Tag: 上海爱上海

  • No More Excuses: You Have Time to Work Out

    first_imgIf you use the excuse that you don’t have the time to exercise, consider a study from McMaster University in Canada that found a short, 20-minute intense workout can be just as effective as two hours of moderate exercise.  You can manage 20 minutes, can’t you?  Another Canadian study mentioned on EurekAlert claims that walking, while better than no exercise, may not be enough for significant health benefits.    The write-up on Live Science includes links to earlier articles that show hiking heals depression, harder exercise produces quicker recovery, and lifting weights slims down the waistline.  Chronic couch potatoes might like the article from UCI instead.  It shows that too little fat can have negative consequences.  If you do go out for a vigorous walk, now you can put on a non-toxic, plant-based tanning oil that prevents skin damage, reported [email protected]’s a common excuse to be too busy for exercise.  Try this article’s advice: make better use of less time.  No more long, slow walks on the treadmill; crank up the incline and the speed, and work up a good, short sweat.  Do your own scientific experiment to see if it helps; better than nothing at all.  Of course, follow common sense and doctor’s advice for your age and condition.  If you can, work up to getting that heart pumping and the breathing heavy.  Find a way to work it into your schedule somewhere, even if just 20 minutes of intense activity and a quick shower.  It’s a small investment that will pay dividends by making the rest of your day more effective.  Think how much better the day will go with a sharper mind, more energy and a better outlook on life.(Visited 17 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

  • Stalin’s Railroad of Death Unearthed

    first_imgStalin, who read Darwin in divinity school and turned atheist, became a ruthless dictator whose reign of terror killed multiple millions more than Hitler.  One of his evil deeds is being remembered: a railroad project in Siberia that was never completed despite causing the deaths of at least 100,000 people.The BBC News told the story through an eyewitness, Lyudmila Lipatova, who survived the brutal years 1947-1953 when a third of the 300,000 slave laborers sentenced to work on the railroad perished due to weather, starvation, or brutality of the guards.The story is horrific in the Stalin style.  The same dictator who ordered soldiers into minefields to clear them for the motherland certainly had no conscience when rounding up bodies to work his grand scheme for a thousand-mile railway to link eastern and western Siberia.  Russian men and women could be accused of crimes for the flimsiest of reasons, or no reason whatsoever, their fate doomed to hard labor in camps in temperatures of -50°C in winter, continuing the work in deep snow, and insufferable heat and mosquitoes in summer.  Merciless guards would sometimes strip naked workers who were less than cooperative and tie them to posts to leave them to the onslaught of the mosquitoes, a torment Lipatova called “worse than any torture instrument.”  The article includes rare photographs.  One  haunting portrait is of a beautiful young woman who was sentenced to the railroad when she was accused of embezzlement for no fault of her own: rats had eaten bank notes in her employer’s safe.The railroad was never finished, and the fate of the prisoners was largely forgotten–till now.  Lipatova, now in her 70s, is determined to keep their story alive.  Sixty years later, the current regime is considering reviving the “Railroad of Bones” project, hopefully, this time, more leniently for the construction workers.Jesus said, “You shall know them by their fruits.”  The divinity student who quickly ditched his faith for Darwin shows he had no true faith at all, except in his newly chosen idol, who promised success to the fittest.  Stalin took “survival of the fittest” as a law of nature that favored ruthless strength.  His Darwinian faith transformed him into a monster, torturing and killing ministers, citizens and even his own nearest advisors in a Reign of Terror the likes of which made Hitler look like a novice.  While he himself endulged in luxurious pleasures, he created a cult of personality that succeeded in brainwashing his own victims to practically worship him as the savior of their country.  This tactic made him a role model to the dictators of China, North Korea, Cambodia, Iraq (Saddam Hussein), Cuba, and others.  Had not a stroke disabled and killed him in 1953, Stalin might well have turned nuclear weapons on the west.It’s mind-boggling to consider the pain and suffering one man can inflict.  Yet today, academics continue to preach the communist “gospel” to impressionable students who never learned the history of the 20th century dictatorships that put Marxism into practice.  They are also not told of the connection between Marx and Darwin.  Are you surprised that Stalin transformed many churches into museums of atheism, and sent many tens of thousands of pastors to the gulags and Siberia?  (These were the ones who were not shot.)  The BBC is to be commended for re-telling this story, even though like most news organizations they still embrace Darwin.  The Railroad of Bones is but one episode of a horrific 12-year dictatorship that killed at least 20 million of Stalin’s own citizens and imprisoned many more.  If you know these things, teach them to misguided youth who think Darwin is cool and Stalin was a hero.Exercise:  Try not to think about the 77 million that Chairman Mao killed (11/30/2005).  If you don’t succeed, by all means don’t think about the 148 million citizens of communist regimes who perished in state-sponsored terror.  If you still don’t succeed, try counting the victims, one name every 5 seconds, day and night with no breaks.  That should keep you busy for 28 years. (Visited 72 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

