concerns and that innovations benefit our shared future requires an engaged, critical, scientifically literate citizenry—more Slate readers, basically.

That’ll take some work. According to surveys conducted by the University of Michigan, a little more than one-quarter of American adults are considered scientifically literate, a number that’s remained stagnant for years. Scientific literacy isn’t a prerequisite for engaging on important issues like climate change or genetically modified organisms. But some understanding of scientific issues and methodologies helps you confidently engage with researchers and technologists. And it may inspire you to act on that knowledge by, for example, volunteering in a citizen science project. Understanding how something works, and being familiar with the specialized vocabulary and technical concepts, makes it a little less intimidating.

Knowledge is only part of the equation. To help design the future, you need to share your own expertise, local understanding, or community concerns when invited to do so. The kinds of activities that might help researchers study important topics don’t always receive public support. When Philadelphia water managers needed local volunteers to collect samples to test for lead in the city’s drinking water, fewer than 2 percent of the 8,000 people they contacted completed the sampling process. It’s tempting to push for increased citizen involvement in science and technology as a civic obligation like voting, but U.S. voter turnout isn’t all that impressive. Maybe speaking to self-interest would be more effective.

Greater participation in citizen science and engagement in science and technology decision-making helps you take control of your own future. It can help you discover opportunities in a near-future where some economists predict a workforce “polarized” between well-paying technical jobs and menial work. Although experts are divided over whether innovation in the next decade will displace more jobs than it creates, technological advances will clearly affect workers in fields as varied as transportation, medicine, journalism, and law. This marks a change from the recent past, when it was primarily blue-collar workers in manufacturing who saw their jobs taken by robots or shipped overseas.

Workers of all kinds will need new skills to navigate these economic shifts successfully. The nature of the anticipated changes mean that training in science, technology, engineering, and math may benefit them the most. There has certainly been an effort to emphasize STEM proficiency in primary and secondary education, to ensure that American students are able to meet the needs of the future economy. But technological change is occurring so rapidly that a focus on students leaves today’s workers in the lurch. Truck drivers, accountants, retail employees, editors, telemarketers, and many other professionals may require STEM competencies long before they’re ready to retire.

Worker retraining programs, long the mantra of economists and policymakers for helping technologically displaced workers find new and better-paid employment, are often ineffective, according to a recent U.S. Department of Labor evaluation. And returning to or starting a college degree can be intimidating, if not impossible, for adults who are wary of taking on debt or dropping out of the labor force for a period of time.

Promising new programs are tackling some of these concerns. Arizona State University’s Global Freshman Academy allows a prospective student to take free introductory-level online courses, paying for the credits earned only when the student is happy with the grade and wants to apply the course toward a degree. (Disclosure: ASU is a partner with Slate and New America in Future Tense.) Philadelphia’s Digital On-Ramps platform smooths the process of finding education and training for career advancement by partnering with schools, informal education programs, and employers. Community colleges in Pennsylvania are beginning to take into account real-world experience like job training or participation in citizen science research projects, so that adult learners start out ahead when seeking accreditation.

But many people simply don’t have the resources to explore their interests and concerns. Holding down a job or two, caring for children, making car and house payments, and meeting whatever other demands are placed on you, plus, say, spending a Saturday deliberating climate resiliency options, can be a tall order. As a recent report from the National Academies noted, efforts to democratize the forces of science and technology will have to grapple with “improving the flow of information, braiding financial sources, articulating career pathways, building competency models, and implementing sector strategies.”

But if you can find the time, it’s worth it. We all, as a society, have a stake in making this democratization work in order to distribute the benefits of science and technology as broadly and equitably as possible. Researchers and technologists need input from the public to ensure that they’re working toward the kind of future society wants—and by “the public,” we mean you.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Cost Shouldn’t Keep Students From Taking AP Exams

Cost Shouldn’t Keep Students From Taking AP Exams

by Lindsey Tepe @ Slate Articles

This summer, news headlines have trumpeted new data showing the rapid increase of students taking Advanced Placement computer science courses. During the 2016–17 school year, more than 111,000 students took the class, up from more than 54,000 during the 2015–16 school year. Even better, unprecedented numbers of young women and students of color are taking the end-of-year exams. And it’s not just computer science—across the board, AP STEM course enrollment has been growing.

At the same time, the cost of these tests have increased for many students. In the past, low-income students received subsidies from the federal government that covered the majority of their AP test fees, now set at $93 per exam for students. But beginning in 2017, the Every Student Succeeds Act cut those funds. Some states have made up the difference, but others have not been able to find the additional dollars to ensure all students can afford to take their tests. While the College Board continues to reimburse about one-third of the test cost for eligible low-income students, only about half of states are now offering any further financial assistance for students.

But there may be a fix here. By identifying cost-savings in other parts of the AP budget, states might be able to find the funds needed so all students can afford to take the end-of-year exam, giving them the opportunity to earn college credit for their work. The state of Texas has set aside funds to support students for this upcoming school year—qualifying students will pay just $7 per exam—but the state may have identified a more long-term solution: rethinking how—and how much—it pays for textbooks.

In order to offer an AP course, states and districts must budget for a couple of primary costs. First, teachers are required to attend one of the College Board’s AP Summer Institutes in order to teach an AP course, with prices set between $400–$1,400 per teacher. Then there are the costs associated with textbooks, materials, and equipment—often the largest expense for STEM courses. On the high end, these resources can easily add up to more than $300 per student for courses such as physics, biology, chemistry, and environmental science.

To address these costs, in 2015 the Texas Legislature appropriated $10 million in its budget to develop educational resources that would be available, free of charge, to the more than 1,000 school districts in the state. Using half of the funds, the Texas Education Agency contracted with OpenStax, a nonprofit based at Rice University, to write textbooks for several popular high school STEM courses. OpenStax agreed to develop textbooks for high school physics and statistics, as well as textbooks for five AP courses: microeconomics,  macroeconomics, Physics 1, Physics 2, and biology.

OpenStax has already gained popularity with college students (and professors) for its open textbooks. Unlike traditional textbooks, open textbooks are freely available online for students to download, edit, and share. OpenStax has developed more than 20 peer-reviewed open textbooks for introductory college courses, including astronomy, algebra, and American government. According to OpenStax, hundreds of thousands of college students, both in Texas and around the country, have saved millions by downloading and using their books.

Now, high school students will have the same chance. This month, TEA will be releasing the OpenStax-created high school textbooks via Texas Gateway, the state’s online educational resource repository. (Promotional drafts are already available for some resources on the state education website.) Daniel Williamson, managing director at OpenStax, said that the funding from Texas allowed them to create innovative new materials for the seven courses. “There will be a ton of extra resources that the state contracted that are only available through Texas Gateway,” he told me.

While $5 million was a large up-front investment, purchasing textbooks for every student can be much more expensive. In 2016, nearly 20,000 Texas students took AP biology—with an estimated $132 per textbook, the cost of biology textbooks alone for these students would total more than $2.5 million. (These figures are based on College Board cost estimates.) More than 86,000 Texas students took one of the five AP courses now covered by OpenStax’ materials, which would require more than $8.1 million in traditional textbooks. Nationally, more than 650,000 students took an AP course in those five subject areas, requiring more than $65 million for textbooks.

Rather than updating old materials by purchasing new textbooks from traditional publishers, districts now have the option to adopt these materials free of charge—either replacing outdated materials or supplementing current resources. And as student enrollment continues to grow in these courses, the textbook savings will continue to grow as well.

Texas has provided a clear signal to teachers that these materials are high quality, certifying that the OpenStax materials meet 100 percent of its academic standards. OpenStax AP textbooks also meet the academic standards set by the College Board, the nonprofit organization that created the AP program. The College Board maintains a list of textbooks that meet the curricular requirements for its courses, and the OpenStax textbooks are now included on these lists. Unlike Texas academic standards, the curricular requirements for AP courses are the same across the country—which means that OpenStax AP textbooks could easily be adopted anywhere in the United States.

During the most recent legislative session the Texas Legislature appropriated another $20 million to create additional resources for students and teachers. According to Jennifer Bergland, director of governmental relations at the Texas Computer Education Association, those funds will primarily be spent on resources for English language arts, since that’s what most schools will be looking to replace for the 2019–20 school year.

The legislature has also signaled an interest in continuing to create materials for other high-enrollment high school STEM subjects. OpenStax, for one, is interested in expanding its offerings for AP coursework—and has considered tackling an interactive curriculum for AP computer science. Williamson also said that by tackling courses like Algebra I and Algebra II, which enroll hundreds of thousands of students each year, the funds could have a significant impact. “If you think about cost savings for the state, as well as the opportunities for introduction of new and innovative content, these areas are ripe for improvement,” he said.

Which brings us back to the high cost of AP tests. By rethinking how it pays for textbooks, Texas has highlighted an innovative strategy for saving money while providing more equitable access to educational materials. If textbook savings are reallocated to subsidize these fees for low-income students, states could expand access to AP coursework and exams.

And as young women and students of color increasingly see themselves as scientists, programmers, engineers, and mathematicians, they will also be able to clearly see what they need to learn in order to get there—simply by going online.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

How to Repurpose Your Written Content

by Carlo Thomas @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of Freepik We at Spokal are willing to bet every marketer understands two challenges when trying to engage audiences with informational and relevant content:How do you reach the most people with your content before it becomes irrelevant?How do you make older, yet still valuable, content relevant for today’s audience again?Enter in repurposing your […]

Introducing our new service: Search to Call

by Danny @

We have a brand new service to offer our clients, and we’re very excited about it.  It’s called Search to [...]

The post Introducing our new service: Search to Call appeared first on .


by admin @ Novocan

In a world where seemingly everything is moving towards mobile technology and mobile apps, is there a need for a business to have a website?  The answer is simple; your business needs a website more than ever.  Apps by nature are easier, quicker and more robust.  However apps take up a lot of memory space […]

The post THE NEED FOR A WEBSITE IN THE AGE OF APPS appeared first on Novocan.

TV3 acquires internet advertising company SmartAD

by rando @ Smart AD – internet advertising company

  TV3, which belongs to international media group Modern Times Group (MTG), has acquired 100% of internet advertising company SmartAD. SmartAD is Estonian capital based company which develops unique internet advertising technology and provides addressed advertising solutions in the internet … Continue reading

How to Leverage Behavioral Analytics In Your Growth Strategy

by Today's Industry Insider @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

If you’re obsessed with growth, you know how important it is to have a super detailed growth strategy. You and data are BFFs, right? Great, but you also need to understand the context that surrounds that data. I know that sounds a little dense, but bear with me. What I mean is that information alone […]

The comScore U.S. Mobile App Report 2017

by Jessica Lee @ SearchForce

Recently, comScore released its Mobile App Report for 2017. Here, we’ll take a closer look at each major section of that report. Overview Of all the time people spend with digital media, 57 percent of it is spent with mobile […]

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False Advertising: Do You Know It When You See It?

by Connie Fensterstock @ Fensterstock & Partners LLP

Section 43(a) of the Lanham Act, codified at 15 U.S.C. § 1125, imposes liability on individuals and entities that, “in a commercial advertising or promotion, misrepresent[] the nature, characteristics, qualities, or geographic origin of [their] or another person’s goods, services, or commercial activities.” The principal purpose of the Act is to provide remedies to enterprises […]

The post False Advertising: Do You Know It When You See It? appeared first on Fensterstock & Partners LLP.

5 Radiant Writing Secrets Inspired by ‘Charlotte’s Web’

by Caitlin Burgess @ Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Some pig. Terrific. Radiant. Humble. In the classic E.B. White novel, Charlotte’s Web, these simple yet impactful words save a life and make another better. And for prolific writer, marketer and speaker Ann Handley, these words also make the title character the best content marketer in the world. “In just four [phrases] she had to [...]

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We assign our customers a dedicated team of analys…

by admin @ Spotlight Media

We assign our customers a dedicated team of analysts that collaborate in one location. The analysts will set up…

The post We assign our customers a dedicated team of analys… appeared first on Spotlight Media.

The Shoulders of Giants: 11 Great Twitter Profiles to Follow for Content Marketing

by Bryan Johnston @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of Kraphix / FreepikQuick! Name a social media platform. Name another one! And another! Again! Argh!!Once your heart returns to a normal BPM (that was rather exciting, eh?), consider the four platforms that you shouted in panicked response. You most likely started with Facebook, then probably mentioned Instagram and/or Snapchat and/or Pinterest, and […]

7 Ways To Promote Your Business Online For Free

7 Ways To Promote Your Business Online For Free

OPEN Forum

The Internet is teeming with marketing platforms that don't cost a dime—you just need to know where to look.

The New Age Couch Potato

by Prashant Nandan @ Know Online Advertising

The couch potato is considered to be a slang used for a person whose recreation consist watching Television. Not much has changed in a life of couch potato like me expect mode of the device changed from television to Mobile. It’s a long journey from “Bina TV“ Wala India to “Digital TV” Wala India. Younger […]

Email Verification Myths, Debunked

by Markitors @ Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors

Your email marketing campaign is only as effective as your data. Good data is clean data, which makes verifying data is a necessity for businesses. One of the most effective tools in your data cleansing tool box is an email … Read More

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Heads, I Win. Tails, You Forget We Had a Bet.

Heads, I Win. Tails, You Forget We Had a Bet.

by Dan Gardner @ Slate Articles

The election of 2016 made Donald Trump a president. And it made Michael Moore an oracle.

“Not many people can claim they predicted Donald Trump would win the presidency,” wrote McClatchy’s Brian Murphy on Nov. 9. “Fewer still can show they laid out exactly how Trump would do it. Michael Moore nailed it.” There were dozens of stories like it. Most were breathless and celebratory. Journalists flocked to Moore and begged him to say what a Trump presidency would bring. He obliged with a string of dramatic prophecies.

The reports of Moore’s successful prognostication weren’t entirely wrong. In July 2016, Moore published a short essay in which he said a Trump victory was certain. But what the laudatory stories didn’t mention was that a Trump win was not Moore’s only prediction. In August—when Trump’s campaign appeared to be collapsing—Moore wrote that Trump was “self-sabotaging” because he was terrified of losing and he didn’t actually want to win. Trump would drop out of the race long before the election, he foretold.

And on Oct. 9, when the Clinton campaign was riding high, Moore tweeted this: “Some note it was my post in July, the 5 reasons Trump could win, that lit a fire under millions 2 take this seriously & get busy. Ur welcome.”

Trump wins, Trump drops out, Clinton wins: No matter what happened on Nov. 8, Moore could claim he saw it coming.

The problem here isn’t Michael Moore. It’s the media and how they report on forecasts and forecasters.

Whenever a shocking event occurs, journalists rush to find the wise few who saw it coming, anoint them oracles, and beg them to reveal what will come next. It’s an understandable reaction to surprise and uncertainty. It’s also an embarrassing failure of the elementary skepticism that should be journalism’s foundation.

For big events like presidential elections, terrorist attacks, and stock market crashes, the number of observers making forecasts is always large, with varied forecasts. As a result, every possible outcome will usually have been predicted. In those circumstances, the mere fact that someone correctly predicted something means little. To take it as proof that the forecaster possesses deep insight and knows what’s coming next makes as much sense as asking today’s lottery winner to reveal next week’s winning numbers.

When it comes to the predictions and forecasting, the challenge is to separate the lucky from the skilled. As any baseball fan knows, that requires statistics. One home run or one strikeout says very little. To judge a batter, you need to know his batting average—a performance statistic based on the careful observation and scoring of a large number of at-bats.

This might seem a simple thing to do with forecasts. It’s not. A big problem is vague language. When some pundit says something “could” or “may” happen, or there’s “a distinct possibility” that it will, she is quite literally saying it may or may not happen. Good luck scoring that. Even something like “Trump will win” has hidden ambiguity. If Trump loses the popular vote but wins the Electoral College, is it right? What about the reverse? It’s impossible to say beyond dispute. Unfortunately, vague language is far more common in media reports about forecasting than precise, scorable terms.

Another huge barrier to creating reliable track records is our tendency—journalists and public alike—to remember hits and forget misses.

In the first half of 2008, when the prices of oil and other commodities were soaring and food shortages prompted riots in various places around the world, there were countless stories about “peak oil” and the coming “age of scarcity.” In the second half of 2008, things did go to hell, but not that way. And within several years—certainly by 2015, when the price of oil collapsed—the frightening forecasts of early 2008 had clearly failed. But few journalists looked back. They seldom do. So there was no wave of “What happened to our Mad Max future?” stories, and forecasters were not grilled about what they got wrong. It all just faded slowly out of memory.

This happens routinely. Remember when the eurozone would collapse with catastrophic consequences? The China asset bubble would burst? Quantitative easing would cause hyperinflation? All these forecasts got huge play at the time and were allowed to slip quietly out of memory when they proved wrong.

But a forecast that hits? That’s proof the forecaster is an oracle—and journalists love to look into the future with the help of a soothsayer.

We see this on business TV every day: A talking head is introduced as the person who successfully called X or Y and is then asked what will happen next. If he ever made a bad forecast in his life, we don’t hear about it. I saw a particularly extreme example on CNBC in 2010, when a financial forecaster was introduced as the person who successfully called the crash of 1987. Yes, 1987. But not a word was said about the fact that this person struggled in the years after 1987 and was actually let go by her firm in 1994.

Michael Moore also illustrates the point. “I think people should start to practice the words ‘President Romney,’ ” he said in 2012. I don’t believe I’ve ever said the words President Romney, but no matter: After that election, there were precisely zero stories about Moore’s forecast.

Heads, I win. Tails, you forget we had a bet. Those are the rules governing expert forecasts in the media.

But even if we did recall hits and misses equally, that still wouldn’t be enough to produce the track records needed to meaningfully judge forecasters. Moore was right (let’s be generous) in 2016 but wrong in 2012. I could find no other presidential forecasts from him. That gives us a grand total of two forecasts—and two at-bats isn’t nearly enough to produce an insightful batting average. So we really have no way of saying whether Moore is better or worse than the average observer.

To calculate performance stats for forecasters, you need very large numbers of forecasts. The forecasts must use precise terms and numbers (“a 30 percent probability North Korea will develop an ICBM capable of carrying a nuclear warhead,” not “a good chance North Korea’s weapons will get stronger”). And, to ensure comparability, you need forecasters to forecast about the same thing. Do that and you can know how much stock you should put in someone’s forecast.

Philip Tetlock, an eminent psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania, developed this methodology and used it to make the most comprehensive investigation of expert political forecasting every undertaken. The intelligence community was so impressed, it funded his subsequent research—research that found a small number of otherwise ordinary people were extraordinary forecasters capable of beating even intelligence professionals with access to classified information. Figuring out what makes these “superforecasters” so good is the subject of Tetlock’s book Superforecasting (which, full disclosure, I co-wrote).

The intelligence community is changing how it operates in light of Tetlock’s research. Finance has taken note, too—Goldman Sachs specifically revised how it does one of its key forecasts to bring it in line with Tetlock’s recommendations.

But the media isn’t interested. Its reporting on forecasts and forecasters is as bad as ever. Of course, that’s only a problem if you think forecasts in the media are serious stories to help people understand events and where things are headed. Some journalists clearly don’t think so. For them, forecasts are for fun. Like horoscopes. And as with horoscopes, their stories about forecasts should run with “for entertainment purposes only” disclaimers.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

What You Must Know about Advertising

by admin @ Online Advertising

A Beginner’s Guide To Paid Online Advertising (Content Marketing Series Part 7 of 10)

A Beginner’s Guide To Paid Online Advertising (Content Marketing Series Part 7 of 10)


You’ve probably come across the term “online advertising” before in some form or another. It’s sometimes referred to as Search Engine Marketing (SEM), paid channel marketing, or pay-per-click (PPC) m

Facebook Told Advertisers It Can Reach More Young Adults in America Than Actually Exist

Facebook Told Advertisers It Can Reach More Young Adults in America Than Actually Exist

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

Facebook is the largest social media network in the world, and in terms of online advertising revenue, it’s second only to Google, raking in more than $36.3 billion this year already. With that much money coming through the door, one would think Facebook would have accurate metrics about how its ads perform, and how many people they reach.

But that’s not the case. On Tuesday, Brian Wieser, a senior analyst in online advertising at Pivotal Research Group, called Facebook out for claiming to reach 41 million young adults between the ages of 18 to 24 in U.S., even though recent census data only counts 31 million people in the U.S. in that age range. And for people between the ages of 25 to 34, Facebook boasts that it reaches 60 million people in the U.S.—but again, those figures appear to be overblown. Last year’s census data, according to Wieser, shows only 45 million people in that age range living in the U.S.

The free internet runs on advertising. It’s one way websites like this one pay journalists. It’s how businesses get the word out about their products and services and how political campaigns and nonprofits reach constituents. So it goes to figure that Facebook and Google play a huge role in setting the prices for online ads. If Facebook prices ads lower than another venue that hosts ads, that firm may have a hard time competing because it can’t afford to take the cut. Likewise, when Facebook claims to reach more people than it actually does, the social media giant can ostensibly charge more for reaching a larger audience.

Facebook, for its part, chalked its 10 and 15 million-person discrepancy to measuring audience reach in ways that supersede census numbers, in that its ads “are designed to estimate how many people in a given area are eligible to see an ad a business might run,” Facebook said in a statement to Reuters. To be fair, millions of people flow into the U.S. as visitors each month. In March, the National Travel and Tourism Office counted 5.6 million nonresidents who have visited the U.S., but even those numbers, combined with counting users who may misstate their age on Facebook, don’t seem explain the massive gap between the people Facebook claims to reach and the amount of people who actually live in the U.S.

The problem here isn’t only about price-setting and market power; it’s also about trust. Ads online typically fall into two buckets: ones on the open web, where they can more easily be tracked, and ones within “walled gardens” like Facebook, where the owner of the platform has to be trusted to provide reliable metrics. Facebook falls into that second category, and that means that marketers have to be able to trust that the ads bought on Facebook are actually reaching the audiences they’re paying to reach.

Facebook no doubt knows this, which is why it launched a blog last year, Metrics FYI, to be more upfront about any errors or bugs it finds in its advertising system. That effort in transparency only came after the company got caught in a series of errors that overstated and understated the metrics publishers and advertisers rely on to clock the effectiveness of the dollars they spend with Facebook. In December, Facebook admitted it undercounted traffic from iPhones when measuring how many people read Instant Articles, news pieces that load directly within the platform. Facebook lets publishers sell their own ads against Instant Articles, but those ad sales depend on reliable metrics. The social media giant also admitted in a blog post shortly after the election that it exaggerated the amount of time users spend consuming news on Facebook, as well as the number of people businesses reached with unpaid, regular posts on their Facebook pages. The company also fessed up to overstating the amount of time users spend watching videos on Facebook. This May Facebook admitted to miscategorizing clicks on mobile devices, which led some marketers to overpay.

If Facebook and Google weren’t the only power players in the digital ad space, their blunders might not be that big of a deal. Competition keeps companies in check, since marketers could ostensibly take their ad dollars elsewhere. Competition also incentivizes ad companies to innovate and provide the best possible service for fear of losing business. But the digital ad market is extremely concentrated. Google, the global leader in ad revenue, made $79.4 billion in ads last year, according to the media firm Zenith; Facebook made $26.9 billion in 2016. And with so many people depending on both Google and Facebook to get information and connect with friends and family online, if a marketing campaign wants to be successful, there’s really no way to avoid the internet giants—even if they aren’t always easy to trust.

Insurance Companies Are Preparing Fleets of Drones to Assess the Damage of Harvey

Insurance Companies Are Preparing Fleets of Drones to Assess the Damage of Harvey

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

Right now, the Federal Aviation Administration has imposed a ban on drones flying over Houston, which is still weathering what some climatologists are calling the worst storm in U.S. history. But once the rains and the winds die down, that ban will be lifted, and hundreds of flying robots will ascend above the city and region to assess Hurricane Harvey’s damage.

More than 2 million people live in Houston, and as many as 13 million live in the wider region affected by the storm. That means millions will probably get paid out by insurance companies. But this year, instead of relying on insurance adjusters with hardhats and clipboards to climb onto claimants’ roofs and decide what they are owed, insurance companies in many cases will use drones to inspect the aftermath.

“This will be the widest scale event that we’ve used drones for to date,” said Justin Herndon, a spokesman for Allstate. Herndon says his company expects to conduct hundreds of drone flights per day after Harvey—thousands a week. Farmer’s, another major property insurance company, is also planning to deploy drones for the same purpose. The drones that most insurance companies will use aren’t huge; they fit in a medium-sized suitcase and are packed with high-resolution cameras that can take aerial images of roofs and property. It’s not always safe for a person to walk on the roof of a severely damaged building, and some areas are often impossible to assess until other parts are repaired or special rigging is used. Having a robot take those photos instead is safer, faster, and cheaper.

(Telecom companies also say they have drones on hand to inspect infrastructure after Harvey. Last year, in the wake of Hurricane Matthew, when the roads were too submerged for cars to drive, Verizon flew drones to check cellular site locations for connectivity and damage, which was more efficient than driving a boat with technicians to check each site individually.)

Drones mean that the insurance-claim professionals who will be assessing the damage won’t actually have to be there for the inspection. Allstate, for example, gets permission from the homeowner to ask if they’re OK with a drone conducting the inspection, after which it sends out technicians from a drone company with which it contracts to conduct the flights and take the high-definition images. Those images are sent directly to a claims specialist. And while that probably hugely expedites an otherwise-lengthy the process, it also means that the people who will depend on their insurance payout won’t necessarily meet face to face with the people adding it up.

Hurricane Harvey could leave Texas with as much as $30 billion in damages, according estimates from Enki Holdings, an analytics firm that spoke to the New York Times, though only 40 percent of that may be covered by insurance. Victims of Harvey who do have some form of a private safety net will probably want to get whatever they can to start rebuilding their lives. And for the first time, many are going to be asked if they’d like to have a robot come out and assess their losses—a potentially less precise and certainly less personal process, but at least a shorter one.

4 Ways to Use Facebook Advertising to Grow Your Business with Examples

by Guest Poster @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of MSSA/Depositphotos.comFacebook advertising has taken targeting to a whole new level. It is no longer just keywords’ game like in AdWords where keywords are used as the primary factor of targeting in both search and display network.In Facebook, the entire social graph of likes and behaviors are used for better targeting ads to end users. […]

Out of the Loop

Out of the Loop

by Jacob Brogan @ Slate Articles

Like many of the other terms that crop up in conversations about artificial intelligence, neural network, which refers to code designed to work like a brain, can be conceptually intimidating. Janelle Shane, however, makes the kind of neural networks that go viral. Her quirky creations autonomously stumble and grumble as they attempt to come up with names of Star Wars characters, pick-up lines, and even recipes. Shane rightly warns that you should try the output of that last algorithm “at your own risk,” though there’s little danger that any human would attempt to: The network’s recipe for Beothurtreed Tuna Pie, for example, includes such bafflingly unappetizing ingredients as “1 hard cooked apple mayonnaise” and “5 cup lumps; thinly sliced.”

Shane—an industrial research scientist with a background in laser science, electrical engineering, and physics—describes herself as a hobbyist when it comes to machine learning. She thinks of her work in the field as a form of “art and writing.” Nevertheless, the output of her networks is typically silly and charming in equal measure, partly because it often fails spectacularly. Over at Ars Technica in May, Annalee Newitz discussed Shane’s attempt to make a neural network that that could invent paint colors. Here at Slate, I’ve discussed Shane’s attempt to make a computer come up with Dungeons and Dragons spells.

Recently, Shane came back to my attention when she tweeted about a network that she was trying to train to tell knock-knock jokes, only to have it go hilariously wrong. She had appended the hashtag #shutdowntheAI, a mostly jokey label that programmers often use to tell stories of software that comes out stupider than its creators had hoped.

I called Shane to talk about her efforts. She discussed what’s going on under the hood, what her creations might teach us, and why it’s so funny when neural networks go bad.

Can you tell me a little about what’s going on under the hood with these systems?

In traditional programming, you’ve got a human programmer that’s telling the computer rules about data. So, for example, if you were teaching a computer to write knock-knock jokes, you might tell it, You must always start to with “knock-knock.” This must then be followed by “who’s there.” These are the words you can change. Here’s a list of words you can choose from.

When you get into machine learning, when you get into neural networks, it’s the computer that’s making the rules. The neural network gets a big data set—say, a couple thousand knock-knock jokes—and looks at this data set over and over again. It makes its own predictions, makes rules. It will figure out for itself that “knock-knock” comes first, followed by “who’s there?” And it will come up with its own rules for what valid things could be found on the other side of that door.

It’s kind of cool. The neural network is loosely modeled on a human brain, and its method of learning reminds you of how a human brain works. When you’re teaching it text, in particular, you’ll start with a phase that looks a lot like baby talk. And then you’ll get simple words. And then maybe more complex words, then you’ll get longer phrases.

In one recent example, your knock-knock system devolved into an obsession with the cow with no lips joke. What was going on there?

It’s hard to say, exactly. It’s tough to look under the hood of a neural network and figure out what its rules are. This was fairly early on in its learning. It had learned a rule about how to make cows with no lips jokes. This was one of the best rules it had come up with yet. This is wild speculation.

Did you really shut it down?

I did not end up having to shut down the AI in that case. The phase did not last very long. It quickly learned better rules and started applying those. Although occasionally you would still get a few too many double and triple O’s showing up. The effects of the cow with no lips rule, whatever combination of neurons had produced that, didn’t entirely go away. The neural network used that rule more than I had expected.

When you encounter something like that, what do you do to train it out of that fixation?

That’s the thing about neural networks, most of them—especially the ones I do—there’s no human in the loop. It’s not human-supervised learning. I can shout at the computer all I want, but it’s not going to listen to me, because I’m not part of its input. Its only input is this list of knock-knock jokes. So I have to sit there and hope it figures out for itself that not every joke is the cow with no lips.

Sometimes it figures that out and moves onto something better. And sometimes it gets stuck and I have to start over again. Maybe with a different random seed, maybe with a different size and shape of neural network and hope it does better next time.

Is that just a question of giving it a better data set to work with?

That’s one thing you can do. For example, when I was training a neural network to write Harry Potter fan fiction, quite a few of the stories in the set were not in English. It ended up confusing the neural network. It would be doing really well: Snapes and Malfoys would be walking around. Then it would devolve into nonsense words.

If I were to do it again, I would filter it by language.

What are you trying to achieve with these algorithms? Are they just larks, or can we learn something from them?

The primary purpose, really, is pure entertainment. You can learn a few things about your data set by looking at what your neural network is coming up with. People have done some nice work with neural networks that function at the word level, choosing which word, rather than which letter, to put next. They can, for example, see that the words doctor and nurse are gendered in the internal representations that this neural network picked up.

There’s a practical use, too. I posted a neural network that can name craft beers. I’ve heard people say that we’re running out of craft beer names. Neural networks might be one solution to that.

Is there any pleasure in watching these neural networks go off the rails in goofy ways?

I would say that’s one of the greatest pleasures of training neural networks. It may be frustrating at times, if you’re trying to get something done. But I love it when things like that happen.

Why is that so delightful?

It is satisfying in the sense that you’re seeing computers aren’t good at everything yet.

There’s also some delight in seeing what new things it come up with that I wouldn’t come up with. On the #shutdowntheAI hashtag I saw a story where someone had trained a stick figure robot to walk. They encoded how all the joints were connected and that it had to cross the finish line, but they hadn’t encoded that the limbs had to stay connected. The solution that the stick figure had come up with was to disassemble itself in a hurry and reassemble itself into a tall tower. Then it fell over so that the head would cross the finish line.

We live in a moment when there are a lot of fears, some well-founded, some less so, about the “dangers” of advanced artificial intelligence. Does your work have anything to contribute to those debates?

Seeing the kind of biases that can get trained into a neural network illuminates one problem that we’re already having with artificial intelligence and machine learning. Computers are not inherently any better than us. They pick up on our biases, and they can learn biases that we didn’t even know we had.

That, I think, is going to be one of the most immediate detrimental effects of machine learning on our daily lives. If there’s an algorithm that decides whether to give somebody a mortgage, and it’s incorporating biases that we didn’t intend, that affects lives. Being able to recognize that these biases are there, being able to see the way in which they appear—that’s going to be important.

Could the quirkiness of your work help us grapple with the demands of algorithmic transparency?

Hopefully it will raise awareness in the general public about what neural networks are. Why are they good at some things they do? And why do we have to watch the way they do other things? Maybe they will inspire the next generation of people to get into machine learning work.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

How to Leverage Behavioral Data with Segment

by Today's Industry Insider @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

Behavioral Data is Critical for Driving Growth Tracking customer event data, such as for Kissmetrics’ behavioral analytics solution, is an integral part to any successful online business–but I bet you already knew that. You might also know that installing Kissmetrics tracking code across your platform is relatively straight forward, though it can get complex depending […]

The Missing Ingredient In Your Small Business Marketing Plan

by Gary @ 3Bug Media

I was speaking to a business owner at an event the other day who owns a successful retail store and she was explaining to me her frustrations with online marketing.  She said she had dedicated the last 6 months to learning everything she could about online marketing and she still can't seem to get anything […]

The post The Missing Ingredient In Your Small Business Marketing Plan appeared first on 3Bug Media.

How Personalized Content Boosts Marketing Automation Results

by Markitors @ Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors

Automation is one of the biggest marketing strategies. However, the image most people get in their heads when they see the word “automation” added to anything is often not a pretty one. With marketing automation, the idea of having bots … Read More

The post How Personalized Content Boosts Marketing Automation Results appeared first on Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors.

3 Innovative Online Advertising Platforms You Need to Know About

3 Innovative Online Advertising Platforms You Need to Know About

How are you supposed to know which one will give you the biggest bang for your buck? Here are 3 great options.

The unlock advantage – how the search for instant gratification boosts impressions on mobile devices

The unlock advantage – how the search for instant gratification boosts impressions on mobile devices

by Anne Freier @ mobyaffiliates

Facebook and Google are leading when it comes to time spent on smartphones. This is largely due to the companies continuing to improve and innovate their content for mobile users. That’s according to new research from MobilePosse. The A New Lens on Mobile Behavior report also found that Facebook is the app of choice when it comes to killing time. Indeed, it is used more often than most others, adding a total value of $2 billion to its bottomline. With the need for instant gratification, MobilePosse predicts that this trend will continue to grow for the social media giant. A majority of the time, consumers who unlock their mobile devices will land on the last app they opened (61%). The homescreen was the first location 39% of the

The post The unlock advantage – how the search for instant gratification boosts impressions on mobile devices appeared first on mobyaffiliates.

Is Travis Kalanick a Dead Weight?

Is Travis Kalanick a Dead Weight?

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

Will Travis Kalanick, the ousted CEO of Uber, ever get a break? Probably not. And he’s probably had enough breaks in his life, anyway.

Barely two months after losing his post amid the sexual-harassment and gender-discrimination scandals engulfing his company, Kalanick is being sued by one of Uber’s largest early investors, Benchmark Capital. The lawsuit accuses Kalanick of conniving to “entrench himself on Uber’s Board of Directors and increase his power over Uber for his own selfish ends.”

“Kalanick’s overarching objective is to pack Uber’s Board with loyal allies in an effort to insulate his prior conduct from scrutiny and clear the path for his eventual return as CEO—all to the detriment of Uber’s stockholders, employees, driver-partners, and customers,” the lawsuit continues. It’s a blistering accusation, not to mention an atypical one. It’s rare for a venture capital firm to sue a board member of its most prized investment. Uber is the most valuable startup in the United States, valued at about $68 billion. For perspective, the second most funded company is Airbnb, at $31 billion.

Benchmark also has a seat on Uber’s board and is in essence trying to kick Kalanick out of the company for good. Long before Kalanick was pushed out as CEO, he moved to add three seats to Uber’s board in in June 2016, increasing the count from eight to 11. Kalanick took one of those seats before stepping down. Now Benchmark is arguing that the venture capital firm would never have approved the extra board seats had it known Kalanick was such a toxic asset.

The venture capital firm says that the embattled former CEO “intentionally concealed and failed to disclose his gross mismanagement.” Specifically, Benchmark calls out “Kalanick’s personal involvement in ... an Uber executive’s alleged theft of the medical records of a woman who was raped by her Uber driver in India.” Not to mention the acquisition of Otto, a self-driving car startup that allegedly came on board with stolen trade secrets from Waymo, the self-driving car project from Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

Now Benchmark wants the June 2016 board expansion overturned and Kalanick kicked off the board for good. That would mean Kalanick would have far less leverage to eventually climb back into his old seat as head of Uber, something Kalanick has reportedly been plotting since before he stepped down under board pressure. In June, before he was officially booted, the New York Times reported that Kalanick had been amassing voting rights at the company via Uber’s stock repurchasing program, which requires Uber employees who sell stock back to the company to hand over the voting rights that come with those shares to Kalanick in full. Kalanick has tried to meddle in the day-to-day operations at Uber since his ousting too, so much so that Uber’s board “reinforced a policy that all directors get the same limited access to information about Uber’s ongoing operations,” according to Recode.

Kalanick, for his part, says the accusations from Benchmark are baseless. The statement from his spokesperson was shared by numerous journalists on Twitter:

Of course, this statement is what one would expect from a former executive on his last leg, trying to claw his way back atop the company that he worked so hard to build. The problem, though, is that he built it without much of a moral backbone, and now some of the investors that backed him early on, it appears, are trying to make the company walk straight again.

On Thursday, Uber’s first employee, Ryan Graves, left the company but decided to stay on its board. And at the moment, Uber still lacks a CEO, but apparently there are a few men—and no women—being considered.

Learn How To Create Your Own Productivity Strategy

by Gary @ 3Bug Media

Articles on productivity are a dime a dozen, and the vast majority of them are worthless. The sad truth is that there is a content war being waged online today with thousands of websites pumping out tons of low-grade, generic content that are mostly written by recent college grads with little to no experience on […]

The post Learn How To Create Your Own Productivity Strategy appeared first on 3Bug Media.

