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  1. kalenjin shared this story from Shanghaiist.

    The entire province of Qinghai just ran for a week on only renewable energy Wow. [ more › ]
  2. kalenjin shared this story from NYT > The Upshot.

    Minority voters have a large political voice, immigration is seen as positive and multicultural identities are encouraged.

  3. kalenjin shared this story from naked capitalism.

    Report recognizes rationale for right to repair, via tweaks to existing rule-making procedures under existing copyright statutory framework.
  4. kalenjin shared this story from Quartz.

    In her 41 years as a professional designer, Paula Scher has dealt with a lot of egos. That’s why she has become a mastermind of “client diplomacy”—drawing on experiences from her days designing record covers for moody musicians to her current job creating high-profile brand identities for complex bureaucracies including Microsoft, Citibank and MoMA.

    Through books, magazines, frequent speaking engagements and even a recent Netflix documentary about her work, Scher is a superstar in design circles. A longtime partner at the design consultancy Pentagram, Scher, 68, has learned how to read a room and figured out how to tip client meetings in her favor. Her new 520-page monograph, Paula Scher: Works (Unit Editions) is as much a showcase of her award-winning creative output as her acuity with the psychology of boardroom dynamics.

    Paula Scher: Works

    One point she makes that applies far beyond the world of design: Knowing exactly when to end a meeting is a learned skill. From her four decades presenting her work, Scher has learned that a meeting’s final words matter enormously—they can even determine the fate of her work.

    In a fascinating sequence from the Netflix series Abstract, Scher diagrams the emotional arc of a meeting, juxtaposed with an actual presentation of a design for New York City’s Public Theater.

    After the initial gush of approval—with the response to the work going above expectations—a wave of doubt inevitably enters the discussion, she explains, and the perception of the work falls below expectations. An agile designer responds quickly by proposing a compromise, bringing the perception back up again.

    Scher advises adjourning at this high point, instead of tapering off into awkward silences to squeeze out every bit of feedback. “What will happen [if it goes on] is the counter rebuttal to your offer will go below the reasonable level of expectation,” observes Scher. “[It] will continue on until you reach sudden death.”

    A business meeting has archetypal characters, she says: “You can tell where the power is, because that’s where everyone’s eyes are,” explains Scher. “There are people who you might think are powerful, but they’re just saying a lot to impress the person in power. Then there are grenade-throwers…they lob a grenade just to shake things up.”

    Presenters should learn to read a room’s power dynamic to know how to steer the conversation, she says, and that learning comes with experience. “I learned everything from working in the record industry,” says Scher in the book, recalling the decade she designed hundreds of covers, collaborating with the likes of Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, and the Rolling Stones. “I learned how people make decisions in power structures…I’ve been able to use the experiences my entire working life, because they are always the same, regardless of technological and even cultural shifts.”

  5. kalenjin shared this story from Quartz.

    Robot at World Economic Forum in China

    Much has already been made about how artificial intelligence is going to transform our lives, ranging from visions of the future in which robots make humans obsolete to utopias in which technology solves intractable problems and frees up people to pursue their passions. Consultancy firm PwC ran the numbers, and came up with a relatively rosy scenario with regards to the impact AI will have on the global economy. By 2030, global GDP could increase by 14%, or $15.7 trillion, because of AI, the firm said in a report today (pdf).

    Almost half of these economic gains will accrue to China, where AI is projected to give the economy a 26% boost over the next 13 years—the equivalent of an extra $7 trillion in GDP. North America can expect a 14.5% increase in GDP, worth $3.7 trillion.

    According to PwC, North America will get the biggest economic boost in the next few years as consumers and industries are more ready to incorporate AI. By the mid-2020s, however, China will rise to the top. Since China’s economy is heavy on manufacturing, there is a lot of potential for technology to boost productivity, but it will take time for new technology and the necessary expertise to come up to speed. When this happens, AI-enabled technologies will be exported from China to North America. What’s more, Chinese firms tend to re-invest more capital than North American and European ones, further boosting business growth in AI.

    PwC’s study defines four types of AI: automated intelligence, which performs tasks on its own; assisted intelligence, which helps people perform tasks faster and better; augmented intelligence, which helps people make better decisions; and autonomous intelligence, which automates decision-making entirely. Their forecasts isolate the potential growth from AI, keeping all other factors in the economy equal.