  • News for the Birds

    first_img(Visited 20 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Our human readers are allowed to peek in on these headlines for and about our feathered intellectual friends.The genius of birds:  Illustra Media’s recent documentary is titled Flight: The Genius of Birds.  New Scientist‘s recent book review is titled “Bird brainiacs: the genius of pigeons.”  Although the introductory part of the article pays homage to Charles Darwin for his pigeon breeding, the pigeon is a fine specimen to support intelligent design, Timothy Standish argues in the film.  “I believe that intelligent design is the best explanation for the origin of flight [in birds], because it’s the best explanation for every other kind of flight,” he says.  “So why would I change the rules when moving from a 747 to a pigeon?”  We do these birds wrong by calling them “flying rats” and treating them as nuisances, Kirsten Weir says in her article.  “They can count, solve Aristotle’s logic puzzles and appreciate Impressionist art.”  Many humans can’t do as much, to say nothing of navigating home with the earth’s magnetic field under controlled, powered flight.  Experimenters mentioned in Science Magazine found a “surprisingly simple strategy for such sophisticated behavior” as avoiding obstacles: pigeons look for the biggest gaps, not the nearest ones.  They found this with 3-D imaging of pigeons outfitted with LEDs.  The findings shed light on “how they steer through small-scale, cluttered environments like forests and city streets.”Smart turkey eggs:  Nature reports that the eggs of Australian brush turkeys take advantage of decaying compost to stay warm.  Why, then, don’t they get infected with bacteria in the soil?  The eggs have a special layer of calcium phosphate nanoparticles that keeps out most bacteria.  Since this also makes the eggshells difficult to crack, engineers are looking at this design for more durable materials.  The design in the eggs also makes them super-hydrophobic (water resisting), almost as much as lotus leaves.  PhysOrg has pictures of the nanoparticles.  Reference: Journal of Experimental Biology.The early bird gets the digestive system:  Yanornis is called an ancestor of birds, but PhysOrg reported on April 18 that a fossil found in China shows that “the digestive system of the ancestors to modern birds was essentially modern in all aspects.”  A specialized digestive system is one of the things Illustra’s film discusses as a requirement for powered flight.  This article agrees:Compared to other groups of vertebrates, the digestive system of living birds is unique and highly modified. Compared to mammals the digestive system is proportionately shorter; the oesophagus (throat) is large and flexible with an accessory organ called the crop and two stomachs are present. These specializations are inferred to have evolved in order to produce a highly efficient digestive system capable of meeting the metabolic demands of powered flight within the physical constraints of aerial locomotion, which requires the system to be lightweight.But if it was already “essentially modern” in the ancestors, and already integrated with the flight systems, where is the time for natural selection to have supposedly produced it?Tiny migrants:  Large birds like geese are well known for their visible V-patterns in the sky, but what about small birds?  “In one of the greatest feats of endurance in the biological world, millions of tiny songbirds — many weighing less than an ounce — migrate thousands of miles to Central and South America each year,” a press release from Cornell University begins.  “Now scientists are finding out how these featherweights do it: using elliptical routes that take advantage of prevailing wind patterns to save calories.”Glowing birds:  According to the British Ecological Society, some of the birds living around the Chernobyl nuclear reactor appear to be adapting to the high levels of ionizing radiation present after the 1986 disaster.  The “region represents an accidental ecological experiment to study the effects of ionising radiation on wild animals,” the BES figured.  This kind of adaptation has been seen in the lab before, but not in the wild.  The researchers measured higher production of antioxidants that can mitigate the damage caused by radiation.  It’s an adjustment to an existing biochemical process, therefore – not a new emergent trait.Latest on starling murmurations:  The Italy group that did the STARFLAG study animated in the Illustra film (watch it on bottom of this page) has a new paper out in PNAS, “Social interactions dominate speed control in poising natural flocks near criticality.”  Their updated model still hinges on the effect stemming from each bird watching its nearest neighbors, but finds that the flock can propagate information rapidly throughout the whole flock without loss, because the flock maintains a critical balance point known in statistical mechanics.  Did the birds learn this in physics class?The coherent flight of bird flocks is one of nature’s most impressive aerial displays. Beyond the fact that thousands of birds fly, on average, with the same velocity, quantitative observations show that small deviations of individual birds from this average are correlated across the entire flock. By learning minimally structured models from field data, we show that these long-ranged correlations are consistent with local interactions among neighboring birds, but only because the parameters of the flock are tuned to special values, mathematically equivalent to a critical point in statistical mechanics. Being in this critical regime allows information to propagate almost without loss throughout the flock, while keeping the variance of individual velocities small.Windmill death penalty:  “Green energy” is not without cost; windmills have killed many a bat and bird.  As windmill installations grow, bird deaths rise accordingly—including federally protected species like the golden eagle.  National Geographic, worried that “Turbines kill thousands of birds and bats annually,” looked into whether newer designs that add flashing lights, sound, bright colors, or changes to blade elevation work.  The “jury’s still out” on whether any of these measures are effective.  Some have actually increased the death count.  Why are birds so susceptible?  Contrary to intuition, birds are typically looking down at the ground, not forward, as they fly, the article explains.  Unfortunately, federal regulations tend to be lenient for those who grab the subsidies, because the government is eager to expand “green energy.”  It’s not a solution to blame cats and glass windows for many more bird deaths than those caused by the windmills; “Comparing our numbers to total bird numbers, they might seem small,” Scott Loss (Oklahoma U) says, “but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t focus on local impacts on specific species, especially long-lived species like raptors or waterbirds.”  There are no quick, easy fixes, the article ends.Darwinists are at a complete loss to explain birds.  They can’t explain their origins from land dinosaurs; they can’t explain their systems, like the digestive system; they can’t explain how all their systems came together in powered flight.  Beyond just trying to get a basic bird form, they should be astonished at each species they observe more closely, whether a bush turkey, a starling, or a fossil with a “modern” digestive system near the beginning.Scientists should always be thinking of the “best explanation.”  With birds, it is clearly intelligent design.  Did a 747 evolve by unguided natural processes?  Then why change the rules when moving from a 747 to a pigeon?  Let go of Darwin’s quaint Victorian myth, biologists.  He’s hindering your work.  The guiding word for 21st century biology is design.last_img read more