The Future of Mental Health Technology: A Future Tense Event

by @ Slate Articles

Though the impact our digital habits have on mental health may be increasingly grabbing the spotlight, there’s less talk about how these same technologies may one day be used to revolutionize how we treat mental illness. From chatbots that provide therapeutic conversation to apps that can monitor phone use to diagnose psychosis or manic episodes, medical providers now have new technological tools to supplement their first-hand interactions with patients. Virtual reality, which has yet to find its footing in popular entertainment, is making waves in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

These technologies are evolving rapidly—more rapidly than their regulation. Are we on the verge of a new era in psychiatric care, or will these treatments go the way of other now-condemned methods? Can algorithms reinvent our understanding of depression, anxiety, addiction, and other psychological issues, or at least make them easier to treat? Or is the industry known for "moving fast and breaking things” essentially at odds with a field governed by an oath “to first, do no harm”?

Join Future Tense in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, Sept. 28, from 9-10:45 a.m. to consider how innovations in technology are reimagining the way we treat mental illness. To RSVP and for more information, visit the New America website, where the event will also be livestreamed.

Breakfast will be served.


9-9:45: Your Chatbot Therapist Will See You Now

Dr. John Torous
Co-director, Digital Psychiatry Program at the Beth Israel Deaconess, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Steven Chan
Clinical informatics fellow, UC–San Francisco, hospital medicine & psychiatry

David Dobbs

Torie Bosch
Editor, Future Tense

9:45-10: Virtual Reality, Real Healing

Skip Rizzo, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Creative Technologies at USC
Research professor, USC Davis School of Gerontology and USC Keck School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

10-10:45: How Computer Science Is Reinventing Psychiatry

Skip Rizzo, Ph.D.
Director, Institute for Creative Technologies at USC
Research professor, USC Davis School of Gerontology and USC Keck School of Medicine Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Munmun de Choudhury, Ph.D.*
Assistant professor, the School of Interactive Computing at Georgia Tech

Dr. Sarah Fineberg, Ph.D.
Instructor, Yale University Department of Psychiatry

Torie Bosch
Editor, Future Tense

*Correction, Sept. 14, 2017: This post originally misspelled Munmun de Choudhury's last name.

Reputation of a developer

by admin @ Novocan

Web, software and app developers have established a weak reputation among IT professionals, CTO’s, CIO’s and other IT managers.  Often time developers over promise and under deliver; sometimes they don’t have the team in place to deliver on the scope of the project or they underestimated the cost and skill it takes to complete. In […]

The post Reputation of a developer appeared first on Novocan.

Steps to Remove Google Penalty from Website

by Seo Tuners @ SeoTuners

Receiving a Google penalty can come as a shock if you run a quality site, but there are a variety of reasons it occurs. Here are the steps to take to remove penalties. Understanding Penalties There are two types of penalties that you can be slapped with by Google that will require action toward SEO […]

The post Steps to Remove Google Penalty from Website appeared first on SeoTuners.


by knowonlineadvertising @ Know Online Advertising

With the vision of “Providing cost effective and cross functional ad campaigns”, 247RTB integrates programmatic buying with real time bidding which enables their clients to achieve highly efficient and personalized advertising for their business. It’s one of the leading programmatic buying platforms with their headquarters based out of Tel-Aviv. Being a customer centric organization, they […]

Are You Paying Attention to These Online Marketing KPIs?

by Brett Casella @ Driven Local

Data: the double-edged sword of digital marketing. With nearly everything being quantified and tracked, online marketers have access to more information than ever before. Many times, this can lead to a case of too much of a good thing being a bad thing. With so much data available, it can be difficult to determine what […]

The post Are You Paying Attention to These Online Marketing KPIs? appeared first on Driven Local.

Facebook's Bar for Banning Speech Seems to Get a Lot Lower When Its Users Insult Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook's Bar for Banning Speech Seems to Get a Lot Lower When Its Users Insult Mark Zuckerberg

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

Like a handful of major tech companies, Facebook has spent much of the past week removing content from white supremacists and neo-Nazis following the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Its targets included the rally’s main event page, as well as other related hate-group pages, including White Nationalists United, Right Wing Death Squad, Genuine Donald Trump, and others. Removing those pages was the right move, especially if the groups were using Facebook to promote violence.

But neo-Nazi pages weren’t the only thing Facebook banned last weekend. On Sunday, the Facebook page of a conservative, Los Angeles-based street artist named Sabo was taken down for using hate speech, too, according to a tweet from the artist following the removal of his page. But in this case, the timing of his Facebook suspension is curious.

The week before Sabo lost his Facebook privileges, the artist hung posters in a number of California cities that read “Fuck Zuck 2020,” pictures of which he posted on his Facebook page. The posters were an obvious play on persistent speculation that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has political ambitions following his recent Harvard commencement speech and 2017 tour across the U.S., during which the young executive has been trying to understand people who live in parts of the country he’s less familiar with. Zuckerberg even hired a former Clinton pollster earlier this month to advise his philanthropic work.

Sabo, to be clear, is known for making incredibly offensive art, often intentionally using racist and sexist imagery that is hateful, hurtful, and at times in clear violation of Facebook’s community policies. But the “Fuck Zuck” posters don’t necessarily fit that bill, even if they were likely offensive to the company’s CEO.

Sabo says that the note he received from Facebook said, “While we allow individuals to speak freely on Facebook, we take action on verbal abuse directed at individuals,” but the company didn’t include a direct reference to the offending post or posts in question.

Though Sabo been booted from Facebook in the past for other reasons, if this time the censorship was sparked by his most recent anti-Zuckerberg posters, then Facebook has some explaining to do. After all, the website has let blatantly anti-Semitic websites be classified as news, like the Daily Stormer, which was the platform used by neo-Nazis to organize the rally that ended in violence this weekend in Charlottesville. Facebook’s algorithm maybe even gave a massive boost to a Daily Stormer article mocking Heather Heyer, the counterprotester who was killed by a rally attendee who drove his car into a crowd Saturday afternoon. Now Facebook is deleting links to the Daily Stormer’s article, but only after the post was already shared at least 65,000 times.

Last Friday, Sabo also hung posters around Google and YouTube offices in Los Angeles in protest of Google’s firing of the software engineer James Damore, who wrote the viral memo that claimed gender disparities in technical and leadership roles at the company are due to biological differences between men and women. The Google-specific posters featured a photo of Apple CEO Tim Cook with the caption “Think Different” next to a photo of Google CEO Sundar Pichai that read, “Not So Much.”

While both the Zuck 2020 posters and the anti-Google posters are without a doubt offensive to some, neither really constitutes hate speech. The posters don’t appear make anyone unsafe, nor do they denounce or attack a group based on their ethnicity, race, religious affiliation, gender, or any of the other reasons Facebook lists in its community standards page on hate speech.

Again, Sabo has certainly made racist and horribly offensive art before, like posters mocking the Black Lives Matter movement that looked like movie ads for Planet of the Apes. Yet when those posters went up around the end of July and photos were posted on Facebook, Sabo says his page was not removed at that time.

One main problem here is that Facebook isn’t clarifying what the offensive content in question was. (The company also didn’t respond to a request for comment.) Rather, Facebook appears to be arguing that it acts on “verbal abuse directed at individuals,” which sure feels like a reaction to the “Fuck Zuck” posters.

Facebook hasn’t always been the most consistent when policing hate speech on its platform, nor is it clear what exactly does and does not count as speech that might get a user banned, which has led to uneven censorship. In June, ProPublica released a report on Facebook’s content moderation strategies that detailed internal documents describing how white men are a category of users who get special protection from hate speech, but black children are not. These distorted polices were never made public by Facebook, and users often don’t know when they’re saying something that could get them suspended. If the social media company were more transparent about how it classifies hate speech, not only would users be more aware of the rules of the road, but public scrutiny would likely prevent it from holding such lopsided polices in the first place. All of which is illustrative of why being crystal-clear about how the social media giant policies content is just as important as being proactive about banning hate speech and protecting user safety in the first place.

Easy To Implement Local SEO Optimization Tips For Small Business

by Gary @ 3Bug Media

Every local business wants to be at the top of the Google or Bing search engine results when someone searches for a product or service like theirs. Just think how much business you would have if every time someone searched for, “family dentist in Charlotte”, your family dental practice showed up at the top of […]

The post Easy To Implement Local SEO Optimization Tips For Small Business appeared first on 3Bug Media.

How The Internet Web Ad Industry Works

How The Internet Web Ad Industry Works


Over the past 10 years, advertising strategies have evolved as a result of technological development as the internet has provided new channels for advertisers to reach a larger audience.

Why Science-Fiction Writers Couldn’t Imagine the Internet

Why Science-Fiction Writers Couldn’t Imagine the Internet

by Lawrence Krauss @ Slate Articles

Whenever I am speaking at a public event or on the radio, one of the questions I inevitably get is: “What will be the next big discovery?” My answer is always the same: “If I knew, I would be doing it.”

There is a reason for this, and it is the reason I titled my most recent book, which is about the history of modern physics at its most fundamental level, The Greatest Story Ever ToldSo Far. The “So Far” part is the most important part of the title. Almost every day, we learn more and nature surprises us with something remarkable and unexpected. Indeed, the very word discovery implies the unexpected.

What I find most remarkable of all is that the imagination of nature far exceeds that of human imagination. If you had locked a group of theoretical physicists in a room 50 years ago and asked them to predict what we now know about the universe, they would have missed almost all the key discoveries we have made since, from the discovery of dark energy and dark matter to the ability to detect gravitational waves. That is because we need the guidance of experiment to move forward in science. How we hope nature will behave or how we think it should behave is irrelevant. Experiment determines what we must build our theories on, not a priori prejudice about elegance or beauty, or even what seems like common sense. Quantum mechanics defies common sense—so much so that Einstein never really accepted it. But as experiments today, from entanglement to quantum teleportation, demonstrate, quantum mechanics does describe the universe at fundamental scales.

That’s why science fiction—though it can inspire human imagination, as Stephen Hawking said in the preface of my book The Physics of Star Trek—is fundamentally limited. It is based on human imagination and past experience. That is a great thing. But it doesn’t mean the science-fiction future will resemble our own.

One of my favorite musical illustrations of this fact involves a verse from the 1980 John Prine song “Living in the Future”:

We are living in the future
I'll tell you how I know
I read it in the paper
Fifteen years ago
We're all driving rocket ships
And talking with our minds

As a child, I expected to be driving in a flying car or vacationing in near-Earth orbit or on the moon by now.

What I didn’t expect was the internet. Of all the technological developments that have changed the way modern society functions, perhaps none has presented such a disruptive challenge to society. It has changed everything about how we communicate with one another, shop, get entertainment, and receive our news—and of course the way science is carried out, to name just a few examples. Yet nowhere in mainstream science fiction was the internet imagined.

Various science-fiction writers imagined a world with some characteristics of the internet, to be sure. Mark Twain in 1898, in one of his least compelling stories, imagined a “telectroscope” that would allow people to use a phonelike object to view locations around the world. But despite claims that Twain “predicted the internet,” what the story depicted was more like the video-phones I saw at the World’s Fair in 1964 than the contemporary internet. Twain did imagine that thanks to the telectroscope, “the daily doings of the globe” would become fodder for worldwide gossip and discussion (read social networks!), but that wasn’t different from the old-fashioned telephone party lines.

Later on, writers like William Gibson, in his 1984 novel Neuromancer, and David Brin, in his 1990 book Earth, imagined something closer. But by then, the nascent beginning of the internet was already emerging in the scientific community, at least. In any case, by no means did anything like the internet ever become as ubiquitous in science fiction as teleportation in its various guises, antigravity cars, warp drive, hyperdrive, wormholes, or any of the other standbys for getting from one place to another faster than light can travel.

On Star Trek, humans talked to computers—they even used something like floppy disks and memory sticks—but nowhere did crew members get information from ethereal machines whose locations and identities were otherwise unknown. Large-scale central computers that governed whole societies were imagined, but not a diffuse network of machines, including home refrigerators and pocket-size computers, on which users’ identities were unknown.

This is not to disparage science-fiction writers. Their job is not to predict the future—it’s to imagine it based on current trends. That’s what’s so amazing about the internet: The ubiquitous World Wide Web arose from an unexpected place. Indeed, perhaps the most remarkable thing about the internet is that necessity was the mother of its invention. As particle physics experiments became bigger, with larger collaborations spread around the world, the need for disparate groups to collaborate and share data arose. Thus began the World Wide Web, initiated at CERN, the home of what is now the world’s largest particle accelerator: the Large Hadron Collider.

So the technology that would change everything else about the world in which we live was itself an offshoot of an esoteric scientific endeavor. That is beyond remarkable, and it’s worth celebrating. As much fun as science fiction is, I will take the real world any day for its surprises and the possibilities that humans would otherwise never imagine on their own.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

A Guide for Understanding Online Marketing Jobs

by admin @ Online Advertising

5 tips to write compelling subject lines

by Contributing Author @ Vertical Response Blog

Need a little help creating subject lines? Use these five out-of-the-box tips as a guide

The post 5 tips to write compelling subject lines appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Don’t Take Away Your Teen’s Phone

Don’t Take Away Your Teen’s Phone

by Lisa Guernsey @ Slate Articles

To my fellow parents desperately trying to raise happy, self-sufficient kids in this confounding digital age: Let’s talk about that article careening through our Facebook feeds. In the Atlantic, demographer and author Jean Twenge finds a series of troubling new dots to connect between social media and teen depression, raising the question: “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?

Already, experts on media and kids are cautioning against alarmism, using this as a teachable moment. In Psychology Today, Sarah Rose Cavanagh points out that Twenge’s evidence is “cherry-picked” and drawn from correlational research that does not show smartphones to be the cause of depression but instead shows “merely observed associations between certain variables.” And over at JSTOR Daily, Alexandra Samuel displays several charts that demonstrate how teen happiness has taken a slight dip but on the whole is not all that different than it was last decade or the decade before that.

And yet. As the mother of two teen girls, ages 13 and 15, so much of Twenge’s article felt like a video replay of my household. Twenge writes, “The arrival of the smartphone has radically changed every aspect of teenagers’ lives, from the nature of their social interactions to their mental health.” There’s no denying the changes wrought by the smartphone. I see them every day. My daughters are on their phones when they wake up, throughout the day, and into the night. My 13-year-old won’t go to bed until she has Snapchatted a silly photo of herself to multiple friends to keep up her streaks. My 15-year-old’s phone is constantly vibrating from messages coming in from group chats.

Our family dynamics also reflect another big generational change getting far less attention than mobile media mania: My daughters, their father, and I have somehow developed an increasingly rich vocabulary for talking about depression and mental illness. Dinner conversations and car rides will often touch on our loved ones’ mental health, anxieties, and needs to find spaces for reflection—conversations unlike anything I recall from my teen years of the ’80s and ’90s. Across our society we see a dawning awareness of depression—from suicide prevention walks to a lack of stigma about seeing a therapist to an increasing sophistication among professionals about how to evaluate symptoms. Could that awareness itself be affecting identification of depression? Could it be affecting our teens in unintended ways?  Clearly, at least in my house, it is already affecting my parenting.

Unfortunately, these two phenomena—the rise of new media norms combined with modern society’s attempts to understand depression—may be leading us down some unproductive paths. I suspect that we parents feel trapped because the solution seems so binary. It’s as if there are just two paths to take here. There’s the laissez faire route: “Don’t worry about it, kids are kids, at least they’re not doing drugs, let me get back to my own phone.” Or there’s the impossible one: Wrench those phones out of your teens’ hands and tell them to go straight back to 1985, right now, no backtalk.

Neither of these seems terribly promising. Finding a third way will require keeping a level head about the limitations of the research (more on that in a moment). But it may also mean really talking to our teens.

Janelle, my 15-year-old, read the Atlantic article with me. Her first reaction was roaring frustration. To read an article about how her generation doesn’t work, doesn’t party, has all this leisure time, and yet doesn’t have enough sex (!) was a recipe for acute irritation. My daughters and I have had many conversations about these issues over the years, so I asked whether Janelle if she would write some of her thoughts down this time and send them to me for publication. (My younger daughter has been away at camp this week.) About the fact that teenagers don’t have as many jobs and do not go out as much as they used to, Janelle had this response: “JEEZ YOU ARE THE ONES WHO PRESSURED US INTO DOING AN INSANE AMOUNT OF EXTRACURRICULARS TO GET INTO COLLEGE (sorry if it seems like I’m yelling I’m not mad at you this is just very frustrating).”

You’re right, I told her. I get it. As a Gen Xer, I said, I remember feeling so piqued and helpless when demographers started telling me what was wrong with my generation. And millennials, in case you haven’t read the hundreds of missives going around Twitter these days, are similarly irked.

The risks of overgeneralizing are legion. My daughters and I are part of a middle-income white household in Northern Virginia; the diversity of other family experiences around the country needs much more serious study. Another risk is ignoring the Three C’s: the content, the context, and the individual child. For Janelle, the nature of the content coming through the phone matters a lot. Not only is she exchanging text messages with her friends (both deep conversations about their lives as well as throwaway one-liners while watching TV), but she is also using her phone and laptop to seek out and read up on issues she cares about, such as social justice and the environment.

“We ingest so much material that it’s impossible not to learn something,” Janelle told me. “We want to be engaged intellectually, and we are being engaged through our phones.”

But Janelle could seriously relate to Twenge’s paragraphs about social isolation. And so could her friends, who also talked about the article (in person and through texts) this week. These are teens who are open with each other in talking about depression, anxiety, and stress. Although the data on teen independence was sending them into a tizzy of frustration, Janelle also told me this: “The stuff about loneliness is close to accurate.”

It was an admission that yanked at my heart. To me, the question is not, What can I do to get her off her phone? The question is, What is causing that loneliness?

In the Atlantic article, Twenge doesn’t explicitly state that smartphones are the cause of the depression, but she sure leaves that impression. For example, Twenge pulls some results from the Monitoring the Future survey (which was originally designed to track teen drug use) and writes:  “The results could not be clearer: Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on nonscreen activities are more likely to be happy.”

But finding two data points that happen to appear at the same time is not equivalent to finding that one data point derives from the other. There is association but not causation. For years, surveys of television watching and obesity led to headlines about TV watching causing obesity. But when researchers dug deeply into the findings, that certainty evaporated. One unanswered question was, could obesity be causing TV watching instead of the other way around? Another line of inquiry examined the content on TV, looking at how the advertising of food (sugary cereals, for example) could be playing a role. That research led to more fruitful routes for intervention, culminating in a 2006 report from the Institute of Medicine, Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity?

So for our teens, we need to better understand what is causing what. Are social media and the convenience of our mobile devices causing young people to be more depressed? Or, could it be the other way around: They already are more depressed, and they are turning to their phones for solace? Of course there’s also a third possibility: Maybe there’s a nefarious reinforcing circle here. Where is the end, and where is the beginning?

In 2010, Twenge and her colleagues wrote an article for Clinical Psychology Review reviewing data that showed an increase in depression and several other disorders between 1938 and 2007. At that time, she speculated that the problem stemmed from broader shifts in the way society operates. “The results,” she and her co-authors wrote, “best fit a model citing cultural shifts toward extrinsic goals, such as materialism and status and away from intrinsic goals, such as community, meaning in life, and affiliation.”

Twenge’s 2010 research raises the specter of a problem much bigger than that rectangle of metal and plastic in our hands. In 2012, Brandon H. Hidaka, a scholar from the University of Kansas Medical Center, looked at the prevalence of depression diagnosis and wrote: “Declining social capital and greater inequality and loneliness are candidate mediators of a depressiogenic social milieu. Modern populations are increasingly overfed, malnourished, sedentary, sunlight-deficient, sleep-deprived, and socially-isolated.” Fast forward five years to the harsh language and interactions that play out from President Trump on down, and most would agree that the way we work together and care for each other needs repair.

Instead of labeling our teens a “ruined generation,” let’s recognize that it’s today’s teenagers that offer the most hope in helping us figure this out. A recent book by Devorah Heitner, the founder of the organization Raising Digital Natives, is one starting place. Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World includes examples of how to talk with and listen to teens, offering mentoring without judgment. (In the JSTOR Daily piece, Samuel takes a similar tack.)

“I know how easy it is to find negativity and hurt on the internet,” my daughter told me. But, she added, “it is also through the internet, on sites such as Tumblr, where teens often find comfort and can engage in discussions of how they are feeling.”

Hopefully Twenge’s article and her upcoming book will not add to teens’ worries. At the heart of many of my daughters’ comments, and those of her friends, was the prospect of parents taking away their phones. “Honestly, many of us are sick, and I’ve seen it firsthand, but taking away your teen’s phone and telling them it’s to protect them is the perfect way to hurt your chances of discussing mental illness with them in the future,” Janelle told me.

Don’t worry, Janelle, I won’t be taking your phone. I’m just grateful you can talk to me about it.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Cloudflare's CEO Is Right: We Can't Count on Him to Police the Internet

Cloudflare's CEO Is Right: We Can't Count on Him to Police the Internet

by Will Oremus @ Slate Articles

Earlier this week, I wrote that Charlottesville could mark an inflection point in the battle over online speech. Not only were social media platforms suddenly getting serious about cracking down on the racist “alt-right,” but back-end web infrastructure companies—which have typically pled neutrality with regard to the content of the sites they serve—suddenly found themselves under intense pressure to do the same. First, the domain registrar GoDaddy dropped the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer; Google Domains and others quickly followed suit.

But there remained one notable holdout: Cloudflare, a server company that specializes in protecting sites against DDoS hacks, was still serving the Daily Stormer—insisting, as it has in the past when challenged to defend controversial clients, that policing online speech is not and should not be its job.

That changed on Wednesday, when Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince woke up “in a bad mood” and decided to pull the plug on the Daily Stormer. His memo to employees, published in full by Gizmodo, dripped with bitter ambivalence. Here’s an excerpt (italics mine):

Let me be clear: this was an arbitrary decision. It was different than what I’d talked talked with our senior team about yesterday. I woke up this morning in a bad mood and decided to kick them off the Internet. … It was a decision I could make because I’m the CEO of a major Internet infrastructure company.
Having made that decision, we now need to talk about why it is so dangerous. I’ll be posting something on our blog later today. Literally, I woke up in a bad mood and decided someone shouldn’t be allowed on the Internet. No one should have that power.

Prince followed up with an official Cloudflare blog post further explaining his sudden change of heart. His “bad mood,” it seems, had been stoked by the Daily Stormer’s boasting that Cloudflare secretly supported its racist ideology. The post went on to argue, forcefully and in detail, that a system in which a company such as Cloudflare can make such a decision on a whim is a flawed one. And while Prince expressed no regret about pulling the plug on the Daily Stormer specifically, he worried that in doing so, he had opened a door that would have been better left shut. He wrote: “After today, make no mistake, it will be a little bit harder for us to argue against a government somewhere pressuring us into taking down a site they don't like.”

That’s probably true, and it echoes the concerns raised by high-tech law expert Eric Goldman in my Slate story and by the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Nate Cardozo in a story by The Verge’s Russell Brandom.

That said, anyone who fears a slippery slope toward corporate censorship of the web can take at least some comfort in the way Cloudflare communicated its decision. While there’s no guarantee that the CEO of such a company will regard its own huge power over web companies with due awe, suspicion, and fear, it’s reassuring to know that Prince, for one, does. Perhaps the operative metaphor here is not a slippery slope, but a high bar: one that only a group as unambiguously disgusting and evil as neo-Nazis could clear.

But that seems a little naïve. Already, calls are growing for Cloudflare, GoDaddy, and other web-infrastructure firms to ban a slew of other groups affiliated with the white supremacist movement. Does anyone doubt that conservative pressure groups will gleefully adopt the same tactic against left-wing targets?

Cloudflare may seem like a small part of what makes the web run, but it isn’t: The company says it handles something on the order of 10 percent of all internet requests. That actually understates its influence, because Cloudflare is by far the market leader in DDoS protection, and its clients tend to be those most vulnerable to such attacks. Posting controversial content on the web without Cloudflare’s protection is like strutting out onto a battlefield naked with a target painted on your back. There are a handful other other, mostly very large, companies that play similarly critical roles in maintaining the modern internet. As Prince put it: “Without a clear framework as a guide for content regulation, a small number of companies will largely determine what can and cannot be online.”

Prince’s call for such a framework is probably the most important part of his memo. As Goldman pointed out to me, the problem with companies such as GoDaddy, Google, and Cloudflare dropping the Daily Stormer was not that the Daily Stormer deserves to have its vile viewpoints heard. Rather, the problem is that the decision was made on an ad hoc basis, with GoDaddy and Google disingenuously holding up their terms of service as a fig leaf.

The reality is that few, if any, of these companies, have ever thought seriously about those terms of service or enforced them consistently. Companies such as Google, Facebook, and Twitter have been thinking through these issues and refining their policies for over a decade, and they still get big decisions appallingly wrong on a frequent basis. If you think they’re bad at distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate content, imagine how ham-fisted a company like GoDaddy is likely to be—especially given that the only punishment at its disposal has been compared to the Internet’s version of the death penalty. And the notion that we can count on the free market to supply alternatives to overzealous service providers is undermined by the industry's huge barriers to entry. You can’t just go out and start an “indie” Cloudflare, because only a sprawling global network of servers could do what it does.

That the internet has made it this far depending on infrastructure built and maintained by unaccountable, largely unregulated, private corporations is something of a miracle. But the alarming recent rise in explicit online hate, intimidation, and organized racism and violence in the United States—and the corresponding rise in public awareness of it—has brought the system’s underlying flaws into sharp relief. Perhaps we do need companies like GoDaddy and Cloudflare to take a more active role in deciding what should be allowed on the Internet. But if so, we also urgently need them to develop some ground rules for those decisions that go beyond “we’ll enforce our terms of service when we feel like it.”

Hey, Tech Companies: Knock It Off With the Apps That Let People Change Their Skin Color

Hey, Tech Companies: Knock It Off With the Apps That Let People Change Their Skin Color

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

For a brief moment on Wednesday, FaceApp—the app that went viral in April for taking a photo of someone’s face and making them look older, younger, more masculine, or more feminine—had a new feature that let users see how they would look if they were a different race. That means white users could make their faces black, and black users could whiten their skin. There was also an Asian filter as well as one to make people look Indian.

Within hours, FaceApp had pulled down the new feature. That’s good. But really: Who thought it was a good idea? Did they actually think that this would go well?

You may be thinking to yourself, This sounds awfully familiar. Haven’t we been through this nonsense before? Yes. Yes, we have. The new race categories were an update to the app. Back in the spring, when everyone first ran to download and play with FaceApp, it had a feature called Spark that lightened users’ skin tone. Spark was removed as an option on FaceApp after users took to social media calling the company out for whitewashing.

At the time, FaceApp called what happened “an unfortunate side effect of the underlying neural network caused by the training set bias, not intended behavior”—a rather ridiculous excuse.

But somehow, for some mysterious reason, Wireless Lab, the company that developed FaceApp, apparently decided to lean in to its race filters, adding even more options than just skin whitening. But adding a blackface filter, an Asian face filter, and an Indian face filter didn’t level things out. At all.

Perhaps the Russia-based company wasn’t aware of the history of racial parodying on our side of the pond. But considering the outrage that ensued after its whitewashing filter, one would think FaceApp had learned that making an app to change people’s race will never, ever, ever, ever be OK. Almost every country in the world continues to grapple with the racist aftermath of hundreds of years of colonial history. There’s too much very real and very recent history of people trying to pass or change their race in order to survive or live a more privileged life.

To be fair, FaceApp isn’t the only photo filter social media app that’s toyed with race. Last year on April 20, the national holiday for marijuana enthusiasts in the U.S., Snapchat offered users a filter that made them look black with dreadlocks. It was obviously a nod to Bob Marley but it was nevertheless a blackface filter, and the company got significant blowback, too. Not that Snap learned its lesson. Later that year, in August, Snapchat released another alarming filter, an “anime” option that made people’s face look more yellow, their eyes look more narrow, and teeth bigger. And yet again, the company was chastised for making a racist filter.

The amazing thing is that this keeps happening—that these features make it to the market at all. Please, tech companies: Knock it off with the race-based face filters. There’s nothing cool about making someone look like a different race. Stick to flower halos, glasses, hats, and animal-ear filters. So many people who use the internet are plenty racist enough already. There’s no need to help.

Top 30 apps dominate over 40% of mobile time, whilst mobile marketplace matures

Top 30 apps dominate over 40% of mobile time, whilst mobile marketplace matures

by Anne Freier @ mobyaffiliates

comScore has recently taken a closer look at the mobile ecosystem and how audiences, content and apps influence the digital landscape. According to the report, mobile now accounts for half of all digital minutes across 13 markets, and a whopping 75% in Mexico, India and Indonesia. When it comes to measuring the average mobile minutes per visitor, Latin American countries rank at the top. ‘The Global Mobile Report’ also confirmed that 80% of all mobile minutes across all markets were being spent in apps. All markets have users which are active on mobile during the month, but in India 70% of users are mobile-only. Among the top mobile behaviours are social networking and instant messengers. Indeed, social networks take the highest percentage of total digital minutes

The post Top 30 apps dominate over 40% of mobile time, whilst mobile marketplace matures appeared first on mobyaffiliates.

Email Automation for wedding and event planners

by Amber Humphrey @ Vertical Response Blog

Wedding planners and other event businesses can promote their services and save time by sending these four automated emails

The post Email Automation for wedding and event planners appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Seven Lies About Content Marketing That Prevent You From Embracing It

by Amanda Dodge @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of / Depositphotos.comEighty-eight percent of companies have a content marketing strategy. Do you?Are you ignoring the power of content because you don’t think it will generate ROI for your business or improve the customer experience?Do you worry that you don’t have the budget for content marketing and can’t waste an investment?If you’re […]

Digital Marketing Agency in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

by CEO and Founder @ Digital Marketing Agency

Running a Fort Lauderdale business without the backing of solid digital marketing is like entering a boxing ring with one hand tied behind your back. You do not have to operate your business under such dire constraints. Experience Advertising offers a complete digital marketing solution for Fort Lauderdale businesses. We offer an integrated marketing solution […]

Instagram Influencers: Their Impact and How to Find Them

by Jessica Lee @ SearchForce

Using well-known personalities in advertising is nothing new. But the internet and social media are changing how we do this – and who counts as “famous.” How Influencers Drive Engagement on Instagram Earlier this year, #Hashoff released a report on […]

The post Instagram Influencers: Their Impact and How to Find Them appeared first on SearchForce.

Propel Mobile App Growth with Universal App Campaigns

by Jessica Lee @ SearchForce

According to Statista, as of early 2017, the leading app stores contained about 5 million apps combined – 2.8 million for Android’s Google Play and 2.2 million for Apple’s App Store. Statista goes on to say that, since mobile apps […]

The post Propel Mobile App Growth with Universal App Campaigns appeared first on SearchForce.

15 Reasons why you should use the Power Editor to create Facebook ads

by knowonlineadvertising @ Know Online Advertising

Power editor has multiple reasons over Facebook advertising manager. Let’s go through the 15 Reasons why you should use the Power Editor to create Facebook ads. Always have the latest features: As soon as Facebook announces new features related to advertising, they are available to advertisers in the Power Editor. Frequently changes and extensions follow […]

Majority of game apps are monetised – Admob and Facebook lead

Majority of game apps are monetised – Admob and Facebook lead

by Anne Freier @ mobyaffiliates

As app usage increase, app monetisation has taken off over the last few years. When it comes to game app monetisation, 70.7% of Android apps now contain adverts compared to 80.4% on iOS. For non-game apps, the percentage of Android apps featuring ads is slightly lower at 63%, and just 25.4% on iOS – that’s less than a third compared to game apps on the mobile operating system. These findings are part of the latest Mobbo report, which analysed 1,000 SDK components to calculate the Mobile Advertising Power Index. The study also noted that although iOS app developers are spending less on app ads, they are making more cash via paid apps, with iOS having 2.5x more paid apps and games compared to Android. It

The post Majority of game apps are monetised – Admob and Facebook lead appeared first on mobyaffiliates.

What is the Effect of The Mobile Interstitial Penalty Rolled Out by Google?

by Seo Tuners @ SeoTuners

Several months ago, search engine giant Google announced an upcoming feature to the way mobile search engine optimization functions, insofar that websites would have to pay heed to their implementation of mobile interstitials as per Google, or else suffer the consequences of a penalty to their online search rankings. Mobile interstitials have often been a […]

The post What is the Effect of The Mobile Interstitial Penalty Rolled Out by Google? appeared first on SeoTuners.

How To Accept Facebook Admin Request

by Markitors @ Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors

1. Go to your Facebook Page 2. Click “Go To Business Manager” to manage this page. 3. Click “Settings” in the top right corner 4. Click “Page Roles” on left hand sidebar 5. Scroll down until you see Markitors request. … Read More

The post How To Accept Facebook Admin Request appeared first on Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors.

How to Develop a Content Marketing Plan That Gets Results [Content Distribution]

by Guest Poster @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of Liravega – FreepikUnder this huge umbrella of content planning, keyword research and creating value adding content are the first two important stages but the next in process and equivalently significant stage in your content marketing strategy is Content Distribution and in this part 3 of our infographical series, we’ll try to address […]

Making the move to Slack

by admin @ Novocan

At Novocan we are migrating communication with all partners and customers to Slack.  Slack is a messenger system that will allow us to better communicate with our customers. Every customer will have access to a chat room with team members that can address their concerns immediately.  We kindly ask that all questions and concerns be […]

The post Making the move to Slack appeared first on Novocan.

5 Radiant Writing Secrets Inspired by ‘Charlotte’s Web’

by Caitlin Burgess @ Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Some pig. Terrific. Radiant. Humble. In the classic E.B. White novel, Charlotte’s Web, these simple yet impactful words save a life and make another better. And for prolific writer, marketer and speaker Ann Handley, these words also make the title character the best content marketer in the world. “In just four [phrases] she had to [...]

The post 5 Radiant Writing Secrets Inspired by ‘Charlotte’s Web’ appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Stock Marketing

Stock Marketing

by Heather Schwedel @ Slate Articles

Many a meme has metastasized from a piece of stock photography. You’ve surely seen the latest: that cheesy photo of a distracted boyfriend looking at a woman who is not his girlfriend. It achieved Twitter ubiquity last week, and it’s only the latest in the genre: Before we met this unhappy throuple, we had hide-the-pain Harold and women laughing alone with salad, among countless other examples in which social media users seized upon a strange or uncanny quality in a stock photo and exploited it, in infinite variations, for their humor and entertainment.

Perhaps you first encountered the distracted boyfriend photo in its Henry VIII iteration, or maybe it was some Bernie-tinged political commentary that caught your eye. Like the best memes, grass-is-greener guy can be applied to any number of situations. The people become an easy metaphor for all number of societal disillusionments in our age of distraction, and through the use of labels, complex situations are reduced down to simple explanations: Everything was going well with X, the memes say, until Y came along. X and Y can be something as straightforward as people and dogs, or they can refer something a bit more insider-y:

Memes represent a certain kind of internet anarchy—a free-love vision of the web in which users spread and elaborate endlessly without care for who owns the original material. But stock photos don’t just appear out of thin air: Someone put time and effort into creating them, and they exist to make money through their use. The Spain-based photographer behind the distracted boyfriend photos, Antonio Guillem, released a statement to reporters this week about the financial impact of his photo’s sudden virality: There really isn’t much of one. He sells 1,600 photos a day and considers himself one of the top stock-photo sellers in the world. But “[t]he sales that are related with the memes are probably a 0.00000% of our monthly revenue. It’s not relevant,” he wrote. Still, he looked relatively charitably upon the meme’s spread. “It’s not allowed to use any image without purchasing the proper license in any possible way, so each one of the people that use the images without the license are doing it illegally,” he wrote, before adding, “this is not the thing that really worries us, as they are just a group of people doing it in good faith.”

Guillem’s generosity notwithstanding, this is America: If there’s an opportunity to make money, someone’s going to find it. One stock agency’s handling of the meme provides a useful case study for the murky area of what to do when something you own goes viral. Stefan Hayden is a developer at Shutterstock, which holds licensing rights to Guillem’s photos. (Not exclusively, though: The photos are also are available through several other houses as well.) And Hayden is something of a meme connoisseur: He’s a member of a recreational Slack group called the Private Meme Club. “It’s a great place of what has previously been called ‘top memers’ where we sort of trade off a lot of Twitter posts and stuff,” he said.

When Hayden came across distracted boyfriend in the regular course of his meme travels last week, he didn’t initially recognize it as a Shutterstock photo, just a damn good meme. “When you’re building a poster or something that you might use for advertising, usually you want not a subtle photo, but you want a photo that really gets your point across, and that’s the thing that makes this photo so good,” he said. “It’s an exaggerated life moment.” Stock photography’s penchant for capturing these exaggerated life moments—these are images, after all, that lots of people need to find lots of uses for—is key to what makes it such a consistently strong source of meme fodder.

But when a colleague alerted Hayden that the meme was based on a photo in his company’s arsenal, he got to thinking of the tool he spends most of his time on at work. “I work on Shutterstock Editor, which is an online design tool for creating kind of templates and posters and birthday cards and stuff like that,” he said. “I realized with Editor, I could make this template really easily, really just like a couple of sheets and some text and then send out a link that would let other people edit it really easily and download their own versions.” And that’s exactly what he did, tweeting the link on his personal Twitter account so that anyone could plug in language for the distracted-guy meme.

Rather than chiding Hayden for participating in an activity that runs counter to its revenue model, Shutterstock embraced his template, with its publicity department touting it and even offering to connect me with Hayden for an interview. The idea behind the template is that instead of participating in the gray area of editing and posting a photo one doesn’t have the rights to, people will use this tool to properly source, license, and download the distracted boyfriend stock photo and meme to their hearts’ content. When you click the tool’s “share” or “download” buttons, it prompts you to either sign in or register for a Shutterstock account, ignoring the existence and widespread use of screenshot technology in a way that’s almost cute. “Getting people to download the image is because what we want is for our photographers, contributors to get paid,” Hayden said. “A lot of different meme websites that exist, they never talk about the legal part—the licenses—but on Shutterstock it’s just kind of baked into how we work.” Shutterstock spokesman Danny Groner added, “Just because something’s going viral doesn’t mean that it now belongs to everybody.”