    A large part of the forecast GDP gains—$6.6 trillion—are expected to come from increased labor productivity, with businesses automating processes or using AI to assist their existing workforce. This suggests PwC believes AI will generate a productivity boost that’s bigger than previous technological breakthroughs—despite recent advancements, global productivity growth is very low and economists are puzzled about how to get out of this trap.

    The rest of the projected economic growth would come from increased consumer demand for personalized and AI-enhanced products and services. The sectors that have the most to gain on this front are health care, financial services, and the auto industry.

    Notably, there is no panic in the report about AI leading to excessive job losses—in previous reports, PwC has already tried to debunk some of the scarier forecasts about that. Instead the researchers recommend that businesses prepare for a “hybrid workforce” where humans and AI work side-by-side. In harmony? TBD.

    Read this next: An economist explains why education won’t save us from being replaced by robots

  6. kalenjin shared this story from HOME.

    ETFs have been big buyers of stocks this year, but they aren't the biggest ones, according to Goldman Sachs. In a research report published on Friday, Goldman analysts led by David Kostin outlined the most significant sources of equity buying in 2017, and where they see the market headed later this year.

  7. kalenjin shared this story from Dealbreaker.

    Muhammed Yesilhark is this close to turning things over to 40 electronic versions of himself.
  8. kalenjin shared this story from Visual Capitalist.

    Automobile enthusiasts around the world know brands like Studebaker, Plymouth and Packard, but you’d be hard-pressed to find any of these on the roads today. Former powerhouses in the American auto market – they have since become beloved by collectors, but lost to the general public.

    Today’s infographic comes from TitleMax and it looks at 14 now-defunct car brands and the circumstances that took them from highways to bygones.

    14 Defunct Car Brands, and How They Failed

    These are only a selection of a much longer list of car brands that have not survived to see the present day. What accounts for the churn rate of these brands?

    Bold Experiments, Boondoggles, and Burnouts

    Some car brands, like Tucker and Saturn, introduced new ideas that the market simply didn’t care for, didn’t perform as well as the competition, or were too ambitious for the industry climate.

    Others, like Edsel and DeLorean, met swift ends as they hemorrhaged money far faster than their owners anticipated. Even more brands were simply folded into the ever-expanding portfolios of either Ford or General Motors, the two biggest auto conglomerates ever to rule the roads.

    Bad Timing, or Worse Economy?

    Car sales rise and fall with broader economic trends because they are tied into so many different variables: raw materials, production costs, labor costs, oil prices, and interest rates among others.

    We can look at two time periods in which the combination of these conditions caused many of the brands on this list to fail.

    Post-war Doldrums (1950-1958)

    Based on the timeline above, we can see that 1950s were a terrible time for the smaller players in the auto industry. The explanation as to why so many brands declined over this decade has to do with the highly competitive, oligopolistic business practices of market leaders Ford and General Motors. Both of these market titans were locked in a battle to lower prices by taking advantage of economies of scale, while wooing customers who were feeling the economic pressures of a postwar recession.

    Smaller volume manufacturers like Packard and Studebaker could not keep up, even when they attempted to merge. As a result, these and many other smaller brands were forced out, or absorbed into the portfolios of one of the “big two.”

    Same Car, Different Name (1998-2008)

    A similar stretch of declining sales plagued the late 1990s and early 2000s, as the trend of “badge engineering” caught up with manufacturers.

    Rather than designing new models at high cost, conglomerates like GM simply engineered new brand “badges” and marketed the same basic models under a variety of names like Pontiac, Plymouth, Mercury, or Oldsmobile. The same tactic was later used to take mid-market designs, such as the Ford Fusion, and style them for a luxury audience as a new model – in this case, the Lincoln Mk. Z.

    Badge engineering curbed the appeal of a number of American brands under the GM and Ford portfolios. The nail in many of their coffins was the major auto industry downturn in 2008. That year, GM restructured as it underwent Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

    As a result, GM removed the majority of its badge engineered brands, including many of those listed above, from dealerships in the following years.

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    The post 14 Defunct Car Brands, and How They Failed appeared first on Visual Capitalist.