  • Primordial Soup as a Wizard’s Potion

    first_img(Visited 58 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Certain concepts in materialistic origin of life seem to have more to do with witchcraft than reputable science.If “space aliens” were replaced by “gods”, “primordial soup” were replaced by “witches’ brew,” and “building blocks of life” were replaced by “magic potion” in modern origin-of-life lingo, would it be less scientific?  If spells could be cast by computer, would they be less occultic?  All such terms provide similar functions: conjuring up mental pictures that lure one into a gratifying sense of numinous awe, deep understanding and control over the forces of nature.  It might be different if the origin-of-life (OOL) field had something to show for itself after decades of work.  But as the following headlines show, there’s more mythology to report than science—maybe witchcraft, even.  One might say that the wishful incantations over Stanley Miller’s fiery spark-discharge bubbling cauldrons have only brought double double toil and trouble.Wizard’s book of spells:  Like Lucy at the incantation book in Coriakin’s palace, David Deamer pores over the magical spells of OOL published by Franklin M. Harold in his new book, In Search of Cell History: The Evolution of Life’s Building Blocks.  In this Nature book review, Deamer “welcomes a synthesis of what we know about the origins of life, as told by a master in the field.”  This “wonderful book,” Deamer says, is by a magician for magicians: “This is, after all, a story to conjure with — that of how life began and evolved into eukaryotic cells, a hundred trillion of which compose the human body.”  Surprisingly, though, Deamer does have “a quibble” with the master sorcerer:I do have a quibble. Harold argues that, notwithstanding the vast literature, progress has gone little beyond the findings of Soviet biochemist Alexander Oparin and British polymath J. B. S. Haldane more than 80 years ago, when they independently argued that Louis Pasteur‘s dictum ‘All life from life’ was wrong. Oparin and Haldane theorized that life may have emerged on a sterile prebiotic Earth through a series of chemical and physical processes.I confess to being more optimistic than Harold. There has been extraordinary progress in understanding the principles by which life works at the molecular level, and that can be applied to the question of how life begins. Over the past eight decades, it has become clear that the basic molecules of life can be synthesized through well-understood chemical reactions. The Strecker synthesis, for instance, produced amino acids from methane, ammonia, hydrogen and water vapour in Stanley Miller’s famous 1950s experiment testing the Oparin–Haldane hypothesis. Furthermore, amino acids, nucleobases and lipid-like molecules — the building blocks of life — are present in carbon-containing meteorites. That makes it entirely plausible that similar organic compounds were available on the prebiotic Earth, waiting to be caught up in whatever process led to life’s beginning.Forgot the sulfate:  The bat wings and spider eyes were fine, but the OOL witches forgot the sulfate, Astrobiology Magazine suggests: “Life in Earth’s Primordial Sea Was Starved for Sulfate.”  Would the experiments had turned out differently without it?  “At these trace amounts, sulfate would have been poorly mixed and short-lived in the oceans,” Sean Crowe says of new estimates that are thousands of times lower than previous estimates.  “—and this sulfate scarcity would have shaped the nature, activity and evolution of early life on Earth.”Alien soda:  On Space.com, Charles Q. Choi speculates that “Alien Life Could Thrive on ‘Supercritical’ CO2 Instead of Water.” Anything is possible when observations are hard to come by.  Maybe alien life could drink lava, or even enjoy cyanide in its coffee.  One astrobiologist enjoys this armchair activity: “I always have been interested in possibly exotic life and creative adaptations of organisms to extreme environments,” says Dirk Schulze-Makuch from Washington State.Brew recipe:  For Live Science, Chidinma Okparanta of the National Institutes of Health provided a shopping list for primordial soup.  In “Cells By the Number: Facts About the Building Blocks of Life,” Okparanta tossed out what look like random numbers – 0.003, 1665, 200, 3 to 5, 120, 24, and and 50-70 billion.  To these numbers he assigned values from the biology of living things, such as 120 days for the lifetime of a red blood cell, and 3.8 billion: “That’s how many years ago scientists believe the first known cells originated on Earth.”  There are 200 cell types in the human body, the article says.Overseas delivery:  Glycerol, a “key building block of life,” could have come from space, researchers at the University of Hawaii imagine.  