It’s a little unclear whether Hayden and Shutterstock expect individual social media users to pay to license the photo; Shutterstock is aimed more at companies that pay for bulk subscriptions to the service and access to its stockpile of images. For the average lone social-media user, the rules remain fuzzy: “We don’t have an official policy on when we do or don’t pursue somebody who has taken an image from the internet if it happens to be ours … it would get reported to our IP team, and then they would investigate each report on a case by case basis,” Hayden said. Still, Hayden’s quick thinking was a way for the service to assert its place in the stock photo and meme universe when one of its works was having a moment in the spotlight. “I think this is one of the first times that we’ve identified a meme, quickly found the photo that was licensed for our website, and kind of been able to use our internal editor design tool to promote the legal use of a meme, to let businesses use this meme but also feel like protected when they’re using it,” Hayden said.

Ultimately, “Shutterstock’s going to be supportive of any content creation using, especially using Shutterstock’s own image library, that’s going to bring more users in,” he added.

Hayden and Shutterstock declined to share any figures of how many people had actually downloaded and licensed the photo post-virality or used the template Hayden had created. It’s still very early days for the company’s official participation in the meme economy, after all. “Unfortunately, Shutterstock has yet to have a professional meme creator” on staff, but if this becomes a viable area for the company, it’s a role he “will lobby for very, very soon,” Hayden joked.

Then again, perhaps there’s only so much money to be made from memes. “Our top-selling images get more than 5,000 to 6,000 sales a year, while the meme photo is sold around 700 times a year,” Guillem says. That was before the wave of virality, though. Time will tell if the photo remains an objection of fascination—or simply the photographic equivalent of a spurned girlfriend.

Behold the Amazing Poetry-Generating Machine!

Behold the Amazing Poetry-Generating Machine!

by Leah Henrickson @ Slate Articles

Poetry allows us to explore the depths of what means to be human. It evokes emotion, imagination, and connection between author and reader.

Perhaps because these compositions represent the most human of pursuits, it seems like one of the last talents humans would ever cede to machines. Yet inventors have been endeavoring to build exactly such devices—and the history of attempts to create these artificial bards is longer than you might think.

One of the earliest known poetry generators was born from the Victorian enthusiasm for automata. In 1845, inventor John Clark debuted his Eureka machine at the Egyptian Hall in Piccadilly, London. For the price of 1 shilling, visitors to the exhibition space could wind up the wooden, bureau-like contraption and watch the mechanized spectacle of wooden staves, metal wires, and revolving drums grinding out a line of Latin verse that would appear in the machine’s front window. More specifically, a grammatically- and rhythmically-correct line of dactylic hexameter, the kind used by Virgil and Ovid. The meter-making machine relied on producing just six words that never varied in scansion or syntax (always adjective-noun-adverb-verb-noun-adjective, as in “martia castra foris prænarrant proelia multa” or “martial encampments foreshow many battles abroad”). Despite its constraints, the system was capable of churning out an estimated 26 million permutations.

Critics of the era exercised skepticism. One reviewer called it a “useless toy.” Another deemed it “little better than a mere puzzle, which any school-boy might perform by a simpler process.”

Modern scholars, however, have demonstrated a deeper appreciation. “The Eureka machine was much more than a show-place diversion,” Jason David Hall wrote in a 2007 paper. Instead, he said, it was “situated at the intersection of popular culture and scholarly specialization,” and represented “at once the technological embodiment of and a parody of Victorian prosodic science [the study of verse and meter].” The Victorians loved a show, especially one that drew upon both science and illusion for an unforgettable performance. The Eureka offered both. The machine was a feat of industrial progress, but sensational enough to be entertaining. And it can still wow. The unveiling of a recently restored version of Clark’s invention drew crowds of excited visitors who, like spectators past, reveled in the show.

Around the same time as the Eureka’s original debut, the now-defunct Sunday Mercury newspaper in New York also ran with the idea of an automaton bard with a feature it called “machine poetry.” It became a sensational running joke in the paper—printing clumsy, robotic lines purportedly written by a hand-cranked machine powered by a staff drunkard named Bill. One poem, “Love’s Victim” reads:

Oh, list to me Lizzy,
You sweet little booger!
Love makes me feel dizzy,
Like brandy and sugar!
My vision is reeling –
My brains are all burning,
And the sweet cream of feeling
Is curdled by churning;
For my heart ’neath my jacket
Is up and down jumping;
And it keeps up a racket
With its thumping and bumping.

Other publications quickly jumped on the machine poetry bandwagon. The Poughkeepsie Journal in New York announced that it had purchased a water-powered model that would soon be generating “hydraulic poetry.” Though both the Eureka and the Mercury’s “mechanical” poet were mostly treated as oddities, both the real and fake devices encouraged audiences to consider what machines were really capable of.

Even the Eureka wasn’t really an example of early artificial intelligence, though. It took until the advent of computers to usher in a new wave of machine verse.

In 1959, German mathematician Theo Lutz created what is commonly considered the first computer poetry by writing a program that recombined Franz Kafka’s unfinished novel Das Schloss (The Castle). What resulted was a series of nonsensical sentences strung together as though the output were actually written by the Mercury’s resident alcoholic, Bill:


This output doesn’t make for great reading, but Lutz’s program opened the computer-generated text floodgates. It proved that one could mathematize language so that computer programs could combine words in ways that the Eureka never could. Nevertheless, such computer poetry remained largely confined to academic communities with equipment and expertise. The general public may have read about Lutz’s program in the newspaper, but they weren’t given the opportunity to pay a shilling so they could try it out for themselves.

Personal computers, unsurprisingly, greatly expanded the development of computer poetry. In 1984, William Chamberlain and Thomas Etter (little is publicly known about either) unveiled the text-generator Racter with the release of The Policeman’s Beard is Half Constructed, a collection of poetry, prose, and dialogue assembled by the program. Among the poems:

More than iron, more than lead, more than gold I need electricity.
I need it more than I need lamb or pork or lettuce or cucumber.
I need it for my dreams.

In the opening of the compendium, Chamberlain declares that this is “the first book ever written by a computer” and that, with the exception of his introduction, all contents were composed by the program. But some have questioned this claim.

To make Racter run, Chamberlain and Etter developed a programming language called INRAC. The system functioned through the use of tags, identifiers embedded in each word to ensure appropriate syntactical and sematic applications, that worked in conjunction with templates that would properly place the words in a sentence.

When Chamberlain and Etter released commercial versions of INRAC and Racter in 1985, they received almost unanimously negative reviews. One critic found the INRAC language “as idiosyncratic as the authors of Racter or Racter himself (itself?).” Other users, including modern Racter enthusiast Jorn Barger, concluded that the commercial version of Racter would have been incapable of writing much of The Policeman’s Beard without relying on boilerplate patterns and strict constraints imposed by its human creators.

While the words and constructions used in The Policeman’s Beard seemed to be intentionally wacky, they were repeated enough to give the book a sense of continuity. For example, Racter regularly referenced certain foods—lettuce, tenderloins, cucumber, and lamb. Coupled with particularly bombastic verbs and descriptors (like ruminate, inexorable, and inflame), the book makes for a surprisingly entertaining read, simply because it’s so outrageous. According to Barger, though, the extreme limitations on potential words and constructions made the templates more like text degeneration rather than text generation. In other words, the program functioned as a sort of digital game of Mad Libs, not an independent scribe.

The original iteration of Racter that allegedly wrote The Policeman’s Beard hasn’t survived, so there’s no way of verifying these claims. However, nearly all, including Chamberlain himself, agree that the program can’t be considered an artificial intelligence. You can still access the commercial chatbot version of Racter online—though prepare to have your patience tested.

In the decades following Racter, computing and computing power took off, and programmers brought increasingly advanced poetry-generation systems to life. Among others, there’s Ranjit Bhatnagar’s Pentametron, a Twitter bot that couples public tweets written in iambic pentameter to create rhyming couplets. There’s Ray Kurzweil’s cybernetic poet, which generates short poems in the styles of various human poets. And there’s Jack Hopkins’ system, which learned to produce verse that adheres to particular rhythms, styles, and themes after being fed 7.56 million words of mostly 20th century poetry. You can even generate your own texts by using a free online tool demonstrating how Markov chains work.

The programs are also getting far better at mimicking humans. As writer-programmer duo Oscar Schwartz and Benjamin Laird demonstrate with their project Bot or Not—a quiz branded as “a Turing test for poetry”—language-simulating algorithms have improved to the point that it can be difficult to distinguish between computer-generated and human-authored verse. In a 2015 talk about the assessment, for example, Schwartz notes that most players answer that a particular poem penned by Gertrude Stein is bot, while another written by an Emily Dickinson–fed algorithm is not.

This development may be unsettling to some. After all, there’s a certain strangeness to the idea of computers entering the art form Allen Ginsberg deemed “the one place where people can speak their original human mind.” We’ve progressed poetry-generation programs bounds ahead of the Eureka churning out stilted Latin hexameter, or even Racter offering up preposterous lines about a nasty, dull, rumrunning pig.

And yet, in the 200 years that humans have been building such machines, we’ve only managed to develop instruments that imitate. They manufacture poetry based on our rigid constraints: always following, emulating, or reworking writings from a human hand. The devices don’t assign meaning to the phrases they emit. Nor do they compose with emotion, memory, or intent. At least for now.

Schwartz admits that his Turing test for poetry—like the original test itself—was meant more as a philosophical provocation than a definitive assessment of who or what passes for a real person. Instead, he says, the project has led him to understand that humanness is not a scientific fact, but an ever-shifting notion that we construct.

“More than any other bit of technology, the computer is a mirror that reflects any idea of the human we teach it,” he said. We can question whether we’re really building human-like artificial intelligence, he said, but we should really be asking what idea of the human we want to have mirrored back.

For now, that reflection can a bit rough. Hopkins’ system, for example, still produces some texts of questionable quality. But, every once and a while, it shows something profound:

A thrilling flash of wind waiting to fall,
with summer sun and vapor and worn rock.
A violent landscape for this world and all,
slipped from the hill or by a ticking clock.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Our Top 11 Content Marketing Takeaways from #CMWorld 2017

by Caitlin Burgess @ Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Last week, thousands of marketers from all over the world descended on the Rock N’ Roll capital of the world, Cleveland, OH, for the seventh annual Content Marketing World Conference and Expo. Featuring more than 130 speakers, keynotes and panelists, dozens of different tracks, and a whole lot of orange, the four-day event was exciting [...]

The post Our Top 11 Content Marketing Takeaways from #CMWorld 2017 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Nintendo Unleashes Mario’s Nipples in a New Game, and They Are Super

Nintendo Unleashes Mario’s Nipples in a New Game, and They Are Super

by Jacob Brogan @ Slate Articles

In his official portrait, Nintendo’s iconic hero Mario poses with confident insouciance, hands placed jauntily on his hips, gut projecting outward. This is the look of a man who knows he can get away with anything, no matter how internally contradictory or tacky, including a pair of white gloves that ill befit his blue overalls with their oversize gold buttons. Even a red cap with his own logo emblazoned on it—a true sign of class if ever there was one, I’m sure.

This week, however, we have seen a new Mario. Mario as never before. Mario, if you will, gone wild.

On Wednesday, Nintendo showed off a promotional video for the forthcoming Super Mario Odyssey. Though there was much to enthuse over here for the franchise’s most ardent fans—an ice kingdom! An airship shaped like a top hat!—one truly novel detail stood out: Mario takes off his shirt during a trip to the beach. What’s more, for what is apparently the first time, he appears to have nipples.

The reaction was immediate and overwhelming. “Shirtless Mario Leads To Widespread Pandemonium,” read the headline to a Kotaku post that rounded up so many tweets I stopped counting them. “Here’s What Mario’s Nipples Look Like, I Guess,” Entertainment Weekly obligingly reported. “Mario’s Nipples EXPOSED *NOT CLICKBAIT*,” promised a YouTube video.

If our protagonist’s partial nudity is shocking (and OK, yes, it is not), the surprise derives as much from its seeming break with tradition as it does from Nintendo’s family-friendly reputation. Indeed, Mario’s conventional attire says as much about the history of gaming hardware as it does about the character himself.

The stark contrasts of his traditional uniform—evident in that official portrait—are persistent evidence of the limited color palettes available on the Nintendo Entertainment System and other early gaming machines. Taking advantage of those carefully managed resources, Shigeru Miyamoto and his collaborators blocked out their hero’s look in a way that would ensure the player’s avatar stood out against the background. In Super Mario Bros., for example, his original overalls typically appear to be white or brown, presumably to create a clear contrast with the flat blue of the sky behind him.

As the power of Nintendo’s hardware—and the cleverness of its software designers—increased, the appearance of their hero began to change, but always conditionally so. The raccoon-like Tanooki suit, introduced in Super Mario Bros. 3, for example, demonstrates their growing ability to work within, and expand upon, the console’s limitations. Even as the underlying technology grew more sophisticated, however, they maintained many of the original choices structurally dictated by earlier restraints. What started as a response to a machine’s finitude became the hallmark of narrative continuity. That the delicately shaded and dynamically lit Mario of the newest title still resembles the character we met more than 30 years ago is, in other words, a testament to the evolutionary history of digital architecture.

But if Mario as we see him now is a consequence of the ways he has been, perhaps we should think differently about his newly revealed torso. Remember, Mario lives in a world peopled almost entirely by animate mushrooms and sentient turtles. Mario may look human, but how do we know that we’re not simply projecting on him, imposing our own anthropocentric expectations of what a hero should be?

Think again about those gilt buttons on his overalls in the portrait above, the sole remaining hallmark of his former working class profession. (He is, we are told, not a plumber these days.) They seem to be positioned almost exactly where his “nipples” appear to be in the new footage. What if those round discolorations aren’t holdovers from mammalian prenatal development after all? Maybe they are, instead, evidence that his conventional costume fits his whale-like body just a little too tightly.

Perhaps, reader, you think my hypothesis ridiculous, and it may well be, but there are other signs that things are not what they seem. As many (here at Slate and on the wider internet) were quick to note, Mario’s bare body is strangely hairless, as if his chest and newly revealed arms had been shorn clean by Bowser’s cleansing fire. His face is hirsute as ever, but strangely so. Pausing the video, we note that his mustache, eyebrows, and coiffure are all different shades and textures. Is Mario—like the Mephistophelian Judge in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian—beset with alopecia universalis? Is he, perhaps, wearing a wig? Does a hastily spirit-gummed toilet brush adorn his upper lip?

It’s possible that we will never know. We may think we’ve see our hero as we really is, but I suspect that his body still holds many secrets. Gaming systems will keep advancing, but our hero will remain what he always has been. We have, I think, yet to see his true form. Let us pray that we never do.

Underperforming Mobile Pages are Sabotaging Your Revenue. Here’s How to Fix Them.

by Today's Industry Insider @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

Your site gets more traffic from mobile devices than desktops. So… why are your mobile conversions so low? That’s what matters most after all. Right? Right. The typical reason? Your site sucks. Plain and simple. It’s hard to use. The organization is a mess. And it’s slow as a snail. But there’s good news and […]

We do not just build your site and leave you to ma…

by admin @ Spotlight Media

We do not just build your site and leave you to manage it. We are your partner. You can focus on running your…

The post We do not just build your site and leave you to ma… appeared first on Spotlight Media.

Google My Business: Post Specials, Updates and Promotions Directly To Your Listing

by Gary @ 3Bug Media

Google has been testing the ability to post directly to your Google My Business listing for awhile now.  But as of June 2017, they have opened up the feature to all businesses. Posting on Google lets you post directly to your Google My Business listing and provides a continued stream of fresh content for people searching […]

The post Google My Business: Post Specials, Updates and Promotions Directly To Your Listing appeared first on 3Bug Media.

Is Online Video Marketing Right for My Business?

by admin @ Online Advertising

Our Virtual Future

Our Virtual Future

by Jacob Brogan @ Slate Articles

A few months ago, I pulled on an Oculus Rift headset for the first time and stepped into a virtual reality meeting room. I was there to tape an early screen test for Conundrums, Slate’s new virtual reality talk show. My role was simple: I had been told that I was going to play the part of a famous comedic actor and that I just had to answer questions about his favorite sports teams. Though I am rarely funny and know almost nothing about sports, I was game to pretend. What else is virtual reality for?

Alone in the space, I started fiddling with the tools. Before long, I had figured out how to change the appearance of my environment. Soon my original surroundings vanished, replaced by a photographic 360-degree panorama of a gorgeous plain. I was somewhere far in the north. In the sky above me, the aurora borealis rippled like a living crown. When a colleague appeared a little later, he was transfixed. “This will end civilization,” he said. “No one is ever going to leave home again.”

I suspect he was being hyperbolic, but there was something earnest in his awe. He would hardly have been the first to detect a sinister edge to the appeal of virtual reality. In her book Magic and Loss, Virginia Heffernan writes, “Sometimes when I listened to developers talk about their eagerness to ‘immerse’ audiences in multisensory experiences, I thought I detected a less savory desire to imprison them in programming, to leave them with no sensory exit.”

If they’re desperate to pull us in, it may be because virtual reality always seems to be pulling away. After all, futurists have been promoting the supposedly inevitable rise of VR since at least the ’80s, always telling us that it would be everywhere within a few years. While the Oxford English Dictionary’s lexicographers trace the term itself to 1979, technologists have been working to realize its promise for much longer. In the ’60s, cinematographer Morton Heilig debuted the Sensorama Simulator, which sought to give users the look, feel, and even smell of experiences such as riding on a motorcycle. Later that decade, a heavy headset known as the Sword of Damocles allowed users to traverse wireframe virtual environments. By the ’90s, the technology had gone commercial with Nintendo’s Virtual Boy, a personal display with red-on-black graphics and a propensity to cause headaches.

Each of these innovations stumbled in time, but they still fed into the popular imagination, at once inspiring and drawing from science fiction’s VR dreamscapes. The most recent spike of enthusiasm accompanied Facebook’s 2014 purchase of Oculus VR, a company that promised to finally get VR right, for $2 billion. As Will Oremus wrote at the time, the social networking behemoth hoped to turn VR “into a platform that would allow you to do anything from shopping at a virtual store to consulting with your doctor to taking a courtside seat at a basketball game—all without leaving your couch.” The sale may have ultimately landed me in that VR conference room this year, but the surrounding enthusiasm still felt all too familiar for some. “[I]t just feels like they’re recycling the same old press releases and nonsense that people were talking about 20 years ago,” market researcher Ben Delaney told the Verge.

As this condensed history suggests, virtual reality has long been something of a stand-in for all forms of digital technology. Maybe this is why we’ve been expecting it for so long: VR’s coming apotheosis would mark the arrival of a seemingly inevitable moment, the time when our electronics will be so pervasive as to occlude the sun itself. Each new device—the Sensorama Simulator, the Nintendo Virtual Boy, the Oculus Rift—offered a vision of what technology could be, even if it wasn’t quite there yet. The era of VR, whatever shape it took, would be the one in which our world was more digital than organic, our every experience filtered through computerized lenses. The capacities of our own bodies would be replaced by the limits of our interfaces. They would enchant us, surround us, dictate the very parameters of our lives.

So perhaps to speak of virtual reality has long been to anticipate a loss: the disappearance of a world through which we move under the power of our own limbs. This strangely enticing fear speaks to a paradox all but inscribed in the term virtual reality itself. When we use it to speak of computers, virtual typically means “simulated.” But the virtual, as we commonly understand it, describes that which isn’t actually real. The first word therefore undermines the second, the very concept destabilizing the ground on which we walk.

Diving into the etymology of virtual, however, suggests another set of meanings implicit within our use of this peculiar term. In its oldest sense, virtual derives from the Latin virtualis, which the OED defines as “of or relating to power or potency” or, somewhat later, having “the power to produce an effect.” Closely aligned to potentiality, virtual referred to the internal, but as yet unexpressed, capacities of a thing. If those capacities were opposed to reality, it was only in the sense that they had not yet shaped the world.

This anticipatory valence of virtual predates our more common understanding of it—the one that opposes it to reality—by centuries, though it has largely fallen into disfavor today. Those who have continued to use it in that original sense are mostly philosophers. Many of them draw inspiration from the Nobel Prize–winning Henri Bergson, one of the early 20th century’s most popular intellectual celebrities, who made the virtual central to his speculations. In his 1896 treatise Matter and Memory, Bergson suggests that we rarely experience the material world as it really is. Instead, he claims, we pare away at the excess of our surroundings, discarding “what has no interest for our needs,” such that we perceive only the “virtual” qualities of objects—which is to say, their capacity to serve some function for us and our capacity to use them. If this is true, our very experience of the world is virtual, since we see objects on in terms of the ways we might manipulate them. Perception, Bergson proposes, is itself a prophecy about our own capacity for action.

Though virtual reality research remained distinct from such speculations, it may be at its most valuable when it inspires us to reflect on the body. Jaron Lanier, who helped popularize the term virtual reality in the ’80s, has argued that the technology encourages computer scientists to remember the importance of “physicality.” He claims that in the labs of VPL Research, his early VR company, they would sometimes show visitors a real flower after they emerged from a demo. The contrast with the digital environments they had just left would, he says, lead them to see the blossoms in a “hyperreal way.” A strikingly similar scene also provided the kicker to a notorious Murder, She Wrote episode, which likewise suggests that the true power of VR is its ability to refocus us on the vivid qualities of everyday sensation.

Some have, of course, warned that virtual reality can only impoverish our sense of the world. The Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek is careful to distinguish the virtual (in its philosophical sense) from VR in his 2004 Organs Without Bodies. “Virtual Reality in itself is a rather miserable idea: that of imitating reality, of reproducing its experience in an artificial medium,” he writes. It is “miserable” because it is organized around the fantasy of our ability to occupy another body. By contrast, the virtual, which Zizek writes with a capital V, is the story I tell myself about the capacities of my own body. It involves an anticipation of our corporeal agency, rather than a rejection of our innate capacities.

For all that, the virtual and virtual reality may yet correspond as the latter comes ever closer. If they unite, it will likely be through our understanding of virtual reality as a kind of simulation—something that we attempt in theory before we put it into practice. Even if virtual reality is inevitable, we may yet have something to learn from Bergson’s work. This was his lesson: The future isn’t what happens to us; it is what we see ourselves eventually doing. Our virtual moment may be coming, but in the constant reopening of virtual perception, there is always room to change our course.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Rough Week At The Workplace…

by Markitors @ Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors

Our Digital Marketing Manager, Emily Lierle, has had a real rough week of work in Cancun with ON THE MARK, an organization design firm … #WereHiring

The post Rough Week At The Workplace… appeared first on Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors.

4 Deadly Product Description Mistakes

by Sharon Hendricks @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of Freepik10 to 20 seconds. That’s the average amount of time a person will spend on your website, according to Nielsen Norman Group. That’s not a lot of time to capture their attention. If you have something to sell them, you have to wow them in that 10-20 seconds. Otherwise, you just lost a […]

How To Stop Unwarranted Bad Reviews: Using Your Website to Get Rid of Customer Complaints

by Christopher Williams @ Elite Web Professionals

Running a successful business is a fulfilling and enjoyable venture – until you experience a customer complaint, that is. While customer complaints are just another aspect to running a business, there’s no denying that they can be considerably upsetting to … Continue reading

The Most Important Thing We Can Do to Prepare for Weather Extremes

The Most Important Thing We Can Do to Prepare for Weather Extremes

by Jason Lloyd @ Slate Articles

Over the span of just weeks, two of the nation’s most population-dense regions began a long and difficult road to recovery. Houstonians have already launched their extensive process of rebuilding after Hurricane Harvey, and Floridians are just starting to return home to assess the devastation wrought by Hurricane Irma. In the same period, wildfires continued to scorch the Western United States, Mexico’s most powerful earthquake in a century struck just off its southern coast, and monsoons persisted in their deadly deluge of parts of northern India. As we seek the best way to offer assistance, we’re also considering how we can prevent suffering and loss from natural disasters like these in the future.

To get at an answer, we need to be honest about the problem. Environmental activists typically argue that events like Harvey and Irma should frighten us into redoubling our climate mitigation efforts—taking steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions such as rapidly transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy, for example—to reduce the risk of future catastrophic storms. Conservatives tend to deny any connection between weather disasters and climate change, and instead often focus on making sure any government emergency relief is offset by budget cuts (although that appears not to be the case for Texas).

But both of these entrenched positions, stoked by an increasingly polarized political environment, are mostly unhelpful when it comes to significantly reducing the harm the next natural disasters will bring. Instead, we should recognize that societies will always be exposed to natural disasters and that the economic cost of these disasters will continue to increase, even without the very real and worrisome influence that climate change has on many of them. This reality needs to shape how we prepare for the next Harvey or Irma.

First, it’s useful to more closely examine the forces that cause this scale of destruction. Harvey and Irma are both likely to rank among the costliest storms in U.S. history. But as assessments by Munich Re, one of the world’s largest reinsurance companies, have shown, economic losses from natural disasters have been rising for decades.

Damages caused by disasters are the result of three factors: hazard, exposure, and vulnerability. To take the Houston example, Harvey, obviously, was the hazard. Houston and its inhabitants were exposed to Harvey, and are generally exposed to the hazards of natural forces like hurricanes. The vulnerability of Houstonians and their infrastructure was related to how durable, resilient, or flexible to extreme weather the region was—or wasn’t.

Of these factors, it’s the latter two that are key to understanding the higher economic tolls we’ve been seeing and will continue to see from modern natural disasters. Yes, with more than four feet of rainfall totals, Harvey was an unprecedented, record-breaking storm. Irma, which meteorologists described as one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded, was, too.

And both were likely worsened by climate change. But, as with other major recent storms, the staggering amount of damage Hurricane Harvey caused was less a factor of the strength of the storm and more a factor of the scale of the human development it hit.

It’s part of a larger American story. We’re building more—and building more expensive things—in the path of natural disasters. We’re living in more concentrated areas that, when struck, cause economic losses to add up fast. We love to reside near coasts, in flood plains, or on fault lines and, in doing so, expose more of our wealth and citizens to the hazards associated with them. And, once we’re there, inadequate or unenforced land-use laws, imperfect evacuation procedures, and other lax planning often exacerbate the magnitude of Mother Nature’s destruction.

As an overarching trend, research has shown that the rising costs of these disasters over the decades have thus far overwhelmingly been a product of this increased exposure—not changes in the strength or frequency of these hazards, nor the influence humans may be having on them. This isn’t some climate change deniers’ conclusion, either. In the words of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: “Most studies of long-term disaster loss records attribute these increases in losses to increasing exposure of people and assets in at-risk areas, and to underlying societal trends—demographic, economic, political, and social—that shape vulnerability to impacts.”

To recognize this doesn’t imply that we should stop developing or stop living in cities, or that economic development somehow isn’t worth pursuing. Economic losses from disasters have risen, but GDP has risen faster. And, as Max Roser’s team at Our World in Data has shown, though the costs from property damages may have gone up over the decades, the number of human lives lost—that much more valuable metric—dramatically dropped. This is true even though the number of people affected by natural disasters has skyrocketed.

Unsurprisingly, the wealth that’s putting more people and property at risk has a lot to do with this trend. How rich and poor countries experience disasters illustrates this vividly. A case in point comes from comparing the earthquakes in Haiti and Japan earlier this decade. The 2010 Haitian earthquake marked 7 on the Richter scale and likely killed somewhere between 46,000 and 316,000 people (disputes about the estimates account for the wide range). One year later, the Tohoku earthquake in Japan measured 9.1 and killed 16,000 people. The economic losses in Japan were far greater because there was more valuable infrastructure to destroy. But there was also far more protection in Japan, so an earthquake 100 times as strong as Haiti’s (the Richter scale is logarithmic) hit a population more than 10 times the size yet killed vastly fewer people.

There’s something more than simply being a developed country at play here, and this is the key tool for protecting against climate extremes: adaptation. If Miami, San Francisco, Tokyo, and Dhaka, Bangladesh, are any indication, we appear more than willing to keep building and living in places with a high risk for natural disasters. That’s fine—so long as our governments and communities take on the responsibility of preparing for these kinds of known vulnerabilities. As we increase our exposure, investing in disaster-resilient infrastructure and prepared citizenries not only makes moral and economic sense, it’s also not dependent on one’s personal views about climate change.

One surprising place to look for models of this, actually, is the city of Houston. Though the Texas metropolis wasn’t built to withstand a storm like Harvey (as Slate’s Henry Grabar explained in a series of pieces), it wasn’t totally unprepared for hurricanes. City planners in the 1990s redesigned Houston’s road infrastructure to “collect” excess rainwater (which the city has now had plenty of) as a means to drain major flooding. Houstonians also benefit from tools like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s flood alert system, which sends real-time information directly to people’s cellphones. Like many Sun Belt cities, Houston struggles with sprawl and maintaining its infrastructure, but its diversified economy, large population, and general prosperity mean that it will likely recover from Harvey relatively efficiently. While there’s certainly more that officials could have done, the adaptations that spared the city from more catastrophic destruction illustrate how we might do things better for the increasing number of people living in disaster-prone areas. Other U.S. cities, too, are considering or have already put in place a host of preparedness strategies, including moving generators several floors up in case of flooding, improving evacuation coordination procedures, and engaging citizens in resilience efforts

There have also been some exemplary smart adaptation efforts in less-developed parts of the world, as we detail in our book, Climate Pragmatism. In the city of Padang, Indonesia, for example, residents—like other inhabitants of archipelagos and small island nations—worry about rising sea levels and powerful storms. To prepare for such risks, the city is considering an innovative approach: creating higher ground in the form of elevated parks. It’s a fascinating twist on traditional evacuation plans. A half-dozen of these raised public spaces could save as many as 100,000 people from the threat of inundation during storms and tsunamis.

Another powerful example comes from the Indian state of Odisha, where a 1999 tropical cyclone killed more than 9,000 people. The people of Odisha, determined to avoid a similar catastrophe in the future, worked with the Indian central government and the World Bank to invest in shelters, evacuation procedures, improved storm tracking, and early warning systems. When a similar storm, Cyclone Phailin, hit the state in 2013, fewer than 50 people died. The beneficial effects of concerted resilience efforts were also on display during the recent Mexican earthquake. After a devastating temblor hit Mexico City in 1985—killing somewhere between 2,000 and 40,000 people—the country invested heavily in early warning systems, earthquake engineering, tightly regulated building codes, and evacuation protocols. Though parts of the country’s south closer to the epicenter of last week’s earthquake weren’t as prepared, damage to the capital, one of the largest metropolitan areas in the Western Hemisphere, were astonishingly minimal. The technological and social innovations of these examples point to the kind of smart development and adaptation efforts that the public can invest in to protect lives and livelihoods of populations.

All loss of life is tragic. It’s unlikely that we’ll ever be able to insure completely against the risk of hurricanes, floods, droughts, heat waves, earthquakes, and other vagaries of nature. But stories like the ones described here show that appropriate attention to resilience can dramatically limit damages and save lives. They’re also the types of actions that don’t require political agreement on the causes—or even existence—of climate change. A push to invest in infrastructure, planning, and other safety measures to reduce our vulnerability to the obvious threats of natural disasters should be a no-brainer to liberals and conservatives alike.

To be clear, the effect of climate change on future storms is one of many reasons to reduce man-made carbon emissions as quickly as possible. But the fact is that climate change’s impact on natural disasters likely accounts for only a fraction of their destruction compared with the ways we’ve become more exposed to these storms. Failure to focus on this reality means missing the enormous opportunities we have for increasing our resilience to natural disasters, today and in the future. Let’s just hope we can learn the right lessons as we continue to dig out of their most recent wreckage.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

6 tips for making a logo part of your email campaigns

by Contributing Author @ Vertical Response Blog

Don't embark on a logo design project without considering how a new logo will work with your email marketing efforts

The post 6 tips for making a logo part of your email campaigns appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

Future Tense Newsletter: How Social Media and Flying Robots are Changing Disaster Relief

Future Tense Newsletter: How Social Media and Flying Robots are Changing Disaster Relief

by Tonya Riley @ Slate Articles

Greetings, Future Tensers,

Record rainfall from Hurricane Harvey deluged much of Houston this week, leaving countless residents in America’s fourth-largest city in need of help. As the official relief effort—including 911 services—became overwhelmed, Twitter became a powerful tool to relay rescue pleas and share other vital information about the storm. But there’s still a lot more the platform could do to make sure people aren’t being left behind, writes Christina Cauterucci.

Viral media isn’t the only technology being tested in the aftermath of the natural disaster. After the storm clears, insurance companies are expected to deploy hundreds of drones to survey the damage in what is expected to be the industry’s widest-scale use of the robots to date, explains April Glaser.

In more Twitter news, Russian bots are back in full force attempting to spread misinformation and sow discord after Charlottesville. The hotbed of hatred has led some tech companies to fight back. As April Glaser reports, one of the most prominent white supremacist and Nazi destinations on the web, Stormfront, has effectively been kicked offline—and that could have major consequences for the way the group organizes.

Other things we read between wondering about Waymo:

  • Make your voice heard: Today is the last day to join 21 million other Americans in voicing your opinion on net neutrality to the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Data fishing: The Justice Department may have limited the scope of its request for data on Trump protesters, but April Glaser explains that the narrower version still threatens democracy.
  • Blowhard energy: Leah McBride Mensching reports on the health and safety concerns that wind energy poses to the residents who live near turbines.
  • Poetry bots: Roses are red, violets are blue, as Leah Henrickson explains, machine poetry is nothing new.
  • De-LOL-reans: Jacob Brogan explains how disappointment and silliness combine to create “I Bet There Will Be Flying Cars in the Future,” the viral meme that perfectly encapsulates our dumb year.

Yours in the meme-verse,

Tonya Riley

for Future Tense

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.

How to Master Analytics like Will Smith and Amazon

by Today's Industry Insider @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

Will Smith is not just a pretty face. Nor is he just a likeable, talented actor. He’s a businessman and a master marketer. The only Hollywood star that predictably gets over $20 million per flick. Even his movies that didn’t get good reviews, like Hancock and Suicide Squad, grossed over half a billion each worldwide. […]

All of you guys are dirtbags…

by Danny @

“You’re all dirtbags”.  “Everyone in your industry is a crook and a liar”.  “What you guys do doesn’t work”. Sadly [...]

The post All of you guys are dirtbags… appeared first on .

3 Reasons Your AdWords Traffic Is Not Qualified

by Today's Industry Insider @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

AdWords is one of the most predictable paid media channels. By using it, you’re focusing on people who show their intent in advertising platforms. Search traffic is growing by a lot. In 2014, marketers spent $23.44 billion in the search channel. That same figure for this year is already $32.32 billion, and it’s expected to […]

The Small Business Toolbox #93

by Gary @ 3Bug Media

The Small Business Toolbox is your place to find free and low-cost software and services to help grow your business. The resources I post are usually easy to use and will provide some value to your business. All of the tools are ones that I either currently use or have used in the past. I […]

The post The Small Business Toolbox #93 appeared first on 3Bug Media.

The Justice Department Has Backed Off From Its Request for Data About Trump Protesters—but Not Completely

The Justice Department Has Backed Off From Its Request for Data About Trump Protesters—but Not Completely

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles


President Trump doesn’t like people who don’t like him—and he has shown again and again that he doesn’t much care about the rule of law either, at least as it applies to the actions of himself and his supporters.

So it was shocking last week—but given the tenor of Jeff Session’s Department of Justice so far, perhaps no surprise—when DreamHost came public with a peculiar request from DOJ demanding the internet company hand over the IP address information of 1.3 million visitors to a website that was used to organize a protest aimed at disrupting President Trump’s inauguration: DreamHost, which provided hosting for the website, pushed back, calling the request over-broad and essentially a fishing expedition to track down those who disagree with the president. “That information could be used to identify any individuals who used this site to exercise and express political speech protected under the Constitution’s First Amendment,” DreamHost complained in a blog post. In addition to the IP logs, the warrant also sought the date and time of when people visited the site, as well as information about what browser and operating system they used, and any unpublished blog posts or photos associated with the account of the site.

Now, after strong public outcry, the Justice Department has significantly narrowed its request, which DreamHost has described as a “huge win” for internet privacy. The new warrant limits the original request to records bweteen the dates of July 1, 2016 to Jan. 20, 2017, and also no longer asks for draft blog posts or unpublished photos saved with the protest website. It’s good that the DOJ is no longer going to get its hands on the name of anyone who ever wandered over to the domain, since there’s absolutely nothing illegal about visiting a website about planning a protest. Learning about a protest online is the exact kind of activity the First Amendment protects.

“The government values and respects the first amendment right of all Americans to participate in peaceful political protests and to read protected political expression online,” Department of Justice prosecutors wrote in their latest filing. “Contrary to DreamHost’s claims, the warrant was not intended to be used, and will not be used, to ‘identify the political dissidents of the current administration.’ ”

While it’s heartening that the Department of Justice is explicit about its intent to not profile people for engaging in a protected activity, the updated request still isn’t totally reasonable. That, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the nonprofit helping DreamHost with the case (where, full disclosure, I once worked), is because of the sensitive nature of the government investigating a website that’s specifically intended to organize political dissent. If the Department of Justice was truly not interested in identifying political dissidents, then it would allow a third party, like a judge, to review the records provided by DreamHost before they’re handed over to the executive branch. That way the Department of Justice would be more likely to get exactly what it was looking for instead of, say, a massive amount of data about people who visited a site in the six months leading up Trump’s inauguration.

So although the scope is significantly limited, and certainly far less than the previously requested 1.3 million IP addresses aren’t being delivered to Trump’s Justice Department, six months of information is an awful lot of stuff. And it still feels like a fishing expedition for people who are engaged in lawful political dissent.

