Tag Archives: About

Sentiment Speaks: These 'Facts' About The Market Will Continue To Get You Whipsawed
November 26, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

[unable to retrieve full-text content]
Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , ,
35 Questions About Kindness, Happiness, and Gratitude to Keep Your Thanksgiving Celebration Fun and Uplifting
November 12, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

With Thanksgiving around the corner hosts and hostesses are thinking about holiday preparations. Some find it stressful, others feel joyful about it. Either way, it’s easy to lose sight of the spirit of Thanksgiving, including gratitude, kindness, and happiness

Countless studies have proven the psychological and physical benefits of these attributes. Why not serve up some added encouragement to spread a little happiness at the Thanksgiving table?

An especially joyful family event is made up of a mix of good memories and happy reminders, mingled with an appreciation of the present moment. That sounds easy enough, but some families find it difficult to remain in this frame of mind and buttons can be pushed, making the occasion more stressful than celebratory. Use these questions as prompts to keep an uplifting and fun conversation going. Who knows? As an added bonus you may learn some things about your friends and family that surprise you. 

  1. Aside from the obvious (family, health, job, etc.) what are you most grateful for?
  2. What’s one gift or talent you have that makes you most happy and/or grateful?
  3. What’s one memory that still makes you laugh?
  4. What is biggest food failure or the wackiest Holiday/Thanksgiving memory you remember (that you can share)?
  5. If a UFO filled with friendly aliens landed in your backyard what would you do to make them feel welcomed?
  6. Name anyone who makes you smile. why? 
  7. What choices have you made in the last five years that you’d thank yourself for making?
  8. What is the most memorable act of kindness you performed this past year?
  9. What’s the kindest thing someone did for you this past year?
  10. When you do something nice for someone how do you like them to express their gratitude?
  11. What scent makes you happy?
  12. Do you smile at strangers? Why or why not?
  13. What’s something you witnessed recently that reminded you that people are good?
  14. If you had a realistic wand, what would you change to bring more happiness to this world?
  15. If you had any 3 wishes what would they be and how/why would they make you happy?
  16. What one or two simple pleasure makes you feel most content?
  17. What’s something enjoyable you get to experience every day that you’ve come to take for granted?
  18. What’s your happy food?
  19. What celebrity would you love to meet and why would it make you happy?
  20. What’s the best thing that happened so far today?
  21. What’s the last song you heard that you enjoyed? How did it make you feel, and why?
  22. How about a movie? Which one have you most enjoyed lately?
  23. What’s one thing do you most appreciate about your home, and have you taken time to enjoy it recently?
  24. If you could paint the sky any other color what would it be?
  25. If you were moving to another country what’s one thing you would take with you to remind you of the comforts of home?
  26. Which one of your six senses (including intuition) most allows you to experience things that make you happy or grateful?
  27. What one or two things in nature have you appreciated lately?
  28. If someone were to surprise you with something to make you feel happy and grateful, what would it be?
  29. What sight or sound is most likely to make you pause to appreciate?
  30. In what situation(s) do you feel most free to let your silly side show? 
  31. When you’re in a bad mood what cheers you up?
  32. What’s your best secret to cheer up someone else?
  33. What song makes you want to get up and dance?
  34. What was/is your favorite cartoon?
  35. What three things (besides food, air, and water) can you not live without?

Add a few questions of your own to customize this little game to your friend and family history. Print out the full list or put the questions on individual pieces of paper and toss them in a dish to pass. Have fun with it!

Published on: Nov 12, 2018

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Tesla Is Facing a ‘Deepening Criminal Probe’ About Misleading Investors on Its Model 3 Production, Report Says
October 27, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

Tesla, the pioneering electric-car manufacturer that posted blowout earnings this week, may be facing an FBI investigation over investor communications it made regarding the production levels of its Model 3 sedans, the Wall Street Journal said Friday.

Earlier this month, Tesla settled with the SEC over charges that it misled investors after CEO Elon Musk tweeted that he had secured funding to take Tesla private. The SEC, which alleged that the tweets were fraudulent, at first sued Musk, before reaching a settlement that required Musk and Tesla to each pay $ 20 million in fines, while finding an independent chairman to replace Musk.