They even cooked some up in their ultra high vacuum cauldron.  The other wizards must not like the fact that “This work challenges an alternative theory that glycerol and other prebiotic cell components were synthesized on Earth under hydrothermal conditions.”Through the looking glass:  Has the key to the dark secret room of the origin of homochirality been found?  Robert F. Service, writing in Science Magazine, offers hope to the dejected.  First, the bad news:Thirty years ago, researchers including Gerald Joyce, then a graduate student at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, California, showed that if a nucleotide with the opposite handedness was incorporated into a growing D- or L-RNA complementary strand, it shut down all further growth. “It acted like poison,” says Joyce, who is now at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego.This discovery raised a conundrum for origin-of-life researchers that they’ve struggled with ever since. Before life got its start, D- and L-nucleotides would likely have been equally abundant in the primordial soup. If so, how would RNA enzymes ever have managed to get the RNA copying process going without it being poisoned?Chief OOL wizards Gerald Joyce and Jack Szostak come to Robert’s service by proposing that a particular RNA ribozyme they engineered via “test tube evolution” (a form of intelligent design) was able to assemble RNA strands of one hand out of a mixture.  That “could” have been the secret in the primordial soup, but the wizards will never know: “However, Szostak says, it still begs the question of where such D-RNA and L-RNA ribozymes would have come from in the first place. The answer may be forever lost to history, Joyce says.”  The article was followed by a shouting match between low-information creationists and evolutionists in the Comments.Scripps Institute paraded its chief wizard Gerald Joyce before the multitudes, celebrating his “test tube evolution” experiment that he thinks supports his long-championed “RNA World” recipe for OOL brew (2/15/07, 7/11/02), supported by federal grants by NASA and the NIH (what this has to do with national health is anyone’s guess).  The press release (but not the origin of life) was replicated on Science Daily.Soup comin’ right up:  NASA’s Astrobiology Magazine is giddy to announce that “Scientists create possible precursor to life.”  A precursor to life is obviously not alive, but that’s just a technicality.  It’s quite a leap from the “building blocks of life” to a “protocell” (which is also not alive, at least until natural selection kicks in, they think), but Europeans may have struck a flint: OOL researchers at the Center for Fundamental Living Technology (FLINT) at the University of Southern Denmark conjured up a virtual protocell in their computers.  In the real world, the article notes, polypeptide strings break up in water, and any lucky protein-like string would not replicate without enzymes.  In the computer, though, miracles are possible.  “In our computer simulation – our virtual molecular laboratory – information strings began to replicate quickly and efficiently as expected.”  That’s because they programmed the computer (their “virtual pot” or cauldron) with that expectation, to generate strings and make them interact.  Did they try this in a real-world sterile flask?  Nope.  “We of course don’t know if life actually was created this way,” they say; “– but it could have been one of the steps” (see perhapsimaybecouldness index).Do you need any further evidence that OOL research is a modern form of witchcraft?  To these sophisticated animists, Nature is animated with the spirit of progress.  Dreamer Deamer thought it “entirely plausible that similar organic compounds were available on the prebiotic Earth, waiting to be caught up in whatever process led to life’s beginning.”  He himself is caught up in the spell.  Too bad real chemicals don’t do what they’re supposed to do.  “Whatever process” — there’s science for you.  Whatever.  Stuff happens; it’s a law of nature.  It makes predictions, doesn’t it?  If something happens, you know there was stuff around.  Just add the building blocks of life to the primordial soup with a little bat wing and spider eye, make the right incantation, and poof!  It’s alive!Scientific realism should take seriously the work James F. Coppedge published back in 1973, 20 years after the Miller Myth took over the world.  One of the first modern writers to use the phrase “intelligent design,” Coppedge showed beyond reasonable doubt (far, far beyond reasonable doubt), that the probability of life’s origin by chance was so astronomically low, it was totally and completely unreasonable to imagine life arising without an intelligent cause.  Portions of the book are available online, but we hope to make an eBook copy of his classic available within a year.last_img read more