What Type of Website Should I Build For My Business? Advantages Based on Programming and Formatting Language

by Christopher Williams @ Elite Web Professionals

There are several different types of websites of which you may choose to build for your business. These include HTML, PHP, Asp, .Net, Java, Flash, eCommerce, and Content Management Systems. Find out which is best for your business. HTML (Hypertext … Continue reading

You’ll Love Unlocking Your iPhone X With Your Face. So Will Police Trying to Access It.

You’ll Love Unlocking Your iPhone X With Your Face. So Will Police Trying to Access It.

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

It takes a lot of selling points to justify a $1,000 phone, and one of the most enticing features of Apple’s new iPhone X is Face ID, which unlocks your phone by simply looking at you. It is also the creepiest.

Rather than asking you to touch the home button with your finger to unlock, the iPhone X will use its camera to compare your face to scans stored on the phone—a method the company claims is much more secure than a fingerprint.

But unlocking your phone with your face also unlocks a flood of privacy and usability concerns, not the least of which being whether someone will be able to unlock your phone with your picture. (Apple says that will probably be impossible.) And then there’s potential scenario of police confiscating your phone and unlocking it by holding it up to your face.

Right now, police can’t force you to reveal your password to unlock your phone and search it without a warrant—similar to the same way police need a warrant to search your house. But some courts have ruled that law enforcement can force you to use your fingerprint to unlock a phone. And so there’s a real concern about what will happen when cops can simply hold your phone in front of you to get inside. As Elizabeth Joh, a law professor at the University of California–Davis who specializes in police use of technology, wrote on Twitter, it’s “a criminal procedure question waiting to happen.”

Some good news is that the new facial-recognition feature on the iPhone X also comes with a software upgrade that reportedly will allow users to disable Face ID unlocking by simply tapping the power button quickly five times. Doing so reverts the phone to unlock with your password. But a little-known software trick like that won’t necessarily protect everyone who gets their phone confiscated.

Apple reportedly uses presence recognition to make sure it’s really you there, and not a photo of you. And as for the fear that someone who looks like you might be able to break into your phone, Apple’s thought about that, too. Face ID works by mapping a face with 30,000 invisible dots, which is used to create a mathematical 3-D model. The company calls the special camera hardware it uses to map faces its True Depth system. And since Face ID uses artificial intelligence, it actually gets more secure and exact every time you look at your phone, building on its model. In other words, it learns your face as you use it.

And as you grow older or grow a beard and change your hair, Face ID is supposed to pick up on those changes, too. Phil Schiller, the senior vice president of marketing at Apple, said at the event that wearing a hat or glasses or changing your facial hair won’t cause the system to malfunction. But even if Apple thinks it can be sure it’s you, the phone doesn’t seem to have a way to tell if you’re unlocking it under duress—like, for example, if an abusive partner is forcing you to look at your phone. Sure, Apple could one day add a feature that can read your facial expression, but that would probably be difficult to make reliable. Humans, after all, have a hard enough time as it picking up on how we feel without special software.

One thing that differentiates Apple’s biometric play from other tech giants, like Facebook, is that Apple isn’t creating a massive database of faces that it may one day use to tailor advertisements to you. Rather, similar to the way Touch ID worked, the image of your face is stored locally on the phone; it’s not shipped back to Apple. Retail shops are already using facial recognition to find repeat customers or identify shoplifters, and Facebook could one day work with stores to point out who walked in, how they’re feeling based on the Facebook activity, and what kinds of ads they’re most likely to respond to. Apple won’t.

Privacy concerns with Face ID, unfortunately, might not be addressed until after a police officer actually forces someone to unlock their phone with their face. But a more immediate privacy concern, and one that also probably won’t be resolved until we get to play with the new iPhone X, is whether the facial-recognition sensors will allow us to be as private as we prefer to be when glancing at our phones.

Think about it: At the moment, if you want to slyly check your iPhone under the table or in your coat pocket, you can just pull it halfway out and unlock it with your finger. But with Face ID, it might be hard to be as inconspicuous, and that raises a whole other level of privacy concerns. Our smartphones, after all, are rather private places. We can have clandestine conversations, quietly and privately search the web without anyone really being able to look over our shoulder, or just check sports scores while pretending to listen to someone. But all of that is aided by an iPhone that allows us to quietly unlock it under the table—not one that requires you to look straight at it.

How Movies Imagined the Future of Transportation

How Movies Imagined the Future of Transportation

by Jacob T. Swinney @ Slate Articles

From a city sky full of personal planes in Just Imagine (1930) to the flying police squadrons of The Fifth Element (1997), movies have imagined the future of transportation for as long as they’ve existed. The video above presents examples past and present, plausible and not, including the requisite flying cars but also the sleek official vehicles of an authoritarian future. (The Running Man’s vision of cars in 2017 did not pan out, thankfully.) The video includes the year each movie depicts, including many already in the past. Just imagine what today’s sci-fi will look like in 2050.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

50 Influential Women in Content Marketing 2017 #CMWorld

by Lee Odden @ Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

With over 200 speakers, moderators, panelists and workshop leaders at the 2017 Content Marketing World conference, it is a substantial task to investigate the influence of so many accomplished marketing professionals. For this year’s list of influential content marketing speakers, I went a step further and took into account those who have presented at Content [...]

The post 50 Influential Women in Content Marketing 2017 #CMWorld appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

The power of your website

by admin @ Novocan

Every business owner knows one simple fact; ‘business is about image and reputation’.  The only way to build a successful business is by making your customers happy and bringing new customers on board.  Customers and potential customers use many different mediums to evaluate your business but non are more important that your website.  Customer loyalty […]

The post The power of your website appeared first on Novocan.

Tips for Making Video Content that Earns Attention from Andrew Davis #CMWorld

by Joshua Nite @ Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

The inimitable Andrew Davis is the best-selling author of Town, Inc. and an in-demand marketing speaker. After his presentation at Content Marketing World 2017, I can see why. He made me feel stupid. And I’m incredibly grateful. The best presentations make you feel stupid in retrospect. Of course! It’s so obvious that this is the [...]

The post Tips for Making Video Content that Earns Attention from Andrew Davis #CMWorld appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Social Media Agency in Hollywood, Florida

by CEO and Founder @ Digital Marketing Agency

You have a business, and you know that social media is good for your business. You also have a feeling that social media requires management because it involves your brand and reputation. So, what do you do? It would be a good idea to get in touch with Experience Advertising. We’ve had a good deal […]

A Different Approach to Fitness: Interview With Chris Rea, Founder Of ReaShape

by Emily Lierle @ Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors

We recently interviewed Chris Rea, founder of ReaShape and inventor of a speed bag platform that fits in any doorway — EZspeedbag. He likes to work out anytime, anywhere, whether it’s at his home in New York or on an adventure … Read More

The post A Different Approach to Fitness: Interview With Chris Rea, Founder Of ReaShape appeared first on Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors.

Feed the Machine: Content Curation for the Modern Marketer

by Bryan Johnston @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of Dooder/Photoroyalty – Freepik.comContent is king! Content marketing is the only marketing left! Content isn’t just the king, it’s the kingdom! Blah, blah, blah. You’ve heard it before. And you’re probably still dutifully cranking out content as fast as you can create it. I commend you for your dedication. <fist bump>But it’s not […]

Wind Energy Isn’t a Breeze

Wind Energy Isn’t a Breeze

by Leah McBride Mensching @ Slate Articles

Nearly 175 years ago, Lana Wanders’ ancestors settled in what would soon become the state of Iowa. The farm served as a stopping point for people heading west who had run out of money. Her forefathers would rent a piece of land to them for up to five years, so they could farm and earn a living to pay for their continued journey. “It was a handshake agreement,” she says while we sit on the porch of her classic white farmhouse, tucked just off a sloping gravel road between Pella and New Sharon in the southeastern part of the state.

But the land deals in this area today aren’t so straightforward and honest, she says. Wind development company RPM Access is currently constructing one of MidAmerican Energy’s newest projects, Prairie Wind Farm, less than two miles east of her home. Residents did not have the opportunity to vote on the project, which was approved by the Mahaska County Board of Supervisors. When residents have no recourse, and no government body to turn to for representation, it’s frustrating and even kind of scary. (MidAmerican Energy declined to comment on this story.) “We have nothing to fight with,” she says. “We don’t know where to go, we don’t know what to do. To us it seems like they just kind of slid in the back door and there’s just nothing we can do about it.”

According to the American Wind Energy Association, more than 36 percent of Iowa’s in-state electricity production comes from wind, one of the fastest-growing energy sources in the country. The state is first in the nation in wind energy as a share of total electricity generated, second in installed wind capacity, and second in the amount of money landowners make in lease payments, at more than $10 million a year. Iowa’s leadership in renewables dates back to 1983, when it became the first state to adopt a renewable portfolio standard. The policy set hard targets for renewable energy in the near- and long-term, and was signed by Republican Gov. Terry Branstad at the beginning of his first term. Branstad, now President Donald Trump’s ambassador to China, went on to serve as governor for 22 (nonconsecutive) years. Wind development emerged and then accelerated under the leadership of Branstad as well as Democratic Govs. Tom Vilsack and Chet Culver, who both served in the interval between Branstad’s two gubernatorial stretches. In 2001, wind generated about 488,000 megawatt hours of electricity in Iowa; by 2016, that number jumped to roughly 20 million megawatt hours, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. It has received wide bipartisan support, championed by progressives as a much-needed development in the renewable energy sector and by conservatives as a boon to big business.

There’s a common theme in feel-good news stories about wind energy: a renewable energy source coming to the rescue of poor rural folk in the form of rent payments and tax revenues. But life on the ground around the 4,000 turbines in Iowa is complicated, and the experiences of the people living near them varies, usually depending on how close to turbines they live and work, the size of the wind farm, and who built it. The rapidly changing pace of technology, a dearth of regulation, and close ties between for-profit energy companies and state and federal governments handing out billions of dollars in production tax credits has created a system in which residents often feel left out of what’s happening in—sometimes literally—their own backyards.

From the outside, it looks like turbines are popping up in the middle of nowhere. But for those living in the country, the turbines loom over their properties, replacing their bucolic homes with an industrial energy landscape. And fields are their workplaces. A turbine doesn’t affect just the few acres surrounding it: It has an impact on the entire farm it sits on, as well as neighboring farms.

Building and maintaining a turbine requires heavy equipment that damages tiles under fields, which affects drainage in surrounding fields. Drainage problems can hurt crop yields and even stop a farmer from being able to plant in the first place. A turbine also makes it more difficult, or sometimes impossible, for crop dusters to fly over fields around it in order to spray pesticides that protect their crops. Farmers also have concerns about their own safety, and the safety of the people they hire. Reports of turbines catching fire and throwing ice, even blades breaking off, cause farmers to worry. There are also issues of shadow flicker and the noise turbines can make, which aren’t just annoying—they can even make people feel sick. (There isn’t yet much research on the potential health effects of living near wind farms, and some suggest “wind turbine syndrome” might be psychogenic—though that wouldn’t mean people aren’t experiencing real symptoms.)

Farmers feel outnumbered and outfinanced by powerful energy companies, government officials, and green energy advocates, all of whom they say have incentive to ignore their problems. The key word here is setbacks, which is the distance turbines must be kept from occupied buildings, property lines, and roads. Farmers say if they had input on setbacks or could vote on where turbines were built, many of their problems would be minimized or eliminated altogether.

When they try to express concerns, farmers often face an accusation from those living far away: that they are climate change deniers. Terry McGovern, a professor of management at Clarke University in Dubuque and retired U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel, has grown frustrated by this dynamic. He says that if you ask, “ ‘Does it work? Is it efficient? Does it make sense? Is it our best option?’ … you’re branded as someone who’s anti-environment.” Though he is an independent voter, he says that questioning wind energy means that “people will associate you with Republicans or with the Trump campaign, anti-environment, [but] nothing could be further from the truth.”

McGovern lives on an acreage near three turbines and says he was very supportive when he first heard of plans to install wind turbines in the area. McGovern became skeptical, however, after a neighbor came to him with concerns about a wind developer’s proposition. He started researching the industry, and the more he learned, the more concerned he became. He now helps residents organize against wind companies.

More than 97 percent of wind capacity in Iowa comes from large project owners, such as utilities and wind development companies, according to the AWEA. The remaining wind capacity—less than 3 percent—comes from community wind farms, in which a group of landowners get together and put up as many as 10 turbines. Sometimes farms with high energy needs, schools, or businesses will set up one- or two-turbine wind operations, according to Tom Wind, who does pre-engineering and analysis for wind projects and owns Wind Utility Consulting PC, based outside Jefferson, 60 miles northwest of Des Moines.

For residents, big wind companies often don’t feel like neighbors; they seem more like overlords. Wind energy news stories tend to use the word lease, but in reality, “They want easement to your whole farm,” Randy Roghair says. It is typical for wind developers to lease the land a turbine stands on, as well as have easements that give them additional rights. Easements usually include giving the developer the right to lay cables that connect the turbine to substations and the power grid; the right to use nonleased land in order to access the leased land to build, operate, and maintain the turbine; and the right to prevent landowners from doing anything on their property that may block the wind. That can include planting a tree or building a shed. Easements also give the developer the right to “produce noise, shadow flicker, radio interference, vibrations or other impacts” relating to a turbine’s operation, according to Pace Law School.

Roghair lives on his family farm outside Royal, but he also works additional family land within the Highland Wind farm in northwest Iowa, which is owned by MidAmerican Energy, the largest utility company in the state and a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. His wife’s mother and surrounding landowners signed easements years ago. Five turbines now stand near their family’s property, while another 75 turbines can be seen in every direction. A power line runs under their field, and an access road also runs across a section of it.

Farmers say although they understand the companies need full access to their investments in order to ensure their projects run smoothly, it gives them too much control over the land and the people who work it. “It’s not just an easement for your access road and this little bit here around these wind towers. It’s the whole farm they’ve got easement to,” he says. “So now there’s a clause in there that says we can’t plant a tree, build a building anywhere on that farm they’ve got easement to, because it might affect the wind.”

He and his wife, Alice, said people approached by wind developers didn’t understand how much power the wind companies would have over the land and the people working it. In many cases, people signed easements years before turbines actually started going up, and technology changed in that time. So the turbines built were much bigger than anyone had ever seen when they signed on the dotted line.

Working with the construction companies and utility company has also proved to be difficult. Roghair says that cranes, semis, and other heavy equipment that are used to build the turbines, install power lines, and service the area have broken underground tiles that are used to drain excess water below ground, compacted soil, and torn up cover crops needed to control erosion and protect the health of the soil.

The Highland Wind farm has also made farming more complicated and less lucrative for Kelly Ney, who lives outside Primghar. Networks of tiles under fields are extensive, and because drainage doesn’t stop at property lines, the health of one farmer’s field is linked to his neighbor’s. Tiles under a field across from Ney’s land were broken due to turbine construction and maintenance, which caused drainage problems in his field. Ney says that despite many phone calls, it took so long for MidAmerican to fix the tiles that he wasn’t able to plant crops on 60 acres of his property.

Setbacks determine how much noise from the turbines is audible to those nearby, and whether they get shadow flicker, which is a pulsing light effect caused by shadows from the blades of a turbine rotating in front of the sun. In Iowa, like most states, setbacks are decided at the county level. Some counties are implementing best practices in setbacks, which commonly state that turbines should be set back 110 percent of the total height from the property line or road, says John Boorman, vice president of the Iowa Wind Energy Association. It’s different in Europe, where—according to Andrew Canning, press and communications manager for Wind Europe—setbacks are usually decided at the national level. Those living near turbines in Iowa say statewide or national setback regulations like those in Europe would provide oversight to help protect them from powerful energy companies using a lack of regulation to their advantage and would also give them a better chance at recourse if wind companies turned out to not be such good neighbors after all.

There are 12 wind turbines within a mile of Corey Gillespie’s home outside Primghar in northwestI owa, and if conditions are right, he can hear noise coming from up to six of them at once. The noise is most bothersome at night, when the blades are turned to a different pitch to be more efficient with less wind. Despite having relatively new windows, he can even hear the noise inside—which oftentimes keeps him up at night. Energy company workers and others who don’t live nearby “don’t believe us when we tell them about the noise they make,” he says. Workers came and looked at a turbine once, and didn’t hear anything at that time, and just wrote the problem off. Without further recourse, his only options are to put up with it or move.

Gillespie says he gets shadow flicker at his house for about a month in the winter when the sun is low, but there is more of it out in the field, where it’s more distracting as he works—something that Roghair says happens to him, his son, and his brother, too. It can even make Roghair feel seasick at times.

More than 40 percent more wind power projects nationwide are currently under construction or being developed than at this time last year, second quarter results show, according to the AWEA. By 2020, the U.S. wind market is expected to exceed 10 gigawatts in installed capacity, and wind employment is expected to reach 248,000 jobs nationwide, according to Navigant Consulting. In Iowa, 58 megawatts of wind capacity are currently under construction, and the number of wind-related jobs in the state is expected to hit 17,300 in 2020. The statistics paint a picture of progress and a straightforward path to a future of more renewable energy. But the numbers leave out what residents have on the line, and what they stand to lose, as the industry moves into their communities.

Janna Swanson has gotten used to being called a climate change denier. She lives outside Ayrshire in northwest Iowa and is a board member in the Coalition for Rural Property Rights, a group that advocates for landowners’ rights against wind companies. “We’re not being heard. Urban people, I’m sure, are so nice and kind and think [the wind industry] is good,” she says. But “they just don’t know how much it’s hurting rural areas.”

Update, Sept. 5, 2017: Mike Speerschneider, senior director for permitting policy and environmental affairs at the American Wind Energy Association, responds to the piece:

The vast majority of Iowans support wind power and want it to continue increasing,  including 90 percent of those polled in Iowa’s Third Congressional District. We've heard from rural communities across the U.S. and find similar high levels of support. Wind energy developers engage with communities and are sensitive to concerns during the often long and complicated process of developing a wind farm. Communities are the lifeblood of our industry and it is important that projects are developed in a way that is compatible with the local areas.
Wind pays back to communities in myriad ways from  buying students laptop computers to financing new equipment for local emergency services.  School superintendents and county commissioners view wind farms as an  economic development opportunity second-to-none. Farmers and ranchers receive steady income from wind projects that helps them  ride through down times in agriculture markets. These projects can even help  keep farms in the family for another generation.
Wind farms are creating opportunity and change for the better in rural America, but it’s understandable that some individuals may have a negative reaction when a wind farm becomes their neighbor. There is no silver bullet to power our society, and every form of energy has impacts of one kind or another—yet wind is among the safest and least disruptive ways to make electricity, including in the communities we work with.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

3 Most Common Content Management Systems – Choose The Right CMS For Your Business

by Christopher Williams @ Elite Web Professionals

Websites are more dynamic than ever. This means that programmers are able to give everyday business men and women more flexibility with making changes to their website without have to learn HTML, PHP, or any other website language. Consider a … Continue reading

We Need to Move Beyond Election-Focused Polling

We Need to Move Beyond Election-Focused Polling

by Andrew Gelman @ Slate Articles

The statistical theory of traditional polling is amazing: In the theory, a random sample of 1,000 people is enough to estimate public opinion within a margin of error of +/- 3 percentage points.

But this theory does not exist in reality. We cannot really get a random sample of American voters: Fewer than 10 percent of people respond to pollsters who call them on the phone, and it is not easy dividing voters from nonvoters. The resulting samples are unrepresentative of the general population of voters. Thus, even though pollsters can and do correct the sample for the consistent overrepresentation of women, older people, whites, etc., in surveys, and get adjusted samples, we have shown that the actual margin of error is closer to 7 percentage points. Aggregating polls within a given contest really improves the accuracy, but it does not solve all of polling's problems.

In the 2016 presidential election, the averages of traditional polls had Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump by between 3 and 4 percentage points. This was actually very close to her 2.1 percentage point win. The polls didn’t do so great with the Electoral College—those assessments underestimated Trump’s chance of winning. Reconsidering those polls suggests that the corrections performed for nonresponse in state polls were not as thorough and effective as were done for national surveys. We heard a lot about the poll misses in Wisconsin and Michigan, but in fact the largest discrepancies between state polls and actual votes came in strongly Republican states such as North Dakota and West Virginia, where it seems that rural, less-educated whites were disproportionately less likely to respond to surveys, and pollsters did not do a good enough job adjusting for these factors.

In the wake of the 2016 election, which was not the massive failure in polling that many imagine but rather a misstep that exemplifies the current flaws of the system, many are asking “what is the future of polling?” Traditional polls cost a lot of money, take a lot of time, and are very rigid in their question design; this is all done in pursuit of the impossible hope of random and representative samples. The good news is that it is possible to correct for differences between sample and population. No, we can never get all the way there, but in the recent U.K. general election, the pollster YouGov used the statistical technique of multilevel regression and poststratification, or MRP, to come close to the final result, in a race where conventional pollsters were far off. And, building off of our work with Xbox in 2012, two separate studies, both publishing their results during the 2016 presidential cycle, showed this could work: First, using the opt-in polling on the front of MSN, a MRP correction got 46 of the 50 states and D.C. right, basically matching the aggregation of the traditional polls. Second, using an ad-based mobile collection, Pollfish, the accuracy was even better. (Full disclosure: We have academic and business ties to YouGov and Pollfish.)

The most interesting developments in polling, however, go far beyond mere tweaks to the standard paradigm. Traditional polls are atomistic, focusing nearly entirely on characteristics and opinions of the individual respondent and aiming for a single target: Election Day. It’s when we move beyond these narrow focus points that we will start to see gains.

Instead of asking people just about their own views, let’s also ask about their families, friends, and neighbors. In addition to vastly increasing the effective sample size of a survey, this sort of network question has the potential to give insights into the sorts of political enthusiasms and dissatisfactions people feel strongly enough about to convey to others. Further, why ask the same people the same questions? Online and mobile surveys make branching or adaptive polling easy and effective. The system can ask the next needed question to any respondent.

And instead of zeroing in on elections, we should think of polling and public opinion as a more continuous process for understanding policy. The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was hampered by polls showing low public opinion, with Republicans seeing it as vulnerable. But because of expensive traditional polling, the pollsters were limited to asking a single question of overall support. At the same time, every single component (except the individual mandate) had strong bipartisan support. Cheaper and more flexible polling methods will allow researchers to study the nuances of public opinion more regularly, providing better insight into what Americans want politicians to do once they are elected.

So what is the future of polling? First, a move away from telephone surveys toward online and mobile polling and the gathering of opinion in less traditional ways, including data from searches and purchases. Second, a correspondingly larger need for sophisticated adjustments as pollsters work with data that are less immediately representative of the population. Third, network polling, in which we learn not just about individuals’ views but also what they are hearing from family, friends, and neighbors. And, finally, continuous polling that expands past the horse race, reflecting the continually contested nature of politics in our polarized era.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

How to Use Your Website Blog to Grow Your Business – Tips To Get More Sales From Your Blog

by Christopher Williams @ Elite Web Professionals

As a business leader, you want to increase customer loyalty to your products and services. However, you’re not exactly sure what’s the best way to go about doing this. You’ve tried cutting prices, reaching out to customers on social media … Continue reading

Future Tense Newsletter: How Facebook Is Coming to Terms With Its Political Influence

Future Tense Newsletter: How Facebook Is Coming to Terms With Its Political Influence

by Emily Fritcke @ Slate Articles

Greetings, Future Tensers,

Nine months since the U.S. presidential election, Facebook is still in the early stages of coming to terms with its political influence. As part of its ambitions to create a platform that goes beyond connecting friends and family, it has unveiled new features aimed at connecting government representatives to the citizens they’re elected to serve. But Faine Greenwood questions whether we can trust a social media network’s attempts to better our representative government. She writes, “Not only is it unclear whether these tools will actually foster meaningful engagement, it’s also questionable whether private companies like Facebook—even if they’re well-meaning—should be trusted to keep democracies’ best interests at heart.”

Relatedly, Will Oremus took stock of Facebook’s most recent attempts to combat fake news—a major problem during the presidential campaign, of course. He points out that the company no longer uses the term “fake news” in press releases. Facebook has also launched a “Related Articles” feature to the news feed as a way to give users “easier access to additional perspectives and information, including articles by third-party fact checkers.”

While Facebook wants to bring some tech to government, government was thinking about tech this past week. The Senate is considering (surprisingly) sensible security legislation for internet of things devices. In more concerning news, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is investigating the potential to use predictive policing technology—which critics say depends on biased data—in its new “extreme vetting” program.

Other things we read this week while trying to figure out why our stash of bitcoin doubled last week:

  • Coding boot camps: Although coding boot camps were supposed to be the next big thing in higher education, the recent closures of two high-profile camps reveals the industry is struggling to find a sustainable business model.
  • Wacky neural networks: Jacob Brogan talks with Janelle Shane about how (and why) she teaches neural networks to name craft beers and come up with knock-knock jokes.
  • Paper technology: Rachel Adler chronicles how improvements made to the printing press and the manufacturing of paper contributed to major societal changes in the 19th century and heralded the beginnings of mass media.
  • Sex-trafficking bill: Members of Congress have introduced a bill that would make it easier to punish online service providers when criminals use their services for sex trafficking. But Mike Godwin says that the bill, as currently written, could threaten internet freedom and innovation.
  • Religious apps: Aneesa Bodiat explores the benefits and pitfalls of using new technology to satisfy spiritual and religious needs.

Un-tagging myself,
Emily Fritcke
For Future Tense

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.

PacketZoom launches free mobile analytics tool for app developers

PacketZoom launches free mobile analytics tool for app developers

by Anne Freier @ mobyaffiliates

Mobile app acceleration company, PacketZoom, today launched Mobile IQ, a free mobile analytical tool which lets app developers analyse and troubleshoot app performances in real-time. The feature will be integrated as part of PacketZoom’s Mobile Expresslane platform, which has been built to accelerate mobile apps by up to 3x. The platform also rescues up to 90% of TCP disconnects and CDN costs. The addition of Mobile IQ should offer enhanced end-to-end analytics, control and optimization. The company has already vowed to keep Mobile IQ free of charge forever. Chetan Ahuja, PacketZoom Founder and CTO, explains: “We believe that monitoring data is simply not enough by itself. Mobile IQ helps developers detect issues and offers ways to control their apps by optimizing the connection, communication and

The post PacketZoom launches free mobile analytics tool for app developers appeared first on mobyaffiliates.

All Aboard the Bullet Train to the Future

All Aboard the Bullet Train to the Future

by Chen Qiufan @ Slate Articles

Translated by Ken Liu.

On Sept. 4, a proclamation from Beijing plunged countless initial coin offering investors from heaven into hell. (An initial coin offering, or ICO, is a way for cryptocurrency ventures to raise money by selling a small portion of the new cryptocurrency to early investors.) The announcement—made by the most authoritative government agencies in banking, securities, information technology, and commerce—declared ICOs to be “a type of illegal activity” and caused the value of all cryptocurrencies to fall precipitously. The morning after the announcement, Sept. 5, the price for Bitcoin fell by 18 percent. As of Friday, as a result of regulators shutting down Bitcoin exchanges in China, the price of Bitcoin had fallen by about 29 percent, and some cryptocurrencies lost more than half of their value.

Prior to this point, there were signs that ICOs were on the way to becoming the tulip craze of 21st-century China. Many lured by the promise of unimaginable wealth and utterly ill-informed about technical details or industry trends jumped in with the hope of getting rich overnight. One particular ICO promoted by the famous investor and Bitcoin booster Li Xiaolai managed to easily raise $200 million without even publishing a white paper (similar to a traditional business plan), which is an industry standard.

Indeed, this is but one manifestation of a mass psychological phenomenon in contemporary China that I term techneurosis. It can be seen in the fear of A.I. and robots raised at roundtable discussions, and hyped in the media and in the various tech startups that toss around “A.I.” as a key buzzword without any sign of intelligence. Those worried about being left behind by the rapid pace of technological progress can even pay for services like “knowledge insurance” (cost: about $40 per year), which grants the payer such benefits as having a “key-opinion leader’s” help with digesting a new book or understanding a new technology through a list of bullet points or an audio talk show.

The Chinese people are deeply anxious that they, or their descendants, will be abandoned by the future. As the Analects, a collection of Confucius’ sayings, observed, “anxiety comes not from poverty, but uneven distribution.” In today’s China, William Gibson’s famous quote is ubiquitous at tech conferences, on television shows, and in interviews with people from all walks of life: “The future is already here—it’s just not evenly distributed.”

The Chinese have always been gripped by a yearning for absolute equality. The anti-Qin peasant uprisings in the 3rd century B.C. that held it self-evident that “kings and dukes are made, not born.” The 19th-century Taiping Rebellion promised that “there will be no distinction between high and low, and no one will be hungry or cold.” Today, we see the pursuit of a “harmonious society” and the “Chinese dream” under the People’s Republic. So China has engaged in repeated revolutions in pursuit of equality, but each time, the goal seemed to recede further out of reach. China’s 2016 per capita GDP is 155 times that of 1976’s, and yet many individual Chinese people now experience an unprecedented sense of exploitation—with a painful gulf that divides the haves and the have-nots.

The wave of technology-driven entrepreneurship during the last decade has only sharpened this pain. Tencent’s hit mobile game Honor of Kings takes in about $4.5 million each month in revenue. Its overall profits exceed those of 98 percent of all companies traded on the Chinese stock exchanges. As the media sensationalizes the myths of technology-minted billionaires and the government promotes the development goal of “everyone an entrepreneur, together we innovate,” many young people are starting companies before even graduating from college. But just as most ICO investors are interested only in the volatile daily value of their holdings or “catching a favorable wind” rather than the innovative applications of blockchain technology, many “entrepreneurs” are only chasing poorly understood trends, resulting in total loss.

Everyone is obsessed with squeezing onto the bullet train to the future, terrified of being left behind on the bottom rung of the social ladder, and clearly, this train runs on tracks built from “technological progress.” Techneurosis is simply the national lack of a unifying ideology manifesting at the level of the individual. In July, the Chinese government issued “The Next Generation Artificial Intelligence Development Plan,” and one of the goals mentioned is that by 2030, China should become a world leader in the theory, implementation techniques, and application of A.I., and turn into the world’s main source of A.I. innovation. Even the government itself seems to be techneurotic: fearful about the technology race between countries.

How can the Chinese rid themselves of techneurosis? The answer depends on a person’s generation.

The cohort born in the 1970s and 1980s, who now compose the bulk of China’s workforce, grew up hearing about the deprivations and even starvations their parents experienced during China’s recent past. The lack of career advancement and the heavy financial burden of a middle-class life—health care, elder care, children’s education, housing, etc.—only add to their anxiety. Technology cannot bring them a sense of security, but it does enable a new way to imagine how one could work and live. Emancipated from the manacles of an office job, purged of the compulsion to squirrel away wealth, they could pursue a freer, lighter way of life, one focused on the feelings of the individual rather than traditional social expectations. Thanks to web-enabled collaboration and the sharing economy, many of my friends have already taken steps in this direction.

This age belongs to those born in the 1990s or 2000s. Distanced from memories of China’s poverty and freed of worries about basic sustenance, they can truly explore and find the beat of their own lives, unconstrained by China’s traditional insistence on each person keeping to his or her place. In fact, they can break through regional and cultural biases, observing and creating as citizens of the globe. For them, technology should enable a profound organic way to experience the world, a way to realize one’s own worth through active agency, rather than merely a means of impulsive consumption driven by anxiety. From Minecraft to livestreaming, the technology-savvy young people of today’s China have built up a multidimensional world outside of physical reality, where true ideals of equality may sprout and grow.

For older generations, it will be much harder. I can only hope that they maintain an open mind toward new technologies. On matters of policy and investment, they should consult the younger generations and gather input from multiple perspectives, instead of being driven only by fear and greed.

From the May Fourth Movement that gave birth to contemporary Chinese national consciousness to the “Four Modernizations” of Deng Xiaoping, imagined visions of a technology-infused future have always propelled China’s progress. Too often, we seem to forget that China is not an abstraction of collective averages but made up of concrete, distinct individuals. Each of them sensing the future and experiencing technology in their own way, affecting those around them, and the power of such emergent disturbance can often be far more powerful than is conventionally imagined.

Only by rooting itself in the human can a technological society find a future.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Russian Bots Are Trying to Sow Discord on Twitter After Charlottesville

Russian Bots Are Trying to Sow Discord on Twitter After Charlottesville

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

Although the recent events in Charlottesville happened 5,000 miles from Moscow, Russia didn’t sit this one out. As has become almost routine after every polarizing U.S. political event in the past 12 months, online Russian propagandists quickly got involved. This time around, they took to Twitter with an army of bots to promote and share extremist right-wing tweets and disinformation.

The Alliance for Securing Democracy, a project of the German Marshall Fund that tracks efforts to undermine democratic governments, monitors a collection of 600 Twitter accounts that are known to be linked to Russian influence, including openly pro-Russian users, accounts that take part in Russian disinformation campaigns, and automated bot accounts that parrot Russian messaging. They found these accounts busy at work in the days after Charlottesville. “PhoenixRally,” “Antifa,” and “MAGA" were among the most common hashtags used by these accounts this week. One of the central themes shared by the Russian-linked accounts after Charlottesville was an accusation, propagated by both the Russian news agency Sputnik and American far-right media personality Alex Jones, that the left-leaning philanthropist George Soros had supported the counterprotesters.

One example of a likely bot was an account under the name Angee Dixson, opened on Aug. 8, the Tuesday before the Charlottesville rally started, as reported by ProPublica. Described in her Twitter bio as a conservative Christian, Angee sent about 90 tweets out a day, in which she vigorously defended President Trump’s response to the rally and shared pictures that allegedly showed violence on the part of counterprotesters in Charlottesville. The account has now been shut down.

“BUSTED! Craigslist Ad Exposes Firm Hiring #AltLeft “Protesters” for $25/Hr,” read one of Dixson’s tweets. That was one of five tweets she sent in one minute, according to the archive link of her account. All those tweets contained links that had been shortened using a URL shortener, which usually requires going to a separate website to enter the URL and generate a new link, and that takes time. The tremendous speed with which Dixson was able to send her tweets indicates that Angee Dixson was most likely an automated bot, not a real human. Even the account’s profile picture was stolen: ProPublica linked it to a photo of a model that at one point was rumored to have dated Leonardo DiCaprio. Though it’s hard to directly link any one bot to its source, “Angee’s” tweets were reported to use similar language from Russian government–backed outlets Sputnik and RT.

The same Russian social media machine that blanketed Twitter with pro-Trump posts during the 2016 presidential election were reportedly at work after Charlottesville, too. Bots were weaponized during the presidential debates to give a false impression of a groundswell of grass-roots support for Trump. Bots sharing pro-Trump–related content outnumbered pro-Clinton bots by 7 to 1 during the third debate between the Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump, according to research from Oxford University’s Project on Computational Propaganda. In the timespan between the first and second debates, more than one-third of the pro-Trump tweets were found to came from automated bot accounts.

Bots also showed up in the days before this year’s French election, when the campaign of the winning candidate Emmanuel Macron reported it was the victim of a massive email hack. The documents spread like wildfire across Twitter, but it was soon reported that an overwhelming number of the tweets spreading news of the hack were from bots. About 40 percent of the tweets containing #MacronGate were found to be actually coming from only 5 percent of accounts using the hashtag. That tremendous amount of activity from such few accounts is usually a clear sign that humans aren’t the ones doing the tweeting. One account reportedly tweeted 1,668 times in 24 hours, or more than one tweet per minute with no sleep. Unless that account was manned by three people who don’t take bathroom breaks, that was probably a bot. Though, again, it’s incredibly difficult to tell how much of this bot traffic can be linked directly to Russia, but there is evidence that it was Russia was behind the Macron campaign hack. In April, the cybersecurity firm Trend Micro found that the same Russian government–linked hacking group behind the infiltration of the Democratic National Committee also targeted the Macron campaign with email phishing attempts and malware.

Bots are becoming a staple of social media as Western countries find themselves embroiled in polarized political debates. Trump’s Twitter followers, after all, are about 59 percent bots or fake accounts, according to TwitterAudit, a website that measures the authenticity of Twitter followers. All of which goes to show that retweets, likes, trending hashtags, and followers shouldn’t be taken as a strong indication of public opinion—and moreover, that virality is hardly a demonstration of genuineness.

Meet Appness Team at Dmexco 2017 in Cologne

Meet Appness Team at Dmexco 2017 in Cologne

by Artyom Dogtiev @ mobyaffiliates

Dmexco 2017 is just around the corner, and Appness is excited to attend this global business and innovation conference, Sept 13-14 in Cologne. Are you heading there too? Under the motto “Lightening the Age of Transformation”, this event stands for forward-looking developments and trends in digital economy, just like we do at Appness! Drop us a line so we can set a time and talk about your current business priorities over a cup of something 😉 Asya Pilyugina will behappy to show you how our CPA-based marketplace can easily empower your Facebook advertising efforts and grow the number of your donating users without any unreturned investments. See you in Cologne! Contacts: Skype: live:asya_401 Email:

The post Meet Appness Team at Dmexco 2017 in Cologne appeared first on mobyaffiliates.

Fensterstock firm wins verdict of $5,972,000 in action alleging breach of contract and violation of New York Labor Law

by Connie Fensterstock @ Fensterstock & Partners LLP

The Fensterstock firm wins verdict of $5,972,000 in action alleging breach of contract and violation of New York Labor Law in the Southern District of New York.

The post Fensterstock firm wins verdict of $5,972,000 in action alleging breach of contract and violation of New York Labor Law appeared first on Fensterstock & Partners LLP.

Is this the beginning of the end of performance-based marketing?

by Danny @

About 100 years ago I got my start in performance-based marketing.  I went to work for an affiliate network here [...]

The post Is this the beginning of the end of performance-based marketing? appeared first on .

