STATE REP RACE Pina Prinzivalli Named Featured Candidate At GOP Meet Rally

first_imgTEWKSBURY, MA — Pina Prinzivalli (R-Tewksbury), candidate for State Representative in the 19th Middlesex District, has announced she’s been named a featured candidate at a GOP Meet and Rally on August 1 from 6pm to 8pm in Lowell. The event is being held at Athenian Corner and is being hosted by United States Veteran and 1st Middlesex State Senate candidate John MacDonald.“I’m a big supporter of Pina and I’m excited to have her be a part of this event because she’s running for all of the right reasons,” said MacDonald, a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served in the Persian Gulf War. “Pina and I jumped into our respective races early on to challenge two long time incumbents. Now both of our races are for open seats. Pina had the courage to run when no one else was willing to do so. She will bring that same courage to Beacon Hill where she will be a bold voice and a fearless advocate for the taxpayers. Pina is truly running to put the taxpayers first.”The event will feature other area and statewide Republican candidates including Geoff Diehl for U.S. Senate, Rick Green for Congress (District 3), Jay McMahon for Attorney General, Anthony Amore for Secretary of State, Joe Espinola for State Senate (2nd Middlesex & Essex), Kathy Lynch for State Rep (2nd Middlesex) and Rich Baker for Governor’s Council (5th District).“I can’t thank John enough, first for his service to our country and second for the support he has shown me,” said Prinzivalli, who announced her candidacy last October. “John has done so much great work for our veterans with ‘Veterans Assisting Veterans.’ I can’t wait to work with him on Beacon Hill on the issues that matter most to the people of the Commonwealth. It’s going to be a great night with great Republican candidates who are committed to bringing balance to Massachusetts.”The August 1 event is free, donations to the candidates are welcome. Athenian Corner is located at 207 Market Street. MacDonald says the event will allow people in the area to meet great candidates all in one place that are standing up against politics as usual.“These are the candidates I personally endorse,” said MacDonald. “They are offering the people a true and positive choice in the upcoming election and Pina has clearly shown herself to be just that.”Since announcing her candidacy last fall, Prinzivalli has been the only candidate in the 19th Middlesex working to lower the tax burden by collecting over 800 signatures for a ballot question to reduce the sales tax. Prinzivalli is also the only candidate who has signed the ‘Taxpayers Protection Pledge’ and has been steadfast in her opposition and commitment to saying “NO” to Massachusetts becoming a Sanctuary State for illegal immigrants.“I’m not a career politician, nor am I running to become one,” said Prinzivalli. “I’m a career professional, a hardworking taxpayer just like you. It’s time for Tewksbury and Wilmington to have a bold Republican voice that isn’t going to be afraid to stand up against the status quo and put the taxpayers first.”Prinzivalli has been endorsed by the Tewksbury Republican Town Committee, Representative Geoff Diehl, Representative Shaunna O’Connell, and Republican State Committeewoman Ruth Chou.The Republican primary will be held on Tuesday, September 4. The general election will take place on Tuesday, November 6.(NOTE: The above press release is from the Prinzivalli campaign.)Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedSTATE REP RACE: Pina Prinzivalli Speaks At Large GOP Rally, Shares Message On TaxesIn “Government”STATE REP RACE: Voting Records Show Prinzivalli Voted Only Once Before Launching Candidacy; Campaign DisputesIn “Government”STATE REP RACE: Prinzivalli Pledges To Opt Out Of Pension SystemIn “Government”last_img read more

Inside the farm of the future

first_img Tags Tech Industry Mobile 3:02 0 Microsoft’s FarmBeats program uses the company’s Azure cloud to connect agricultural devices and generate data intended to help farms operate more efficiently. Sensors embedded in the soil use the cloud to communicate with drones that circle farms to direct irrigation patterns and herbicide distribution and to optimize the harvesting of crops. CNET visited Microsoft’s Cloud Collaboration Center in Redmond, Washington, to learn more about how the cloud, AI and the internet of things (IoT) are transforming business.”We use machine learning and image recognition to understand how our crops are growing,” said Jason Zander, executive vice president of Microsoft Azure. “Today a lot of irrigation systems … just kind of throw water everywhere. Being able to leverage drones and some of these sensors means we save water and get better production out of [farms].”The cloud is evolving rapidly, said Zander. “A decade ago the cloud helped mobile phones become ubiquitous. Today, the cloud becomes really powerful when it helps other emerging technologies like AI and IoT. It’s exciting because we can help entire [business] sectors quickly become more efficient.” Now playing: Watch this: Artificial intelligence (AI) Drones Cloud computing Microsoft Share your voice Post a comment The farm of the future is in the cloud Your next salad might be grown in the cloud and served with a side of artificial intelligence.Cloud computing, a technology that relies on clustered servers positioned across the globe, supports everything from drones to machine learning and the smart home. Using cloud tech, farms are about to become a lot smarter as well.last_img read more

Hasina Modi Mamata open power station

first_imgBangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina, her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee. UNB File PhotoPrime minister Sheikh Hasina, her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday jointly inaugurated the HVDC (2nd Block) station at Bheramara in Kushtia.The power station has been set up for the import of additional 500MW of power from India by Bangladesh.The Bangladesh and Indian prime ministers also jointly inaugurated the rehabilitation of Kulaura- Shahbazpur section of Bangladesh Railway.Besides, the Bangladesh and Indian PMs and Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Dey jointly inaugurated the construction work on Akhaura-Agartala dual gauge railway link (Bangladesh portion).last_img read more