  • Redefining Saving and Your Relationship with Money with a No-Spend Challenge

    first_imgBy Carol ChurchSaving more money, decreasing debt, and establishing an emergency fund are all basic “money goals” that financial counselors work hard to help clients meet. Sometimes, however, we may all get a little “stuck” or bored using the same familiar methods—experts and clients alike! At times like these, it can be a great idea to shake things up a little bit and try something like a 30-day “No-Spend” Challenge.What is a No-Spend Challenge? Part of the strength of this idea is that you can set your own rules and define it in many different ways. However, the basic idea is to dramatically cut back or eliminate all spending on non-essentials for a set period of time. Typically, this is 30 days, but some people start off small with a week– or even smaller than that, with a weekend.What Does It Really Mean Not To Spend?Most of us will have fixed costs that can’t be eliminated, such as rent or a mortgage, food, basic household needs (like toilet paper!), gas, pet food, and utility bills. (However, some people in the military, especially if they’re single, may actually be able to cross a couple of these off their lists! Great start!) And of course, if a true emergency comes up, such as a medical bill or house repair, that’s okay.As for the rest, it’s really up to the individual to decide what to eliminate, although you’re obviously not going to get too far if the only spending you cut out is “buying alpaca sweaters.” Typically, eating out, buying clothes, books, or gifts, going to the movies or for drinks, picking up toys for the kids, spending on crafts, hobbies, or gaming, and general non-essential shopping are a no-go during a no-spend month.Some people choose to go further and dramatically cut food costs by eating out of the pantry as much as possible and eliminating common but non-necessary groceries, like coffee or prepackaged snacks. Or they might try to avoid filling up the car with gas. Some take this time to use up all those travel-size items and samples. These decisions are individual.How Do We Do It?Set goals firstIf you’re going to set out on a challenge like this, make sure you decide on a reason for doing it. Is it to build up that emergency fund? To pay down the credit card bill? To save for an upcoming trip? Visualize your goals and plans. And it may sound cheesy, but try putting up some pictures or written reminders around the house of why you’re doing this!Track your savingsBefore you start the month, make sure you have a ballpark idea as to how much you typically spend on the items you plan to cut out in a month and a way to track your spending week by week. That way you can track you much you’re saving, and put it away where it’s supposed to go!Plan for how to manageThings are going to get tough sometimes over the course of the month. What’s going to tempt you? Is it take-out? Going out on Friday night? Whatever it might be, figure out your game plan. Check your local papers and Facebook and websites for free events you can attend. Find out what movies you can rent for free at the library. Plan some particularly tasty meals. Make plans with friends to do something free, and ask for their support.Don’t freak out if you slip upSo it was your boss’s birthday and you had no choice but to go out for lunch. It’s okay. Don’t give up. Forgive yourself for the lapse and move ahead….there’s still plenty of saving to be done!Reap the rewardsOf course, a no-spend challenge has the obvious reward of keeping more money in a family’s wallet and bank account. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. If that money is used to pay off debt or to start an emergency fund, it can do much more, preventing families from paying expensive interest charges or from damaging their credit.It can also bring awareness to small but expensive habits, like eating lunch out or getting manicures, that hurt your financial bottom line. Once you stop spending on these items, you may find you don’t miss them as much as you thought you did, and can cut back.You may also discover fun new free activities and pastimes that you’ll keep up in your “regular” life after the spending challenge is over.Most importantly, if there’s a spending problem happening, a no-spend challenge can help redefine your relationship with money and remind you that you don’t need to spend money to have fun, enjoy time with your loved ones, or feel happy.Some worry that after the challenge is over, they’ll “make up for” their economizing with a spending spree. Most report that this doesn’t happen, though, and instead say they gained a lot from the experience—both financially and on a broader level, too. A no-spend challenge of any type or length may be a great tool to help families save and redefine their relationship with spending. References:Centsibly rich. (2016). How to get ready for a no spend month challenge.Tretina, K. (2016). Make January a No-Spend Month and Save Hundreds in 2017.Perez, K. (2016). 4 Steps for a Successful No-Spend Challenge.Davis, L. (2015). Savings challenge: Try a no-spend month.last_img read more