Software Is The Lifeblood of Your Business

by admin @ Novocan

Having consulted a countless number of businesses on software and app solutions one thing has become abundantly clear. A business is only as efficient as the software that it has. If a business chooses not to use software in this market; they are most certainly falling behind the competition even if they don’t know it […]

The post Software Is The Lifeblood of Your Business appeared first on Novocan.

The Conversion Rate Conundrum: Common Mistakes and What to Do Instead

by Today's Industry Insider @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

In real estate, the axiom is location, location, location. It’s first and foremost. The number one consideration. For your digital efforts – email, web pages, eCommerce platforms – an argument could be made for a few different ones: search engine optimization (SEO), the user experience (UX), conversion rate optimization (CRO), or perhaps something else entirely. […]

The Internet of Hate

The Internet of Hate

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

The social network started in August 2016, three months before the world changed. The timing was not a coincidence. Founded in San Mateo, California, by onetime Silicon Valley–based Trump supporter Andrew Torba, a former ad-tech CEO, the network was initially built by just four people and with no outside investment. Torba, who was once kicked out of the influential startup accelerator Y Combinator for violating its harassment policy, had grown frustrated with what he described to BuzzFeed as the “entirely left-leaning Big Social monopoly” that decided what news deserved to be trending and what did and did not count as harassment on the internet. Now, a year later, Gab has more than 240,000 users and has raised $1 million via crowdfunding, which it celebrated with a middle-finger tweet to “Silicon Valley elitist trash.”

Branded with the face of Pepe, the anthropomorphic frog that has become the emblematic meme of the alt-right, Gab is a digital playpen for Nazis, white supremacists, men’s rights activists, anti-PC crusaders, Gamergaters, anti-feminists, free speech absolutists, and anyone who loves a solidly offensive joke. Notifications are sounded with the croak of a frog. If an anti-Semitic or racist or sexist remark isn’t the first post you come across, it’s likely the second, third, or fourth. It’s a “safe space” for the kinds of people the rest of us want to feel safe from. The users feel their perspectives have few homes elsewhere on an internet shaped by the left-tilting values of Silicon Valley, the rejection of which has propelled Gab’s rise.

On Aug. 17, the week after Nazis and white supremacists marched through Charlottesville, Virginia, and two days after Gab’s first anniversary, Google booted Gab from its app store.

That made Gab only the latest in a recent spate of online offings. In the past few weeks, American hate groups have found themselves being shut out of the internet, where for years they’ve gathered, growing into thriving and increasingly organized communities online. The gutting began before the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, when companies like Airbnb and Facebook booted some of the event’s organizers from their platforms. After the weekend turned deadly and scenes of white-supremacist mobs marching in the streets saturated social media and television, more online businesses began to kick neo-Nazis off, too.

Most prominently, the Daily Stormer, the white-supremacist website that served as the primary organizing hub for the rally, lost its hosting with GoDaddy after mocking the counterprotester who was killed by a white supremacist’s car in Charlottesville. The website moved to Google the next day for hosting, but only hours later the online search giant also banned it, effectively excommunicating the Daily Stormer from the open internet. Last Friday, the oldest and most prominent forum for hate groups online,, lost its domain hosting, too.

What’s new about that latest group of bans is that, rather than Facebook, OkCupid, or Airbnb revoking individual and group accounts, the internet’s gatekeepers are now kicking out whole organizations. The Gab removal, for instance, made an entire platform essentially unavailable to Android app users (Apple had already rejected Gab). Though Gab is still accessible through web browsers, a social media startup without an iPhone or Android app has a massive disadvantage. But Gab already had a plan in motion.

A week earlier, following the firing of Google memo writer James Damore, Gab announced the advent of a new movement. “Enough is enough,” read the Gab-makers’ Medium post from Aug. 10, two days before the Unite the Right rally. “The time is now for patriots and free thinkers inside and outside of Silicon Valley to organize, communicate in a safe way, and start building,” the post read, calling for the formation of a new group called the “Free Speech Tech Alliance,” which would build an alternative infrastructure where the alt-right wouldn’t be burdened by the social-justice priorities and liberal values of Silicon Valley—nor by the arguably monopolistic powers of the major nodes of the information economy, like Facebook, Google, Apple, and their peers.

Gab, and a growing number of its compatriots in the “alt-tech” movement, want to build their own internet, one that can be a haven for hate.

* * *

It’s not easy to build an internet. We may think of the web as an abstract, open field owned by no one in particular—a legend grounded in its origin as a government project, as well as our tendency to imagine its hard-wiring the way we do other communications infrastructure, like cable or radio airwaves. But the internet is really a series of core services, most of them privately owned and managed, that host content and give users directions to find it. If those core service providers don’t want something on the internet, they can do a pretty good job of disappearing it.

If the alt-right wants to escape the web that the rest of us live on, the platforms of the alt-tech movement that Gab has ignited will, for one, need to find domain name registries that will work with them. But already major companies like GoDaddy and Namecheap have decided to refuse service to sites like the Daily Stormer—a change from these companies’ long-running stance of generally not interfering with what customers decide to run on their websites.

Alt-right sites have other, more underground options, like using an unnamed, raw numerical address, or trying to find sympathetic managers of top-level domains outside the U.S., or going to the dark web, a part of the internet where websites can be hosted anonymously but are only accessible via a special browser, like Tor (that’s one thing the Daily Stormer did after being banned). If these websites hope to be publicly accessible, they will also need to find hosting, as well as shielding from technical attacks, like DDoS protection. But even Cloudflare, a web services company that specializes in defense against distributed denial of service, or DDoS, attacks and is famous for not discriminating against clients, decided to pull support for the Daily Stormer after Charlottesville, too. So while it’s not impossible for the alt-tech movement to grow into something bigger, if the big web service companies like domain registrars, security providers, and app stores refuse to do business with them even before they build their own systems, it’s not going to be easy.

It also takes resources.

The early iterations of whatever Gab’s movement produces may very well be funded by its builders, many of whom purportedly have high-paying jobs in Silicon Valley. Andrew Anglin, the publisher of the Daily Stormer, told Mother Jones in March that the majority of his site’s traffic comes from Santa Clara County, in the heart of Silicon Valley. “The average alt-right-ist,” the white supremacist Richard Spencer told the magazine, “is probably a 28-year-old tech-savvy guy working in IT.”

Utsav Sanduja, the chief operating officer of Gab, described the “Free Speech Tech Alliance” to me as “a group of 100 engineers plus from Silicon Valley who are working with us behind the scenes to create an alternative infrastructure.” The movement’s goal is to own its own servers and run its own web hosting, domain registrar, DDoS protection software, cloud storage services, and encryption technology, not to mention social networks like Gab and other “free-speech”–centric alternatives, like a YouTube replacement called PewTube. Sanduja claims Gab has received “hundreds of applications” to join the alliance, which he says is purposefully being kept small in order to protect the identities of its members who fear losing their jobs at Silicon Valley companies. Though it’s unclear where exactly they work, at least a handful are on Google’s campus, Sanduja claims.

Gab is building off the work of a number of existing alternative web services hailing from the far right. Pax Dickinson, the former chief technology officer of Business Insider who left the company after Gawker revealed his racist- and rape joke–filled Twitter account, has started his own alt-right crowdfunding platform called Counter.Fund. There’s also Hatreon, a free speech–centric Patreon alternative, which states in its guidelines that “Hate speech is protected speech.” There’s an alt-right-friendly version of Wikipedia called Metapedia. There’s even a small alt-right dating website,, with the tagline, “Preserve your heritage! Be fruitful and multiply! Join today!” Though these services are platforms for people who traffic in hate speech, they’re different from the message boards and forums of Stormfront and Gab, where white supremacist and anti-Semitic ideas are discussed and incubated, and where perpetrators of hate crimes like Dylann Roof and Anders Breivik find encouragement and become indoctrinated.

Dickinson is trying to appeal to investors, though he doesn’t seem hopeful. “Leftist VCs leap at the chance to signal their Leftism, regardless of how stupid the project is,” Dickinson lamented last week on Gab. (He declined to be interviewed for this piece.) Still, alt-tech adherents are convinced that there is a market for their services. “I expect the earliest adopters will be those with the most fringe and radical views who have already been kicked off of YouTube and other platforms,” said Anthony Mayfield, creator of PewTube. “But as the definition of someone who is a bad person who isn’t allowed to say things online begins to grow, I think the users of my platform and others like it will continue to become more and more mainstream.”

Since Google fired Damore and Gab lost its spot in the Google app store, the effort to found an alt-right internet has taken on a new urgency. Dickinson released a slide deck on Friday to try to appeal to investors and new entrants who wish to join the budding movement. “Alt-Tech promises to restore and revive the old libertarian ethos of technology as a leveler and tool for increasing liberty,” read his slides, which proclaim that the movement doesn’t care about race, gender, or pedigree and that its motto is “Shut up and code.” The plan promises to revitalize rural and small-town America by providing engineering jobs to people who will build the new “anti-Marxist” internet. “The first VCs to fund these alternatives will be the ground floor profit-makers of the Alt-Tech revolution,” reads one of his slides.

In the past two weeks, a handful of far-right video bloggers have jumped onboard to promote the nascent movement, including Styxhexenhammer666, a popular libertarian video blogger, whose two videos about the effort have notched almost 70,000 views. Others have posted “call to action” videos, rallying technologists to join the movement to build “new ‘free speech’ platforms,” which have also attracted thousands of viewers. While these might not read as huge numbers, they suggest a movement with a groundswell of grassroots support.

Browsing Gab itself reveals a constant daily stream of posts from self-identified engineers asking how they can get involved. One group that’s formed on Gab, the Right Wing Dev Squad, described its plans for the weekend following the Charlottesville protests: “My weekend is living la dolce vita: a beer in my hand, code on my screen, and a jew in my oven.”

* * *

The easiest way to describe Gab is as Facebook but with more racism. Not even the recent solar eclipse was exempt from becoming a racially charged meme. (Wrote one user: “The sun now identifies as black and it’s demanding reparations!”) Gab has private, invite-only chats including one called Alt-Tech Alliance, as well as topic-based message walls and individual profile pages. The wall to discuss the aftermath of Texas’ disastrous Hurricane Harvey, for example, is packed with posts about how Black Lives Matter activists are taking “advantage of #HurricaneHarvey to shoot #Whitey, and then post it on #Twitter.” Another post on the Harvey wall reads: “I hear God’s fucking up the blacks with some good ol nature cleaning tactics. God bless that Klan wizard goddamn he’s brilliant.” Of course, it’s not all rabidly hateful. Some users simply shared links to popular news sources and hopeful messages that victims of the hurricane would be able to find shelter.

Users can comment on and up-vote other people’s posts. When I joined the network for this story and posted looking for members to speak to me about the alt-tech movement, I was immediately asked by one Gab user how many Jews work at Slate. Others politely declined, saying the media couldn’t be trusted, while some were open to talking.

“Most of the people that I see migrating to alternative social platforms identify as either Conservative or Libertarian,” one member of Gab who asked not to be named told me in an email. “They see how there is a double-standard when it comes to enforcing so-called ‘hate-speech’ by Google, Facebook & Twitter. Much of what is being censored or shadow-banned is not hate filled. It is often simply an idea that the loudest do not agree with.” Unlike legacy white supremacist sites, Gab isn’t centered on any one political ideology, even if many hate-filled ideologies gravitated there. Rather, it’s ostensibly a place that values free speech first, no matter how offensive it is.

While Gab prides itself on providing a forum for unbridled speech, it does have rules against inciting violence, sharing illegal pornography, trading arms, and promulgating terrorist groups on the platform, and users can flag a post for review. Sanduja, of Gab, told me that the network has taken action to remove users who threated to kill Muslims and spread revenge porn, though he wouldn’t share any evidence of those account deletions.

What Gab does, like Facebook, is foster community. In this case, it’s a community that hasn’t always been comfortable showing its face in the real world. White supremacists have long found a home on the internet. On message boards and on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Reddit, communities of alt-right neo-Nazis and white nationalists have found a safe place online to share memes and validate each other’s hate-fueled theories.

That’s how it’s been in the past, at any rate. But this year, emboldened by the Trump presidency, they’ve made a show of spilling onto the streets, too, making it impossible to pretend that they were ever merely constrained to an online sandbox. It’s this real-world presence that is provoking louder calls for the major internet companies to do something about it. For better or worse, they are.

We don’t know whether the alt-right will be able to bring its dream of a second internet to fruition, but its complaints about censorship have underscored an essential truth: Control of the internet is effectively centralized among a few massive companies, something these tech giants may not want you to be aware of. However distasteful its views, the alt-right has smartly framed its battle in terms of “free speech.” This argument has currency elsewhere on the right, too. President Trump is fond of calling out Amazon, perhaps chiefly because of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’ ownership of the Washington Post. Fox News’ Tucker Carlson said on his show earlier this month that “Google should be regulated like the public utility it is, to make sure it doesn’t further distort the free flow of information to the rest of us.” Former Trump aide and Breitbart executive chairman Steve Bannon has also argued that tech platforms should be regulated like utilities. Combined with Democrats making antitrust regulation a central tenet of their new policy platform, the internet’s gatekeepers could soon be put on notice as never before.

It would be hard not to spot the irony if one of the most significant threats to big tech’s monopolistic power ends up being caused by hate groups. Gab’s Sanduja believes that Apple and Google shutting out his company from their app marketplaces prevents it from accessing 70 to 75 percent of its potential U.S. market. Even if you agree with banning Gab, the power of a handful of companies to banish anyone from the internet should give you pause. And it is one reason why the arguments of alt-tech advocates may find more and more friendly ears in Silicon Valley, where many entrepreneurs increasingly worry they can’t compete.

It’s also hard not to see this conundrum as big tech’s fault from the start. In a way, the alt-right is calling out the essential tension of the major internet companies, which espouse “don’t be evil” philosophies and want to “bring the world closer together,” yet also owe their popularity (and profits) to an internet where seemingly anything goes, until they say it doesn’t. Banning Nazis may be a perfectly defensible stance, but given the inconsistent transparency and enforcement of community guidelines from tech companies, it also has the whiff of the arbitrary.

In a more plural market, Facebook and Google and GoDaddy would be just as free to boot odious ideologies—but they wouldn’t face the same accusations of speech suppression, because places like Daily Stormer would have more places to go for their social-networking and domain-hosting needs. The early ideal of the internet was that of a great commons where all kinds of diverse opinions could be shared, where people could come to understand each other and to be convinced of new, challenging ideas. That particular utopian wish list may have always been naïve, but the notion that an open internet should not be controlled by a small group of corporations beholden only to shareholders continues to hold sway for a reason. Facebook was only ever supposed to be part of the public commons; the walled garden was never meant to subsume it.

Which may be why Gab and its Free Speech Tech Alliance has gained the trust of Nazis but can also invoke the rhetoric of left-wing antitrusters—well, to a point. “If Google and Apple are straight-up corporations for their political sides, they should openly declare their discriminatory behavior. They should be proud of it,” said Gab’s Sanduja. “They should not be mendacious and talk about change and be different. Stop engaging in sophistry. Come out to us as the major SJW platforms you are.”

Top image: Photo illustration by Natalie Matthews-Ramo.

NAR Internet Advertising Policy

NAR Internet Advertising Policy

Legal guidance on the Model Internet Advertising Rule. 



IAB - Empowering the Marketing and Media Industries to Thrive in the Digital Economy

Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy.

Troubles Ahead for Internet Advertising

Troubles Ahead for Internet Advertising

Bits Blog

Much of the commercial Web relies on advertising, but increasing use of ad-blocking software is just one of the problems that advertisers face.

How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing

by Seo Tuners @ SeoTuners

It doesn’t take a business major to understand the importance of digital marketing in today’s corporate world. This is especially true for small businesses, who depend on their local clientele to provide the backbone of sales. Ensuring that those customers can find the information they need using ‘NAP’ – is good, but the larger your […]

The post How to Optimize Your Google My Business Listing appeared first on SeoTuners.

Top 10 Strategies that Will Have Command Over Digital Marketing in 2017

by Seo Tuners @ SeoTuners

2017 has reached a flaming mid-point, while signaling the middle between 2015 and the new decade, and marking a clear uptick in several trends across all forms of marketing involving a few similar concepts such as instantaneous content and communication, automated data, and a general attraction towards white hat SEO services, instead of less effective […]

The post Top 10 Strategies that Will Have Command Over Digital Marketing in 2017 appeared first on SeoTuners.

2017 Internet Trends Report

by Jessica Lee @ SearchForce

In May, Mary Meeker presented her 2017 Internet Trends report at Code Conference. Today, we’ll explore the Online Advertising section of the report. Ad Growth is Driven by Mobile Digital advertising is growing at faster and faster rates. While desktop […]

The post 2017 Internet Trends Report appeared first on SearchForce.

An Incomplete Guide to Combating Mobile Ad Fraud

An Incomplete Guide to Combating Mobile Ad Fraud

by Artyom Dogtiev @ mobyaffiliates

Aside from several technical hurdles that slow down mobile advertising industry growth, there is one that is about a human factor and the name to it – Fraud. According to the research conducted by Association of National Advertisers, in 2016 fake traffic and bot-generated clicks cost the industry a whopping $7.2 billion across desktop and mobile. Obviously it’s bad news but according to the World Federation of Advertisers by 2025 this figure will increase 7x and reach $50 billion. The team of Mobvista, the world leading mobile marketing automation company, decided to put together this guide to help mobile businesses to know better what is mobile fraud and how we can combat it. The guide covers such topics as: The current state of global mobile

The post An Incomplete Guide to Combating Mobile Ad Fraud appeared first on mobyaffiliates.

Apple’s Wrong Turn

Apple’s Wrong Turn

by Will Oremus @ Slate Articles

The discouraging news about Apple’s self-driving car project, code-named Titan, continued this week. The New York Times on Wednesday reported that the company has narrowed its focus from building an autonomous vehicle to building autonomous driving software for an employee shuttle. That shuttle won’t even be built by Apple, according to the Times’ anonymous sources: It will likely just be a commercial vehicle purchased from a major automaker.

This development will not shock those who have been following the embarrassing saga of Silicon Valley’s worst-kept secret. Titan, launched three years ago, has been on a downhill trajectory for at least a year. In October, Bloomberg reported that an Apple-made iCar was no longer in the works, and in June, CEO Tim Cook basically admitted as much. What’s new this week are the details about the self-driving employee shuttle, which underscores just how far behind Apple really is, how confused the company has become, and how it might find its way.

Historically, Apple has defined its products around specific pieces of hardware. Its greatest hits—the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone—were all physical devices thoughtfully designed to create an intuitive experience for the user. Those devices, in turn, gave rise to Apple’s most successful software and services, including iTunes and the App Store. It wasn’t crazy, then, to think that the iCar could be the next iPhone: the blockbuster product that sells by the hundreds of millions and transforms entire industries.

A driverless car, though, is about more than the car. It’s about artificial intelligence. And that’s where Apple ran into trouble.

Of all the new sectors Apple has entered under Cook’s leadership, A.I. software—the kind you need to build a self-driving vehicle—is the most important. It is likely to take over not only our cars, but our homes, our gadgets, and increasingly our jobs. But Apple is poorly positioned in the A.I. race. Whereas rival Google has always been about data and algorithms, Apple is a hardware company first. In the software realm, its strength lies in designing friendly user interfaces to go with its devices—not harvesting and processing the sort of gargantuan data sets that machine-learning algorithms rely on. It is further constrained in its A.I. efforts both by its strong stance on data privacy and its internal culture of secrecy, which is anathema to top researchers in the field.

That helps explain why Apple’s initial car plan involved designing and building a vehicle from the ground up. Google, Uber, and others have a long head start when it comes to the software, but very little experience designing and manufacturing machines that people want to buy. Perhaps Apple could gain an edge by marrying the software to beautiful hardware. Alas, Apple quickly realized that building cars is quite different from building computers, and it was at an insurmountable disadvantage in that realm, too. (Ultimately, it seems likely that our self-driving cars will be built by the same companies that build our current cars.) This leaves Apple in the same position it has been in for the past decade: as a maker of sleek personal computing devices, with the venerable iPhone as its flagship.

But the technology of the future will not revolve around discrete, self-contained gadgets that each work in their own special, clever way. Rather, it will center on the ethereal intelligences that float from one device to the next, animating each piece of hardware, and gathering data and refining understanding of you all the while. In the context of the car, the key to the future is not the machine itself—not the arrangement of the seats, the engine, and the wheels—but the machine-learning software that drives it.

What about in the context of personal computing, where Apple still reigns? The iPhone shows no signs of going away, and it’s possible to imagine that we’ll still be carrying some form of computing device in our pockets for decades to come. But the way we interact with our phones is already changing. Touchscreens and buttons are giving way to voice assistants such as Siri, Google, Alexa, and Cortana. Manual typing is being replaced, in some settings, with predictive typing and even “smart reply” features that automatically compose messages on our behalf. Passive web portals and apps are being supplanted by push notifications that make proactive suggestions.

All of these new features rely less on the sort of user interfaces that Apple is so good at building, and more on—you guessed it—machine-learning software. That offers an opening to just about every tech company that isn’t Apple to take over one element or another of our iPhones’ functionality.

Facebook’s main app already dominates much of the time we spend on our phones; its subsidiaries Instagram and WhatsApp are taking over the camera and messaging, respectively. Google beat Apple at maps, and its email, calendar, and browser are smarter, too. But the most existential threat to the iPhone’s central role in personal computing may have come from the unlikeliest of major Apple rivals: Amazon. Its Echo smart speakers, powered by Alexa, are showing the world that the phone may not be the ideal control center for the smart home after all. Why pull something out of your pocket and fiddle with buttons when you can just ask Alexa to turn on the lights, change the channel, tell you the news, order groceries, play music, or even make coffee?

The Echo—or Google’s rival, Home—can’t literally replace your iPhone, in the sense that you can’t carry it around in your pocket everywhere you go. But you can carry Alexa or Google Assistant anywhere: The software behind the Echo and the Home could theoretically serve as the brains behind any number of devices, including your phone. (Amazon is already offering Alexa on its Fire TV; Google is now offering its Assistant as a standalone app for the iPhone, as well as its own Android devices.) The more you interact with this software, the better it gets to know you, and the more incentive you have to use it as your primary portal to the digital world.

Apple can make its own version of the Echo, of course, and it announced on June 5 that it is doing just that. It will be called the HomePod, and it’s entirely possible that it will be a better piece of hardware than either the Echo or Google Home. But as with the self-driving car, Apple won’t be able to win on hardware and user interface alone. The smart speaker, like the vehicle, is just a dumb vessel for the artificially intelligent software that drives it.

Apple, of all companies, should have seen this coming. Siri was on the very leading edge of artificially intelligent assistants when Apple bought it back in 2010. But Apple didn’t realize what it had. The company saw Siri as a nifty feature to improve its flagship device, the iPhone. As such, it never made the kind of investment in Siri that would have been needed to turn it into something much bigger. But other companies saw Siri and thought: We can do that. And so they did. Each of the big five tech companies now has its own A.I. shop and its own A.I. assistant, and some of them have arguably surpassed Siri in capabilities.

More importantly, Apple’s rivals—Amazon in particular—thought more creatively about the type of devices an A.I. assistant might lend itself to. That is, they thought of the software’s capabilities first, then worked backward to the type of hardware that would be needed to maximize them. And so, while Apple was busy building tablets and watches that worked like iPhones, Amazon went out and built a brand-new type of device that worked very differently. Ironically, Amazon’s smart speaker has a better chance of being the “next iPhone”—in the sense of a gadget that changes personal computing—than anything Apple has done.

There are signs that Apple is finally starting to appreciate Siri’s true potential. Its AirPods, launched last year, represent a potentially transformative new interface, not only for the iPhone, but for any device that Siri can power. As I wrote when Apple announced them, everyone who dismissed the AirPods as Bluetooth headphones was missing the point: They’re actually a portable version of the Echo, a voice-powered smart speaker that you wear in your ear.

Apple has also given Siri a more central role on both the iPhone and the Mac. And, belatedly, it is getting serious about developing the world-class artificial intelligence needed for Siri to compete with Google, Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, and whatever it is Facebook’s A.I. wizards eventually cook up.

Apple’s future, in short, is not a device—not a small one like a phone or a big one like a car. It’s Siri. And it needs to be smart enough to follow you everywhere, just like your iPhone follows you everywhere today. The fact that Siri already lives on the world’s most popular phone should give it an advantage that no other company’s virtual assistant can match. It should already know you—your habits, your preferences—better than any other.

Which brings us back to the car. Because Apple’s way into the self-driving business isn’t through the engine, the steering wheel, or the computer vision system. It’s through Siri.

Brave the Blank Page: Overcome Self-Doubt and Tackle Writer’s Block

by Melissa Steginus @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of FreepikPublic speaking is the number one fear in America. This fear, known as glossophobia, affects 25% of the population. With these statistics, it’s no wonder why so many of us are plagued with doubt when we open up a notebook or blank document.Whether writing blog posts, newsletters, or a book, your writing allows you to […]

Vacancy. No Nazis Allowed.

Vacancy. No Nazis Allowed.

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

This weekend, alt-righters and white supremacists will descend upon Charlottesville, Virginia, as they have throughout 2017. But they may find themselves without a place to party.

Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.

That’s thanks to Airbnb, which this week removed users who were using the service to book venues as part of their Unite the Right rally, as Gizmodo first reported. The company learned from some of its users that Unite the Right attendees were organizing logistics on the neo-Nazi website the Daily Storm, which brands itself as “The World’s Most Genocidal Republican Website” and has a poster for the event on its front page that urges visitors to join the rally “to end Jewish influence in America.” Once Airbnb confirmed that some rally-goers had used the platform to book listings for events associated with the anti-Semitic rally, the home-share site decided to boot those users’ accounts.

This wasn’t just an easy and correct call for Airbnb. It was also an example of how a platform company can actually make judgments about what is and is not an acceptable behavior, rather than simply waving away controversies by claiming it offers a mere tool for its users. That’s something that many deep-pocketed Silicon Valley firms can’t seem to figure out—and an area in which, until recently, Airbnb struggled, too.

In this case, the problem that Airbnb had on its hands was clear-cut.

“We’ve taken over all of the large AirBnbs in a particular area,” wrote a user named SCnazi on a Daily Storm message board. “So far, we’re close to filling our 7th house. We have 80-90 people, and are a mix of various AltRight groups.”

SCnazi continued: “We've set up ‘Nazi Uber’ and the ‘Hate Van’ to help in moving our people around as needed, esp. between our off-site locations and Charlottesville.”

Airbnb said it booted a number of rally attendees because they “would be pursuing behavior on the platform that would be antithetical” to the community policy,” which requires “those who are members of the Airbnb community accept people regardless of their race, religion, national origin, ethnicity, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or age.”

Not all tech companies have been as swift to act in similar circumstances. Like Facebook, which following the June terrorist attack in London allowed a post by Republican Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins that called for the hunting and murdering of “radicalized” Muslim suspects to remain online. Yet a status update made in May by DiDi Delgado, a Black Lives Matter activist, that said “all white people” are racist—an extreme argument to some, but not one that called for violence—was removed and her account was suspended for seven days.

And then there’s Twitter, where the alt-right has thrived, using the social media site to broadcast outright hate speech and harass people off the platform. Twitter routinely flounders when asked by its users to help protect them. Last year, actress Leslie Jones was driven off the platform after being barraged by racist tweets and inaction from Twitter in stopping it. Jones’ bad experience made headlines because of her celebrity and the involvement of Milo Yiannopoulos. But as almost any Jewish journalist who has ever written critically about Trump or any woman who has ever railed about systemic sexism can attest, harassment on the network is very real—and frequently goes unaddressed by Twitter.

Airbnb’s decision to not allow its community to be an organizing tool for a white supremacist gathering is an example of a tech company taking its commitment to community safety seriously. It’s also an example of a company maturing and learning.

In April, Dyne Suh—a woman who booked a cabin in California on Airbnb—was alerted only minutes before arriving that her reservation was canceled after the host sent a text message that read: “I wouldn’t rent to u if you were the last person on earth. One word says it all. Asian.”

Last year the hashtag #AirBnbWhileBlack proliferated on Twitter as a place for black users to recount their experiences being denied places to stay even when the listings were marked as open. Quirtina Crittenden, who started the hashtag after being routinely rejected by users with open listings, said that when she changed her photo to a generic city skyline and her name to Tina, she had no problem booking a place to stay.

While these incidents reflect racism on the part of Airbnb hosts and not values the company embraces, Airbnb decided that it had a serious role to play in making sure its service wasn’t a place that fostered discrimination. In April, the company entered into an agreement with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing that would allow the regulatory agency to perform racial discrimination audits for hosts who have three or more listings on the site, which the state has long conducted of landlords to ensure that fair-housing laws are upheld. Because of that agreement, the woman who rejected Suh because of her race is now required by the state to pay $5,000 and take a college-level Asian American studies course, as well as agree to comply with the state’s fair-housing laws. Airbnb’s latest move demonstrates the company is willing to act proactively—as opposed to, say, waiting for one of the partygoers to hang an anti-Semitic banner on the front of the house they booked.

More frequently, platforms only respond to such incidents when someone gets hurt or a news outlet embarrasses the company after a major misstep. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg initially refused to acknowledge that Facebook had a fake-news problem that was causing misinformation to circulate and potentially even influence voters, calling it “a pretty crazy idea” in November after Trump won. Now his company has “disputed” tags and has teamed up with fact-checking organizations to help combat the spread of misinformation. (Its latest effort, “Related Articles,” may end up being the most successful yet at tackling falsified articles on the network.)

Of course, social media websites designed for free-flowing communication are much harder to moderate than a website with a focus as narrow as home-stays. But those sites can still follow Airbnb’s lead: When people in your community complain, you need to investigate and take action. That means not being afraid of pissing off thousands of people who use their platforms to share hate speech—which, yes, sometimes bleed into broader accusations of partisan bias, which social media sites are particularly loathe to incur. In an industry where losing users means losing money, booting anyone is a big deal, but it can also send a big message.

Zuckerberg said in May that Facebook was dealing with its content moderation dilemma by hiring 3,000 more people to work on the issue. But adding thousands of more staff to deal with the problem is unlikely to change a thing if Facebook refuses to make a clear commitment to protect its users first and foremost. That means meeting with groups representing people who have been adversely affected by the Facebook’s current content moderation strategy to get a clear understanding how the platform isn’t working for everyone. But that’s not happening. In January, a coalition of 77 civil rights groups wrote a letter to Facebook requesting a meeting to address what the organizers called the “disproportionate censorship of Facebook users of color.” Facebook declined.

Twitter, for its part, says it’s trying to curb harassment. Last month, the company reported that it’s “taking action on 10x the number of abusive accounts every day compared to the same time last year” and now works to “limit account functionality or place suspensions on thousands more abusive accounts each day.” But that’s based on internal data, and whether or not those fixes are truly meaningful depends on how many accounts it censured before. Still, something is better than nothing, even if it has taken years for Twitter to step up.

While Airbnb did the right thing in this case, monitoring situations on a case-by-case basis is unlikely to be very effective. Its platform is run on software that can book reservations much, much faster than a human can erase them. And that means that the company might need to use software to monitor for and flag bigoted interactions on the site. For example, if a black user is repeated being denied booking requests that are otherwise open, technology could flag that.

There are serious limits to policing hateful activities. It’s nearly impossible to read a person’s intentions; we also probably wouldn’t want Airbnb to wade into political stances that don’t involve outright hatred and calls for violence. Which is why having a clear, easy way for people to report problems they are experiencing, as well as a commitment to quickly investigate and act appropriately, is important, too.

And if the racists, sexists, and anti-Semites gathering in Charlottesville don’t like it, they can go make their own Airbnb. It’s a free country.

The Small Business Toolbox #94

by Gary @ 3Bug Media

The resources I post are usually easy to use and will provide some value to your business. All of the tools are ones that I either currently use or have used in the past. I don't go into much detail here so I encourage you to take some time and explore each one to see […]

The post The Small Business Toolbox #94 appeared first on 3Bug Media.

4 Tips to Stop Killing Your Content Team from Workfront & Nordstrom

by Ashley Zeckman @ Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

The pressure is on! Content marketers are being expected to create more with less. And often, that means creating more content without adding additional team members. Unfortunately, the content copywriters are often the ones that bear the brunt of these situations which can be exhausting and cause content burnout. To help ease the pain, Workfront’s [...]

The post 4 Tips to Stop Killing Your Content Team from Workfront & Nordstrom appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

One Tool to Rule Them All: How to Score True Social Media Automation

by Bryan Johnston @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of Photoroyalty – FreepikLet’s play a game. Stand up. For every question I ask, stay standing if the answer is yes (you can sit if the answer is no. Take a break. Go get a coffee).Are you using social media as part of your blog and/or content marketing strategy?Do you share your content […]

We do not just build your site and leave you to ma…

by admin @ Spotlight Media

We do not just build your site and leave you to manage it. We are your partner. You can focus on running your…

The post We do not just build your site and leave you to ma… appeared first on Spotlight Media.

The Boston Red Sox Finally Found a Good Use for the Apple Watch

The Boston Red Sox Finally Found a Good Use for the Apple Watch

by Will Oremus @ Slate Articles

The Boston Red Sox are under investigation by Major League Baseball for allegedly using the Apple Watch to help them steal signs from opposing catchers, the New York Times reported Tuesday.

According to the story, the rival New York Yankees caught evidence of the scheme on video following a series against the Red Sox in Fenway Park last month and sent it to the commissioner’s office two weeks ago. It seems Red Sox personnel watching the catcher’s hand signals on video were using Apple’s smartwatch to quickly convey information about those signs to trainers in the dugout, who could then pass it on to players on the field. The Red Sox apparently ’fessed up when confronted by the commissioner’s office—then retaliated with a complaint alleging that the Yankees have been using a special TV camera to steal signs at their own home park.

Stealing signs—which, if done properly, tips off the batter to the type of pitch he’s about to face—is a time-honored ploy in baseball. And it’s actually not against the rules, provided it’s done without the aid of any technological tools, probably because it’s so hard to pull off. Using binoculars, video cameras, or other electronic devices to steal signs, however, is officially prohibited.

If true, the story may be another smudge to the reputation of Boston’s pro sports franchises. But it’s something of a PR coup for Apple, which has struggled to convince consumers of the Watch’s utility. The (presumably) unplanned advertisement comes exactly one week ahead of an Apple launch event that many expect to include a new Apple Watch—one that might finally receive cellular data without being tethered to an iPhone.

When Apple first announced the watch three years ago, the company made it look like the next great mobile computing device—a retrofuturistic, Dick Tracy–esque gizmo that would let you check email and send messages from the convenience of your wrist. But to the extent the device has caught on, users have tended to find it handy mostly as a fitness tracker that happens to have some additional bells and whistles. When Apple launched its second version of the watch last fall, it embraced that reinterpretation. And Men’s Health magazine this week ran an in-depth feature story on a “secret exercise lab” at Apple headquarters where the company puts employees through workouts to gather fine-grained fitness data and test new features.

Professional athletes using the watch to gain a competitive advantage might seem to be in keeping with the device’s new image. In a funny way, though, the Red Sox’s sign-stealing shenanigans are actually a perfect illustration of the sort of Watch functionality that Apple originally had in mind. The baseball dugout, it turns out, is just the sort of place where one might want to check some basic yet vital information via a subtle glance at the wrist, rather than by conspicuously pulling a phone out of one’s pocket.

On the other hand, if it took two years, baseball’s greatest rivalry, and a network of unscrupulous ballplayers to uncover the Apple Watch’s ideal use case as a communications device, perhaps it’s not such a killer app after all. Especially since, you know, they still got caught.

The differences between local and national SEO

by Danny @

DanMatt Media has all types of SEO clients.  Some are small companies that only service a single metro area, and [...]

The post The differences between local and national SEO appeared first on .

Netizen Report: Togo Government Shuts Down Internet, Texting as Protests Escalate

by @ Slate Articles

The Netizen Report offers an international snapshot of challenges, victories, and emerging trends in internet rights around the world. It originally appears each week on Global Voices Advocacy. Ellery Roberts Biddle, Mohamed El-Gohary, Leila Nachawati, Julie Owono, Nevin Thompson, and Sarah Myers West contributed to this report.

Internet and mobile SMS fell into a total blackout in the West African nation of Togo on the morning of Sept. 7.

Anti-government protests have been surging as opposition leaders demand that President Faure Gnassingbé step down. On Sept. 5, users began reporting that mobile internet connections were spotty and that social media sites like Facebook were inaccessible altogether. By the morning of Sept. 7, the same researchers told Global Voices that all internet networks (mobile and fixed connections) were down, and that all mobile SMS and mobile money transactions were being blocked.

Network testing firm Dyn and West African digital rights group Internet Without Borders, which has members in Togo, verified these reports through technical tests.

In a broadcast by Togolese Victoires FM radio station, public service minister and government spokesperson Gilbert Bawara confirmed that the internet had been cut for security reasons. “Even in most developed countries, authorities take control of telecommunications in some cases,” he said.

Protesters’ primary objective is to prevent legislators from allowing President Gnassingbé, who has been in power since 2005, to run for another term. The president succeeded his father, Gnassingbe Eyadema, who held power for 38 years.

While the shutdown has made it difficult for Togolese demonstrators to report what they’re seeing on social media, blogger Farida Nabourema was sending tweets from the Togo-Ghana border, where she reported that she was able to get a signal.

The shutdowns violate international human rights protections for free expression and access to information and contravene a 2016 U.N. resolution that condemned intentional disruption of internet access by governments.

They are also preventing hundreds of local startups and companies from working and delivering their services, simply because their work relies on internet access. A recent Deloitte study demonstrated that an internet shutdown can cost a country up to 1.9 percent of the daily GDP.

Indian journalist and Modi critic shot dead
Veteran Indian journalist Gauri Lankesh was shot to death Sept. 5 outside her home in Bangalore. Lankesh took a strong oppositional stance against Prime Minister Narendra Modi in her journalism and was convicted in 2016 of defaming two politicians from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. In recent interviews, she expressed concerns about the state of free speech in India after being harassed and targeted with death threats online. One of her last tweets read:

The police investigating her killing have yet to arrest any suspects.