According to the Journal, Tesla the FBI “has intensified” its investigation into whether Tesla misstated data on the production of its Model 3, its lowest-priced sedan. Tesla has invested heavily in the Model 3 production, adding to losses in recent quarters. Last quarter, however, Model 3 sales pushed Tesla into the black.

In a statement, Tesla disputed some of the Journal’s report. “Earlier this year, Tesla received a voluntary request for documents from the Department of Justice about its public guidance for the Model 3 ramp,” a Tesla spokesperson said in a statement to Fortune. “We have not received a subpoena, a request for testimony, or any other formal process, and there have been no additional document requests about this from the Department of Justice for months.”

The Journal reported that former Tesla employees, who received subpoenas earlier in the investigation, have been contacted in recent weeks by the FBI for further testimony.

Musk told investors on earnings calls that Tesla would be producing between 5,000 and 20,000 Model 3s per month by the end of 2017, the Journal said. In reality, Tesla ended up producing only 2,700 Model 3’s for all of 2017. The FBI is reportedly investigating such discrepancies.

While Tesla admits it did not meet its early and ambitious production goals, it said it was “transparent about how difficult it would be… and that we were entering ‘production hell.’” Tesla further noted that “it took us six months longer than we expected to meet our 5,000 unit per week guidance,” but that its approach has been “to set truthful targets – not sandbagged targets that we would definitely exceed and not unrealistic targets that we could never meet.”

Tesla’s stock, which rose 5.2% Friday during official trading, was down 1.8% in after-hours trading.

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
How Much Money Does Fortnite Make? About $1.5 Million Per Day—Just on iOS
October 6, 2018 6:00 pm|Comments (0)

Fortnite is one of the most popular games available at the moment, so it comes as no surprise that the title is making a ton of money on iOS devices alone.

Fortnite brought in $ 300 million in its first 200 days on Apple’s iOS platform, according to market analyst Sensor Tower. The game is free to play, but players can purchase Fortnite skins and dances. It’s made the most of any game on iOS in the first 200 days of availability. Users can buy skins and dances separately or purchase a season pass to get a collection of new releases. In just the month of April, Fortnite made $ 300 million across all its available platforms, The Verge reported.

Fortnite is also available on Android, the Nintendo Switch, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC. It’s become a massive cultural phenomenon since its release in 2017. Celebrities like Drake have streamed themselves playing Fortnite, players streaming their games on platforms like Twitch have become a kind of celebrity of their own, and the premiere of Saturday Night Live’s 44th season even featured a Fortnite-themed sketch.

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , ,
United Airlines Has Some Great News About Its Business (There's Bad News for Passengers)
August 12, 2018 12:00 am|Comments (0)

Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Even if it says so itself.

The airline just released some figures for July, and, at a cursory glance, they’re glowing.

Consolidated traffic (revenue passenger miles) increased 6.9 percent and consolidated capacity (available seat miles) increased 4.0 percent versus July 2017. UAL’s July 2018 consolidated load factor increased 2.4 points compared to July 2017.

Won’t you look at that?

This means the airline’s packing them in and making lots of money.

Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that domestic traffic rose by 9.1 percent in July. Compared to last July, that is.

And Lordy, the airline is doing wonderfully in the regions. There, traffic is up a pulsating 17.6 percent.

United’s also packing them in on each flight.

The so-called load factor (number of people who are actually paying) at home soared to 90.5 percent. That’s a 2.6 percent increase.

United was loaded internationally, too. A 2.2 percent increase to 87.8 percent.

People are paying to fly United and there are more flights to more places, which makes the United world a wonderful place.

Alright, if you read the headline at all — and if you didn’t, what are you doing here? — there’s a little bad news. 

You see, when you pack more people onto your planes, it might take a little longer. 

That’s what appears to be happening. All this success in selling tickets appears to be leading to a reduction in on-time departures, the beautifully named D0. 