  • U.S. Supreme Court Finds West Virginia Discriminates Against Federal Retirees

    first_imgWest Virginia exempts income that police officers and sheriffs receive from state pension plans from personal income tax. It does not provide the same exemption to pension income received by federal law enforcement retirees who live in the state.The U.S. Supreme Court found that the exemption unlawfully discriminates against federal law enforcement employees.U.S. Marshal Challenges Pension ExemptionThe taxpayer spent most of his career as a U.S. Marshal. He served in West Virginia before his retirement. After his retirement, he received retirement benefits from the Federal Employee Retirement System. He claimed an exemption for this retirement income for the tax years in question. West Virginia denied the exemption.He then challenged the West Virginia exemption claiming it violated the intergovernmental tax immunity doctrine under 4 U.S.C. §111. The statute allows state taxation of compensation paid to federal employees. It also prohibits discrimination against federal employees in the taxation of that income.A West Virginia trial court agreed with the taxpayer. The West Virginia Supreme Court reversed. It concluded that West Virginia:applies the exemption only to a narrow class of state retirees; andnever intended the exemption to discriminate against former federal marshals.Unanimous Supreme Court ReversesJustice Gorsuch delivered the opinion for a unanimous Court. It agreed with the trial court’s finding. West Virginia expressly affords state law enforcement retirees a tax benefit that federal retirees cannot receive. So, the pension exemption discriminates against federal retirees The Court rejected West Virginia’s argument about the narrow preference of the exemption.The Court admitted the breadth or narrowness of a state tax exemption is not irrelevant. Under §111, the scope of a state’s tax exemption may affect the scope of its resulting duties. A state that exempts only a narrow subset of state retirees can comply with §111 by exempting the comparable class of federal retirees. But the narrowness or intent of a discriminatory state tax law has never been enough to render it lawful.The Court reversed the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals and remanded the case for further proceedings.Dawson v. Steager, U.S. Supreme Court, Dkt. 17-419, February 20, 2019, ¶401-370Login to read more on CCHAnswerConnect.Not a subscriber? Sign up for a free trial or contact us for a representative.last_img read more

  • Tips for Shooting B-Roll for Digital News Packages

    first_imgHere’s everything you need to know to show the who, what, when, where and why in your B-Roll.Top image by nikkytokVideo journalism is not about reporting the news. Video journalism is about telling a story – well – visually. Which means we need to break down the elements of your story for you to build your package.Exposition ShotsThese are the shots that set everything up. While you don’t necessarily need to shoot them first, it often helps when checking out the scene.SignageImage from ViceExteriorsImage from ViceScenic TimelapsesYour goal is to set up as much of the who/what/when/where as possible. The “why” will come through the narrative (see below).Narrative ShotsThese are the shots that tell your story. Although it’s not always the case, I like to do any interviews first so I can try and capture the subject(s) doing the things he or she talked about. While the exposition is often static, the narrative B-Roll should really explore the environment.Action ShotsOver the Shoulder (OTS) ShotsYour goal with these shots is to tell the story as best you can visually. If done right, your viewer should be able to watch the video on mute and still follow what’s going on.Wrap-Up ShotsThese are the shots where you really hit home on the “why.” Whether that be to encourage a call-to-action or illicit an emotional response — you need to give your viewer something to hold on to after the video is done.Slow MotionImage from Evan BurnsCurtain Shots Know any other tips for shooting B-Roll? Let us know in the comments!last_img read more