The US Has 6 Olympic Medals Here Are The Winter Olympians To

first_img Share Photo by Jorge Silva/ReutersSnowboarder Chloe Kim of Team USA celebrates her gold medal win.A disqualified speed skater, a crash in the women’s singles luge, near perfect scores in men’s snowboarding and a bloody fall in the women’s halfpipe are just a few moments to remember from Day Five of the Winter Olympics.The medal count Tuesday morning puts Norway at the top of the Winter Olympics leaderboard with 11 medals so far. Canada and the Netherlands both have 10 medals to date. Germany claims nine medals overall, but have the most gold medals with five total. The United States has six: three gold, one silver and two bronze.The first week of Winter Olympics is almost over. Here’s who we’re watching next, and a quick recap of recent Olympic highlights.What to watch for Wednesday:Photo by Stefano Rellandini/ReutersMikaela Shiffrin of Team USA is seen at the Yongpyong Alpine Centre as the women’s giant slalom at the Winter Olympics is postponed due to high winds.Wednesday marks Day Six of the Winter Olympics, and there are medals to be won. U.S. alpine skier Mikaela Shiffrin, 22, will compete for the gold in the slalom portion.Married couple Alexa Scimeca-Knierim and Chris Knierim, who helped Team USA take bronze in the team figure skating event earlier this week, are representing the U.S. once again on the ice. Today, 22 teams will compete in the pair short program. The best 16 teams will move on to compete for a medal in the final pair free skate on Thursday.All eyes will also be on Shaun White during the men’s halfpipe finals tonight to see if the 31-year-old can maintain the No. 1 spot and do what he couldn’t in Sochi: clinch the gold.Tonight in women’s ice hockey, Sweden faces off against Switzerland, and a unified Korea team plays Japan. In men’s preliminary rounds, United States faces Slovenia while the Olympic Athletes of Russia play Slovakia.Notably, this is the first Winter Games since 1994 that National Hockey League players won’t compete for an Olympic medal. The league said it would not send players, in part, because the Olympic Committee was no longer funding their travel.Medals are up for grabs as female speed skaters also compete in the 1000-meter race today. There are 31 athletes in total vying for the gold, including world-record holder Heather Bergsma of Team USA, a medal favorite. The U.S. has yet to win a medal in any speed skating event so far in Pyeongchang. In the women’s 3000-meter race, Netherlands took gold, silver and bronze.America continues to win big in snowboarding.Photo by Mike Blake/ReutersSnowboarder Chloe Kim, 17, wins gold in the women’s halfpipe competition on Feb. 13.Women in the halfpipe finals had three runs, but only the best score counts in determining podium standings. Chloe Kim, the 17-year-old Korean American representing Team USA, was in a league of her own. She had already won her gold medal before taking her third run with a top score of 93.75 that outdid her competitors. Kim then, on her third and final run, outdid herself scoring 98.25 in her victory lap.“I did put down a really good run [in the first run] but I was like, ‘I can do better than that’. I knew that I wanted to do that third run, I wanted to do the back-to-back 1080s, go bigger and better,” Kim said.China’s Liu Jiayu claimed silver with 89.75, almost 10 points behind Kim. Arielle Gold, also of Team USA, got the bronze.U.S. snowboarder Shaun White came to Pyeongchang to redeem himself after finishing in fourth place in Sochi in 2014. In the men’s halfpipe qualifying round, White nabbed the No. 1 spot heading into the finals with a near perfect score at 98.5. The medal for men’s halfpipe will be awarded Wednesday.Other nations win big in curling, luge and speed skating.Photo by Toby Melville/ReutersGold medalists Kaitlyn Lawes and John Morris of Canada celebrate during the victory ceremony at the 2018 Winter Games.The curling mixed doubles, a co-ed portion of the sport making its Olympic debut in Pyeongchang, has concluded with Canada taking gold, Switzerland claiming silver and the Olympic Athletes of Russia taking bronze. Russian athletes competing under a neutral Olympic flag have yet to win a gold for their country in the Winter Games.Germany’s Natalie Geisenberger, 30, and Dajana Eitberger, 27, took gold and silver in the women’s single luge. U.S. flag bearer at the Olympic Ceremonies, Erin Hamlin, came .269 seconds shy in the singles event, which separates four runs into two days of competition. A scary moment overtook the track when U.S. luger Emily Sweeney skidded out on the ice, losing control of her sled underneath. Sweeney was taken to the Olympic Village for medical evaluation, she crashed at a speed above 70 mph.In men’s 1500m, speed skater Kim Min Seok scored the first bronze medal for the Republic of Korea in the Winter Games, and just the second medal overall for the republic. Kjeld Nuis and Patrick Roest of the Netherlands took gold and silver.There was a bit of drama in the women’s 500-meter short-track speed skating finals when South Korea’s Choi Min-jeong lost her silver medal standing after being disqualified for touching the knee of Canada’s Kim Boutin on the track. Boutin would won the bronze. Italy’s Arianna Fontana got the gold with Netherlands speed skater Yara Kerkhof claiming silver.last_img read more

Spreading Smiles Across Northern Virginia

first_imgThe fourth annual Spreading Smiles event, comprised of offices in Vienna, Fairfax, Arlington, and The Plains, Va. will include local dentists providing services to local residents in need of free dental care on Sept. 17 at 2553 Chain Bridge Road. Doors are scheduled to open at 7:30 a.m. and the event will go all day, with no appointments necessary. All visits are on a first come, first serve basis.last_img

New species of lemur found on Madagascar

first_imgIllustration of C. sp. nov. 2 and closely related species (Fig. 8 in Lei et al. 2014), Illustrations by Stephen D. Nash ©Conservation International. Photographs by Edward E. Louis, Jr. Top left panel represents C. grovesi. Top left panel represents a lateral view of C. sp nov. 2, top right panel includes all lineages in the Cheirogaleus crossleyi group. Bottom photographs are of the holotype of C. sp. nov. 2 (TRA8.81) at Andringitra National Park. Credit: Primate Conservation 2017 (31): 27-36 A team of researchers with members from the State University of New York Polytechnic Institute, Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, Global Wildlife Conservation and the Madagascar Biodiversity Partnership has discovered a new species of lemur living in southeastern Madagascar. In their paper published in the journal Primate Conservation, the group describes features of the new species, some of its observed behaviors and the two places on Madagascar it was found. © 2018 Phys.org Explore further Duke University receives two endangered lemurs from Madagascar This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Citation: New species of lemur found on Madagascar (2018, January 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-01-species-lemur-madagascar.html More information: A New Cheirogaleus (Cheirogaleidae: Cheirogaleus crossleyi Group) Species from Southeastern Madagascar, Primate Conservation 2017 (31): 27-36 , http://www.primate-sg.org/primatre-conservation-31/ , (PDF)AbstractA new species in the genus Cheirogaleus is described from Ranomafana and Andringitra national parks, Madagascar. Ranomafana National Park is a rainforest situated in a montane region, and Andringitra National Park is comprised of grassland, lowland and highland forests displaying great altitudinal variation. Both parks are known to harbor wide species diversity in flora and fauna. Genetic and morphometric analyses of the samples collected at these localities confirmed that this Cheirogaleus lineage represents a new species in the C. crossleyi group, and here we elevate it to species status as Cheirogaleus grovesi, for the British-Australian biological anthropologist, evolutionary biologist and taxonomist Colin Groves. Lemurs are a type of primate endemic to the island of Madagascar. Currently, there are 113 known species, many of which are considered to be at risk because of deforestation and poaching. Prior research has shown that they evolved independently of monkeys and apes. The new species, a Grove’s dwarf lemur (Cheirogaleus grovesi) has been found to live in two distinct regions in Madagascar, both national parks. One is mostly rainforest; the other a mix of forest and grasslands.The researchers report that the newly discovered species is a little smaller than the North American squirrel (approximately 6 inches long) and features large, round black eyes, teddy bear-like ears, fluffy long tails and dexterous hands.The members of the new rainforest species, the team reports, spend their time up in the canopy, which provides them shelter, food and a place to reproduce. They are believed to exist in social groups, but sometimes spend time alone, as well. Some specimens were captured via dart guns and nets to catch them when they fell. The team took measurements and blood and tissue samples for later study. Such samples were crucial in proving that the species was unique, as some were used to perform DNA analysis and comparison with other lemur species.The new species was named after recently deceased primatologist Colin Groves, who spent his career working to find and classify new species of mammals. He was credited with identifying over 50 species over the course of his 40-year career. The researchers note that the identification of C. grovesi is likely one of many more to come, as there are many lemurs that have been identified but not yet classified. They note also that sometime in the near future, the endangered status of C. grovesi will be assigned as well.last_img read more

Questioning facebook freedom through art

first_imgArtist Puja Kshatriya is presenting her work Facebook of Reclaimed Identities, her new series of small formatted paintings soon at the India Habitat Centre. Her works are done on canvas with oil and  acrylic. She has also used the scratching technique where one adds scratches with blade to add effects to the strokes. Compared to Puja’s earlier works her recent paintings are small in size. Most of these works not more than three feet in size resemble the that of the frame of a computer screen. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’ The images are those of flowers and faces of children. The irony that Puja wants to build up in this series becomes palpable when one comes to know that these faces belong to those children who do not have any access to Facebook or related activities. They may be featured in Facebook through somebody’s agency and in fact without their knowledge. The image infested realm of Facebook often uses and abuses the identity of people who are randomly photographed without consent, credit or remuneration. Seen against this context of Facebook abuse, Puja’s works speak of the realms and identities that are incapacitated by the overuse of the medium. Hence, Puja’s works open up a critical body of paintings that suggestively questions the so called Facebook freedom. Inversely, the artist acknowledges the medium’s power to give a face to those people who otherwise will never have a face in the world of internet. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixFacebook for Puja Kshatriya is an operative metaphor in her works. She portrays faces and events through emblematic registrations. Pursuing her passion for the arts over the last forty years, Puja has earned great admiration and accolades for her work, with exhibitions in Dubai, Jakarta, London and Singapore amongst others.Departing from the traditional style of painting, along with acrylics, Puja uses the blade scraping technique, where in two-three layers of oil colours are applied and then the blade is used to bring out the forms. The pressure while scraping is varied. This technique gives a sculptural effect to the figures.last_img read more