Chinese man jailed for selling VPNs
Chinese authorities sentenced a man to nine months in jail for selling virtual private networks to circumvent internet censorship. The man was convicted of “providing software and tools for invading and illegally controlling the computer information system,” a rather unusual characterization of VPNs. Chinese authorities announced a crackdown on unauthorized VPN services earlier this year.

Communist leaders urge Chinese tech firms to join the party
At a recent symposium, Chinese Communist Party officials urged the country’s internet firms to strengthen their “party building” efforts. In an effort that is likely intended to strengthen party control over the internet, tech companies are facing pressure to set up CCP branches, which typically serve an advisory role within the company, though in some cases they may do more. This push may function in tandem with China’s new cybersecurity law, which empowers authorities to shut down sites violating “socialist core values.” At least 34 Beijing-based internet firms now have party branches, including Weibo, Jingdong, Sohu, 360, and Lets TV.

U.N. experts decry media censorship in Egypt
The U.N. special rapporteurs on freedom of expression, David Kaye, and human rights and counter terrorism, Fionnuala Ní Aloáin, expressed “grave concerns” over the Egyptian government’s increasing blocking of websites. At least 21 news websites are reportedly blocked in the country, including MadaMasr, Al Watan, and Huffpost Arabi, as are the websites of human rights organizations including Reporters Without Borders. There is no public record of which sites are blocked, making it difficult to verify the total number. “In the case of the widespread blockings in Egypt,” they wrote, “the blockings appear based on overbroad counter-terrorism legislation, and they lack any form of transparency and have extremely limited, if any, judicial control.”

Open science research site blocked in Russia
, the world’s largest free and open scientific research database, was recently blocked in Russia—though not by Russian regulators. In fact, the website’s founder, Alexandra Elbakyan, elected to block visitors from Russia due to what she described in a letter posted on Sci-Hub’s homepage as “persecution” that she was facing from Russian scientists who did not want their works to be accessible free of charge. Elbakyan, who is from Kazakhstan, began the project in 2011 in a simple effort to increase access to scientific and medical research in Kazakhstan and other countries where universities often do not have access to large Western-owned research databases.

Apparently, Twitter’s rules protect mosquitoes
A Twitter user in Japan was banned from the service for making a death threat against a mosquito. His tweet included a picture of a dead insect.

New Research
#FreeTurkeyJournalists: Database of Jailed Journalists in Turkey”—International Press Institute

The Guide to International Law and Surveillance”—Privacy International

Future Tense Newsletter: How Doxxing, Data, and DNA Are Disrupting Our Future

Future Tense Newsletter: How Doxxing, Data, and DNA Are Disrupting Our Future

by Tonya Riley @ Slate Articles

Greetings, Future Tensers,

Technology is changing the way we protest, and that includes how the government reacts to it. On Saturday, the Department of Justice requested a warrant to force protest group #DisruptJ20 to turn over data that would reveal essentially anyone who has visited the website of the group responsible for many protests against Donald Trump’s inauguration. Jacob Brogan writes about how DreamHost, the company that hosts DisruptJ20’s site, is resisting the effort and what this says about Trump’s scary record of collecting data on those in opposition to him.

In the U.K., lawmakers are considering a law that would ban the identification of individuals from anonymized data. That may sound great, but cracking anonymous data can be essential to important security research, explains Nick Thieme. And data security isn’t the only threat to our technological well-being. April Glaser spoke with researchers at University of Washington about how they were able to encode malware into DNA and what potential dangers it could lead to for hospitals and research centers.

Other things we read while wishing for more seasons of Orphan Black:

  • Still a bad idea: If everyone knows blackface is a bad idea, why are companies still creating apps to allow people to change their skin color? April Glaser begs developers to “knock if off.”
  • Book smart: Hardcover textbooks are costing underfunded school districts millions of dollars. E-books could provide a cost-saving answer for both students and teachers, writes Lindsey Tepe.
  • Ready, set, sew: If you think video games and crafts are on opposite sides of the recreational spectrum, this new game is ready to prove you wrong. Grace Ballenger reports on how new computer interfaces, such as looms, can make gaming more widely accessible.
  • Generation ¯\_(ツ)_/¯: Lisa Guernsey explains why parents shouldn’t be panicked by a recent viral story about how smartphones are changing the lives of teens.
  • E-market eclipse: Excited for the eclipse? Buy your glasses online? Amazon is offering refunds for some eclipse-viewing products—though it isn’t clear whether they’re all faulty.

In solidarity,

Tonya Riley
For Future Tense

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.

The Ultimate Marketing Strategy to Give Your Business a Boost

by Guest Poster @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of FreepikMarketing and promoting your business should be an ongoing process. A good marketing strategy is the scaffold that allows your business to grow because marketing should be an ongoing process. It can be easy to become confused or lost. Gain control with this guide to what a fantastic marketing strategy should be.Photo […]

The U.S. Military Shouldn’t Use Commercial Drones

The U.S. Military Shouldn’t Use Commercial Drones

by Faine Greenwood @ Slate Articles

I’d heard the rumors for a long time, but a leaked memo to a drone news website confirmed it: The U.S. Army has been using DJI Phantom drones, identical to those found under Christmas trees and in hobbyists’ garages. The U.S. Army memo directed all units to stop using the Chinese-made Phantoms until they received “follow on direction,” citing cybersecurity concerns.

Grounding the Phantoms is the right choice. But the U.S. military didn’t go far enough: It should hit the pause button on using all commercial drones, and not only because of security concerns.

The military is using commercially available drones because similar military-developed drones often lack their maneuverability, low cost, and ease of use—the same qualities that appeal to hobbyist dads and amateur mapmakers. The original memo noted that the Army’s Aviation Engineering Directorate has already “issued over 300 separate Airworthiness Releases for DJI products in support of multiple organizations with a variety of mission sets.” In a comment to Defense One, former Army intelligence soldier Brett Velicovich said that U.S. special operators in Syria were “using DJI products.”

The military remains relatively circumspect about how it has used commercial drones—I’ve been in touch with military spokespeople but haven’t been given any specifics. We do have some hints, though. DVIDs Hub, a media resource run by the U.S. military, has a number of photographs that show DJI projects: One photo shows a Marine explosive ordnance disposal technician flying a DJI Mavic drone during an unspecified training “while forward-deployed in the Middle East.” Per the photo caption, the drone “was a proof of concept in order to determine its applicability for operational use.” Most of the DVIDs photos show drones being used away from the battlefield, including in small unit decision-making training at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, the Dragoon Ride joint exercise between the U.S. and NATO in Germany, and during reconnaissance experiments at Camp Pendleton in California. The FedBizOpps website, which posts federal government procurement opportunities, lists a number of notices from the military that include commercial drones. There’s a call from the Department of the Army for a “heavy duty police drone” from RMUS (a small company that modifies DJI products), an Army call for two DJI Matrice 600 Pro drones to be delivered to the U.S. Army Research Laboratory, and a call for commercial drones from three different manufacturers for the U.S. Army Mission and Installation Contracting Command.

The U.S. military isn’t alone, either. The Israeli Defense Forces recently announced the purchase of DJI Mavic drones for the majority of its combat companies, while armed groups like ISIS and rebels in the Ukraine have been using commercial drones (very much against their manufacturers’ wishes) for a while now.

But consumer drones aren’t designed for use in conflict zones. The engineers who put them together aren’t primarily worried about protecting them against hijacking attempts or efforts to grab the data they collect: They’re selling to a consumer market that usually has less stringent cybersecurity needs than the military does. A number of studies have identified concerning cybersecurity vulnerabilities in popular commercial drone models. In January, researchers from the Federal Trade Commission found they were able to hack into three different inexpensive commercial drones from Parrot, DBPower, and Cheerson. In 2016, MIT students conducted a security analysis of the DJI Phantom 3 Standard and found that the drone was vulnerable to a number of malicious attacks, while researchers from Johns Hopkins University were able to use an exploit to wirelessly hack and crash a popular hobby drone. (The exact model was not identified.)

While the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recently ran a study finding that the DJI S1000 heavy-lift drone presented “no threat for data leakage,” one of the study authors told the Verge that similar tests on his DJI Phantom 3 Professional—a different model—found that the drone appeared to be sending encrypted data “back to DJI and servers whose location he could not determine.” Naturally, the U.S. military needs to be sure its data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands, so data leakage is very worrisome indeed.

It’s good that the U.S. military is taking cybersecurity worries about commercial drones seriously, as the memo shows. But cybersecurity isn’t the only, or perhaps even the biggest, problem here. By using off-the-shelf devices, the military also risks their drones being confused with those used by other organizations and individuals and could potentially cause further damage to the already dubious public image of civilian drones operated for peaceful purposes.

Let’s start with the risk of mistaken drone identity, which I’m particularly worried about as a humanitarian researcher. Journalists, humanitarians, armed groups that aren’t affiliated with a single state, and civilian bystanders all also use commercial drones like the DJI Phantom. What happens if people on the ground can’t tell these drones apart, especially in chaotic disaster and conflict situations? The potential for chaos is huge. The military might assume a drone operated by a journalist is actually operated by ISIS. This could cause the military to launch an accidental defensive attack on the drone and potentially on civilians operating the drone—a situation that’s just become more likely, as the Pentagon has announced that military bases are authorized shoot down drones.

If it doesn’t clearly identify its drones, the military could even risk violating the Geneva Conventions. One of the key principles of international humanitarian law is distinction: “[T]he parties to the conflict must at all times distinguish between civilians and combatants.” This obligates parties to conflict (like the U.S. military) to clearly distinguish themselves from civilians—and this extends to military aircraft, including commercial drones used by the military for military purposes. Unfortunately, little in existing international humanitarian law doctrine addresses consumer drones, focusing instead on weaponized drone use by the military. When unarmed drones used by civilians do come up, they’re assumed to be covered by the same rules as manned aircraft. This ignores some important differences, from the size difference between a Cessna and a Phantom to the fact that by definition, small commercial drones lack a pilot and thus can’t communicate directly with air traffic control via radio.

There are technological fixes to the “Is a friend or foe flying that thing?” problem. A number of research groups are working on integrating small drones into air traffic control systems. NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration, and a number of private companies have been working together on a drone air traffic management project and are field-testing their ideas this summer. Some companies offer lightweight ADS-B transponders, which permit aircraft to broadcast where they are, their identification information, and their velocities. Another solution—floated by DJI as well as drone and privacy groupsmight be remote identification, which is currently under consideration by the FAA. This would enable someone on the ground to pick up a radio signal from the drone with its location and registration number, similar to a license plate. While anyone would be able to tune into these signals with the right receiver, only law enforcement and aviation regulators would be able to “run the number” to identify the pilot. We’ll likely need a combination of these solutions to sort out the drone distinction problem.

Low-tech and policy solutions matter, too. Think of the Red Cross symbol that marks aircraft operated by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement. Perhaps humanitarian drones could use similar markings and symbols. Yes, they would be difficult to see from the ground, but even imperfect solutions would still be better than the current situation. Ultimately, a wide variety of actors and organizations should come together to decide upon the best method of IDing drones, including tech solutions, markings, and developing ground rules. These gatherings could drive the development of new doctrine in international humanitarian law that specifically addresses small drones used by civilians.

More broadly, military use of commercial drones has troubling implications for the entire industry. Civilian drone-users have long struggled with the popular assumption that all drones are in some sinister way linked to the military and law enforcement. But small consumer drones didn’t originate in a straight evolutionary line from armed Predator or Reaper long-range UAS. They’re really just flying mobile phone cameras, made possible by big reductions in the size and price of the same sensors and tiny computers that are used in your iPhone.

Most of the companies that sell consumer drones didn’t start as military contractors, and they remain a little wary of working with armed forces. DJI spokesman Adam Lisberg emphasized this when I spoke with him about the issue: “We don’t sell to the military, we don’t market to the military. We build our drones entirely for peaceful purposes. We know people can do all kinds of modifications to our drones—we can’t stop them from doing that.” He also told me that the military has yet to explain to the company what the specific encryption problem is. “We don’t have military-grade encryption, and if you’re using [our products] for a mission that requires it, you may want to re-evaluate that mission.”

Yet many people still assume that all drones are linked to the military—which means people are inclined to assume that even commercial drones flown by civilian operators are in some way linked to the military or law enforcement. Public mistrust of drones runs so deep that civilian drones are regularly shot at, putting people on the ground at risk. If the military adopts commercial drones in a big way, attitudes that link drones to the military will only grow stronger (and for good reason!). That could make it harder for groups like researchers, activists, search-and-rescue organizations, and others to put the technology to work.

I definitely don’t think the military should never use commercial drones in the future, once security and other concerns have been better sorted out. What I’m calling for is more thoughtful use. The military, humanitarians, drone companies, media, and other actors should start a dialogue about how to best share airspace in conflict and disaster situations. There should be support and funding for research that evaluates different commercial platforms and deduces the best methods of telling them apart from other drones. The military should be prioritizing the development of drones that work as well as their commercial counterparts but are manufactured by traditional military suppliers, are resistant to cyberattack, and can be readily identified as such. Grounding commercial drones for now would give the military time to sort out the cybersecurity and identification risks they present. That will make much wider adoption of drones possible in the future and will keep everyone safer.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Tips for Making Video Content that Earns Attention from Andrew Davis #CMWorld

by Joshua Nite @ Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

The inimitable Andrew Davis is the best-selling author of Town, Inc. and an in-demand marketing speaker. After his presentation at Content Marketing World 2017, I can see why. He made me feel stupid. And I’m incredibly grateful. The best presentations make you feel stupid in retrospect. Of course! It’s so obvious that this is the [...]

The post Tips for Making Video Content that Earns Attention from Andrew Davis #CMWorld appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Facebook TV and The Art of Disruption

by Eric McGehearty @ Globe Runner

Facebook TV and the art of disruption. To me, this is the most fun way to market. To disrupt. To change the game entirely. And Facebook has done that, continues to do that, and announced maybe their most ambitious plan to disrupt yet with the announcement of Facebook TV. They have said that their OTT, or over-the-top, content platform will be released this year in 2017. Just like Netflix and Hulu, you will be able to enjoy original Facebook content ...

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What Does an Online Marketing Company Do?

by admin @ Online Advertising

The Trump Administration Is Barely Regulating Self-Driving Cars. What Could Go Wrong?

The Trump Administration Is Barely Regulating Self-Driving Cars. What Could Go Wrong?

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

We tend to think of self-driving cars in utopian terms, as benevolent conveyances that, once optimized, will make their passengers safer by removing their human shortcomings from the transportation equation. But until that future happens, they’re also large robots asking that we trust they won’t harm us. That includes not only passengers but also other drivers, kids that dart out onto the street, bicyclists, storefronts, and basically anyone or anything that might be hit by a hulking pile of steel capable of movement at more than 60 miles per hour.

That trust isn’t going to be easy to win. But President Trump’s Department of Transportation doesn’t seem too concerned. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao released a set of guidelines on Tuesday for the budding self-driving car industry. Her approach: Let’s not regulate it.

The new guidelines, dubbed Vision for Safety 2.0, actually scale back Obama-era rules released last year that were already quite lenient. Like the old guidance, Chao’s new safety standards are as optional as a sunroof. “This Guidance is entirely voluntary, with no compliance requirement or enforcement mechanism,” reads the document. That means the Lyft and Uber and Waymo, Google’s self-driving car project, are free to ignore them. And considering Uber’s demonstrated disdain for following regulations, it’s hard to imagine that, without hard federal requirements to follow them, the Silicon Valley entrepreneur types behind these companies will comply. (Of course these companies are currently beholden to state and local regulations, which are hardly uniform.)

Enforceability aside, the new guidance includes fewer safety recommendations than last year’s, too. There’s now a 12-point safety standard, as opposed to the 15 questions that Obama’s DoT recommended carmakers consider. Self-driving car manufacturers are still being asked to think about things like how vehicles can safely pull over if something goes awry and how to safely operate on different types of roads, but they exclude considerations like driver privacy, which may become important down the road, since driverless cars by design collect a massive amount of data. While a light regulatory touch will likely help developers innovate quickly and test what works and what doesn’t, a lack of real safety mandates could be a recipe for disaster—especially because these cars need to be tested on human-occupied roads.

As Deborah Hersman, the president and CEO of the National Safety Council put it, since the first self-driving car guidelines were released last year, “DOT has yet to receive any Safety Assessments, even though vehicles are being tested in many states.” Surprise! When regulators don’t require safety compliance, manufacturers don’t comply. A safety assessment is what the DOT is asking carmakers to voluntarily submit to demonstrate their approach to safety and the guidelines.

The guidelines also no longei r apply to cars with partial automation, where drivers are still asked to “remain engaged with the driving task.” The timing of Tuesday’s scaled-back guidelines is telling. On Tuesday, the National Transportation Safety Board found that Tesla’s semi-autonomous Autopilot system that is supposed to robotically steer and control a car “played a major role” in a fatal crash in Florida last year. Joshua Brown, the driver, is the first person to die in a car that drives itself. The NTSB found that Brown’s “inattention” paired with Tesla’s self-driving system “permitted the car driver’s overreliance on the automation.”

While the involvement of a self-driving car is tragic in this case, a disturbing number of people die from manned car accidents every year too. In fact, the past two years represent the highest uptick in automobile-related deaths in more than a half-century. Still, that doesn’t mean that the answer to one problem is to barrel forward with bringing technologies to market that could bring a new wave of fatalities without proper regulations in place to ensure the safety of those systems.

But even if the regulatory agencies are taking a hands-off-the-wheel approach here, that doesn’t mean Congress has to. The House passed a proposal earlier this month that could force self-driving carmakers to make a clear case that their technology is safe enough to drive alongside cars with humans at the wheel. A companion bill was is now being drafted in the Senate.

Still, the House proposal is designed to make it even easier for self-driving cars to hit the road by raising the number of exemptions from regular car regulations self-driving car manufacturers can request—meaning there could be up to 100,000 robocars on American roadways in a few years. Those exemptions could involve things like steering wheels, which autonomous carmakers may not want to include in their designs—or it could involve workarounds regulators haven’t yet thought of. What it ultimately means is we could have more autonomous cars driving on U.S. roads before we have a real sense of what it means for self-driving technology to be designed safely. The roads still belong to the rest of us. And so should the rules.

Future Tense Newsletter: Who Gets to Police the Internet?

Future Tense Newsletter: Who Gets to Police the Internet?

by Emily Fritcke @ Slate Articles

Greetings, Future Tensers,

As many took to the streets to protest hate, intimidation, and organized racism in the United States, activists also intensified pressure on social media and web hosting companies to crack down on the vitriolic content that appears on their platforms.

In one of the most publicized examples last week, GoDaddy dropped neo-Nazi site the Daily Stormer after it published content critical of Charlottesville victim Heather Heyer. Google Domains and other services soon followed suit. Until recently, there was one notable holdout: the server company Cloudflare. But a few days later it, too, acquiesced to public outcry as CEO Matthew Prince made what he called “an arbitrary decision” to pull the plug. As Will Oremus writes, the cascading events show the deep flaws of the system in which a small number of companies can make such determinations on a whim.

Facebook, too, provided yet another example of why we need clearer frameworks for content regulation last week. Alongside its purge of white supremacist and neo-Nazi hate group pages, it also banned a conservative, Los Angeles–based street artist named Sabo. The timing of Sabo’s suspension was curious, explains April Glaser. Though the inflammatory artist has been booted from Facebook for his hateful art before, this last removal came shortly after he hung “Fuck Zuck 2020” posters in a number of California cities—seemingly showing that the social network has a lower bar for banning speech when a user insults its CEO.

While we look for clearer and fairer policing from powerful American internet companies, government shutdowns of the web in parts of Pakistan and Cameroon provide prescient reminders of the critical role that free and open platforms play in a democratic society.

Other things we read this week between panic-scanning the internet to find out how bad it really was to have looked at the eclipse without protective eyewear:

  • Touch ID: Apple’s next iOS will come with a new feature that lets users quickly disable Touch ID as a way to unlock their phones—an extra layer of protection that could prevent law enforcement agents and others from forcibly gaining access to personal devices.
  • Science police: Keith Kloor explores how researchers in highly controversial fields struggle to balance science and advocacy.
  • The public voice: As genetic engineering advances, Robert Cook-Deegan and Jane Maienschein believe there should be an open public debate about the ethics of genetically engineering humans.

Rubbing my eyes,

Emily Fritcke

for Future Tense

Future Tense is a partnership of Slate, New America, and Arizona State University.

What SEO Strategy Can Dominate Your Market?

by Seo Tuners @ SeoTuners

In today’s content rich and search driven world, refining SEO strategies to tap into your niche market in specific ways is absolutely essential. You can no longer depend solely on blind PPC or display ads to drive traffic to your site. It’s time to re-think how you approach SEO and site traffic. The Power of […]

The post What SEO Strategy Can Dominate Your Market? appeared first on SeoTuners.

IBM’s Watson Supercomputer Was Supposed to Revolutionize Oncology. Things Aren’t Going Great.

IBM’s Watson Supercomputer Was Supposed to Revolutionize Oncology. Things Aren’t Going Great.

by Jacob Brogan @ Slate Articles

In an IBM commercial from 2016, an adorable, gap-toothed girl named Annabelle sits down on a couch to chat with Watson, the company’s supercomputer. Reminding her that her birthday is coming up, it asks whether she’ll be having a cake. She cheerily responds that she will, even though she was too sick the year before. “The data your doctor shared shows you’re healthy,” it tells her in its clipped voice, adding that it helps physicians identify cancer treatments. “Watson, I like you,” Annabelle chirps as the segment concludes.

Chatty and personable, the Watson of this commercial—as in many of IBM’s more celebrity-focused spots—seems designed to assuage public fears about malevolent artificial intelligence: This is a HAL 9000 who would happily open the pod bay doors for you, so long as you asked nicely. Even the computer’s name—a reference to former IBM chairman Thomas J. Watson—also evokes that of Sherlock Holmes’ bumbling colleague, arguably suggesting that A.I. is there to help advance our stories, not to replace the human mind.*

That’s a worthy ideal, and one that squares with the hopes of artificial intelligence researchers who believe advanced algorithms will facilitate human labor instead of supplanting it. It is, notably, the goal of IBM’s Watson for Oncology, the ambitious project referenced in that commercial, which promises to let doctors “Spend less time searching literature and [electronic medical records], and more time caring for patients.” Despite the occasional, enthusiastic article proposing that the supercomputer will become the “best doctor in the world,” its goal has always been to ease the work of clinicians, not to supplant them.

The trouble is, Watson may not even be good at that relatively modest task.

In a lengthy and heavily reported article from Stat, Casey Ross and Ike Swetlitz write that the widely touted oncology system doesn’t appear to be as useful as IBM’s marketing suggests. As they put it, their reporting “suggest[s] that IBM, in its rush to bolster flagging revenue, unleashed a product without fully assessing the challenges of deploying it in hospitals globally.”

As Jennings Brown has written in Gizmodo, Watson has long been more a triumph of marketing than anything else, but Stat offers a deep dive into the supercomputer’s practical limitations. Among other things, Watson for Oncology fails to live up to the most sweeping promise of AI-assisted medical care: that it would help generate novel treatment regimens from individual patient data. To the contrary, Ross and Swetlitz explain, Watson’s recommendations rely “exclusively on training by human overseers, who laboriously feed Watson information about how patients with specific characteristics should be treated.”

That training comes entirely from the work of physicians at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York. After receiving a given patient’s medical records, Watson reportedly crawls through the database those doctors have created and provides a list of recommended treatment plans. It organizes these suggestions according to their probable efficacy, though the design of the system is such that it cannot explain why it weighs one over another.

It’s here that the true problems begin to reveal themselves. According to one of Ross and Swetlitz’s sources, for example, Watson sometimes suggests a chemotherapy drug for patients whose cancer has spread to the lymph nodes, even when it has been given information about a patient whose cancer has not spread to the lymph nodes.

In other cases, its recommendations show a clear geographic bias: Because its proposals derive from a single hospital, they fail to take the treatment protocols of other countries into account. Where Memorial Sloan Kettering’s patients are, Ross and Swetlitz write, “generally affluent,” other hospitals may not have access to the same resources. Accordingly, Watson threatens to devolve into another example of algorithmic bias, normatively imposing judgments that apply to a specific population, whether or not they are optimal in other parts of the world.

Such considerations come to a head, Ross and Swetlitz suggest, in IBM’s failure to empirically demonstrate that Watson improves medical care in any meaningful way. While some reporting does indicate that the computer can save clinical research time in certain contexts, no studies on Watson for Oncology have yet appeared in peer-reviewed publications. Where research has been conducted, it’s not always positive: Unpublished work from Denmark, for example, indicates only 33 percent agreement between the computer’s proposals and those of medical professionals. And even where the alignment is higher, Ross and Swetlitz write, “[S]howing that Watson agrees with the doctors proves only that it is competent in applying existing methods of care, not that it can improve them.”

As CNBC reports, a “recent Gallup survey [found] that about one in eight workers, or 13 percent of Americans … believe it’s likely they will lose their jobs due to new technology, automation, robots or AI in the next five years.” Given that A.I. is likely to leave millions unemployed in the years ahead, it’s tempting to suggest that 87 percent of Americans aren’t worried enough. As Stat’s investigation shows, however, oncologists are probably safe—at least for now.

*Correction, Sept. 6, 2017: This post originally misidentified the origin of the name of the IBM supercomputer Watson.

Understanding Keyword Intent and How to Convert for Intent

by Maddy Osman @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of FreepikDeciding what keywords to target is one of the first challenges budding marketers face when starting or re-evaluating their content marketing strategy (and for good reason – it’s one of the most important strategic-level things to get right!).   There’s no shortage of advice out there on how to go about it. […]

Important 10 techniques to increase your CTR on Twitter

by knowonlineadvertising @ Know Online Advertising

If you are one of the many people who manage Twitter accounts to promote their content, then you will know that there are two main issues that need to be addressed in order to reach your audience. One of them is to try to have more Twitter followers since this is what multiplies your possibilities […]

Your Software Should Have A Mobile App

by admin @ Novocan

Almost all noteworthy businesses depend on software for their day to day operations.  Everything from accounting to project management is usually managed by software.  Make no mistake about it, software is the backbone of the business world and it will continue to be. A recent trend has developed in the software industry however.  Many businesses […]

The post Your Software Should Have A Mobile App appeared first on Novocan.

What Is Hidden In Successful Social Media Strategy of Dunkin’ Donuts

by Guest Poster @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of FreepikAMERICA RUNS ON DUNKIN’ – this slogan totally reflects the level of popularity of the worldwide brand of coffee and baked goods. Since its appearance in the market in 1950, the company has grown to be one of the largest coffee and donuts chains. Rosenberg made the controversial decision to franchise as […]

How Push Notifications Can Increase User Engagement (With Examples)

by Sherice Jacob @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

It’s hard to imagine going anywhere without your mobile device these days. From kids tethered to their phones, to grandmas Facetiming with their grandkids, our smartphones have become as much a part of our lives as our opposing thumbs. But just how do companies get those opposing thumbs tapping when you’re not in store, checking […]

Out Of Box

Out Of Box

Smart AD - internet advertising company

View demo HTML5 guide Particularly engaging and special solution. Price will be higher than an average campaign. Requires co-operation with SmartAD, because there’s no specifications created for th…

The iPhone X Is a Lava Lamp

The iPhone X Is a Lava Lamp

by Heather Schwedel @ Slate Articles

The iPhone X will be the greatest technological leap forward since the original iPhone was released a decade ago, Apple announced in a presentation at its new headquarters on Tuesday. But what can you actually do with the phone that will “set the path for technology for the next decade,” as Apple CEO Tim Cook put it? Yes, it unlocks itself by reading your face and can charge wirelessly. (Cooooool.) But its actual selling point was evident in an ad the company showed at the end of the presentation: The iPhone X is a very fancy lava lamp. See for yourself.

Wow, those are some groovy colors. Did you see those blues and greens? And that trippy purple? How it just sort of turned into pink? Far out. Not since the heyday of Spencer Gifts (or maybe iTunes visualizations) have we enjoyed such easy access to a mind-expanding, ever-shifting palette of colors, shapes, and light.

When Apple’s Phil Schiller described the iPhone X’s specs—a Super Retina display, a 2,436-by-1,125 resolution, OLED technology, the highest resolution and pixel density ever on an iPhone—it sounded enticing, but a bit hard to truly grasp. “What can I do with this million-to-one contrast ratio and this unprecedented color accuracy?” you may have wondered. The answer: Stare at some hella-cool liquid pigment. Not until you are confronted with an intoxicating fantasia of color dancing across your screen can you truly understand the massive capability of the iPhone X. Those 2.7 million pixels mean little until you understand they give you 458 pixels per inch of pure psychedelic bliss. All you do is turn it on with your own face—whoaaaa—and then you can watch, in all the bright, unbacklit glory you’ve come to expect from iPhones, those blobs of color, melting and shifting into one another, one ecstatic cloud after another. Simply amazing.

The iPhone X also has edge-to-edge display, so there’s no white space getting in the way of your hallucinogenic reverie. “It is all screen. It is beautiful to look at. It is incredible to hold,” Schiller said. Especially when you’re on drugs, he didn’t need to add.

Looking at pretty shapes on the iPhone X will be the next best thing to sitting in front of a lava lamp in real life (read: in a mall store that also sells black lights). Look, retail is dying; we can’t simply walk out and buy psychedelic accessories anymore. For just $999, though, anyone can own this high-tech, simulated version of a novelty lamp filled with wax.

As Cook said in the presentation, “It really is the future of the smartphone.” Groovy.

The Small Business Toolbox #92

by Gary @ 3Bug Media

The Small Business Toolbox is your place to find free and low-cost software and services to help grow your business. The resources I post are usually easy to use and will provide some value to your business. All of the tools are ones that I either currently use or have used in the past. I […]

The post The Small Business Toolbox #92 appeared first on 3Bug Media.

SEO Copywriting Revealed: Why Sticky and Succinct Wins

by Amy Haley @ Globe Runner

Words work. Though they’re a far cry from the grunts and gestures our language originated. Used in the correct combination, you can accomplish amazing feats like evoking emotion and amassing a crowd. (A useful SEO copywriting technique we’ll address in a moment!) When it comes to copy, great content depends on it. Your audience expects it. And the search engines demand it. But do you need to spend another $10,000 in school to perfect your SEO copywriting skills? Maybe not. ...

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Gmail Ads: What’s New and How to Boost Performance

by Kayley Conti @ Driven Local

Gmail Ads, also known as Gmail Sponsored Promotions (GSPs), made their comeback in 2015. Since then, we have been utilizing these campaigns as an extremely cost-effective way to reach target audiences where they’re likely to be found multiple times per day — in their Gmail inbox. Google recently announced changes to the way Gmail ads […]

The post Gmail Ads: What’s New and How to Boost Performance appeared first on Driven Local.

WhatsApp is currently testing sponsored business chats

WhatsApp is currently testing sponsored business chats

by Anne Freier @ mobyaffiliates

WhatsApp is currently testing consumer chats with businesses from Facebook adverts. Apparently, TechCrunch recently found a piece of code buried within Facebook’s advertising manager that allowed companies to purchase ads that included a “Send WhatsApp Message” call-to-action. This would point toward parent Facebook finally coming around to monetising its WhatsApp messaging service. For now though, WhatsApp won’t actually be offering any adverts for sale. Testing is going through Facebook right now. The social media giant has already successfully installed business communications via its Facebook Messenger app. eCommerce companies are now able to run sponsored messages to reach their audiences. Although WhatsApp had promised not to publish adverts when Facebook bought it in 2014, Zuckerberg was quick to lift the restriction. The news are also not a

The post WhatsApp is currently testing sponsored business chats appeared first on mobyaffiliates.

Will I Own My Website Once I Have Completed Payment?

by Christopher Williams @ Elite Web Professionals

One of the most important questions you can ask your website design company is; “Will I own my domain name and website?” Too many people that I talk to about this it seems like an obvious answer, however there are … Continue reading

Google Built a Fake City for Its Self-Driving Cars

Google Built a Fake City for Its Self-Driving Cars

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

A handful of the world’s most powerful companies are in a race to build the same technology: driverless cars. The one that does it first, but most importantly, best, stands to change the future of American cities forever. And now, after years of work, Google’s sister self-driving car project, Waymo, is gunning to take the lead. Both Waymo and Google are owned by the same parent company, Alphabet.

In the past few months, the typically secretive company has been inviting select reporters to peek at what their team has been working on, including a secret mock city about 100 miles east of Silicon Valley built to test its fleet of robot cars. As the Atlantic reported in sweeping detail earlier this week, the fake city is a fenced-off plot of land that the Waymo team calls Castle, named after the Castle Air Force Base that used to operate there. And inside, the engineers have built all kinds of intersections and driveways and roads, but except for the pink Air Force dormitories that remain from the old base, there are no buildings that one would typically find in an American town. One stretch of road has a series of neighboring driveways with no houses behind them.

“It is truly a city for robotic cars: All that matters is what’s on and directly abutting the asphalt,” writes the Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal, who was given access to the facility. Waymo engineers have reconstructed intersections that have proven difficult for their self-driving cars to maneuver in the past, like a two-lane roundabout they previously encountered in Austin, Texas. And like any good fake city, Castle has a full collection of props like bicycles, skateboards, plants, kids' toys, dummies, and of course, a lot of traffic cones, all of which are used to mock scenarios the robot cars might encounter in the real world.

Inside Castle, the self-driving vehicles can log thousands of miles in a controlled setting, where cars driven by people are staged to quickly cut off a self-driving car in order to test the robot’s rate of deceleration. Beyond simply making sure that the car doesn’t hit anything, self-driving car engineers also need to ensure that the ride is smooth. No one, after all, will want to ride in a self-driving car if every time it comes to an unexpected stop your cell phone falls to the floor.

While the fake city is impressive, Waymo has still clocked millions of more miles in computerized simulations, where thousands of virtual cars drive about 8 million miles a day, perfecting the software that gets uploaded onto the real cars. The simulation program, called Carcraft, includes models of Austin, Mountain View, and Phoenix.

Waymo isn’t the only Silicon Valley company with virtual worlds for their robot cars to practice. Uber, which also has an ambitious self-driving car initiative, is hiring for multiple positions for its self-driving car project that describe building “games and 3D virtual environments” and “realistic worlds and situations.” The ride-sharing company has also tested its self-driving cars in real cities, like Pittsburgh, Tempe, and San Francisco. Uber is also in mired in a contentious court case with Waymo stemming from Uber’s acquisition of Otto, a self-driving truck startup. The founder of Otto, Anthony Levandowski, formerly worked as a top engineer leading Waymo’s self-driving car efforts and allegedly came on board at Uber with stolen trade secrets from Waymo.

Apple is also working on self-driving car technology, but as the New York Times reported earlier this week, those efforts are being scaled back. Originally, the team at Apple was working on designing what could become an Apple-branded autonomous car, but now the tech giant is focusing on the internal technology that gets baked into autonomous vehicles, rather than a full car. Ford, Toyota, and General Motors are all also working on self-driving car projects.

As companies continue to barrel ahead with their robotic car ambitions, regulators seem less prepared. On Thursday, Recode reported that a federal advisory board focused on regulating driverless car technology made up of executives from Ford, General Motors, Lyft, and other transportation companies hasn’t met since Donald Trump took office. Trump has also yet to nominate someone to chair the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the agency that will be charged with implementing any self-driving car legislation.

Still, lawmakers seem excited about the prospect of self-driving cars, which could save thousands of lives. The House advanced a bill in July that would grant self-driving automakers more opportunities for exemptions from existing safety standards, a move that could allow as many as 100,000 autonomous cars to hit the road.

Before robot cars start to drive regularly alongside human drivers, companies are going to want to be extremely confident that their technology is safe and ready to deal with the vast amount of unpredictability that comes with navigating through the real world. One bad mistake could quickly turn people off to an idea that many may already be skeptical of, setting adoption of the technology back for years. All of which is why fake cities like Castle, where robot cars can practice all day long, are so important for getting the technology right now, while American roadways are still packed with human drivers behind the wheel.

Do you travel for work?

by Danny @

I’ll be honest.  I’m not much of a fan of business travel. Fortunately I don’t have to travel all that [...]

The post Do you travel for work? appeared first on .

The HBO Hackers Are Demanding $7.5 Million to Stop Leaking Game of Thrones

The HBO Hackers Are Demanding $7.5 Million to Stop Leaking Game of Thrones

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

The HBO hack is finally starting to make sense. Last week hackers released upcoming episodes of Ballers and Room 104 and script material from an unaired Game of Thrones episode, the network’s most popular show. But at that time, it wasn’t clear what their motive was: money, political power, lolz?

Now the hackers have made their intentions clear. They want lots of money.

On Monday, the hackers, who allegedly seized 1.5 terabytes of data from the hit-making television network, released even more stolen loot, including script summaries for the next five episodes of Game of Thrones, as well as scripts and entire seasons of other HBO shows. The leak also included a month’s worth of emails from an HBO executive as well as what appears to be the contact list of HBO chief executive Richard Pleper, which the Guardian reported contained the personal phone numbers of Game of Thrones actors.

But it wasn’t only spoilers that leaked Monday. The hackers also shared a ransom note, in the form of a video, demanding HBO pay millions of dollars or else even more sensitive company data will be posted online. That note was shared as a bizarre video with scrolling text set to the Game of Thrones soundtrack, which was included in Monday’s dump.

In the video sent to Pleper, obtained by Mashable, the hackers say that they want up to $7.5 million in bitcoin delivered later this week. “We often launch two major operations in a year and our annual income is about 12–15 million dollars. We are serious enough to do our business,” the hackers’ ransom note to HBO read. “We don’t play with you so, you in return, don’t play with us. You only have 3 days to make decision so decide wisely.”