  • James Harden’s 57 points not enough as Grizzlies overcome Rockets

    first_imgHouston Rockets guard James Harden (13) drives between teammate Clint Capela (15) and Memphis Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas (17) during the second half of an NBA basketball game Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in Memphis, Tenn. The Grizzlies won 126-125 in overtime. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)MEMPHIS, Tenn. — James Harden did everything he could to bring the Houston Rockets back from a big deficit in the fourth quarter. He got them to overtime, but his 57 points weren’t enough.All because of a last-second free throw.ADVERTISEMENT Mike Conley scored 35 points and Jonas Valanciunas had a career-best 33, including the game-winning free throw with less than a second left as the Memphis Grizzlies outlasted the Houston Rockets 126-125 on Wednesday night.“We put ourselves in a hole and tried to pick it up, but it was too late,” Harden said. “We were down (17), so I had to do something.”FEATURED STORIESSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSPalace wants Cayetano’s PHISGOC Foundation probed over corruption chargesSPORTSSingapore latest to raise issue on SEA Games food, logisticsHarden led a 17-2 Houston rally in the fourth — scoring 15 points during that stretch — to pull the Rockets to 106-104. He hit three free throws with 4 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime tied at 115.Harden scored all 10 points for Houston in overtime and the teams were still tied at 125 when Clint Capela fouled Valanciunas with 0.1 seconds left. Valanciunas, who also had 15 rebounds, made the first of two free throws. The clock ran out after he missed the second foul shot. Miguel Romero Polo: Bamboo technology like no other View comments Trump tells impeachment jokes at annual turkey pardon event Short-handed Bulls stun Wizards Wintry storm delivers US travel woes before Thanksgiving Google Philippines names new country director LATEST STORIES UP NEXTRockets: Host the San Antonio Spurs on Friday.Grizzlies: At the Orlando Magic on Friday.Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games PLAY LIST 02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games02:11Trump awards medals to Jon Voight, Alison Krauss Colombia protesters vow new strike after talks hit snag “I’m just happy we got away with a win.”TIP-INSRockets: Harden’s 57 points were just short of his career-best 61 against the Knicks on Jan. 23. . Eric Gordon (rest) was given the night off, and Kenneth Faried sat out with left knee soreness. … Harden’s streak of five straight double-doubles ended. … Houston made 21 3-pointers, the most by a Memphis opponent this season and second-most in Grizzlies franchise history (23 by the Pistons on April 8, 2018).Grizzlies: Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Johnny Manziel, signed recently by the Memphis Express of the Alliance of American Football, attended the game. … Conley has scored at least 20 points in six straight games, matching the longest such streak of his career. … Memphis recorded no blocks for the first time this season.BAD STARTHouston had little answer for the Grizzlies early as Memphis built the lead to 19, making 74 percent of its shots in the first quarter, including going 7 of 11 from outside the arc. “We weren’t doing anything,” Harden said. “Defensively they were getting what they wanted. Offensively we weren’t being aggressive. The fourth quarter and overtime we played well.”BOARD WORKMemphis outrebounded the Rockets 50-39, and that included a 14-11 edge on the offensive glass — the key one coming by Valanciunas that led to the game-winning foul shot. “They had been kicking our butt all night,” D’Antoni said, adding: “We didn’t play with a lot of force for a long time.”SPOILERSThe win was Memphis’ fourth in the last six games — three of the four against teams in the Western Conference playoff race. The fourth was over Orlando, which is just outside the postseason picture in the East. “It’s not like, ‘Oh, they’re a playoff team, we want to play better,’” Grizzlies guard Delon Wright said. “We’re just trying to win every game. It just so happens that we’re beating the playoff teams.” Chris Paul had 18 points and seven assists for Houston, which had won three straight. Capela added 14 points and 10 rebounds. The loss was only Houston’s second in the last 14 games.“It was one of those games. Every once in a while it crops up,” Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said. “You’ve got to go on. It’s too bad, but we just kind of threw that away.”Memphis dominated the game through 3½ quarters until the Harden-led comeback. Conley made all six of his shots, including a quartet of 3-pointers, in the first quarter. Valanciunas made all nine of his shots in the first half.But despite the double-digit lead into the fourth, the Grizzlies had to weather Harden’s 28 points after the third quarter.“It got crazy there for a little bit,” Conley said. “That was a fun game. It’s the kind of game you want to be a part of — big plays, big opportunities for everybody. The way it ended was wild.ADVERTISEMENT SEA Games hosting troubles anger Duterte MOST READ Private companies step in to help SEA Games hosting Bloomberg: US would benefit from more, not fewer, immigrants Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. last_img read more