These Entrepreneurs Are Taking on Bias in Artificial Intelligence

first_img Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Register Now » 15+ min readcenter_img September 5, 2018 Whether it’s a navigation app such as Waze, a music recommendation service such as Pandora or a digital assistant such as Siri, odds are you’ve used artificial intelligence in your everyday life.”Today 85 percent of Americans use AI every day,” says Tess Posner, CEO of AI4ALL.AI has also been touted as the new must-have for business, for everything from customer service to marketing to IT. However, for all its usefulness, AI also has a dark side. In many cases, the algorithms are biased.Related: What Is AI, Anyway? Know Your Stuff With This Go-To Guide.Some of the examples of bias are blatant, such as Google’s facial recognition tool tagging black faces as gorillas or an algorithm used by law enforcement to predict recidivism disproportionately flagging people of color. Others are more subtle. When Beauty.AI held an online contest judged by an algorithm, the vast majority of “winners” were light-skinned. Search Google for images of “unprofessional hair” and the results you see will mostly be pictures of black women (even searching for “man” or “woman” brings back images of mostly white individuals).While more light has been shined on the problem recently, some feel it’s not an issue addressed enough in the broader tech community, let alone in research at universities or the government and law enforcement agencies that implement AI.”Fundamentally, bias, if not addressed, becomes the Achilles’ heel that eventually kills artificial intelligence,” says Chad Steelberg, CEO of Veritone. “You can’t have machines where their perception and recommendation of the world is skewed in a way that makes its decision process a non-sequitur from action. From just a basic economic perspective and a belief that you want AI to be a powerful component to the future, you have to solve this problem.”As artificial intelligence becomes ever more pervasive in our everyday lives, there is now a small but growing community of entrepreneurs, data scientists and researchers working to tackle the issue of bias in AI. I spoke to a few of them to learn more about the ongoing challenges and possible solutions.Cathy O’Neil, founder of O’Neil Risk Consulting & Algorithmic AuditingSolution: Algorithm auditingBack in the early 2010s, Cathy O’Neil was working as a data scientist in advertising technology, building algorithms that determined what ads users saw as they surfed the web. The inputs for the algorithms included innocuous-seeming information like what search terms someone used or what kind of computer they owned.However, O’Neil came to realize that she was actually creating demographic profiles of users. Although gender and race were not explicit inputs, O’Neil’s algorithms were discriminating against users of certain backgrounds, based on the other cues.As O’Neil began talking to colleagues in other industries, she found this to be fairly standard practice. These biased algorithms weren’t just deciding what ads a user saw, but arguably more consequential decisions, such as who got hired or whether someone would be approved for a credit card. (These observations have since been studied and confirmed by O’Neil and others.)What’s more, in some industries — for example, housing — if a human were to make decisions based on the specific set of criteria, it likely would be illegal due to anti-discrimination laws. But, because an algorithm was deciding, and gender and race were not explicitly the factors, it was assumed the decision was impartial.”I had left the finance [world] because I wanted to do better than take advantage of a system just because I could,” O’Neil says. “I’d entered data science thinking that it was less like that. I realized it was just taking advantage in a similar way to the way finance had been doing it. Yet, people were still thinking that everything was great back in 2012. That they were making the world a better place.”O’Neil walked away from her adtech job. She wrote a book, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy, about the perils of letting algorithms run the world, and started consulting.Eventually, she settled on a niche: auditing algorithms.”I have to admit that it wasn’t until maybe 2014 or 2015 that I realized this is also a business opportunity,” O’Neil says.Right before the election in 2016, that realization led her to found O’Neil Risk Consulting & Algorithmic Auditing (ORCAA).”I started it because I realized that even if people wanted to stop that unfair or discriminatory practices then they wouldn’t actually know how to do it,” O’Neil says. “I didn’t actually know. I didn’t have good advice to give them.” But, she wanted to figure it out.So, what does it mean to audit an algorithm?”The most high-level answer to that is it means to broaden our definition of what it means for an algorithm to work,” O’Neil says.Often, companies will say an algorithm is working if it’s accurate, effective or increasing profits, but for O’Neil, that shouldn’t be enough.”So, when I say I want to audit your algorithm, it means I want to delve into what it is doing to all the stakeholders in the system in which you work, in the context in which you work,” O’Neil says. “And the stakeholders aren’t just the company building it, aren’t just for the company deploying it. It includes the target for the algorithm, so the people that are being assessed. It might even include their children. I want to think bigger. I want to think more about externalities, unforeseen consequences. I want to think more about the future.”For example, Facebook’s News Feed algorithm is very good at encouraging engagement and keeping users on its site. However, there’s also evidence it reinforces users’ beliefs, rather than promoting dialog, and has contributed to ethnic cleansing. While that may not be evidence of bias, it’s certainly not a net positive.Right now, ORCAA’s clients are companies that ask for their algorithms to be audited because they want a third party — such as an investor, client or the general public — to trust it. For example, O’Neil has audited an internal Siemens project and New York-based Rentlogic’s landlord rating system algorithm. These types of clients are generally already on the right track and simply want a third-party stamp of approval.However, O’Neil’s dream clients would be those who don’t necessarily want her there.”I’m going to be working with them because some amount of pressure, whether it’s regulatory or litigation or some public relations pressure kind of forces their hand and they invite me in,” O’Neil says.Most tech companies pursue profit above all else, O’Neil says, and won’t seriously address the issue of bias unless there are consequences. She feels that existing anti-discrimination protections need to be enforced in the age of AI.”The regulators don’t know how to do this stuff,” O’Neil says. “I would like to give them tools. But, I have to build them first. … We basically built a bunch of algorithms assuming they work perfectly, and now it’s time to start building tools to test whether they’re working at all.”Related: Artificial Intelligence Is Likely to Make a Career in Finance, Medicine or Law a Lot Less LucrativeFrida Polli, co-founder and CEO of PymetricsSolution: Open source AI auditingMany thought artificial intelligence would solve the problem of bias in hiring, by making sure human evaluators weren’t prejudging candidates based on the name they saw on a resume or the applicant’s appearance. However, some argue hiring algorithms end up perpetuating the biases of their creators.Pymetrics is one company that develops algorithms to help clients fill job openings based on the traits of high-performing existing employees. It believes it’s found a solution to the bias problem in an in-house auditing tool, and now it’s sharing the tool with the world.Co-founder and CEO Frida Polli stresses that fighting bias was actually a secondary goal for Pymetrics.”We’re not a diversity-first platform,” Polli says. “We are a predictive analytics platform.”However, after seeing that many of her clients’ employee examples used to train Pymetrics’s algorithms were not diverse, combating bias became important.”Either you do that or you’re actually perpetuating bias,” Polli says. “So, we decided we certainly were not going to perpetuate bias.”Early on, the company developed Audit AI to make sure its algorithms were as neutral as possible when it came to factors including gender and race. If a company looking to fill a sales role had a sales team that was predominantly white and male, an unaudited algorithm might pick a candidate with those same traits. Polli was quick to point out that Audit AI would also recommend adjustments if an algorithm was weighted in favor of women or people of color.Some critics say if you tweak a hiring algorithm to remove bias you’re lowering the bar, but Polli disagrees.”It’s the age-old criticism that’s like, ‘oh well, you’re not getting the best candidate,'” Polli says. “‘You’re just getting the most diverse candidate, because now you’ve lowered how well your algorithm is working.’ What’s really awesome is that we don’t see that. We have not seen this tradeoff at all.”In May, Pymetrics published the code for its internal Audit AI auditing tool on Github. Polli says the first goal for making Audit AI open source is to encourage others to develop auditing techniques for their algorithms.”If they can learn something from the way that we’re doing it that’s great. Obviously there are many ways to do it but we’re not saying ours is the only way or the best way.”Other motivations include simply starting a conversation about the issue and potentially learning from other developers who may be able to improve Audit AI.”We certainly don’t believe in sort of proprietary debiasing because that would sort of defeat the purpose,” Polli says.”The industry just needs to be more comfortable in actually realizing that if you’re not checking your machine learning algorithms and you’re saying, ‘I don’t know whether they cause bias,’ I just don’t think that that should be acceptable,” she says. “Because it’s like the ostrich in the sand approach.”Related: The Scariest Thing About AI Is the Competitive Disadvantage of Being Slow to AdaptRediet Abebe, co-founder of Black in AI and Mechanism Design for Social GoodSolution: Promoting diverse AI programmers and researchers Use of facial recognition has grown dramatically in recent years — whether it’s for unlocking your phone, expediting identification at the airport or scanning faces in a crowd to find potential criminals. But, it’s also prone to bias.MIT Media Lab researcher Joy Buolamwini and Timnit Gehru, who received her PhD from the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, found that facial recognition tools from IBM, Microsoft and Face++ accurately identified the gender of white men almost 100 percent of the time, but failed to identify darker skinned women in 20 percent to 34 percent of cases. That could be because the training sets themselves were biased: The two also found that the images used to train one of the facial recognition tools were 77 percent male and more than 83 percent white.One reason machine learning algorithms end up being biased is that they reflect the biases — whether conscious or unconscious — of the developers who built them. The tech industry as a whole is predominantly white and male, and one study by TechEmergence found women make up only 18 percent of C-level roles at AI and machine learning companies.Some in the industry are trying to change that.In March 2017, a small group of computer science researchers started a community called Black in AI because of an “alarming absence of black researchers,” says co-founder Rediet Abebe, a PhD candidate in computer science at Cornell University. (Gehru is also a co-founder.)”In the conferences that I normally attend there’s often no black people. I’d be the only black person,” Abebe says. “We realized that this was potentially a problem, especially since AI technologies are impacting our day-to-day lives and they’re involved in decision-making and a lot of different domains,” including criminal justice, hiring, housing applications and even what ads you see online.”All these things are now being increasingly impacted by AI technologies, and when you have a group of people that maybe have similar backgrounds or correlated experiences, that might impact the kinds of problems that you might work on and the kind of products that you put out there,” Abebe says. “We felt that the lack of black people in AI was potentially detrimental to how AI technologies might impact black people’s lives.”Adebe feels particularly passionate about including more African women in AI; growing up in Ethiopia, a career in the sciences didn’t seem like a possibility, unless she went into medicine. Her own research focuses on how certain communities are underserved or understudied when it comes to studying societal issues — for example, there is a lack of accurate data on HIV/AIDS deaths in developing countries — and how AI can be used to address those discrepancies. Adebe is also the co-founder and co-organizer of Mechanism Design for Social Good, an interdisciplinary initiative that shares research on AI’s use in confronting similar societal challenges through workshops and meetings.Initially, Abebe thought Black in AI would be able to rent a van to fit all the people in the group, but Black in AI’s Facebook group and email list has swollen to more than 800 people, from all over the world. While the majority of members are students or researchers, the group also includes entrepreneurs and engineers.Black in AI’s biggest initiative to date was a workshop at the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems (NIPS) in December 2017 that garnered about 200 attendees. Thanks to partners such as Facebook, Google and ElementAI, the group was able to give out over $150,000 in travel grants to attendees.Abebe says a highlight of the workshop was a keynote talk by Haben Girma, the first deaf/blind graduate from Harvard Law School, which got Abebe thinking about other types of diversity and intersectionality.Black in AI is currently planning its second NIPS workshop.As part of the more informal discussions happening in the group’s forums and Facebook group, members have applied and been accepted to Cornell’s graduate programs, research collaborations have started and industry allies have stepped forward to ask how they can help. Black in AI hopes to set up a mentoring program for members.Related: Why Are Some Bots Racist? Look at the Humans Who Taught Them.Tess Posner, CEO of AI4ALLSolution: Introducing AI to diverse high schoolersThe nonprofit AI4ALL is targeting the next generation of AI whiz kids. Through summer programs at prestigious universities, AI4ALL exposes girls, low-income students, racial minorities and those from diverse geographic backgrounds to the possibilities of AI.”It’s becoming ubiquitous and invisible,” says Tess Posner, who joined AI4ALL as founding CEO in 2017. “Yet, right now it’s being developed by a homogenous group of technologists mostly. This is leading to negative impacts like race and gender bias getting incorporated into AI and machine learning systems. The lack of diversity is really a root cause for this.”She adds, “The other piece of it is we believe that this technology has such exciting potential to be addressed to solving some key issues or key problems facing the world today, for example in health care or in environmental issues, in education. And it has incredibly positive potential for good.”Started as a pilot at Stanford University in 2015 as a summer camp for girls, AI4ALL now offers programs at six universities around the country: University of California Berkeley, Boston University, Carnegie Mellon University, Princeton University, Simon Fraser University and Stanford.Participants receive a mix of technical training, hands-on learning, demos of real-world applications (such as a self-driving car), mentorship and exposure to experts in the field. This year, guest speakers included representatives from big tech firms including Tesla, Google and Microsoft, as well as startups including H20.ai, Mobileye and Argo AI.The universities provide three to five “AI for good” projects for students to work on during the program. Recent examples include developing algorithms to identify fake news, predict the infection path of the flu and map poverty in Uganda.For many participants, the AI4ALL summer program is only the beginning.”We talk about wanting to create future leaders in AI, not just future creators, that can really shape what the future of this technology can bring,” Posner says.AI4ALL recently piloted an AI fellowship program for summer program graduates to receive funding and mentorship to work on their own projects. One student’s project involved tracking wildfires on the West Coast, while another looked at how to optimize ambulance dispatches based on the severity of the call after her grandmother died because an ambulance didn’t reach her in time.Other graduates have gone on to create their own ventures after finishing the program, and AI4ALL provides “seed grants” to help them get started. Often, these ventures involve exposing other kids like themselves to AI. For example, three alumni started a workshop series called creAIte to teach middle school girls about AI and computer science using neural art, while another runs an after school workshop called Girls Explore Tech.Another graduate co-authored a paper on using AI to improve surgeons’ technique that won an award at NIPS’s Machine Learning for Health workshop in 2017.”We have a lot of industry partners who have seen our students’ projects and they go, ‘Wow. I can’t believe how amazing and rigorous and advanced this project is.’ And it kind of changes people’s minds about what talent looks like and who the face of AI really is,” Posner says.Last month, AI4ALL announced it will be expanding its reach in a big way: The organization received a $1 million grant from Google to create a free digital version of its curriculum, set to launch in early 2019.Related: Artificial Intelligence May Reflect the Unfair World We Live inChad Steelberg, co-founder and CEO of VeritoneSolution: Building the next generation of AISerial entrepreneur Chad Steelberg first got involved in AI during his high school years in the 1980s, when he worked on algorithms to predict the three-dimensional structures of proteins. At the time, he felt AI’s capabilities had reached a plateau, and he ended up starting multiple companies in different arenas, one of which he sold to Google in 2006.A few years later, Steelberg heard from some friends at Google that AI was about to take a huge leap forward — algorithms that could actually understand and make decisions, rather than simply compute data and spit back a result. Steelberg saw the potential, and he invested $10 million of his own money to found Veritone.Veritone’s aiWARE is an operating system for AI. Instead of communicating between the software and hardware in a computer, like a traditional operating system, it takes users’ queries — such as “transcribe this audio clip” — and finds the best algorithm available to process that query, whether that’s Google Cloud Speech-to-Text, Nuance or some other transcription engine. As of now, aiWARE can scan more than 200 models in 16 categories, from translation to facial recognition.Algorithms work best when they have a sufficiently narrow training set. For example, if you try to train one algorithm to play go, chess and checkers, it will fail at all three, Steelberg says. Veritone tells the companies it works with to create algorithms for very narrow use cases, such as images of faces in profile. AiWARE will find the right algorithm for the specific query, and can even trigger multiple algorithms for the same query. Steelberg says when an audio clip uses multiple languages, the translations aiWARE returns are 15 percent to 20 percent more accurate than the best single engine on the platform.Algorithms designed for parsing text and speech, such as transcription and translation, are another area prone to bias. One study found algorithms categorized written African American vernacular English as “not English” at high rates, while a Washington Post investigation found voice assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa have a hard time deciphering accented English.Though it wasn’t built to eliminate bias, aiWARE ends up doing exactly that, Steelberg says. Just like the human brain is capable of taking all of its learned information and picking the best response to each situation, aiWARE learns which model (or models) is most appropriate to use for each query.”We use our aiWARE to arbitrate and evaluate each of those models as to what they believe the right answer is, and then aiWARE is learning to choose which set of models to trust at every single point along the curve,” Steelberg says.It’s not an issue if an algorithm is biased. “What’s problematic is when you try to solve the problem with one big, monolithic model,” Steelberg says. AiWARE is learning to recognize which models are biased and how, and work around those biases.Another factor that results in biased AI is that many algorithms will ignore small subsets of a training set. If in a data set of 1 million entries, there are three that are different, you can still achieve a high degree of accuracy overall while performing horribly on certain queries. This is often the reason facial recognition software fails to recognize people of color: The training set contained mostly images of white faces.Veritone tells companies to break down training sets into micro models, and then aiWARE can interpolate to create similar examples.”You’re essentially inflating that population, and you can train models now on an inflated population that learn that process,” Steelberg says.Using small training sets, aiWARE can build models for facial recognition with accuracy in the high 90th percentile for whatever particular subcategory a client is interested in (e.g., all the employees at your company), he says.Steelberg says he believes an intelligent AI like aiWARE has a much better chance of eliminating bias than a human auditor. For one, humans will likely have a hard time identifying flawed training sets. They also might bring their own biases to the process.And for larger AI models, which might encompass “tens of millions of petabytes of data,” a human auditor is just impractical, Steelberg says. “The sheer size makes it inconceivable.”last_img read more