A mere 62.3 percent of mainline flights — that is, the non-regional variety — departed on time or even slightly early. 

This is a 1 percent drop from this time last year.

This isn’t, of course, merely an inconvenience for passengers. When a plane departs late, cabin crew must explain themselves to their bosses.

Well, you see, it was like this. There were so many darned people. And have you seen all that stuff they bring on planes? 

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , ,
Should We Be Concerned About The Yield Curve?
July 21, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

On the latest edition of Market Week in Review, Senior Quantitative Investment Strategy Analyst Kara Ng and Sam Templeton, manager, global communications, discuss why we should pay attention to the US yield curve, President Trump’s tariff talk, and the latest corporate earnings reports.

US yield curve getting close to inverting

The slope of the US yield curve has fallen to just 24 basis points and getting close to inverting. Ng says “we should pay attention because an inverted yield curve is historically one of the best predictors of a downturn.” She notes over the last 5 economic cycles, an initial inversion preceded an economic recession between 9 and 18 months, while equity markets tend to peak about 6 months before a recession. This means there’s a large negative impact in being defensive in your portfolio too late, but also a cost in being defensive too early, and missing out on the late-cycle gains. Ng says savvy and timely investment strategy is everything. And while the slope of the yield isn’t inverted yet, it has uncomfortably flattened. She is currently expecting a recession in late-2019 or 2020, so believes it’s still too early to go completely defensive.

Should the Federal Reserve be more concerned about the yield curve?

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testified before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington this week and didn’t express a lot of concern about the flattening yield curve. Ng says Powell was upbeat about the economy and affirmed that gradual rate hikes are appropriate; for now it’s the neutral rate he’s more focused on than the shape of the yield curve. The neutral rate isn’t something you can observe, but is the theoretical rate where interest rates neither hurt nor help the economy. Ng is concerned that the Fed hasn’t paid enough attention to the slope of the yield curve historically and has argued “this time is different” too often. She explained it contains lots of information. For example, when the 10-year rate falls lower than the current short-term rate, it may be that the market expects lower short-term rates in the future, possibly because of a future growth slowdown resulting in the Fed cutting rates to stimulate the economy. Meanwhile, she says the shorter end of the curve is heavily influenced by the current Fed policy. If the Fed raises interest rates too far above sustainable fundamentals, then the restrictive monetary policy might start a recession. Ng says not to ignore the yield curve.

Trump threatens more tariffs on China

Ng says a month ago it looked like a US trade war with China was a risk, but not our central scenario. Now, she says the odds of a full-blown trade war are closer to 50/50. Ng says the tariff announcements are probably a “maximum pressure” negotiation strategy, because the US wouldn’t benefit from closed trade. She notes a lot of the tariff goods are intermediate, not final goods. That means that those goods are an input to some final product that could be made in the US. In the short run, US companies would have trouble finding substitutes for those intermediate parts, which would hurt US businesses. Ng says to keep an eye on how consumer and CEO confidence develops given potential disruptions to global supply chains.

Second-quarter earnings

It’s still early days in the reporting season, but so far Ng says the Q2 earnings season is surprisingly strong. Only 17% of US companies have reported so far, so Ng isn’t extrapolating too much from the small sample size, but of those companies, about 95% have beat expectations. She says that’s high, especially since earnings expectations were optimistic to begin with. However, market response has been relatively muted. Ng expects the Q2 earnings season will be strong, but not as strong as the Q1 season. Some of the macro tailwinds that previously helped Q1 earnings are fading – global growth is moderating and the US dollar strengthened, which impacts US multinational companies’ earnings.

Disclosures

Opinions expressed by readers don’t necessarily represent Russell’s views.

Links to external web sites may contain information concerning investments other than those offered by Russell Investments, its affiliates or subsidiaries. Neither Russell Investments nor its affiliates are responsible for investment decisions with respect to such investments or for the accuracy or completeness of information about such investments. Descriptions of, references to, or links to products or publications within any linked web site does not imply endorsement of that product or publication by Russell Investments. Any opinions or recommendations expressed are solely those of the independent providers and are not the opinions or recommendations of Russell Investments, which is not responsible for any inaccuracies or errors.