HBO is apparently the hackers’ 17th target, and they claim only three have failed to pay up. While it’s still unclear how the hack was carried out, the ransom note does point out that the hackers spend “about 400-500,000 dollars in a year to buy 0days exploits.” That detail hints at the possibility that the hackers purchased an exploit of a software vulnerability online to break into HBO’s system.

If that is what happened, it’s similar to Sony’s hack in 2014, when hackers believed to be linked to North Korea breached the media giant’s computer network. They released tens of thousands of internal emails, as well as the Social Security numbers of thousands of employees, which led to a multimillion-dollar settlement for Sony employees. The Sony attack shared a very similar code to the WannaCry ransomware attack in May, which took advantage of a vulnerability in Windows that had been found and stockpiled by the NSA. That vulnerability was leaked out last year by hackers calling themselves the Shadow Brokers.

Hackers buy and sell software vulnerabilities on the dark web and other pseudonymous forums. The exploits are then often used to create malware or execute an attack. While it’s unclear what HBO could have done differently without knowing how the attack was carried out, one thing is certain: Malware attacks are on the rise.

“Thousands of new malware samples everyday are popping up,” said Steve Grobman, the chief technology officer at McAfee, a security firm. “The vast majority are driven by criminal activity.”

According to recent data from McAfee, the first quarter of 2017 alone counted nearly 100 million more incidents of malware than in the first quarter of 2016. A decent chunk of that malware is actually ransomware, which is when an attack locks down a user’s data until someone pays up or fulfills the hackers’ request. In the first quarter of 2017, McAfee found 9,597,233 cases of ransomware, a huge uptick from the first quarter of 2016, when the security firm found 6,029,206 incidents of ransomware.

HBO now has to decide whether to pay up, try to somehow stop the hackers from leaking, or risk losing even more valuable intellectual property. But the real damage might have nothing to do with Game of Thrones. With the Sony hack, the information leaked out from private emails between executives was far more harmful than stolen intellectual property. After all, HBO’s members are already paying customers who presumably want more than a handful of episodes of shows, so it’s not clear that it will lose any subscribers. Nor is it clear that most Game of Thrones fans would even know where to begin to look for a hacked script or episode. The main thing HBO is probably worried about is whether the hackers accessed any of the media company’s dirty laundry in its stolen email and documents—that damage is often much, much harder to recover from than a leaked television episode.

Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry Guide Us Through Windows 95

Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry Guide Us Through Windows 95

by Jon Kelvey @ Slate Articles

In the mid-’90s, Microsoft relied on some friends to help teach people how to use their brand-new operating system, Windows 95.

We’re talking Friends friends Jennifer Aniston and Matthew Perry, stars of a long video that fairly reeks of the Must See TV sitcom aesthetic, filled with non sequitur introductions of wacky characters. (Highlights in the video above.) Strangely, it’s not bad. Definitely not as bad as you’d think based on the central conceit: Aniston and Perry arrive at Bill Gates’ office for a casting call for a Microsoft video, and Gates’ personal secretary takes them on a helpful tour of the new operating system.

Tellingly, this is an instructional video rather than an advertorial. It was still two years before Steve Jobs returned from exile to lead Apple, 11 years before John Hodgman would come to embody the stodgy PC running Microsoft’s operating system. Microsoft was riding high, and Bill Gates wanted a PC running Microsoft in every home. It looked like he might get it.

Yes, the video features its share of groaners. Perry learns to address an “internet email” to a friend in a grunge band while the geeky, Gates-like mailroom guy assures the friends that “communicating online is the hot thing right now, and the Microsoft Network is your on-ramp to the information superhighway.” Then he looks up some cat photos. Cat photos are eternal.

But putting aside the outdated nomenclature, the video is a fairly deft introduction to a future that was still foreign to many. A Pew study from October 1995 found that only 20 percent of “online” users actually  went online daily, and only 32 percent said they would miss the internet if they couldn’t use it. The “World Wide Web” was just two years old, and people connected to it on modems over their home phone lines. The average email user sent three messages and received five each day.

So this video was less a guide to what was than an argument for what could be: a prediction, albeit one coupled with an invitation and barely hidden sales hook. It has a hopeful quality that’s downright quaint to revisit in a week that brought us bumptious executives hailing the corporate “town square.” It’s charmingly solicitous, inviting us into its world rather than telling us how it plans to upend ours. Maybe an iPhone X commercial is the real Friends reunion we need.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

The Brand Pyramid

by Eric McGehearty @ Globe Runner

The brand pyramid. This is a great way to think about what your company does and what your company represents. There’s the day-to-day activities at the bottom of the pyramid. These are the core activities of any business. At the very top is the peak experience, or the essence of the brand pyramid. Once you get to the top of a brand pyramid, you get to the distinguishing factors. The value adds. These would include having the best or fastest ...

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A Proposed Anti-Doxxing Law in the U.K. Could Make Personal Data Less Secure

A Proposed Anti-Doxxing Law in the U.K. Could Make Personal Data Less Secure

by Nick Thieme @ Slate Articles

Personal medical information from 1 in every 4 Americans has been stolen. On average, there were three data breaches in the U.S. every day during 2016. People outed by trails of left-behind data have taken their own lives. “Better” outcomes of doxxing include relentless abuse and death threats.

Against this backdrop comes the United Kingdom’s wise move toward new data protection laws. As part of this process, a proposed law would ban “intentionally or recklessly re-identifying individuals from anonymised or pseudonymised data.” Digital Minister Matt Hancock told the Guardian the law, if implemented, will “give people more control over their data, [and] require more consent for its use.” This shift recognizes that the threat of doxxing can chill your comfortable internet browsing. But, counterintuitively, it also makes your data less secure.

Whether your data can be truly anonymous is up for debate. But “anonymous data” usually refers to information that cannot be associated with the person who generated it. This kind of data is vital to scientific research. When I conducted cancer research, I used free, open-access, genetic data from real people with real diseases. Having the same, constantly updated, genetic data freely available to all scientists creates a baseline, which can help verify results, allow researchers to avoid echo chambers, and aid reproducibility.

The issue is that “anonymous” data can often be de-anonymized. In 2006, Netflix released the data of 500,000 customers in the interest of crowdsourcing improvements for their prediction algorithm. As was the standard at the time, they removed all personally identifiable information from the data, releasing only customers’ movie ratings, thinking this would keep their customers’ identities hidden. They were wrong. Arvind Narayanan and Vitali Shmatikov, researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, compared movie ratings from the Netflix dataset with publicly available IMDB data, and because movie ratings are very personal—I can’t imagine anyone other than me 5-starring The Man With the Iron Fists, Hunter x Hunter, and My Cousin Vinnythey were able to match names of IMDB users with Netflix accounts.

This research demonstrates two things: 1) Anonymous data often isn’t, and 2) it can be critically important for researchers to—as the U.K. might put it—“intentionally … re-identify[] individuals from anonymised or pseudonymised data.” Researchers need the ability to break privacy systems. When the options are a good guy picking your lock to convince you it’s broken, or a bad guy picking your lock to steal your passport, the choice is clear. The analysis from the University of Texas at Austin led to lawsuits against Netflix. More importantly, it warned the entire data industry that the privacy methods Netflix was using at the time were insufficient and should no longer be used.

The U.K.’s Information Commissioner’s Office anonymization code of practice considers data “anonymized” if it is not “reasonably likely” to be traced back to an individual. “Reasonably likely” isn’t well defined, but if only one research team in the world can de-anonymize the data, the data probably falls under their definition of anonymous. Under this definition, and the newly proposed laws, the Texas researchers would have committed a crime punishable by an apparently unlimited fine. Shmatikov, who is now a professor at Cornell University, views the U.K.’s proposed law as perfectly wrong. He told me that the kind of research that will keep people safe is “exactly the kind of activity that [the U.K.] is trying to penalize.” He later said he would not have conducted his research if it were penalized by this sort of law.

To be clear, I do not unequivocally support all research that seeks to break security systems. The leadership from the unnamed company that sold the FBI the software used break into the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone should be tarred, feathered, and marched down a busy street by a matronly nun ringing a bell. It didn’t require the FBI to release the details of that security flaw, so the exploit might be sitting in your pocket right now, waiting to be abused. A white-hat hacker always releases his or her secrets.

But laws are not the cure for doxxing. The ongoing research of white-hat researchers like Shmatikov will not stop people from invading each other’s privacy, but it will keep all of our data safer.

And the new laws do offer protection for research in other related areas. For instance, citizens may be barred from having their data removed from university datasets if the institution can argue the data is “essential to the research.” It would be extremely easy to create a similar research exception in the deanonymization statutes. Now, Shmatikov doesn’t see this as a perfect solution. In his eyes, good security research can be done by people outside academia. He also believes the harm from deanonymization occurs when personal information is shared across the internet, not when someone is deanonymized.

Still, the ICO has two options. It could add an exception to the deanonymization laws for researchers who sequester the data they deanonymize, whether the researchers are academic or not. Or, it could penalize the sharing of deanonymized data, rather than its creation. (Remember, the U.K. doesn’t have the First Amendment.) Both paths would disincentivize internet hordes from making the private public, without handcuffing researchers from improving the technology that will actually help.

Sustainable smartphones: 61% of all iPhone models ever sold are still being used

Sustainable smartphones: 61% of all iPhone models ever sold are still being used

by Anne Freier @ mobyaffiliates

It has been more than 10 years since Apple first launched its original iPhone. Now, the company has lifted the lid on its new iPhone X (8). Just in time, mobile market intelligence firm Newzoo has taken a closer look at iPhone usage across the globe. Apple has sold a whopping 1.2 billion iPhone as of June 2017, with an average 323,000 of the shiny devices being sold each day. That doesn’t mean that the smartphones are throw-away models though. Instead, 61% of all iPhone sold are still in use, with the majority (81%) of them being pre-2014 versions. The Newzoo Global Smartphone and Tablet Tracker also highlights that 730 million iPhones have been in use worldwide as of July 2017. China has the largest

The post Sustainable smartphones: 61% of all iPhone models ever sold are still being used appeared first on mobyaffiliates.

Content Marketing Headaches: Dealing With Missed Deadlines and Edits

by Amanda Dodge @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of FreepikManaging a team of writers and designers is a delicate process. While you’re running the business side of a blog or agency, you also have to tap into the human and creative side of content marketing. Oftentimes these two sides can pull against each other, leaving writers and editors alike to cope […]

Just another reminder that if you’re pretending to…

by admin @ Spotlight Media

Just another reminder that if you’re pretending to be sick, you shouldn’t post pictures of yourself online…

The post Just another reminder that if you’re pretending to… appeared first on Spotlight Media.

Apple Is Beckoning Us Into an Internet of One

Apple Is Beckoning Us Into an Internet of One

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles


Apple wants everyone to have their heads lodged in their own personal clouds.

From the wireless AirPod headphones the company released last year to the iPhone and the Watch, Apple has been building wearable and pocket-size products that, when networked together, turn each user into a kind of internet of one, with various devices that patch into the user’s own cloud. Think of it like a mini-intranet that walks around with you: your phone talking to your watch, which is sending information to the small pods in your ears, all tethered to the same storage vault. On Tuesday, at its annual product rollout in Cupertino, California, Apple is expected to unveil even more ways to bring information into your cloud.

The Apple Watch, according to Bloomberg, will get an update that allows it to connect directly to cellular networks without needing to be tethered to an iPhone. And a new iPhone is expected to include wireless charging capabilities.

Between the AirPods and iPhone and Watch, one can listen to a favorite podcast, count their steps and heart rate, send reminders, participate in meetings, play games, read the news, tweet, and text, all while leaving their hands free to do other things. These devices share data between each other—linked to the user’s account in iCloud, which stores photos, documents, and other information that can be summoned down to any appropriate Apple-compatible device as needed. It suggests a future of completely cloud-based personal computing, where no matter what device you’re using—TV, laptop, smartwatch, tablet, iphone—you can always pick something up right where you left off.

It’s a relief, if anything, for those of us who remember the days of forgetting our USB drives or emailing documents to ourselves or starting the day off on the wrong foot because we forgot to download music to our mp3 player or phones. It’s also not a huge leap from how many of us use, say, Google Docs now. But something about being stuck in your own personal cloud—or to be more precise, the cloud Apple is lending you a slice of—is also alienating.

Who hasn’t walked down the street with headphones on, staring at their phone or smartwatch, completely tuned out? Cloistered in our own personal media environment, where all our preferences are at our fingertips, we no longer notice the couple having a fight on the corner or the kid barreling down the sidewalk on a tricycle. Of course, we’re also tuning out catcalls and cars honking, and I’ll admit that’s something I love about getting stuck in my personal cloud.

Yet I still find myself—as hyper-connected to my friends and my own tastes as I’ve ever been—alone. And not just alone, but alone with Apple, a company I’m expected to trust by dint of its success or superior design or relatable ads—or just because I feel I really don’t have a choice. Sure, Apple has defended user privacy, like when it pushed back against the FBI’s demand to unlock a phone tied to a suspect in the San Bernardino, California, terrorist investigations, and its CEO has spoken out against President Trump’s anti-immigrant and transphobic policies. But Apple is also the company that has more than $100 billion stashed in offshore accounts that it doesn’t want to pay taxes on. And it’s the company that deleted more than 60 apps from its App Store in China last month, bowing to Chinese censors. (These apps were Virtual Private Networks, or VPNs, a type of service that allows users to route around China’s internet filters that block people from accessing foreign news and social media, as well as information about democracy activism or dissent in the country.) And its flagship iPhone has for years been assembled at Foxconn plants in Shenzhen, where in 2010 workers were so unhappy that they started killing themselves. When we choose to have that intimate relationship with a company, as Apple’s increasingly interwoven products demand that we do, we need to remind ourselves of its baggage, too.

It certainly is exciting to consider the possibilities of my own personal cloud, my internet of one, with my favorite podcasts and health data and friends on social networks in my ears and at my fingertips in a kind of aurora of data that follows me wherever I go. But we’ll all have to remember to look up once in a while, to take out our AirPods and hop off our clouds. If we don’t we might forget that all the data swirling around us isn’t necessarily our own; it’s held at a private company that’s making more money than any other company in the world. And what is actually ours, our experiences and memories and connections with friends and neighbors, might escape us.

Tom Gruber, one of the co-inventors of Apple’s Siri said at Ted this year that one day he’s certain that artificial intelligence will be used to upload and access our memories. If that’s a direction Apple wants to go in—storing our most intimate and haunting thoughts in its cloud—then perhaps now is the time, before the inertia of technological progress simply takes us there, to think deeply about whether having a personal cloud that follows us everywhere we go is actually a future we want.

Social Media Agency in Plantation, Florida

by CEO and Founder @ Digital Marketing Agency

If you are looking to build your Plantation business brand online, then you must seriously consider working with a social media agency in Plantation, Florida. Experience Advertising fits the bill perfectly. Our agency led by Evan Weber has always kept pace with the evolution of social media. We know what works on Instagram. We know […]

Inneractive rolls out Video Advertising Monetisation Platform for publishers

Inneractive rolls out Video Advertising Monetisation Platform for publishers

by Anne Freier @ mobyaffiliates

Programmatic trading tech company Inneractive has rolled out a Video Advertising Monetisation Platform (VAMP) which is aimed at supporting publishers. VAMP lets publishers explore advertising units including innovative video ad formats which guarantee greater levels of viewability and user engagement. In addition, publishers can create custom packages of audience segments. Among the three core features, VAMP includes an Audience Vault, which lets publishers analyse and segment their user bases by demographics and behaviour. The Vault has been designed to create audience packages which later can be sold programmatically. User profiles are initially based on the publisher’s data, combined with the platform’s auction and engagement data and third-party data from DMPs. There’s also a revenue dashboard so that publishers retain the full overview of which audiences

The post Inneractive rolls out Video Advertising Monetisation Platform for publishers appeared first on mobyaffiliates.

Autumn emails: Harvesting the best themes for the season

by Contributing Author @ Vertical Response Blog

Use the lull between summer sales and holiday hoopla to snag your customers' attention with fall-themed emails. Here are some of our favorite ideas and tips to get you started

The post Autumn emails: Harvesting the best themes for the season appeared first on Vertical Response Blog.

How to Map Behavioral Metrics Into Your Key Business Drivers

by Today's Industry Insider @ The Kissmetrics Marketing Blog

Digital marketing is a blessing to marketers because of the wealth of data it provides. Online marketers can analyze and dissect innumerable elements to gain a deeper understanding of the habits and preferences of their customers. As a result, they can effectively put themselves in their customers’ shoes and optimize the entire experience. This allows […]

ISIS’s End-of-the-World Problem

ISIS’s End-of-the-World Problem

by Joshua Keating @ Slate Articles

In a gruesome video released November 2014, showing the beheading of American aid worker Peter Kassig along with 16 Syrian soldiers, the masked militant known as “Jihadi John” says to the camera, “Here we are, burning the first American crusader in Dabiq, eagerly waiting for the remainder of your armies to arrive.”

That invocation of Dabiq was significant: In ISIS’s apocalyptic propaganda, the otherwise unremarkable Syrian town of Dabiq was to be the site of a showdown with “Rome,” the Christian invaders of the Middle East, which was to immediately precede the conquest of Constantinople, and then the Day of Judgment. ISIS named its English-language magazine after the city, which it captured in the summer of 2014, and heavily fortified the town, despite it having little strategic value. But in October 2016, ISIS lost Dabiq after a short battle with Turkish-backed rebels. The Day of Judgment hasn’t happened yet.

The Islamic State has distinguished itself from previous terrorist groups with its brutality, its emphasis on controlling and administering territory, and the grand apocalyptic vision of its propaganda. ISIS’s followers aren’t just fighting to cleanse the Muslim world of nonbelievers, defeat Western powers, or even to build a “state.” They believe that the re-establishment of the caliphate will lead to a final battle that hastens the end of days. The message has been a critical recruiting tool for the group. As one recruit told the Wall Street Journal in 2014, the prophecy stuff “always works.”

But lately, things haven’t been going according to plan. ISIS has now lost not just Dabiq and Mosul—the Iraqi city where ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed himself caliph in 2014—but most of the territory that was once under its control. The crumbling of the caliphate presents a problem for the organization’s propagandists. But ISIS is hardly the first movement to have to adapt when a doomsday prophecy turned out wrong. And past examples suggest that it isn’t even necessarily the end of the world for ISIS.

As Brookings scholar Will McCants writes in his book The ISIS Apocalypse, many of ISIS’s End Times predictions are based on collections of prophecies attributed to the Prophet Mohammed that were put together in the Middle Ages. Some of these prophecies have become more popular—not only among ISIS members—in the wake of the upheavals following the War in Iraq and the Arab Spring.

One predicts that the original caliphate, established in the days of Mohammed’s immediate successors, would eventually disappear, and in its place would rise “a tyrannical monarchy,” followed by a “caliphate in accordance with the prophetic method.” ISIS declared the establishment of this new caliphate, under the leadership of Baghdadi, in Mosul in 2014. The prophecy states that after the establishment of the true caliphate, the prophet “fell silent.” Some Sunni Muslims interpret this to refer to the end of the world.

Another prophecy mentions al-Sham, an old name for a region that includes modern Syria, as a “place of gathering” for the Day of Judgment. Another says that “The Hour will not come until the Romans land at al-A’maq or in Dabiq.” This one sparked particular excitement among ISIS foot soldiers after the United States—the modern day stand-in for Rome—entered the war in Syria. After victory in the battle at Dabiq, the prophecy states that the prophets followers will be “conquerers of Constantinople” and then Rome.

That victorious conquest is looking like more of a long shot now. “Interestingly, they have not really grappled with the two major failings in their apocalyptic propaganda. One is the loss of Dabiq, where they were adamant there was going to be a showdown,” McCants told Slate. “The other is the looming loss of the entire caliphate, which they said was the return of the original caliphate, which was itself a fulfillment of prophecy.”

This problem is not necessarily insurmountable. In a classic study from the mid-1950s, the social psychologist Leon Festinger and his colleagues suggested that when the predictions of apocalyptic or messianic movements don’t come to pass, it can actually make their adherents more devoted to the cause. Basing his findings on a study of a UFO cult that believed the world would end in 1954, Festinger argued that an adherent is likely to stay true if he or she has deep conviction in such beliefs, has taken actions that are difficult to undo in the name of them (like selling all of your earthly belongings), and has social support for those beliefs.

It’s not just cults and fringe cranks who have had to adapt to failed prophecy. Sometimes these groups become fairly mainstream. The Seventh-day Adventist Church, one of the world’s largest Christian denominations, grew out of the Millerite movement that had predicted the second coming of Christ in 1844. Some members of Chabad, the large and influential Hasidic Jewish movement, continue to believe that their former leader, Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, was the messiah. They simply ignore the fact that he died in 1994.

“If people invest their livelihoods, their reputations, their time and their money to one cause, if the cause fails, they don’t just say, ‘Oh well, that was fun,’ ” says Jon R. Stone, a professor of religion at California State University Long Beach and editor of Expecting Armageddon: Essential Readings in Failed Prophecy. “The response is to try to convince other people that they were actually right.”

Stone says one common way to do this is “spiritualizing” the prophecy, claiming that “it came true, but it came true in a spiritual way.” A textbook example of this is radio evangelist and doomsday prophet Harold Camping, who wrongly predicted a massive global earthquake on May 20, 2011. He later claimed to have been correct because mankind had “shook with fear” of the rapture.

Alexandra Stein, a writer and researcher focusing on cults and totalitarian movements—who was herself a member of a Minneapolis-based extremist political group known as “The Organization”—says the key factor in whether people were turn on their organizations is whether they can find others to validate their doubts. “Even if what you’re seeing with your own eyes is contradictory, you’re going to have the whole system telling you you’re not seeing it,” she says.

Stein also notes the stigma of being a member of a failed organization can make it hard to leave. “It’s a hell of a thing to come out of something like that and say I was wrong from 10 years, and utterly manipulated. You don’t get points for that,” she says. “How do you say you’ve wasted your life and given it up to a psychopath? Especially if you’ve done terrible things.”

This dynamic applies in particular to ISIS’s foreign fighters, the primary audiences of the group’s apocalypse prophecies, who have spent years fighting in service of an internationally reviled organization and are likely to face arrest or, at the very least, ostracization and suspicion, if they went back home.

Stone also notes that in many cases, for adherents of prophetic movements, “their conviction isn’t necessarily in the prophecy, but in the source of the prophecy.”

It does seem likely that many, if not most, of ISIS’s fighters are still genuinely attached to the cause.

“If you go from 2014, basically ISIS is fighting to the last man in every village, town and city,” says Fawaz Gerges, an expert on jihadi movements at the London School of Economics and author of ISIS: A History. “We have seen hardly any case where the group collapses. This tells you—we have to think about the potency of the ideology.”

But still, the group’s messaging, particularly to potential recruits, is likely to change.

ISIS is shifting its emphasis from its core state-building project in Iraq and Syria to smaller holdings in places like Yemen, Egypt, and Afghanistan as well as encouraging attacks by adherents in the West.

“ISIS has been preparing its followers and supporters for more than a year now for the idea that the dismantling of the caliphate does not mean the end of the dream, the end of the utopia,” notes Gerges.

As for the apocalypse prophecy, Dabiq the magazine hasn’t published since the city of the same name fell. Instead the group has focused on another, typically shorter and less-theologically-based, English-language magazine called Rumiyah—Arabic for Rome.

Rome is “a safer prophecy for them,” says McCants. “They actually owned Dabiq and they got whipped. If you say, ‘Ah, we’re going to take Rome. Just wait,’ that gives you a lot more time. But it might not be as exciting as the more visceral prophecies about Dabiq and the caliphate.” McCants notes that the number of foreign fighters heading to join ISIS in the Middle East has been falling significantly. While much of this is probably the result of improved efforts by security services, it’s also possible that the group’s messaging isn’t as possible as it used to be now that reality is flatly contradicting its prophecies.

On the other hand, ISIS doesn’t need as many fighters to come to Syria if it’s not building a physical state, and recent events suggest that its messaging can still inspire violence from its adherents.

After the recent attacks in Barcelona, ISIS put out its first-ever Spanish language video warning that “jihad doesn’t have borders” and that more attacks are likely to follow.

“We hope that Allah accepts the sacrifice of our brothers in Barcelona. Our war with you will continue until the world ends,” said the fighter in the video. It appears that ISIS’s apocalypse hasn’t been canceled, just postponed.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report 2016 - SearchForce

IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report 2016 - SearchForce


Learn about how the advertising industry is going based on IAB Internet Advertising Revenue Report 2016. Digital advertising is up, thanks to mobile.

28% of UK consumers find pop-up mobile advertising formats annoying

28% of UK consumers find pop-up mobile advertising formats annoying

by Anne Freier @ mobyaffiliates

UK consumers have had enough of interruptive mobile adverts, according to research from brand advertising company Inskin Media, conducted by On Device Research. As part of the survey, 900 people were questioned during Q1 2017 about their attitudes towards mobile ads. The report found that 28% of respondents deemed pop-up ads as annoying, whilst 26% were more irritated by ad formats that can take over the middle of a phone screen. Another 18% said they disliked any ads that slowed down their loading pages. Similarly, 18% also noted that irrelevant ads were annoying – no matter the format. Steve Doyle, CCO of Inskin Media said: “It’s not rocket science. Advertisers simply have to put themselves in people’s shoes and be more considerate about the mobile advertising user

The post 28% of UK consumers find pop-up mobile advertising formats annoying appeared first on mobyaffiliates.

Twitter Live

by Eric McGehearty @ Globe Runner

Live streaming is one of the most captivating ways to market an event and more and more options are becoming available to live stream your company’s event on social media. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram Live all have great user interface and allow you to go live instantaneously. Each social medium has pros and cons and you really want to look at who you are trying to interact with when deciding what platform to go live on. CEO Eric McGehearty talks ...

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Advertising Analytics 2.0

Advertising Analytics 2.0

Harvard Business Review

Marketers now have an unprecedented ability to fine-tune their allocation decisions while making course corrections in real time.

SpotX launches header bidding suite for mobile video formats

SpotX launches header bidding suite for mobile video formats

by Anne Freier @ mobyaffiliates

SpotX, the video advertising serving platform, has recently rolled out a new header bidding suite for video formats. The company already provides monetisation tools for mobile and desktop ads via a platform that combines a programmatic infrastructure with other solutions such as for OTT or outstream video ad units. The latest header bidding suite includes a server-side wrapper that lets advertisers boost their demand sources when competing for inventory. SpotX says that it represents a move away from tag-style integrations. Among the core features of the new video header bidding solution the company’s active private and curated marketplaces for targeted ad buying. Having had experience with these formats surely should come in handy for advertisers. In addition, the suite implements cross-screen functionality, transparency into buyer

The post SpotX launches header bidding suite for mobile video formats appeared first on mobyaffiliates.

Blair Fensterstock Awarded Harlan Fiske Stone Society Award by Columbia Law School

by Connie Fensterstock @ Fensterstock & Partners LLP

Columbia Law School celebrated the members of the Harlan Fiske Stone Society with a reception at the Morgan Library in New York City on May 3.  The Harlan Fiske Stone Society recognizes the Law School’s most generous and ardent supporters.  The reception also marked the introduction of the Harlan Fiske Stone Society Award, a newly […]

The post Blair Fensterstock Awarded Harlan Fiske Stone Society Award by Columbia Law School appeared first on Fensterstock & Partners LLP.

Working of a Search Engine

by knowonlineadvertising @ Know Online Advertising

Search engines especially Google Search has become an integral part of our lives. Be it professionally, where we need search engines to have answers for all our daily work queries or even personally where we search all sorts of different stuff. Since the advancement of the internet era, Search Engines has been the most powerful […]

Uber’s Pick for Its New CEO Might Be the Anti–Travis Kalanick

Uber’s Pick for Its New CEO Might Be the Anti–Travis Kalanick

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

Dara Khosrowshahi, the current CEO of Expedia Inc., has been picked as the CEO of Uber following a turbulent search for a new leader for the ride-hailing giant, multiple outlets reported Sunday night. As the head of the Seattle-based Expedia, a company with more than 20,000 employees, the 48-year-old Khosrowshahi oversees what is practically a cottage industry of travel sites owned by the company, including Travelocity, Orbitz, Egencia, Hotwire, and One other thing he has going for him? He just might be the anti–Travis Kalanick.

Facing pressure from board members, Kalanick stepped down as CEO this summer amid a series of controversies at Uber, including allegations of a culture of rampant sexual harassment, a lawsuit that accuses the company of stealing intellectual property from Google, a Department of Justice investigation into Uber’s aggressive business tactics, and allegations that Kalanick and other top executives attempted to discredit a woman who was raped in an Uber in 2014. The search for a new CEO has been roiled by board infighting and a contentious lawsuit from one of Uber’s early, most important investors, Benchmark Capital, which accuses Kalanick of fraud and, if successful, would force the ousted CEO off the board for good. The other final candidates for Uber’s CEO were reportedly Meg Whitman, the current CEO of Hewlett-Packard, who bowed out of the running last month but apparently remained in the race, and Jeff Immelt, the CEO of General Electric, who pulled his name from consideration Sunday. Unlike Khosrowshahi, neither of those candidates hails directly from the transportation industry.

If Khosrowshahi accepts the job, he’ll take the helm of a company that seems to be in self-destruct mode. But looking at his history of building one of the most powerful online transportation empires in the world, he is clearly a compelling choice to take over the troubled Uber. Khosrowshahi, after all, was responsible for his previous employer InterActiveCorp’s acquisition of Expedia in 2003. The company spun out into a separate entity in 2005, and Khosrowshahi was named CEO. Expedia Inc. ended 2016 with $8.77 billion in revenue. Uber is currently valued at nearly $70 billion but is not profitable. In fact, Uber estimates it lost $708 million in the first three months of 2017 alone, though that’s less than the $991 million the company lost in its previous quarter; many investors see the regular loses as par for the course as the company continues its aggressive growth spurt. And, to Uber’s credit, despite an unending string of bad press, it managed to report an uptick in ridership this summer.

Uber’s incoming CEO immigrated to Terrytown, New York, in 1978 from Iran, right before the revolution, when he was 9 years old. In Iran, Khosrowshahi’s family owned a chain of manufacturing plants. When he was 13, Khosrowshahi’s father traveled back to Iran to take care of his father and was detained for six years before he returned to the United States. Given his own experience as a refugee, it wasn’t surprising earlier this year when Khosrowshahi was among the first in the tech industry to sign on to legal action challenging the Trump administration’s travel ban on individuals from seven majority-Muslim countries.

"Hopefully we will all be alive to see the end of next year,” Khosrowshahi lamented on an investor call in February, a comment that was widely interpreted to be a dig at President Trump. The day after Trump won the election, Khosrowshahi expressed on Twitter his dissatisfaction with his fellow leaders in the tech industry, charging that they “have to admit that we are hugely disconnected with our nation.”

Kalanick joined one of Trump’s business advisory councils but resigned from the role in February, following the administration’s travel ban—as well as a swell of public pressure that resulted from the massive #deleteUber campaign, which followed an (overblown) accusation that the company had engaged in union-busting and was helping to normalize the new Trump administration. Kalanick’s frequently ruthless approach to management seemed to reflect his fondness for libertarian favorite Ayn Rand, particularly her veneration of powerful, society-bucking makers. That brash attitude has certainly helped the company become one of the most valuable startups in the world. But it also helped incubate many of the problems that eventually led to Kalanick’s sidelining.

Fortune named Expedia one of the best places to work in tech in 2017—a distinction unlikely to soon be applied to Uber, which has been accused of covering up numerous cases of sexual harassment at the company, not to mention a founder who nicknamed his company “Boober” and who once wrote an inappropriate letter to employees encouraging them to only have consensual sex with each other.

Uber, a company with about 12,000 employees, released its diversity numbers in March. Female employees account for 36 percent of its total workforce, and about 15 percent of Uber’s technical staff are women. Expedia Inc., on the other hand, employs a U.S. workforce that is 50 percent female, and 25 percent of its technical staff are women, which is high for the industry.

Khosrowshahi reportedly took in $94 million last year, the vast majority of which came in the form of stock options awards after Khosrowshahi entered into a long-term agreement to stay with the company until 2020. It now seems that won’t happen.

Could Khosrowshahi jump-start a new era for Uber—and put an end to its monthslong soap opera and nest-of-vipers work culture? Uber has ambitions to transform the global transportation industry, with on-demand contract workers, self-driving cars, and even plans to bring vertical take-off flying cars into its fleet by 2020. For his part, Khosrowshahi helped transform how Americans buy plane tickets and book hotels; he’s also shown himself to be a leader for whom questions of morality ride on a lot more than his company’s bottom line.

The biggest challenge Khosrowshahi might face, of course is the man he’ll replace, who retains a seat on Uber’s board and who has shown an eagerness to continue meddling with the company he founded—one he clearly hopes to eventually lead again.

Our Top 11 Content Marketing Takeaways from #CMWorld 2017

by Caitlin Burgess @ Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

Last week, thousands of marketers from all over the world descended on the Rock N’ Roll capital of the world, Cleveland, OH, for the seventh annual Content Marketing World Conference and Expo. Featuring more than 130 speakers, keynotes and panelists, dozens of different tracks, and a whole lot of orange, the four-day event was exciting [...]

The post Our Top 11 Content Marketing Takeaways from #CMWorld 2017 appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Internet Marketing Company SEO Advertising Agency Los Angeles

Internet Marketing Company SEO Advertising Agency Los Angeles


Based in Los Angeles & Ventura, SeoTuners is an affordable Internet Advertising & SEO Company with over 40 years combined experience in Online Marketing

Tesla Unlocked Florida Drivers' Batteries Before Irma. Should We Be Grateful or Angry?

Tesla Unlocked Florida Drivers' Batteries Before Irma. Should We Be Grateful or Angry?

by Will Oremus @ Slate Articles

For companies, cutting your customers a break when they’re in the path of a disaster is usually a solid PR move. But the electric car company Tesla’s attempt to help Florida drivers flee Hurricane Irma by remotely extending their batteries’ range has sparked a bit of a backlash.

Since last spring, Tesla vehicles purchased with a 60kWh battery option have actually come with a 75kWh battery. The company’s software electronically limited the range to 60kWh, though it gave drivers the option to upgrade to full capacity at any time—for several thousand dollars.

On Saturday, the blog Electrek reported that some drivers of 60kWh Teslas in Florida suddenly found their cars showing 75kWh of range, even though they hadn’t paid any more money. A Tesla spokesperson confirmed to Electrek’s Fred Lambert that the company had unlocked the batteries’ remaining capacity remotely, via software update. That would give them about 30 miles of additional driving on a single charge. The move reportedly came in response to a request from at least one Florida driver who needed the extra range to get out of danger.

The move at first seemed to draw a positive response on social media, with observers cheering the company for helping the evacuation effort. But it wasn’t long before some critics began highlighting the coin’s other side, which is that Tesla has (in a sense) been throttling customers’ vehicles unless they fork over extra cash.

As Justin T. Westbrook wrote on the blog Jalopnik, the move to unlock drivers’ batteries was “praiseworthy and appropriate,” but it also taps “our deepest fears of 21st-century driving.” As he noted, “it’s not hard to imagine a worst-case scenario where a company or corporation becomes a critical decider in disaster scenarios … out of consumer and government control in a critical moment.”

Westbrook’s assessment is probably fairer than that of the Twitter user who said the move invalidated Tesla’s claim to be helping the planet. All car companies are capable of building cars that go farther, or faster, or more safely than the ones they actually sell to most consumers. It’s just that we typically expect cars’ performance to be limited by their hardware rather than their software.

It might feel wrong, in some way, that Tesla “artificially” limits some vehicles’ range when it would cost the company no more to upgrade them. But such limits are common and widely accepted among software companies (and any media company with a paywall, for that matter), whose marginal cost of production often verges on zero.

In Tesla’s case, those who bought the 60kWh version knew upfront what they were getting. They preferred to save some money at the cost of some range. (Incidentally, Tesla announced in March that it would discontinue the 60kWh option on the Model S, because most customers were paying for full capacity anyway.) What the scheme really represented was a form of price discrimination that allowed the company to reap more profits from those willing to pay for the additional range, while still being able to sell additional units to more price-sensitive buyers. When you think about it, Tesla made a lot more money from those who bought the 75kWh batteries than it did from those who settled for the 60kWh versions.

None of that means the company deserves fawning praise for unlocking customers’ batteries ahead of Irma. The move cost Tesla virtually nothing, whereas plenty of other companies and people made more substantial sacrifices to help those in Irma’s path. But neither do we need to castigate the company for doing the right thing in this instance. I’ve seen no indication that Tesla was actively seeking praise or trying to capitalize on its move.

Rather, in a time when ever more machines come with “smart” features that their providers can manipulate at will, this episode should remind us that we don’t own our devices in quite the way we once did. It’s nice that Tesla took a humane step on behalf of its customers this weekend. We should worry that not every company will do the same in the future.

Previously in Future Tense:

Fensterstock & Partners defeats Motion to Dismiss in action by their client Nanomedicon

by Connie Fensterstock @ Fensterstock & Partners LLP

Fensterstock & Partners defeats a motion to dismiss in an action by their client, Nanomedicon, alleging breach of Confidentiality Agreement, Research Agreement, and Option and Exclusive Licensing Agreement, against New York Corporation and former professor at the State of New York at Stony Brook and Director of the Center for Nanomaterials and Sensor Development.  Decision […]

The post Fensterstock & Partners defeats Motion to Dismiss in action by their client Nanomedicon appeared first on Fensterstock & Partners LLP.

Give Influencer Content Programs a Promotional Edge with Digital Advertising

by Steve Slater @ Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

It happens almost every single time. I’m finally settling in to stream a few episodes before I go to bed for the day. I fire up the old Netflix machine and there it is… options… lots of them. There are shows I’ve seen before that I might want to watch again. Genres that I’m interested [...]