Improve Your Focus at Work With This TopRated Productivity App

first_img Disclosure: Our goal is to feature products and services that we think you’ll find interesting and useful. If you purchase them, Entrepreneur may get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. 2 min read Distractions are inevitable when you’re wrapped up in the whirlwind of starting your own company or fighting for a promotion. Putting the finishing touches on your business plan, meeting with potential investors, finding and instructing a reliable team and hunting online for the best tools and equipment will pull you in a thousand directions at once.All of that energy creates plenty of excitement, but it also makes it hard to buckle down and focus on attention-heavy tasks when you need to crunch numbers or make tough choices. Whether you’re building the foundations for your own business or helping someone else launch their fresh concept, there’s a lot to keep track of — and staying on top of everything can help you earn the profits (and raises) you deserve.Popping in some earbuds and queueing up your favorite playlist can help block out distracting sounds, but not all tunes are created equal when it comes to focused attention. Some music is better than others when it comes to concentrating, and a lifetime premiums subscription to Focus@Will gives you unlimited access to the best playlists for your workday mindset.Focus@Will has a 4.5-star rating from more than 400 reviews in Apple’s App Store. It’s used by employees at Apple, Microsoft, SpaceX, and Amazon who need help paying attention to what’s in front of them. This app is more than just a playlist: it’s curated music for productivity. The channels are scientifically optimized to reduce distractions and help you check off everything on your to-do list.There are more than 50 channels at your disposal, including acoustic, focus spa, classical piano, and electro Bach. You can’t find the music on Focus@Will anywhere else: each track has been digitally edited, remastered and re-produced to remove any distracting elements and keep you focused. Focus@Will’s tunes have been proven to increase your productivity by up to 400%.A lifetime premium subscription to Focus@Will usually costs $299.95, but right now you can improve your productivity at work for only $69.95 (76 percent off). April 9, 2019 Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Register Now »last_img read more

Happy holidays from ETB Travel News

first_imgSource = ETB Travel News ETB Travel News is taking a holiday from Wednesday 24 December 2014, until Monday 5 January 2015.As the year comes to an end, ETB Travel News would like to wish all of our subscribers and partners a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!2014 has been a fantastic year for us, and we thank you for your support of our journey.For 2015, ETB Travel News is looking forward to many more exciting new developments and ventures which we plan to share with you as they come to fruition.From all of us here at ETB Travel News, we wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a safe, happy and prosperous New Year!last_img read more

House approves Rep VanderWall bill updating ice shanty rules

first_img16Nov House approves Rep. VanderWall bill updating ice shanty rules State Rep. Curt VanderWall’s bill offering more flexibility in the rules regulating ice shanties placed on Michigan waterways was overwhelmingly approved last week by the Michigan House of Representatives.VanderWall’s legislation gives the Michigan Department of Natural Resources the ability to adjust ice shanty removal dates each year based on weather conditions. Current law sets precise dates by which ice shanties must be removed from specific waters.“The weather is different every year. It’s silly to have precise dates written in law by which ice shanties must be removed from the ice,” said VanderWall, of Ludington. “It makes more sense to allow the DNR to adjust the removal dates each year based on weather conditions.”The legislation also offers increased privacy protections for the owners of ice shanties, who are currently required to put their names and addresses on the structure.“Some people don’t like the idea of everyone who walks by their ice shanty knowing their address,” VanderWall said. “Giving people the option to choose between displaying their name and address, driver’s license number or DNR Sportcard number will offer more privacy while still giving law enforcement officers the ability to identify owners when needed.”VanderWall noted the additional identification options are consistent with other types of sporting equipment, such as tree stands and animal traps.House Bill 4787 now moves to the Senate for consideration.### Categories: VanderWall Newslast_img read more

Rep Maturen New state budget saves taxpayers money while improving roads public

first_img21Jun Rep. Maturen: New state budget saves taxpayers money while improving roads, public safety Categories: News Governor signs one of two main budget billsState Rep. David Maturen joins Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative colleagues for a bill-signing ceremony today.State Rep. David Maturen today said the newly signed state budget plan reins in government spending while investing in top priorities such as road repairs, public safety and health care.“I’m pleased we were able to come up with a spending plan that respects Michigan’s hardworking taxpayers,” Maturen said after attending a bill-signing ceremony with Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative colleagues. “The new budget increases investments in the programs that matter most while making our state government more efficient, effective and accountable and spending less money than the previously enacted budget.”The governor today signed Senate Bill 848, a budget bill covering multiple state departments and agencies. A separate bill that provides funding for K-12 schools and higher education remains under consideration.Highlights of the legislation signed today include:Savings for taxpayers and smart financial planning. Spending from a fund that covers multiple state departments and agencies – called the general fund – is projected to be less next budget year than during the current year. A prison will be closed and budgets for several state departments will decline as state government becomes more efficient and eliminates waste. Maturen noted the new budget pays down debt and puts more money into the state’s main savings account, key steps that will continue to reduce the burden on Michigan’s hard-working taxpayers in the future.Road repairs. The state continues to accelerate its timeline for reconstructing roads and bridges with a record-high $4 billion investment. State-level funding will be $1 billion higher than just a few years ago, with more measures to make sure projects are done on time and on budget with strengthened warranties.Public safety. The bill signed today includes grants to make school buildings safer across the state and also expands Michigan’s OK2SAY confidential tip reporting program. The plan funds training for 155 new Michigan State Police troopers.Health care. More resources will fight the opioid abuse crisis and boost community mental health services.Maturen, of Vicksburg, played a key role in retaining funding for the Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program after its previous funding source was eliminated. The program supports volunteers who monitor water quality in local lakes and document changes in lake quality. A number of local lakes, including Gull Lake, Indian Lake, Little Long Lake, Barton Lake, West Lake and Duck Lake, participate in the program.“The Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program plays a vital role in training and assisting volunteers to ensure that reliable water quality data is available,” Maturen said. “The information they provide helps shape management plans that protect our lakes and ensure our kids and grandkids will be able to enjoy Michigan’s natural resources long into the future.”###last_img read more