Investing in capital markets involves risk, principal loss is possible. There is no guarantee the stated outcomes in the presentation will be met.

This is a publication of Russell Investments. Nothing in this publication is intended to constitute legal, tax, securities, or investment advice, nor an opinion regarding the appropriateness of any investment, nor a solicitation of any type. The contents in this publication are intended for general information purposes only and should not be acted upon without obtaining specific legal, tax, and investment advice from a licensed professional concerning your own situation and any specific investment questions you may have.

Russell Investments’ ownership is composed of a majority stake held by funds managed by TA Associates with minority stakes held by funds managed by Reverence Capital Partners and Russell Investments’ management.

Frank Russell Company is the owner of the Russell trademarks contained in this material and all trademark rights related to the Russell trademarks, which the members of the Russell Investments group of companies are permitted to use under license from Frank Russell Company. The members of the Russell Investments group of companies are not affiliated in any manner with Frank Russell Company or any entity operating under the “FTSE RUSSELL” brand.

CORP-10458

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , ,
Three Important Things Non-Programmers Should Know About Programming
June 12, 2018 6:04 pm|Comments (0)

Shutterstock

What are the three most important things non-programmers should know about programming? originally appeared on Quora: the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Ken Mazaika, CTO & Co-founder at thefirehoseproject.com, on Quora:

Early in my web development career I realized that there were three things that were critical for every non-programmer to know before interacting with programmers in a professional setting.

My experience building a single feature with a non-technical product manager taught me these lessons almost immediately.

Let me explain…

I was working with Colin, a non-technical product manager who was responsible for driving the direction of the product and working with my team, the development team, to implement features for our product.

As a developer, Colin was great to work with. The feature requests he created were always really well thought out. He always had all the edge cases accounted for and he drew detailed wireframes, diagrams of what the expected behavior of the feature should look like.

But then, all of a sudden, Colin had a feature request for our team that caused a major problem for our entire development team!

Colin gave our team a wireframe diagram of our application that had an additional checkbox that would allow a user to store their credit card information on the platform.

The feature request seemed simple enough, but because of laws and regulations about credit card information (specifically PCI compliance laws), storage of credit card information is something that is highly complex and regulated.

Despite seeming simple, supporting this one feature in our application would require a complete rewrite of our code.

I brought this issue up to Colin and at first he didn’t get it. “All I’m asking for is a simple checkbox, it can’t be that difficult to add”, he said. I explained that adding the checkbox would be super easy, but making the checkbox do what it claimed would be the difficult part.

Colin then did something that proved that he was the type of product manager who got things done.He explained, “Let me explain why I wanted to include the ability to allow a user to save their payment information…” and then Colin explained that after making a certain type of purchase, it was very common for users to make a related purchase shortly after.

Together we realized there was a solution where we could prompt the user to purchase both items at the same time, instead of worrying about storing the payment information. This was a solution that would give Colin everything he wanted and be ten times easier to implement for our team.

Together with Colin, we implemented this solution. This experience taught me that there are only three things that non-programmers need to focus on when working together with other developers.

They’re also easy lessons to learn…

1. Communicate the technical details to developers quickly and efficiently.

There is no more effective way to explain functionality of an application than showing a developer wireframes of proposed changes.

2. Things can appear to be easier to implement than they actually are.

Be open to the idea that things that seem like they should be really easy can be much more difficult to implement in practice.

3. Provide context about why you think things are important.

Explain the why behind the thoughts you have in situations where you’re getting pushback from developers — if you do this you’ll find yourself working together with them to solve problems.

Remember that you are have the same end goal as the developers you’re working with — to provide the best experience possible or the application you’re building.

Follow these steps and the developers you’re working with can focus their energy on being the best developer they can be. And if you’re a developer you can focus on the 29 Behaviors That Will Make You An Unstoppable Programmer.