The post Give Influencer Content Programs a Promotional Edge with Digital Advertising appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

6 CRMs That Integrate With MailChimp

by Markitors @ Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors

Looking for CRMs that integrate with MailChimp? You’re in the right place. Here are six CRMs that integrate with MailChimp: MailChimp For SalesForce is the perfect CRM tool for creating, managing, and sending massive emails. You might have different … Read More

The post 6 CRMs That Integrate With MailChimp appeared first on Internet Marketing Company | Phoenix, AZ | Markitors.

Equifax’s Data Breach PR Statement, a Close Reading

Equifax’s Data Breach PR Statement, a Close Reading

by Jacob Brogan @ Slate Articles

On July 29 the credit reporting agency Equifax discovered that someone had accessed enormous amounts of the information that it held. This Thursday—more than a month later—Equifax released a statement announcing the breach and the company’s planned response.

As is so often the case with such statements, this is a shambolic text evincing collective and perhaps contentious authorship: Note, for example, the erratic spacing after periods, sometimes one, sometimes two. (In one case, the space seems to be missing altogether after a hyperlink.) In such details, we glimpse the outer edges of a hastily assembled response: Paragraphs bounced back and forth between divisions and departments over email, lawyers screaming at one another over the phone.

Given, however, that Equifax had more than a month to labor over these words, we also can and must read also read the statement as a carefully crafted object, a sort of prose poem for our troubled times.

The key to this challenging text’s style arrives in its opening paragraph. Having breezily introduced what happened (“a cybersecurity incident”) and to whom it happened (“approximately 143 million U.S. consumers”), our anonymous authors abruptly pull back from the scene of the crime. “The company has found no evidence of unauthorized activity on Equifax’s core consumer or commercial credit reporting databases,” they write. In this statement from Equifax itself, “the company” rings strange, somehow suggesting that Equifax is not an actor in its own drama.

More importantly, though, this phrase confronts us with a wan sort of bathos that seems almost satirical. Having outlined a breach so enormous as to border on the sublime, we are implicitly told that we need not worry after all. Never mind the very real threats of identity theft. No one has actually manipulated your credit rating, it seems to propose. Yes, unknown criminals almost certainly have information about you, oh reader, but, no, you need not fear.

The statement’s second paragraph comes hard and fast with the true details of the hack, almost immediately undermining the wan gesture of assurance that concludes the first. The information “primarily includes names, Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers.”

And yet, Equifax’s artistes erratically (but strategically) reintroduce notes of minimization, a deliberate arrhythmia of irony: Yes, more than 100 million Social Security numbers, birth dates, and addresses may have been compromised, but driver’s license numbers have only been accessed “in some instances.” This is a phrase whose power flows from its uncertainty. How many is some? Should I count myself among their number?

As in the fragmentary remnants of Sappho’s poetry, we recognize ourselves in these lines precisely because they are incomplete. The company has also, we learn, “identified unauthorized access to limited personal information for certain UK and Canadian residents.” (Italics mine.) These vague adjectives—“limited” and “certain”—suggest a kind of effortless shrug, especially in contrast to the hard and huge numbers that precede them. In the poetry of Equifax, what is large is always also small, the enormity of the situation not quite so enormous as one might fear.

This commitment to irony takes on a new form soon after as a single voice—that of Equifax CEO Richard F. Smith—begins to emerge from the corporate chorus. Smith almost, but never quite, acknowledges that the situation itself constitutes a reversal of expectations. “We pride ourselves on being a leader in managing and protecting customer data,” says this man whose company has just made a mess of both of those tasks. Here, teetering on the brink of something like self-knowledge, Smith continues, “We also are focused on consumer protection and have developed a comprehensive portfolio of services to support all U.S. consumers.” We are obliged, he proposes, to trust him because he has failed us.

A fuller version of the statement that appears on PR Newswire further amplifies this dynamic interplay of trust and uncertainty. “These statements can be identified by expressions of belief, expectation or intention, as well as estimates and statements that are not historical fact,” it reads. In aggregate, “expressions,” “expectations,” and “estimates” add up to something more than the sum of their parts. Each admits to a degree of ignorance, but together they suggest a species of certainty. We know because we know so little, Equifax tells us, enacting a sort of auto-deconstruction that would make the French philosopher Jacques Derrida smile. A thing, this text repeatedly indicates, is inevitably evident in its opposite. History is always already shaped by the absence of “historical fact.”

Here, the ordinary logic of time grinds to a halt, every description of past action only ever an anticipation of what is to come. “Confronting cybersecurity risks is a daily fight,” CEO Smith declares near the end, eliding past failures and future struggles. “While we’ve made significant investments in data security, we recognize we must do more. And we will.”

We believe you, CEO Smith. And we don’t. As the text is written, so it demands.

How to Boost Your SEO By Guest Posting

by Seo Tuners @ SeoTuners

Guest posting has been widely contested on many fronts. However, it remains a relevant part of content marketing strategies, especially for SME organizations. Wondering how it can help your business? Read on: Grow Your Online Audience Guest posting is an excellent way to connect with your target market, says Business. You can reach out to […]

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Top Tools for Recovering from a Google Penalty

by Seo Tuners @ SeoTuners

In today’s heavily-digital marketplace, online traffic is a must for any business hoping to secure steady profit. This need is what drives search engine optimization – or SEO – and creates the demand for websites that push the boundaries of what’s possible with creating that traffic. However, it’s the pushing of those limits that can […]

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SEO Agency in Orlando, Florida

by CEO and Founder @ Digital Marketing Agency

Hiring the right SEO agency in Orlando, Florida can yield rich dividends for your business. Regardless of whether you are targeting a local, national, or international audience, an SEO optimized page will get you quality traffic without having to spend on PPC. Experience Advertising, one of South Florida’s most respected digital marketing agencies, offers a […]

24 Awesome Free Tools Every Small Business Owner Should Be Using

by Gary @ 3Bug Media

Most small business owners are on a tight budget, they don't have the money to hire designers, marketers, videographers, etc, so most look to learn how to do things themselves.  And while using DIY software is great, paying for each one every month can add up pretty quickly. There are so many tools available online […]

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Week in review – What happened in mobile advertising this week

Week in review – What happened in mobile advertising this week

by Anne Freier @ mobyaffiliates

Facebook this week made it easier for consumers to stream videos without eating up their data plans. The social media network is currently testing a feature it calls Instant Videos that downloads and caches videos to a user’s phone when a WiFi connection is present. That means users can view them later without tapping their mobile data. In addition, the company announced some significant revamps for its advertising tools this week. Facebook is boosting transparency for brand advertisers to reveal more information about their ad placements. At the same time, the social network has announced more stringent guidelines on the content those ads can contain. WhatsApp is currently testing consumer chats with businesses from Facebook adverts. This would point toward parent Facebook finally coming around

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Why Did Google Posts for Small Businesses Move to Google My Business?

by Seo Tuners @ SeoTuners

Google has revealed that Google Posts, content for search results, is now a part of Google My Business, a product created by the company to help businesses manage their presence across all of Google as per the company, from search engine results to social networking and more. Explaining Google Posts & GMB Aside from Google […]

The post Why Did Google Posts for Small Businesses Move to Google My Business? appeared first on SeoTuners.

Viral Tweets Are Helping Some People Find Help in Houston. Social Media Can Do Much Better.

Viral Tweets Are Helping Some People Find Help in Houston. Social Media Can Do Much Better.

by Christina Cauterucci @ Slate Articles

As Houston-area residents watched record rainfall turn their streets into rivers this weekend, the city reported that its 911 services were overwhelmed with panicked callers. “If u can shelter in place do so, a few inches in your home is not imminent danger,” the city tweeted early Sunday morning. “Only call if in imminent danger.”

The replies to that tweet are devastating. Lynne Nguyen wrote that her 83-year-old parents, one with a heart condition and the other with Alzheimer’s, were knee-deep in water at their home and needed rescuing. She quickly revised her message: “Oops. Water was past knee deep an hour ago. Now waist high. Need evacuation. Please send help.” Others reported that they were in “imminent danger” but couldn’t get through to 911, so they’d resorted to calling news networks instead. One man said he’d called the Red Cross for help, only to be booted off the line then told he had to call 911 to get on the rescue list.

Even if calls could get through to 911, without electricity and the ability to charge their phones, people in trouble could waste precious battery power waiting on hold on the off-chance that someone would pick up and record their location. Tweeting, which only takes a second and can be done from any internet-enabled device with a battery charge, seemed to many like a much better option. By Monday afternoon, the platform was full of desperate messages from Houstonians stranded in their flooding homes, sending out their addresses into the void, hoping to reach someone on a rescue team. Some tagged law enforcement or first-responder units; others embedded their calls for help in threads about rescue efforts.

A few lucky families saw their requests go semiviral. More than 14,000 people retweeted Maritza Gonzalez Willis’ message saying that she and two children were stranded. The “water is swallowing us up … 911 is not responding,” she tweeted late Saturday night. Two hours later, she tweeted that they’d been picked up by a fire rescue team: “One of you had connections and all I can say is I’ll be eternally grateful!!!” On Facebook on Sunday night, Willis told her followers that Facebook, Twitter, and “every single one of you” had saved their lives. “I am humbled by your love and need all of you to know that your messages gave me the strength when all I wanted to do was cry,” she wrote.

Willis told me in a Facebook message that her call made it to a 911 dispatcher, who “specifically told me no” and “would not dispatch anyone to help.” The operator “said they would have to transfer the call or dispatch me to a totally different different area,” Willis said. “I was so angry, [I] hung up on them and decided to use social media for help.” When firefighters finally knocked on her door, they asked Willis if she was “the lady requesting help from social media.” “Evidently, someone from Florida had called them off my tweet,” Willis said.

Those whose tweets for help don’t get mass attention may still get advice from users who are trying to help from afar. Try to flag down helicopters with towels or sheets, some say, or press the OnStar button in a nearby car, or ask J.K. Rowling for a retweet. Outside of Harvey’s path, people are using their fully charged phones to call relief organizers with addresses they see on Twitter. People with boats, or friends with boats, are using Twitter to communicate directly with those in need of assistance. Even Ed Gonzalez, the sheriff of Houston’s Harris County, is tweeting to connect relief “partners” with residents in dire circumstances, including one who allegedly went into labor while waiting for help.

As the first “major” U.S. hurricane in the Twitter era, Harvey is testing the platform’s capacity for large-scale rescue organizing, a purpose for which it wasn’t designed. Twitter has made it easier than ever for people in danger to amplify their distress signals, but its dispersed, nonlinear nature has muddled some of those signals beyond utility. Viral tweets for help are getting thousands of retweets long after the tweeters have been rescued, encouraging outsiders to further bombard emergency helplines with information that’s no longer needed—or worse, encouraging volunteers to send rescue boats to already-vacated properties.

Kim Bui, a Los Angeles–based editor with NowThis, an outlet that produces videos on trending topics and distributes them on social media, has been trying to consolidate online relief-organizing efforts and spread accurate information since Harvey’s downfall. She says people are still tweeting her a call for help from a woman with a newborn, even though Bui knows the woman has already tweeted that she’s been rescued. “It’s really easy right now for someone to pull a photo or take a screenshot of twitter and send it as something that’s new,” she told me over the phone. “People are trying to elevate a cause, but there’s no way to check in Twitter for the origin of a post. There’s no metadata. … Some, I can tell, are Snapchat grabs, so I don’t know whether I’m responding to someone who needs help, or a friend, or someone who even knows this person.” As a social media journalist, Bui said she searches for the origin of reposted photos at least once a week, and it’s always a challenge. The only difference now is that it could be a matter of life or death for people in danger who are waiting for relief services overwhelmed by misinformation from well-meaning Twitter users.

Bui started engaging with Harvey Twitter Sunday night when she saw several people posting that they needed help but couldn’t get through to 911. In case they didn’t know they could call the Coast Guard, too, Bui tweeted them the official Coast Guard numbers. When she found a couple of Google forms and a spreadsheet that were aggregating the addresses of people who’d asked for a rescue, she started adding in reports she saw on social media. Bui also saw reports that willing volunteers couldn’t get through to the number the Houston Police Department had asked residents to call to offer their boats for rescue missions. “I don’t have very many skills, but one of my major skills is social media reporting,” Bui said. “So I was like, I can at least find people who need help, and I can find people who have boats using search terms, and I can link them up.” As of Monday afternoon, about half of the people she’s tried to help have told her they’re safe now.

That means the other half, about 20 people and families, are still waiting for life-saving assistance. Though the Houston Police Department, the Coast Guard, and Greater Harris County have all told residents to call 911 instead of posting for help on social media, Houstonians are getting mixed messages. In addition to Sheriff Gonzalez, who has tried to help connect people with services over Twitter, there are several stories of rescues that appear to have been expedited by social media uproar. On Sunday morning, Timothy McIntosh posted a disturbing photo of several elderly people up to their waists in water at a Dickinson, Texas, assisted-living facility his mother-in-law owns. After thousands of people retweeted the image—and many others questioned the photo’s veracity—the La Vita Bella facility was evacuated and the residents rescued. “Thanks to all the true believers that re-tweeted and got the news organizations involved,” McIntosh tweeted later that day. “It pushed La Vita Bella to #1 on the priority list.”

Ideally, government agencies and NGOs would be able to field rescue requests from both 911 and social media, where users will never get a busy signal. “I wish there were a way for people to tweet at relief agencies, or at FEMA, or at Houston, and it goes into a spreadsheet that eventually gets pushed out to rescuers,” Bui said, chalking the current disconnect up to “tech sometimes moving faster than government can.” Technology has proven useful to the Cajun Navy, a Louisiana volunteer rescue organization that came together after Hurricane Katrina, which started sending members to Houston on Monday. The group is one of several to use Zello, a walkie-talkie app, to coordinate its relief teams, allowing anyone in the area to contact nearby rescuers. Google has mapped shelters and evacuation routes in Harvey’s path; another organizing effort called #HarveyRelief has used a different open-source mapping tool to lay out the rescue requests it’s logged and whether they’re still active.

#HarveyRelief’s map will also prove useful to journalists, engineers, and scholars who’ll try to make sense of the storm after it’s passed. At that point, Twitter and Facebook will be doing what they do best after natural disasters: pointing people to relief organizations that need donations. Now that some rescue posts have gone viral, users are already trying to help those who’ve reached safety. A woman named Erykah got more than 11,000 retweets on a photo of her 3-week-old infant cousin with whom she was stranded on Sunday; on Monday, she posted that they were safe. In the replies, users asked for her PayPal information. “I have baby clothes. Please let me know if I can send you any,” one woman offered.

But if social media only helps the people with the most heartrending stories and the biggest Twitter reaches live to see an outpouring of support after a tragedy, we’re using social media wrong. In coming months, Harvey should be a case study that helps relief agencies, first responders, and tech companies work together to streamline rescue efforts with available technology. Currently, there is a wealth of potentially life-saving information on Twitter and a dearth of centralized direction, pointing to a massive missed opportunity. “There are a lot of people who need help and a lot of people who want to help,” Bui said. “And they’re all really confused right now.”

6 Online Advertising Examples & Tips to Grow Your Business

6 Online Advertising Examples & Tips to Grow Your Business

Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®

As the year winds down, most companies are putting the finishing touches on budgets and strategies for 2016. As a digital marketing agency, consulting with

Display Advertising | Internet Marketing Solutions | Driven Local

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Facebook video creators will now be able to restri…

by admin @ Spotlight Media

Facebook video creators will now be able to restrict their audience by age and gender, in addition to the…

The post Facebook video creators will now be able to restri… appeared first on Spotlight Media.

Ten Examples of Social Media Campaigns Using Psychology

by Daryl George @ Spokal

Photo courtesy of FreepikDo you suffer from boring social media syndrome?You know what I mean – your social media channels have the odd drip of one or two random comments, a handful of likes, and little to no sales conversions, and you would almost literally give an arm and a leg for even a hint […]

UK adults are now spending more time on their mobile devices compared to desktops or laptops

UK adults are now spending more time on their mobile devices compared to desktops or laptops

by Anne Freier @ mobyaffiliates

For the first time, smartphones are the preferred way to access the Internet among UK adults this year. That’s according to eMarketer’s latest UK media forecast which looks at time spent digital devices. The research firm found that in 2017, adults are spending almost 2 hours a day using their smartphones. That’s more than the time they spend on desktops or laptops. This divide is expected to continue to grow to 2.14 hours by 2019 vs. 1.54 hours for desktops. When factoring in tablets, UK adults are actually spending 2.45 hours daily on mobile devices. That’s an increase of almost 8% from 2016. It is partially being fueled by more digital video viewing which has seen continued adoption by social media networks. The popularity of

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5 Facebook Marketing Mistakes to Avoid

by Jackie Magnusson @ Driven Local

In today’s hyper-connected, digital world, people spend a great deal of time on their phones, tablets and computers — allocating a significant portion of screen time to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. This creates a great opportunity for advertisers to connect with current and prospective clients, via both paid and organic social […]

The post 5 Facebook Marketing Mistakes to Avoid appeared first on Driven Local.

A Year Without the Internet

A Year Without the Internet

by Hija Kamran @ Slate Articles

Want to listen to this article out loud? Hear it on Slate Voice.

Imagine waking up one morning only to find out that you can’t access your social media account or email—not because you need to reboot your router but because service has been suspended throughout the region for an indefinite period of time.

Such have been several dawns in Pakistan, where internet shutdowns are routine. During the festivities for Eid or religious events like Ashura, citizens are routinely cut off from the internet in what authorities call a “safety measure.” Often these shutdowns last for days, with cellphone service available only for a few hours during the night.

The situation is even worse in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Area, or FATA, where digital access is already fairly limited. Internet was first made available there in 2005: Since then, the government has frequently suspended internet services—for as long as two years during military operations, like one that lasted from 2010 to 2012. During these operations, the infrastructure was greatly affected in the territory, resulting in the long-term suspension of electricity, telephone connections, mobile networks, and broadband internet in most of the region. However, internet wasn’t really available in FATA until 2014. Even then, it was extremely limited: Only a few areas had working mobile networks, and people in nearby areas would extend those signals in their respective areas with available technical means like cheap routers and signal extenders.

But even that limited access is now gone. On June 12, 2016, 4.5 million FATA residents woke up to another intentional government internet suspension—one that targeted 3G/4G and portable internet devices, which accounted for most of the access in FATA. The shutdown emerged in the wake of armed clashes between Afghanistan and Pakistan at the Torkham border on June 11, 2016. The authorities took immediate measures by suspending the few available mobile-based internet services in all seven agencies, or regions, of FATA. More than a year later, the shutdown is still ongoing.

There are some loopholes like access to Afghan telecom services by the border or, in very few cases, using expensive broadband internet. But broadband accounts for less than 5 percent of all internet connections there. Abid Wazir, a freelance researcher based in Islamabad who originally hails from South Waziristan in FATA, says, “Broadband connections can’t be acquired by domestic households unless the applicant is some influential person.” Institutions in search of broadband “first have to [submit a] request [to] the area’s political agent, who then transfers the request to the military forces. And only after the strict scrutiny and approval of the military officers can the connection be given. Even then, how well and often that connection would work—nobody can predict.”

Wazir adds that one of his friends in Wana set up a small internet cafe at his general store in early 2016, where people would come with their devices and use the broadband internet that he had acquired. But it was disrupted soon after, and he lost his once-thriving business.

FATA is a troubled area thanks to the military operations against terrorist organizations that have happened routinely in the region since 2004. According to a December 2016 UNHCR survey, a total of 74,826 registered families have been displaced in FATA. Thirteen years on, people are still living nomadic lives with limited or no access to basic necessities, including compulsory education guaranteed under the Constitution of Pakistan. But FATA is constitutionally not a complete part of Pakistan, and its residents are not full citizens, so they are not offered the fundamental rights enshrined in the constitution.

The internet may have come late to FATA, but people there quickly began using it as a tool for political engagement and awareness. One student told me that people in tribal areas were using online platforms to raise awareness on issues of the region, like the lack of electricity and unjust treatment of the security forces. For instance, the political movement against the draconian Frontier Crimes Regulation, a law enacted in 1901 by the colonial British government that denies the people of FATA fundamental human rights, gained momentum through the internet in 2015. Now that activism is stifled. Samrena Khan, the president of the FATA Students Organisation, sees the blackout as an attempt to stifle the progress of the people of FATA. She says, “The authorities are scared of the potential that our people hold. They know that if we established connection with the global community, we’ll bring a revolution. This is why they’ve disrupted all channels of communications on us.” Her group held a protest against the shutdown on July 19.

Khan also said that “[l]ast year, 70,000 students were enrolled in the educational institutions across FATA. Out of these 70,000, 40,000 students didn’t have the required course books. Had it not been for the internet shutdown, the students would have access to online books.” But without that access, many dropped out, and Khan worries about students who may have turned to drugs—a major problem in FATA. Another student told me that the shutdown is greatly affecting his ability to seek scholarship opportunities abroad.

Women, already deeply vulnerable in Pakistani society at large, are even more oppressed in the tribal areas. Their mobility is very restricted—and now the roads to information have been shut to them. Moreover, many men from FATA move to Gulf states to work as manual laborers on construction sites. Before the shutdown, local entrepreneurs started internet cafes that people could use to talk to their family members abroad. Now that those cafes don’t exist anymore, people are forced to go months without talking to family members.

As you might expect, then, the internet shutdown makes it much harder for journalists to work in the area. Rasool Dawar, a journalist based in Peshawar, emphasizes that journalists in FATA often have to travel long distances to try to catch weak signals of mobile networks and report back to their editors. “Because there are no means of communications in FATA,” he says, “journalists have to travel 50 to 60 kilometers every day to Bannu and Peshawar”—about 31-38 miles over very rough roads—“to transfer news to the respective media houses. This tends to delay the delivery of news, which many times is … urgent.” For instance, on June 23, Parachinar—the capital of FATA’s Kurram Agency—witnessed twin bombings from one of the banned organizations. The residents, who have had to live alongside terrorist activities for the past few decades, organized a protest to demand justice and accountability from the government. But both the bomb blasts and subsequent protest received very little media coverage, largely due to unavailability of the internet.

Civil-rights activists and journalists in FATA have repeatedly submitted applications to security forces, asking them to restore the mobile and internet networks in the region. In response, the government said that it wants to help people but that technical issues are standing in the way. The government of Pakistan recently announced that three tribal agencies will soon have 3G mobile networks, at least, but it is believed that the networks won’t be restored in the rest of FATA for another couple of years due to technical complications. In the meantime, the people of FATA deserve the support from the global community. “We won’t back down because this is the fight for our rights, and no one can take that away from us,” Khan said. She and others continue to be optimistic that someday soon, they’ll be granted the constitutional rights that have actively been denied to them.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Facebook to become more transparent on ad placements and takes a solid stand against offensive ad content

Facebook to become more transparent on ad placements and takes a solid stand against offensive ad content

by Anne Freier @ mobyaffiliates

Facebook is boosting transparency for brand advertisers to reveal more information about their ad placements. At the same time, the social network has announced more stringent guidelines on the content those ads can contain. The company previously said that it would report to marketers which publishers’, apps or videos their campaigns may feature on. Now, it has taken the next step and officially launched these third-party site placements. In an announcement on Wednesday, Facebook said it was rolling out post-campaign placement reports. Given recent issues with YouTube featuring adverts alongside controversial content, these insights will be vital for marketers wishing to ensure that their brands are not associated with offending content. In addition, Facebook has announced an 18-month timeline for the Media Rating Council to

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Stop the Marketing Killjoy: 5 Ways You’re Turning off Audiences with Bad Video

by Amy Higgins @ Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®

It might only be 1pm in the afternoon, but it’s five o’clock somewhere – a perfect time for a great dry martini. Research “how to make the perfect dry martini”, and you’ll get over 1,560,000 results. Ask a content marketer “how to tell a good story”, and you’ll get about the same quality of results [...]

The post Stop the Marketing Killjoy: 5 Ways You’re Turning off Audiences with Bad Video appeared first on Online Marketing Blog - TopRank®.

Memes Are the New Jump-Rope Songs

Memes Are the New Jump-Rope Songs

by Jacob Brogan @ Slate Articles

In 2012, Nicole Saylor, head of archives at the Library of Congress’ American Folklife Center, had a revelation while attending an annual meeting of the American Folklore Society. Some of the junior scholars at the conference had abandoned familiar topics like quilt-making and lumberjack songs. Instead, a few were trying to make sense of our digital moment, presenting papers on Slender Man and other memes.

Listening to them talk, Saylor realized that she was witnessing the early days of a new scholarly genre. “I thought, ‘These are among the scholars that we need to serve,’ ” she says. “And there’s a whole new class of documentation that we aren’t getting.”

That revelation ultimately led the Library of Congress to create its Web Cultures Web Archive Collection, a project that formally launched in June. More than a mere repository of memes, the collection includes snapshots of entire sites. Some of them—such as the My Little Pony fan community Equestria Daily—focus narrowly on particular topics. Others—such as Boing Boing, which promotes itself as “a directory of wonderful things”—are long-standing clearinghouses for the broader preoccupations of the internet.

It wasn’t a shocking development. The Library of Congress had been collecting video games for years, and it already had a web archiving project in place. Still, the question was what to include. What counts as folklore? What would be most useful to scholars in the burgeoning field?

To facilitate those decisions, the library turned to a handful of experts, some of them academics. They proposed a variety of sites that would meet the criteria that scholars apply to folklore: the “embodiment or expression of shared values of a particular group, [whether] that group [is] ethnic, religious, occupational, or regional,” according to Elizabeth Peterson, director of the American Folklife Center. Thirty-three sites are currently included in the archive; in a few cases, the library wasn’t able to acquire permission to include a site. (Trevor Blank, a scholar of digital folklore at SUNY Potsdam, told me that he had recommended they incorporate Snopes, but the library hasn’t received a response from the embattled site.) The Internet Archive helped the library crawl and capture the sites.

Like much of what we do in our offline lives, many of the things that hold our attention online meet the folklore standard with ease. “We try to communicate online in ways that are familiar to us from face-to-face contexts,” Blank says. Utah State University English professor Lynne McNeill identifies two intersecting ways of thinking about what counts as folklore, both of which resonate with elements of our digital lives.

First, it’s about the way information moves. “We want to see that there’s a cultural form that’s been passed on, that’s been shared. That can happen over the course of a generation, or that can happen over a day in a Twitter community,” McNeill says.

Second, it’s about the way that information changes as it travels. Members of a community don’t just interpret the significance of folklore as they pass it along; they also express it in their own ways. Folklore, McNeill argues, isn’t folklore “until it begins to be adapted, until it begins to evolve, until it allows for every individual in the transmission chain to tinker, to make their own version of it.” This is precisely what we denizens of the internet do when we imprint ourselves on popular memes, pushing them in new directions even as we borrow from and nod back to the efforts of those who came before.

But understanding folklore in these terms comes with a risk: In freezing the movement of culture, such efforts threaten to create the illusion that there’s a definitive version of a given story, joke, or even meme. McNeill, for example, tells me that some of her students mistakenly believe that the Brothers Grimm authored stories such as “Little Red Riding Hood” instead of simply collecting particular versions of them. Peterson worries that similar dangers might play out online, wondering aloud, “Once you put a frame around it, are you freezing it? Are you memorializing it? Are you killing it or giving it a status that maybe it doesn’t have?”

The Library of Congress’ archival approach arguably pushes back against those possibilities. Though the collection’s curators chose which sites to include, they decline to impose other value judgments, so you’ll find fraught memes such as the white supremacist icon Pepe the Frog side-by-side with more innocuous creations. “We’re looking to capture a moment in history,” Saylor says. That attitude extends to the way she and her colleagues approach the work of collecting material, which they see as a potentially indefinite project. They’re already working to incorporate other sites, taking recommendations from scholars and ordinary Twitter users alike.

The trick may be getting people to care about their efforts. As Saylor and Peterson told me, no scholars have come in yet to work directly with the collection. That may be because much of what they’ve archived is still available in its original form, though at least one site in the collection has already gone offline. Preserving it in this form may be valuable for future researchers, partly because it provides a buffer against the possibility of future losses, as well as smaller changes on the sites. But Saylor and Peterson also imagine there might be other, more immediate uses for the collection. The data in it might, for example, benefit from analysis that could help researchers see how the sites and their contents have changed over time. “I think part of it is just sitting down and beginning to think through how we can get the word out,” Saylor says. “How can we creatively engage people in using this material—engaging with it, writing about it?”

A more pressing issue may be what folklorists call the “triviality barrier.” As McNeill explains, the premise is that people think folkloric materials are so commonplace as to be unworthy of attention. But it’s precisely that familiar quality that makes them so important. She points to the example of jump-rope rhymes, which can be too easily dismissed as inconsequential. “If everyone knows these jump-rope rhymes, they must mean something. We don’t all collectively know long, drawn-out rhyming narratives for no reason,” McNeill says. In other words, the very fact that we share something, whether or not we give it any thought under ordinary circumstances, makes it worth studying.

Much the same is surely the case for our online activities, even when they seem to arise out of the zeitgeist’s passing fancies. Indeed, it may be even truer online, since one of the most salient features of meme-making is that it tends toward self-reflexivity. Take the example of the distracted boyfriend meme, which recently exploded throughout the Twitterverse. Its early instantiations told simple stories about objects or ideas that catch our eyes when we should be paying attention to something else. As its star rose, however, online wags began using it to comment on the popularity of the meme itself.

This sort of meta-commentary is part of the internet’s lifeblood: a temporary brake on its ever-accelerating pace that encourages us to look back at the terrain we’ve just torn past. When we share such memes, we’re laughing at ourselves, but we’re also striving to make sense of where we’ve been and where we’re going. In that sense, the internet isn’t just a venue for the creation and circulation of folklore; it’s also a proving ground of folklore studies, with or without the imprimatur of academic authority. Hence the Library of Congress’ decision to include sites such as Know Your Meme, which as Blank puts it, “bring the focus onto what folklore is all about.”

Archiving swaths of the internet may serve a similar function precisely because it encourages us to think about these sites as folklore. There’s a strange contradiction inherent in this possibility, since it suggests that we can only see how important they are when we cut them off from the everyday flux in which they thrive. Yet the real value of the Web Archive Collections may not reside in what scholars learn from its contents so much as in the way it invites us to examine phenomena we might have otherwise overlooked.

“The internet is self-archiving, but it’s self-archiving the way a landfill is self-archiving,” McNeill says. “It’s all in there, but you can’t parse it easily.” Things pile up so quickly that we forget to pause and consider the rubble beneath our feet. Our next challenge, one the Library of Congress’ efforts encourage us to take on, will be to start digging down through the accumulated trash, searching the many treasures buried within.

This article is part of Future Tense, a collaboration among Arizona State University, New America, and Slate. Future Tense explores the ways emerging technologies affect society, policy, and culture. To read more, follow us on Twitter and sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Mobidea Launches the New Mobidea Academy

Mobidea Launches the New Mobidea Academy

by Artyom Dogtiev @ mobyaffiliates

Earlier this year, Mobidea proved its commitment to technology and data automation upon the release of the new Mobidea with Affiliate Tracker Software Capabilities. This allowed affiliates to explore unprecedented levels of analytical data and opened up a whole new world of possibilities for every single Mobidea affiliate. Now, we showcase our love of education and prove that our bet on the Mobidea Academy is no joke! That’s right: the new Mobidea Academy has been launched and is now ready for affiliates to take advantage of the most informative articles and content in the industry. Now, users will have the chance to explore a completely new platform, showcasing a responsive and super colorful design, and a bunch of awesome surprises that will delight everyone. All

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Digital Advertising: Current Data and the Human Element

by Jessica Lee @ SearchForce

Numerous sources publish data on the state of digital marketing and advertising. It’s important to explore these as we develop our advertising strategies, and then balance them with what we know about the behavior of human consumers. Merkle’s Q2 Digital […]

The post Digital Advertising: Current Data and the Human Element appeared first on SearchForce.

Why You’ll Buy Apple’s $1,000 New iPhone

Why You’ll Buy Apple’s $1,000 New iPhone

by April Glaser @ Slate Articles

To ring in the 10th anniversary of the iPhone, Apple on Tuesday is delivering a handful of new smartphones that won’t just challenge your daily tech habits—no more home button!—but lighten your bank account, too. The new iPhone is expected to come with a $1,000 price tag, making it the most expensive Apple phone to date.

That’s a decent leap from the iPhone 7 Plus, currently Apple’s most expensive phone ever at $769 (and with added storage that price goes up). The new device, in contrast, will approach the cost of a computer. But Apple has good reason to believe this jump won’t hurt it. Now that wireless carriers have moved away from subsidizing phones in exchange for contracts, we know the devices we rely on are actually quite expensive—and Apple has learned that millions of us are willing to pay a premium for them anyway. Though $1,000 represents the crossing of a serious psychological barrier, the company also knows it can make that price sting a little less by selling its phones to customers for a monthly fee, just like when they buy a car.

While wireless carriers have offered payment plans for years, since 2015 Apple has had its own financing product, the iPhone Upgrade Program, through which users sign up to get a new iPhone every year after making 12 payments. The more expensive iPhones get, the more attractive some kind of financing becomes. And unlike some deals with carriers, Apple’s financing doesn’t lock users into a service contract, though some people may prefer to lump the bill for their device in with their monthly service fee.

In terms of what they can actually do, the new phones are probably worth it. According to Neil Cybart, an Apple analyst who runs the website Above Avalon, Apple probably isn’t simply jacking up its price because it can get away with it. Rather, the $1,000 smartphone is more likely a fair reflection of the expensive new tech inside the phone, as well as the fact that consumers now depend on smartphones in more ways—and in many cases expect them to only get better.

“I’m not necessarily expecting them to have higher margins on this particular iPhone. They’re pretty much trying to get the same margin that they already do, but that just means with a higher price,” says Cybart. Rumored features for the new phone include infrared facial recognition technology, a fancy curved screen, and wireless charging—tech that isn’t cheap and probably isn’t necessary for most of us, but which many consumers will decide are must-haves. The sticker price likely has as much to do with Apple punting that additional cost back to the consumer as it is reflective of smartphones’ ever-increasing value in our lives.

Americans now spend about five hours a day with their eyes on their smartphones, according to the analytics firm Flurry. People get email like water, and more and more businesses in the U.S. are moving their communications to chat-based apps like Slack, where co-workers message all day, even on their own personal mobile devices, as opposed to communicating through emails that can wait until they return to their keyboard. Smartphones have replaced the need to carry around newspapers, magazines, books, maps, and mp3 players. They mediate almost every aspect of communication in modern life.

Still, whether it’s Apple or Citizens or Verizon doing the lending, getting your hands on a $1,000 iPhone with the help of a loan means your credit score could become a factor. And that means that iPhones might be transitioning into a different category of tech, a notch higher than an expensive accessory, perhaps the kind of product people think about as a long-term expenditure that could affect their ability to finance other large purchases down the line. The higher price, combined with the fact that the old-school contracts that locked customers into two-year phone plans are basically extinct, means more people may keep their phones for longer.

Apple isn’t the only tech company with an expensive phone for sale, of course. Samsung launched its new (noncombustible) high-end phone, the Galaxy Note 8, with a price tag of $950 last month. And Apple still does have less expensive options, like its iPhone SE, which costs around $400. And it’s worth noting that even phones with a high price tag tend to perform well. The iPhone 7 was the company’s most expensive model, yet in the first quarter of this year it was the bestselling smartphone in the world, according to research from Strategy Analytics.

It’s not that Apple is only appealing to high-end buyers as much as it is that, as a company, it doesn’t tend to make commodity products, says Brian Blau, an analyst at Gartner. But as Apple is trying to expand into markets outside of the U.S. and Europe, its high prices can make it tough to scoop up new customers. This summer, Apple reportedly lost its spot as the fourth most popular phone in China, and in India—one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets in the world—devices with similar capabilities of an iPhone sell at a fraction of the cost. The $1,000 new iPhone may not fly off the shelves there—except perhaps with wealthy consumers. And that probably suits Apple just fine.

Unlike other electronics like mp3 players or tablets, which tend to decrease in price the longer they’re on the market, smartphones seem to be able to absorb higher price tags. And Apple’s hike could just make room for more success among Apple’s more affordable competitors. But it may also cement Apple as a truly luxury brand, and using an Android phone might start to look less like a matter of preference and more a reflection on what you can afford. That’s fine, unless essential, everyday services—the kind we need to apply for and keep our jobs and live our lives—are only available to those who have the cash to stay on trend.

And even if consumers do experience some sticker shock, the most valuable company in the world can afford this experiment—or keep raising prices, even if its customers have to take out loans to remain members of Apple’s elite club.

Future Tense Newsletter: Welcome to the Future of the Future

Future Tense Newsletter: Welcome to the Future of the Future

by Tonya Riley @ Slate Articles

Greetings, Future Tensers,

On Friday, we launched the Future of the Future, our monthlong series on all the ways we plan for things to come. As Dan Gardner writes, we tend to only remember predictions about the future that come true. But given our reliance on future-thinking, it’s time to start reflecting more critically on our predictions. For instance, taking a look at how polling failed us in the 2016 election can help us fix flawed methods for a politically polarized era. Rachel Withers shows us how reflecting on Walt Disney’s vision for Tomorrowland can help us evaluate contemporary visionaries like Elon Musk.

One common thread in these pieces is the difficulty of making predictions around climate change. In light of the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, Will Oremus went deep on the prediction models economists use to determine how much the future is worth and how they affect spending on safeguards against natural disasters. Global warming is also shaping the future of military strategy, according to Peter W. Singer, author of Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War. Isaac Chotiner spoke with Singer about future threats, how Russia has shaken things up, and whether the U.S. military is really ready for the next world war.

Other things we read after getting schooled by this quiz on historical predictions about the future:

  • Dreams of virtual reality: Jacob Brogan explores what the real-world proliferation of virtual reality means when the medium has always been so intrinsic to how we imagine future technologies.
  • No Ph.D. required: Want to help shape the future? Citizen science is giving non-scientists new ways to get involved, write Darlene Cavalier and Jason Lloyd.
  • Re-meme-bering history: Rea