Subscription videoondemand services popularised

first_imgSubscription video-on-demand services popularised by the likes of Netflix and Amazon will account for just 3% of the global pay TV market this year, according to Deloitte. Predicting the top media trends for 2015, the professional services firm said that it expects SVoD to generate roughly £5 billion (€6.4 billion) globally this year, compared to total pay TV market proceeds of £168 billion.“SVoD should not be considered solely as a competitor to pay TV but more as a complementary service and replacement for DVD box sets,” said Deloitte.“In addition, SVoD players will struggle to match TV broadcasters’ investment in brand new high-end content.”Reinforcing traditional viewing habits, Deloitte also said it does not expect short form video to overtake traditional, long form television viewing.Though it predicted that short clips will generate 10 billion hours of viewing per month and revenues of £3 billion, this compares to an estimated 360 billion hours of traditional TV viewing per month in 2015 and subscription revenues worth more than £260 billion.“The most successful video bloggers will generate billions of views.  However, the total time spent watching short online video clips, will represent under three per cent of all video (long- and short- form) watched on screens globally,” said Neil Allcock, lead media partner at Deloitte.last_img read more

One of the biggest miners unions in South Africa

first_imgOne of the biggest miners’ unions in South Africa is demanding doubled wages. The threat is for a massive strike like the one that had a big impact on platinum supply last year. Some gold bugs are hopeful this would boost the price of gold. Maybe even just the threat could give us a nice tailwind. Not so fast. Remember that while South Africa is the world’s top platinum producer, it lost that status for gold years ago. More important is that platinum is consumed as an industrial metal. Most of the gold ever mined is still within easy reach and in purified form, as bullion or jewelry. The potential supply of “recycled” gold is practically infinite, compared to the market. This makes mine supply a less important factor in the price of gold than it is for any other metal. For gold, it’s all about demand. That’s why we call it a “fear barometer.” As long as fear and chaos abound in global markets, demand will keep gold in high demand—and prices up. Place your bets accordingly.last_img read more

Justin So the ingredients for a holy war have al

first_img Justin: So, the ingredients for a holy war have always been there? Doug: Yes. Up to about 100 years ago, Christians felt a moral obligation to convert everyone, including other misguided Christians. Now it’s mostly just the Muslims who feel that way. It’s entirely possible, even likely, we’re going to have an outright war of religion. Although, in the highly Politically Correct West, it will have to be called something else. The ongoing invasion of Europe by Muslims is one aspect of it—although that’s not so much a religious thing per se. That’s partly because the Muslims are migrating mostly for economic reasons. And because religion is a dead duck in Europe today. Europe is a post-Christian society. Very few people go to church or take Christianity seriously in Europe, it’s a very secular society. Which is a bit of a problem, because they’ve taken the State for their new god. But the State doesn’t promise anybody an afterlife. So, in my opinion, Europeans are actually ripe for conversion to Islam. It’s a serious problem, because Islam is incompatible with, and antithetical to Western Civilization. Justin: Why should the average American care about this?  Doug: It’s part of the gradual destruction of Western culture. Lots of termites—including socialism, cultural Marxism, gender warfare—have been eating away at the foundations of Western Civilization for decades. Islam, in itself, isn’t a real threat. The Koran, which PC types love to treat with respect, is just poorly written medieval sci-fi. It’s living proof that humans are capable of believing absolutely anything. That said, Islam is a threat to the West because tens of millions of migrants are being invited to come and live at the expense of the current residents. Europe will collapse from within, as did Rome. The average European believes in nothing—except that his civilization not only isn’t worthy, but is actually evil. No wonder the migrants treat them with contempt. The Mohammedans—although I’ll note it’s now very un-PC to call them that—are technologically and economically backward. As long as they put the Koran at the center of their lives—and they have to, because it is the direct, incontrovertible word of Allah—they’ll remain backward. If, through an accident of geology, there wasn’t a lot of low cost oil in places they live, the West would have no reason to care what they think, say, or do. They’d be no more than an interesting tourist attraction. The good news is that, over the next 100 years, most Muslims will fall away from their primitive beliefs. But that’s another story… And a lot is going to happen in the meantime. Recommended Link These insiders are all quietly backing what The Economist calls “one of the world’s hottest investments.” Already, some of these plays have climbed an extraordinary 1,442% in 5 months… 503% in 30 days… 1,696% in 10 days. If you feel like you’ve missed out on this bull market, then watch this video. Recommended Link Justin: Doug, I know you think the European Union (EU) has been destined to fail from the start. Could religious tensions spark this inevitable crisis? Or will an economic or financial crisis be the final nail in the EU’s coffin? Doug: Religion is definitely playing into the crisis. Because you have to remember that, in continental Europe, Kosovo, Albania, and Turkey, are already Muslim, as are parts of Bulgaria. 10% of Western Europe is already Muslim. There are about 20 million Muslims in southern Russia, and that’s going to be a big problem for Moscow. There’s always blowback from running an empire, something the French and British have found as well. And Americans are discovering. Enemy sympathizers are already within the gates. London is turning into Karachi, Paris into Kinshasa, and Rome into Lagos. I wouldn’t doubt that there’s going to be a war against Islam. Even though, as I said, very few Europeans take Christianity seriously anymore. Islam, however, is much more virulent than Christianity—it’s like Christianity in the Middle Ages. Even if the average Muslim is basically “get along go along” with his religion in daily life, when push comes to shove, yeah, he takes his religion quite seriously—the way Christians did hundreds of years ago. So this is very serious. It’s a cultural war, much more than an economic or military one. And I’m afraid the West has already about lost it. It’s really tragic, because almost everything good in the world has come out of the West—in particular freedom, capitalism, individualism, science, technology, literature. Future generations will miss them. It’s sad. Justin: Doug, thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. Doug: Sure, anytime. Editor’s note: Every month, Doug shares his unique insights in The Casey Report, our flagship publication. If you sign up today, you’ll get complete access to all of our archived content, including recent essays by Doug on the Greater Depression, the migrant crisis, and technology. You’ll also receive specific, actionable advice to help you protect and grow your personal financial empire. You can sign up for a risk-free trial of The Casey Report right here. Justin’s note: Today, we have another brand-new Conversations with Casey to share with you. In the interview below, Doug Casey and I discuss holy wars in Europe. I’m not talking about the Crusades, either. I’m talking about a modern-day holy war. Some folks will think I’m crazy for even entertaining this idea. But a few weeks ago, Turkey’s foreign minister said that “wars of religion” are coming to Europe. That’s a major warning. You have to take it seriously. So, I recently sat down with Doug to discuss this matter. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. Justin: Doug, Turkey’s foreign minister recently said that “wars of religion” are coming to Europe. Do you think this could actually happen? Doug: Well, human nature hasn’t changed in many thousands of years. And religion is important to the human animal. Perhaps it’s always been something that people were prone to fight about, but the historical record shows that religious wars only started with the invention of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Of course, these religions—which have always been at war with each other, and all other religions—are similar in that they believe in one god. Pagan religions were and are accepting of other people’s gods and beliefs. The question is, which god is the right one? Should you believe in Yahweh, or Jesus, or Allah? Because it appears to me that they’re all very different, based upon what they say and what they have their followers believe. Islam and Christianity have been duking it out since the 7th century, and that’s unlikely to change. They both claim to have the one and only true god, but they’re very different gods—not at all the same one. So it’s an irreconcilable difference. —center_img PayPal Billionaire Peter Thiel Netscape founder (and Facebook board member) Marc Andreesen MIT White House Budget Chief Mark Mulvaney Patrick Byrne, CEO of Overstock — The White House Budget Chief is backing this investment (did Trump tell him something?) Take a look at this list: Jamie McIntyre, CEO of 21st Century Education Nassim Taleb, creator of Black Swan theory John McAfee, founder of McAfee Inc. Chamath Palihapitiya, former Facebook VP The “Deep State” HATES this stuff You see this mysterious red fluid? To Trump-haters in Congress, the media and big cities… And to the “Deep State” that’s trying to take control of America from the darkest corners of Washington… This incredible new substance is the sum of all fears. That’s because starting in 2017, it could literally destroy all opposition to President Trump… And cement his legacy as the undisputed “greatest president in history” — even among his worst enemies. You can find out why right here.last_img read more