This question originally appeared on Quora – the place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world. You can follow Quora on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+. More questions:

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , ,
We Really Need to Talk About That 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' Twist
May 28, 2018 6:08 pm|Comments (0)

So, Solo: A Star Wars Story is finally in theaters. It’s fun! It might not be blowing up the box office, but folks are still seeing it in droves and when they do they’re in for a really nice time. (Alden Ehrenreich is a fun, swaggering Han Solo; Donald Glover is a sexy, swaggering Lando Calrissian; Phoebe Waller-Bridge is a smartass, swaggering droid.) They’re also in for at least one big surprise—and a few slightly smaller delights. But we’ll get to all of that in a second. First we need to give folks afraid of spoilers a chance to show themselves out. OK, everyone’s been warned. From here on out it’s just WIRED writers and editors Brendan Nystedt, Jason Parham, and Angela Watercutter dissecting Solo in detail. Make like Chewie and join us.

Angela Watercutter, Senior Associate Editor: Alright guys, I’m going to go out on a limb here (OK, not a crazy limb; like the kind of limb some ambitious dad turned into a tree bench, or put a swing on…): I liked Solo. Maybe that was the result of low expectations, maybe I just really love Glover’s Lando—I dunno. I just thought it was fun. It’s not going in my Top 5 Star Wars films, but I at least thought it was better than Rogue One. (Rotten Tomatoes disagrees with me here. That’s their problem.)

Related Stories

What about y’all? Did you like Pansexual Lando as much as me? Did you enjoy seeing the Millennium Falcon when it still had that new-ship smell? Did you have cognitive dissonance watching the Mother of Dragons (aka Game of Thrones’ Emilia Clarke) play Han Solo’s childhood girlfriend Qi’ra? Tell me things!

Brendan Nystedt, Market Editor: I would totally agree with you—I think it’s better than Rogue. I love that movie, but think it has some struggles getting off the ground at first. Solo kicked in and didn’t let up. I had heard the first act was slow, but for me, the movie never dragged. I went into it knowing a little more than the average bear, but it still kept me on my toes with its double-crosses and reveals. That’s not even digging into the endless references.

If I can give this movie props for one thing it would be that it made me love a bunch of stuff that sounds cringeworthy on paper. Did I want to know where Han’s name comes from? No, but in the moment, I bought it. I knew we were going to probably see Han and Chewie meet for the first time and I thought it added to their relationship. The card game where Han won the Falcon from Lando? Had me grinning. I thought Alden Ehrenreich and Donald Glover were about as good in the roles as you could ask for—not too much of an impression of the originals, but also imbued with their essences. Did anyone not click with these two dudes?

Also, as a non-GoT human, I thought Emilia Clarke was a standout. I was worried she’d be a prop for Han, someone who dies tragically and turns him into the embittered guy we see in A New Hope. Giving Qi’ra her own arc and giving her agency made me greatly appreciate the storytelling at work here. My other faves were Enfys Nest (let’s see her Cloud Riders in some ancillary materials, Disney!), Rio Durant (RIP), and, of course, L3 (Bridge).

Jason Parham, Senior Writer: I’m going to have to agree with WIRED colleague Brian Raftery on this one—I found Solo mostly inessential as a film. I’m of the belief that prequels are, by design, tougher canvases to experiment on. There’s always room for depth and context, but the Star Wars universe has already been dreamed up in spectacular, revolutionary fashion. For me, George Lucas’ original holy trinity is a near perfect symphony of love and loss and intergalactic repression. History also tells us that Star Wars prequels don’t fare too well. Just look at The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, and Revenge of the Sith. Still, Solo did get a handful of things right—one of which was its easy, untangled plot. Sometimes a film just needs to move from point A to B to C without taking detours or overthinking its next step. Especially in the case of origin stories. For me, Solo felt like the least complicated movie in the franchise. There was plenty of action and humor and cooly-imagined characters—I appreciated getting a view into Han and Chewy’s genesis; and loved L3’s zero-fucks attitude, though I do wonder if Ron Howard’s team hyper-feminized her look. Do robots have hips?