  9. kalenjin shared this story from Quartz.

    Before the sleek tech campuses, Silicon Valley was a thoroughly industrial landscape, producing the world’s computer chips and other high-tech components. From the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s, when the manufacturing industry moved to East Asia, that meant the toxic chemicals used to make computer chips, semiconductors, and the like were being handled and dumped (sometimes literally) in California tech companies’ backyards. And that manufacturing legacy lives on in a huge amount of highly contaminated soil.

    California’s Santa Clara County, the seat of Silicon Valley, has more federal Superfund sites than anywhere else in the US.

    The county is home to 23 sites in the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Superfund program, meaning the federal government recognizes them as highly contaminated areas and have earmarked them for cleanup. (It’s the same program the Trump administration seeks to cut by 30%.) Almost all of the Santa Clara Superfund sites are located where there once were (or still are) high-tech manufacturing sites.

    In many cases, cleanup was completed, though completely eradicating the toxins is often impossible. At the site of a former Intel plant, for example, contamination was brought down to safe levels. But the EPA still prohibits groundwater-well drilling and certain types of property development in the area of the plume, and acknowledges low levels of groundwater contamination may remain. And through a process known as “vapor intrusion,” toxins may continue to rise through soil or groundwater, seeping into the air over time.

    According to an NBC Bay Area investigation from 2014, Santa Clara county is also home to hundreds more unofficial toxic waste sites; The NBC team counted 518 chemical spill sites in total.

    Chip manufacturing requires highly toxic chemicals. For example, chips are coated with a light-sensitive compound that allow chips to be photographically printed with circuit patterns. That compound typically contains ethylene glycol ethers, or EGEs. According to Bloomberg, the EGEs easily permeated rubber gloves, exposing workers to 500 to 800 times the safe level of the chemicals. A study conducted by IBM facilities found miscarriage rates tripled for women who worked specifically with EGEs, according to Bloomberg. Of course, when the chip manufacturing industry moved to Asia, so did the toxic legacy.

    But while chips were still made in California, these chemicals were regularly dumped into the environment. “There was just no knowledge of these things, and we were pouring stuff down into the city sewer system,” Gordon Moore, a founder of Intel, said in an interview with the Chemical Heritage Foundation. In some cases, chemicals were just dumped on the soil. Amanda Hawes, a worker’s rights attorney in Silicon Valley, told NBC Bay Area, “I think it wasn’t unheard of for stuff to be literally poured out the backdoor.”

  10. kalenjin shared this story from Quartz.

    By 2050 around 2.2 billion people could be added to the global population and more than half of that growth will occur in Africa.

    Africa will account for the highest population spurt with an additional 1.3 billion people on the continent, a new UN population report shows.

    Much of Africa’s population boom will come from Nigeria, currently the world’s 7th most populous country. By 2050, the report predicts, Nigeria will become the world’s third largest country by population, becoming one of the six nations projected to have a population of over 300 million.

    But the rapid population growth poses a conundrum for many African governments as to how public infrastructure, much of which is already at a deficit, will keep pace with the rising number of citizens. Nigeria currently struggles to cater to the education needs of its millions of annual high school graduates. Indeed, between 2010 and 2015, of the 10 million applicants that sought entry into Nigerian tertiary institutions, only 26% gained admission with Nigeria’s university system sorely lacking in capacity.

    UN’s report echoes similar sentiments. Across 47 countries (33 of which are in Africa) which are designated by the United Nations as the least developed countries, population is expected to nearly double from 1 billion in 2017 to 1.9 billion by 2050. The population growth, UN argues, will make it “harder” for governments in these countries which are already struggling with reducing poverty and hunger as well as improve access to standard health and education systems.

    Africa’s rapid population growth will occur despite expected reductions in fertility rates on the continent from 4.7 births per woman between 2010 and 2015 to 3.1 births per woman between 2045 and 2050 with countries like Kenya recording significant progress. The continued growth despite the drop in fertility rates is down to the “age structure” of the continent’s population as Africa is home to a bulk of the world’s youngest countries. Beyond 2050, Africa is expected to be the only region still experiencing “substantial population growth,” as such the continent’s share of the global population could rise from 17% at present to 40% by 2100.

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