Workplace Violence How to Prepare for the Unimaginable

first_imgworkplace violence April 5, 2018 Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Next Article Heather R. Huhman The entire country is on edge. The shootings at YouTube headquarters happened just this week.Related: YouTube Shooting Suspect Had Been Angry Over Filtering and DemonetizationPlaces that used to feel safe — from schools and churches to concert venues and workplaces — now feel anything but. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 500 workplace homicides in the United States in 2016, making violence the second-most-common cause of death in the workplace.Because April is Workplace Violence Awareness Month, there’s no better time than now for leaders to revisit how to handle and prevent dangerous situations. While no one can predict when a violent incident will occur at work, having the right precautions in place can help keep employees safe.Vet potential employees.The first step to avoiding workplace violence is keeping offenders out of your company. Perform thorough background checks to see if candidates have committed crimes in the past. If there are red flags or signs of violent tendencies, these people shouldn’t be hired.If a person has had (or has, while working for you) an isolated incident, leaders must make a judgment call. For example, you could require the individual to undergo anger management therapy so he or she can be a productive, rather than potentially violent, employee.Related: 12 Ways to Spot a Potentially Violent Person in the WorkplaceAlso, use the job interview as a way to assess a job candidate’s personality. Ask questions about previous terminations or gaps in employment and see how the person reacts. If innocuous questions make a person uncomfortable, he or she probably isn’t the best hiring choice.Have a clear plan, and consequences.“Even the best safety plans are only effective if they are put into practice,” Bob Folster, director of loss control services at small-business insurance company Employers in Sacramento, told me in an email.  To feel safe, employees need to know what policies are in place to protect them. This means conducting drills, no matter how unlikely an event might seem. Have employees practice where they’d go or how they would react to scenarios like a robbery or shooting. After each drill, leave time for questions so employees can discuss any concerns they might have.Also, make it clear what consequences employees face if they act violently. While most companies have zero-tolerance policies about workplace violence, gray areas still exist.For example, if an enraged employee throws a stapler, but doesn’t hit anyone, is that a fireable offense? No matter how unlikely a situation may seem, make sure everyone knows what will happen as a result. That way, employees will see there are no loopholes that excuse violent behavior.Know (and share) the warning signs.After a violent incident, people often say, “I should have seen the warning signs.” While leaders aren’t expected to be violence experts, they do need to know what behaviors signal an employee who’s struggling with anger.Some warning signs, like suddenly being late for work on multiple occasions, may seem harmless. But a change like this can show an employee is struggling. Taking the time to speak with this individual can potentially keep the situation from progressing to violence.Asa Sherwood, president of Chicago-based property management company FirstService Residential Illinois, said he likes to take an “it takes a village” approach. “We encourage colleagues to keep an eye out for each other and not be afraid to say something if they see something, so that, as employers, we can address concerns before they reach a tipping point,” Sherwood said via email. Educate employees about possible warning signs so they can help keep the workplace safe. In her book, Risky Business: Managing Employee Violence in the Workplace, Lynne McClure lists the following changes as precursors to violent behavior:Not taking responsibility for one’s mistakesDistancing oneself sociallyActing out of characterLying or partaking in risky behaviorRefusing to try new thingsHelp employees speak up.Leaders can’t be everywhere all the time. This is why employees need to feel safe coming forward if they feel threatened. They need to know there’s a way they can report incidents without fear of retribution.Jay Starkman, CEO of Hollywood, Fla.-based HR solutions company Engage PEO, said he believes this should be a part of employee training. In short: Everyone needs to know what the procedure will be after a violent workplace incident. “Violent behavior is common and must be dealt with promptly, uniformly and in such a way that employees feel comfortable in their ability to work, without the threat of violence or bullying,” Starkman said in an email.Related: Managing Conflict Is Essential to SuccessIf your employees are worried about coming forward, create a company email address where employees can anonymously report incidents that have made them feel uncomfortable. Knowing about these situations can allow you as a leader to address issues before the violence escalates. 5 min read Image credit: Justin Sullivan | Getty Images Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. Career and Workplace Expert; Founder and President, Come Recommended Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. YouTube is only the latest workplace to experience violence. What are you doing to protect your workers? –shares Enroll Now for $5 Workplace Violence: How to Prepare for the Unimaginable Contributor Add to Queuelast_img read more

Lyft Gives California Drivers New Protections But Wont Classify Them as Employees

first_img Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. –shares Ride-hailing service Lyft has agreed to settle a proposed class action lawsuit in California by giving drivers additional workplace protections but without classifying them as employees, removing a major threat to its business model.The settlement agreement, filed late on Tuesday in San Francisco federal court, provides for Lyft to pay $12.25 million, as well as give drivers notice if they are to be deactivated from the platform and other benefits.Lyft and larger rival Uber face separate lawsuits brought on behalf of drivers who contend they are employees and entitled to reimbursement for expenses including gas and vehicle maintenance. The drivers currently pay those costs themselves.The cases have been closely followed because a determination that the workers are employees instead of contractors could affect the valuations for other startups that rely on large networks of individuals to provide rides, clean houses and other services.While the deal will involve some costs for Lyft, classifying drivers as employees would have been much more expensive and complicated, said Jan Dawson, chief analyst of Jackdaw Research.”It looks like Lyft got off fairly lightly here,” Dawson said.Shannon Liss-Riordan, an attorney for the drivers, acknowledged that the settlement does not achieve a reclassification of drivers as employees, but said the benefits are still significant.Unlike a separate lawsuit against Uber, which has been certified as a class action, Liss-Riordan said Lyft’s arbitration agreement with its drivers would have made it difficult for Lyft drivers to similarly sue as a group.Additionally, Liss-Riordan said her firm receives many more complaints from Uber drivers about issues with their pay, and about being deactivated from the platform.”We have not been hearing so many concerns from Lyft drivers, which leads us to believe that Lyft is treating its drivers with more respect than Uber is treating its drivers,” Liss-Riordan said.Uber representatives could not immediately be reached for comment. Uber is scheduled for a June trial in San Francisco on whether its drivers are employees or contractors.As part of the settlement, Lyft has agreed that it can only deactivate drivers for specific reasons, like low passenger ratings. Drivers will be given an opportunity to address those issues before they are deactivated, according to the court filing.Lyft also agreed to pay the arbitration expenses for any driver who wants to challenge their deactivation or disputes over compensation.Lyft general counsel Kristin Sverchek said the company is pleased to resolve the lawsuit on terms that “preserve the flexibility of drivers to control when, where, and for how long they drive on the platform”.U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria would have to approve the deal. A hearing on preliminary approval is currently scheduled for February 18 in San Francisco.(Reporting by Dan Levine; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell and Miral Fahmy) Legal 3 min read Image credit: Lyft January 27, 2016 Reuters center_img This story originally appeared on Reuters Lyft Gives California Drivers New Protections, But Won’t Classify Them as Employees Register Now » Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Next Article Add to Queuelast_img read more