What the film lacked—and what every successful Star Wars film requires—was what Brian got at in his review: the intoxication of surprise. There were no truly satisfying reveals, maybe except for Darth Maul’s cameo near the close of the film. I would consider it a fun, but forgettable romp in the franchise’s treasure chest. A better play for Disney, if they’re going to make prequels an ongoing habit [And it seems that they are. —Ed.], would be to shed light on its side players. A stand-alone Lando Calrissian movie would be a real treat—which, according to Glover, would be “Frasier in space.” Sign me up!

Watercutter: Jason, I’m pretty sure you and I would both be in line on opening night for a Lando movie. Call me simple, but I just want to see more capes. And, yeah, more Glover.

I’m also wondering what folks thought of the look of Solo. One of the other smart things Brian brought up in his review were the films it resembled—shades of Paths of Glory, Runaway Train, and even a bit of the Mad Max movies. I think it even had a bit of Snowpiercer in there, too. But more than that, it felt just a tinge more stylish than, say, The Force Awakens. I was perhaps looking for this because I like the work of cinematographer Bradford Young (Selma, Arrival), but I really think there was something inviting about the environments in Solo. And frankly, since Young stayed on during the transition from directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller to Ron Howard, his visual signature might be the thing that helped the whole film feel unified. Brendan, you’re a Star Wars encyclopedia, what do you think? Am I nuts?

Nystedt: I totally agree, Angela. Rogue One’s cinematography was done in landscapes, and this felt tighter and more personal. Young did some terrific work here in spite of the rocky production. Personally, I think Rogue has the more stunning vistas, but this had a unified look that worked at all times, and helped the world come alive. From the muddy, foggy Mimban to the dusty mines of Kessel, it felt Star Wars-y through and through.

I’d like to take Jason to task for a sec. I fundamentally disagree with his premise: I think Star Wars should have surprises, but not every film needs revelations. If the franchise is going to survive, audiences can’t expect a crazy twist in each and every film. How exhausting would that be? By Episode XX, the dialogue from Spaceballs—”I am your father’s, brother’s, nephew’s, cousin’s, former roommate!”—wouldn’t seem so outlandish. Snoke can be Snoke, Rey can be a nobody from Jakku. Though it’s still the highlight of the franchise, not every film needs to ape The Empire Strikes Back to be good, or even great.

I think this was a film with surprises and one that knew it didn’t need to have huge galaxy-on-the-brink stakes to keep people engaged. I want more Star Wars like this—movies that push the Jedi and the Force to the margins, dive into the underworld, and keep the stakes relatable.

OK, now that the cat’s out of the bag—who wants to talk more about Maul? Do we think this will confuse the heck out of audiences?

Parham: That’s fair, Brendan—a subtler, quieter, more relatable Star Wars could rightfully usher the franchise into a more deserving phase. I will say this: The Enfys Nest twist was probably the most rewarding surprise for me, though by the time we realize that they’re actually the good guys, the film is hurtling toward its end. I would’ve loved a little more screen time from them. As space Westerns go, Young did a standup job—each setting more visually alluring than the last. Westerns are often hypnotic in that way: bright, dusty, full of gunfire and promise. Young’s stellar cinematic patchwork made the film especially more radiant in those small ways. I’ve got one final question, which brings us back to Brendan’s point—is Solo deserving of a sequel or should Disney dive deeper into the underworld and into the lives of other space bandits next? Where do we go from here?

Watercutter: Oh man, OK, those are some big questions. First of all, Brendan, as you know from my Slack messages to you following the Solo screening I saw, I was a little confused by the Maul thing (mostly because he didn’t look like I’d remembered from the prequels). That said, I think audiences will like seeing him. Of all the final-act twists Lucasfilm could’ve thrown in there, that one felt the most unexpected. If you would’ve told me a month ago that Solo would have a callback to The Phantom Menace (and other expanded universe properties) I wouldn’t have believed you.

Now, to answer Jason’s question, I think it’s actually the Maul cameo that helps Solo earn a sequel—though I don’t think it’ll be one dedicated to Han. I know there’s already been talk, most of it debunked, of a Lando movie, but after Solo what I really wanted to see was a movie that dealt more with Crimson Dawn. And, like Jason said, Enfys Nest. Like if there’s a film that’s a Solo sequel in name only that becomes Qi’ra, Maul, and Crimson Dawn vs. Enfys Nest and the Cloud-Raiders, then I’m totally onboard. Brendan, do you agree?

Nystedt: ZOMG that’d be an awesome movie! I’d love for Enfys and her gang to get together with the rest of the Rebels, too. As for Maul, I also hope we get to see more of him in live action. We’ve seen him die already in Star Wars: Rebels but I wanna know where he’s been hanging out since the end of the Clone Wars. A sequel with him and Qi’ra (especially if we get a glimpse of Maul’s homeworld Dathomir, where he told her to meet him) could answer that question and finally give us more of Ray Park’s unmatched lightsaber acrobatics to boot. Fans have been waiting almost 20 years to see more Maul on the big screen.

As much of a Maul stan as I am, I’d also love more of Glover’s Lando. If his spin-off is “Frasier in space,” does that mean Lobot is Niles? That I’d pay good money to watch!


More Great WIRED Stories

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , , ,
The Untold Truth About Referral Hiring and Why You Should Rethink Using It
May 24, 2018 6:01 pm|Comments (0)

I know what you’re thinking. I must be crazy right? What can be wrong with taking advantage of employee connections to find your next hire? After all, studies have found that referral hiring saves money, takes less time, lowers employee turnover rates, and is rising in popularity.

While none of these things are untrue, referral hiring isn’t just this perfect strategy with no strings attached. In fact, a lot can go wrong with using referrals, and it can often lead to terribly regrettable hiring decisions. Here’s how:

1. It encourages laziness.

Referral hiring can potentially make it so easy to hire a candidate that companies become complacent. In other words: too much of a good thing is actually a bad thing.

Part of what makes referral hiring so appealing is that it gives companies the ability to outright skip parts of the recruitment process. Once you get a good number of potential referrals, you simply identify which among them will be your best bets. There’s no longer the need to go through thousands of resumes and job applications to find the perfect candidate. No need to go to job fairs or to advertise on social media. Perhaps you also skip the phone interview stage and jump straight to on-site interviews.

The result? You save time and you save money, just like what studies claim. But as a consequence, your talent pool is significantly smaller and your screening process isn’t as comprehensive as what it should have been.

2. It forces biased decision-making.

Alright, so maybe it doesn’t necessarily force you to be biased about your hiring decisions, but it’s definitely a very real concern and something that’s very difficult to avoid. In fact, companies don’t avoid biased decision-making. They embrace it. This is why referral hiring is so popular to begin with and why referral candidates have their applications placed right on top of the pile. What else would explain why referred candidates are so much more likely to be hired than your average applicant. It’s why business connections are so important in the first place.

Ask yourself this though. Does having a pre-established connection with someone make this someone a better fit for the job? Are they somehow smarter, harder working, more creative, more driven, or more likely to do a better job than the next guy? 

From what I can tell, the answer is “no,” and that’s what makes referral hiring so dangerous. Referred candidates have a way, way higher chance at getting the job, yet when you look at their actual credentials and work experience, they’re often no more qualified than everyone else applying.

3. It doesn’t find you the best talent.

Isn’t the whole point of the hiring process to find top talent? I’m not talking about good talent or good cultural fit. I’m talking about the very best of the best. The elite. The cream of the crop. Now what are the chances this person just so happens to be someone your employees already know? Not very likely from my guess. The point is, finding the best person for the job should be a lot harder than simply going through a list of your employees’ existing connections.

Look. I’m not advocating for you to eradicate referral hiring from your arsenal of hiring strategies. I’d be lying to you if I said I don’t use referral hiring myself. However, it’s important to consider some of the possible ramifications when using it.

While referral hiring does have its merits, it also has its fair share of issues as well. It can shrink your talent pool and cause you to make suboptimal hiring decisions.