Internships for Adults Are on the Rise Heres What You Need to

first_img Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Internships for Adults Are on the Rise. Here’s What You Need to Know Careers This story originally appeared on CNBC An adult with years of experience would never consider an internship, right? Not necessarily. In fact, for people who have been out of the workforce for several years or who want to make a big career change, a returnship — the grown-up version of an internship — could be a second chance at success even if the paycheck is likely smaller than what workers are used to. “For people who are returning to work after a career break, participating in a formal returning professional internship program can be an excellent entree back into the workforce,” said Carol Fishman Cohen, CEO and co-founder of iRelaunch, a career resource website. While a returnship does not guarantee a job, it does provide marketable skills, experts said. They also offer mentorship, experience and a chance to learn about new industry trends and operations.”As our careers are extending, we’re going to need more nonlinear professional career paths, including opportunities to take breaks to look after children and elderly relatives,” said Julianne Miles, co-founder and director of professional network Women Returners. Many corporate giants are hopping on the trend. Companies such as Goldman Sachs, General Motors, Booz Allen Hamilton, Cummins and Credit Suisse also offer returnship programs.Create a returnship, if one doesn’t existAlthough not all companies have returnships listed online, that doesn’t mean they can’t create one through networking, experts said.”Keep in mind that a professional returning to work after a career break can suggest an internship or internship-like experience to an employer that does not have a formal program,” Cohen said. So how do you go about creating one? “Be specific on … what you would like to do while there, and also what skills you would like to work on during your time there,” said Stacey Delo, founder of Maybrooks, a career resource for moms. “Communicate this in your pitch. Try approaching smaller businesses.” Show how your returnship would benefit the company, other experts said. “Pose this paid re-entry role as a win-win for the organization,” said Amanda Augustine, career advice expert for Top Resume, a career service website. “The employer gets some much needed help from an experienced professional, oftentimes at a discounted rate, while you get to learn about the latest technologies and trends in your field and gain some valuable experience,” Augustine added. But be sure to consider all of your optionsOther career experts warned against pursuing a returnship too quickly, before considering other higher-paying options. The ideal candidate for a returnship is someone who has been out of the workforce for more than five years, not just a couple of years, said Allison O’Kelly, founder and CEO Corps Team, a staffing organization focused on experienced professionals seeking nontraditional careers. “The returnships — they’re not a guarantee of a job. So especially when you’ve been out three to five years, you’re still very marketable for job positions,” O’Kelly said. Returnships are usually full-time positions, O’Kelly added. This may be difficult for a person looking to transition more slowly into the workforce.”When considering a returnship, make sure you consider what your other options are,” O’Kelly said. “Is it that I want it to go back full-time? Do I want to get a full-time role, a part-time role?” Regardless of whether you decide to pursue a returnship, a part-time position or any other experience, O’Kelly said that the same rules of hard work and dedication apply. “You really want to get back in there, learn as much as you can, go above and beyond,” O’Kelly said. “Get involved in the company by going to activities, integrate yourself as an active team member.” Image credit: Shutterstock Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. June 7, 2016center_img Add to Queue Enroll Now for $5 –shares Marguerite Ward Next Article 4 min readlast_img read more

Mozilla Could Cash Out Big If It Doesnt Like Yahoos New Owner

first_imgMozilla This story originally appeared on PCMag Add to Queue Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Next Article Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Good news for Mozilla: if Yahoo implodes — as in, if the company is eventually sold to someone that completely mucks up Yahoo’s strategies and vision — Mozilla still gets a pretty big payout. Or, at least, it could. According to Recode, the contract Mozilla made with Yahoo that makes Yahoo the default search engine in Firefox also comes with a great clause for Mozilla.In said contract — clause 9.1, specifically — the party that ultimately acquires Yahoo could end up paying Mozilla annual payments of $375 million until 2019. That’s because Mozilla has the right to determine whether the purchasing party is acceptable in the company’s eyes. If it isn’t, Mozilla can walk away from the Yahoo search deal and, if it so chooses, strike another deal with another company entirely. Yahoo would still be on the hook to pay Mozilla an annual revenue guarantee for, well, nothing. “Each of our search partnerships is the result of a competitive process reflective of the value that Firefox brings to the ecosystem. The Yahoo relationship is no different,” Mozilla told Recode.Of course, Mozilla could very well stick with its Yahoo deal and not walk away, assuming that Yahoo’s buyer — whoever it ends up being — is just as interested in search as Yahoo has been during CEO Marissa Mayer’s tenure.Mayer jumped into Yahoo’s CEO spot from Google, where she previously served as VP. As a result, some have wondered whether she has placed too much of an influence on search volume (and monetizing search).Final bids from interested companies are expected to arrive by July 18. Mozilla Could Cash Out Big If It Doesn’t Like Yahoo’s New Ownercenter_img David Murphy Image credit: Juanmonino | Getty Images 2 min read –shares July 8, 2016 Register Now »last_img read more

Study shows how probiotics influence gut microbiota

first_img Source:http://en.itmo.ru/en/ Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Mar 19 2019A group of researchers from ITMO University and Knomics company studied how gut microbiota of 150 volunteers changed after a month of regular consumption of yogurt fortified with probiotics. The study showed that such diet increases the proportion of beneficial gut bacteria, which, in turn, can positively affect state of the whole organism. The work was supported by the company PepsiCo R&D Inc, the results are published in Nutrients journal.Modern research constantly confirms that gut microbiome state affects human health. Therefore, microbiome studies as well as the search for ways to influence it, became an urgent task. Scientists from ITMO University try to solve it using analysis of metagenome: the data obtained from genetic sequences of gut microbial community members.Related StoriesGrowth problems in preterm infants associated with altered gut bacteria’Scissors’ component of CRISPR/Cas9 sometimes gets stuckNew methods to recognize antimicrobial resistant bacteria and how they workIn the new work, scientists applied sequencing of the microbial 16S rRNA gene to reveal how gut microbiota response to the regular consumption of dairy products with probiotics. It turned out that such diet increases the relative abundance of potentially beneficial bifidobacteria, which can help to metabolize lactose, produce vitamins and amino acids. These bacteria have a positive effect on the body’s ability to resist inflammatory diseases, hormonal and cardiovascular disorders.The study involved 150 healthy volunteers who consumed 125 milliliters of yogurt with probiotics in the morning and evening during thirty days. Gut microbiota metagenome was analyzed for each volunteer on the first day of the study and after 30 days. The analysis revealed changes in the ratio of different species of microbes. Depending on the baseline composition of the microbiota, the intensity of changes was different, but in any case they were positive.”The microbiome of different people has individual characteristics, therefore, it responds to the diet differently. However, by analyzing the baseline state of the microbiome, we can predict how the microbiome will respond to the diet. This can be used to develop personalized nutrition schemes that will help improve the condition of a particular person,” notes Alexander Tyakht, researcher at ITMO University.last_img read more