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , ,
After Supreme Court Decision, the Business of Sports Is About to Change Radically. This Expert Explains What You Need to Know.
May 24, 2018 6:00 am|Comments (0)

I’m a baseball fan. When I lived in the Bay Area, I was a season ticket holder to the San Francisco Giants. And every baseball fan knows about Pete Rose, the preternaturally talented player who scandalized his sport when it was revealed he bet on baseball, including games involving his own team. Now, no one is contemplating allowing players or managers to bet on games in their own sport. But the Pete Rose story serves as a grim reminder of what can happen with sports gambling.

The trouble is that sports gambling is fun! The thrill of making some dough on your team just adds to the excitement of the sport. It’s also hugely profitable for business and government. So when the Supreme Court of the United States released their decision on Murphy vs. NCAA last week, the gambling-loving world rejoiced. SCOTUS determined that the 1992 federal law called Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PAPSA) violated the Constitution’s anti-commandeering clause, thus striking down the law.

Mark Conrad is a professor of law and ethics at Fordham University, where he has taught in the School of Law and in the Gabelli School of Business. He’s also the director of Gabelli’s Sports Business Concentration, and is the author of The Business of Sports -; Off the Field, In the Office, On the News. Professor Conrad was kind enough to share with me some of his thoughts on this landmark decision.

1. Nothing’s Actually Changed…Yet.

The Court’s decision caused an avalanche of news and commentary, but, “At the moment, not much has changed,” says Conrad. The decision opened the door to huge change, but nothing is actually different yet. Conrad explains, “The court declared unconstitutional the Federal law that prohibits sports gambling. It did not sanction or permit sports gambling.” So what happens now? Conrad says no one really knows: “It is now up to the states, or the federal government, to decide.” Here’s where it get interesting!

2. The Devil Is in the Details.

“This story is only beginning,” says Conrad, who also has a degree from Columbia’s School of Journalism. “No state has enact a gambling scheme, although New Jersey may soon,” he says. The question is what happens next. For starters, Conrad asks, “Will states legalize it? And if so, which ones, and when?” Next comes the what. Conrad wants to know, “Will it apply to all sports or just pro sports?” And finally, the how. Conrad ponders: “What will be the license fees for companies wishing to do business in the state? Taxes? Anti-corruption measures?” The potential complexities are endless.

3. Congress May Not Be Done.

The Court may have struck down Congress’ PAPSA law, but that doesn’t mean Congress can’t still have the final word. Conrad explains, “The problem with PAPSA was it prevented states from exercising their powers. The law did not mandate a ban on sports gambling – rather, it told the states they were not allowed to enact laws ‘authorizing’ such gambling schemes.” The problem was the way this law was structured, but not the idea behind the law. In fact, Conrad says, “The decision did state that Congress has the power to enact a ban on gambling.” It’s possible Congress could throw some very cold water on all the excitement.

4. Integrity May Be an Issue…Or May Not.

The potential implications for the integrity of sport are fascinating. As with any gambling, there’s risk of corruption. Conrad recalls, “It has occurred in the past, notably in point-shaving in college sports.” But cheating isn’t a given. “In fact, the risk of corruption may decrease with a properly regulated integrity oversight,” Conrad explains. There are examples the US could look to for inspiration. Conrad says, “The UK model has worked well. The betting companies engage in analytics and metric systems to police suspicious gambling patterns and report these anomalies.” The key is not to over-regulate or over-tax it, which may push otherwise legal gambling underground.

5. This Decision Could Have Major Implications for State Versus Federal Authority.

“This is the underlying constitutional issue in this ruling,” Conrad explains. “Ultimately, it is a constitutional law case regarding state powers under the Tenth Amendment.” Here’s his plain-English explanation of the finer constitutional points: “PAPSA was problematic because it ‘commandeered’ states rights. Instead of banning sports gambling, it said could not enact laws authorizing gambling. It’s a subtle difference, but a constitutionally defective one.” This is an important decision in part of a greater shift. According to Conrad, “It continues a trend to give greater deference to state sovereignty.” It will be fascinating to watch as the complexities continue to develop.

Tech

Posted in: Cloud Computing|Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,