  • How My Blog Homepage Redesign Increased Email Signups by 300%

    first_img Originally published Jul 9, 2014 8:00:00 AM, updated August 29 2017 Website Redesign At the beginning of 2014, I set a goal to reach 50,000 email subscribers for OkDork.com, my personal blog about marketing.When the year began, there were about 12,250 subscribers and 35 new subscribers were joining each day. Like any good marketer will do, I sat down and did the math. To reach my goal of 50,000 subscribers I would need almost a 3X increase in the number of new, daily subscribers. Eeek!Free Workbook: How to Plan a Successful Website RedesignWhere to even begin?Personally, I love posts and articles that share marketing tactics that and walk you through each step, so in this article, I’m going start from that point — that “eeek” moment when I realized I need to make some big changes to reach my goal. I’m going to give you the number one tactic I used to increase the number of new email subscribers on OkDork and share the logic behind the process so you can take it and apply it to your own business.Setting One Goal and Sticking to ItBack in 2005, when I worked as employee #30 at Facebook, I would bring all kinds of new ideas and different product features to Mark Zuckerberg. To me, every idea seemed worth sharing, trying, and implementing.  I didn’t have a framework or a set of priorities — I just had a bunch of ideas that I wanted to try.Finally, one day Mark pushed back. On a whiteboard he wrote the word, “GROWTH.”He proclaimed to the entire team that we would not entertain ANY idea unless it helped Facebook grow by total number of “users.” (He actually hates the word “users”.)Lesson learned: Focus on moving one metric at a time. This simplifies every single decision you make and helps prioritize which actions to take.So I applied that lesson to my website’s situation. For OkDork, I decided that the only thing that mattered was getting new email subscribers and reaching 50,000 email subscribers by the end of 2014.Instead of trying to increase on-page time, improve SEO, get guest bloggers, grow social media followers, and get more YouTube followers … I focused solely on email subscribers.For most of us, it’s too easy to set 5 or 6 goals and then when we don’t reach them, we have an excuse: “Well, we were trying to reach all of these other goals and we got distracted.” Instead, you should commit to just one goal for a 30-day period and track it daily. You’ll be much more likely to achieve what you want. So here’s how my 2014 planning for my single goal looked like (Go here to grab it for yourself):Okay, so my goal was set. Now how did I go about achieving it? Working With What I HadFor generating email contacts, I always encourage people to work with what they already have instead of starting from scratch. So I looked at my analytics to see which pages accounted for most of OkDork’s traffic — it’s easiest to optimize and get more emails from highly trafficked pages. One of my highest trafficked pages was my blog homepage:But the page was filled with distractions. There were articles to read and links to Archives and the About page. All of the distractions meant that many readers (even those that came back consistently) were NOT doing the one thing I wanted them to do: sign up for my emails to get future articles. So where WAS I asking for emails?At the bottom of postsVia an email popupOn the right side of the blog in the sidebarAll very light and passive ways of asking for an email address. At that time, my overall email conversion rate was around 3%. With the majority of my traffic going to that homepage I wondered how I could re-focus the reader to make it easier for them to subscribe and enter their email address.So I started to look around and see how other websites got people to give over their email addresses:FacebookAndrew ChenGrouponNotice anything in common? They all want your email first. One caveat before going forward: for this tactic to work, your site and content has to be a site worth reading and getting emailed about. Otherwise asking for an email address at the start is just plain annoying.I then took the page where the majority of my traffic landed and made that the starting point for optimization. A friend of mine, Donny, created the WordPress plugin so my homepage became exactly the same as above. It was ugly:But it started working. My homepage became the number one source of new email subscribers. Conversion overall came to around 5%. That seems small, but it’s nearly a 100% increase with a change that took a less than a day.Further Optimizing My HomepageBecause that small change was so successful I wanted to optimize it further and see what would happen if I put more time into it. I wanted the page to be as appealing as possible so that if I was landing there, I would want to give my email address. :)To do that I made four major changes to the homepage: 1) Sexier DesignI got a designer to make a spiffy, yet clean-looking homepage.2) Copy That Benefits the ReaderI focused the copy on the benefit to the reader, not the features of what I’d provide. Originally, the copy read “I like you,” but I soon realized that was a bit strong for a first time visitor to the blog — they don’t know me or even like me yet. Instead, I changed the copy to appeal to both new and repeat visitors (while still keeping my personality present — see “tacos” below). The readers that get the most out of the content on OkDork are entrepreneurs and marketers. Many of them are looking for help, hacks, and new ways to grow their own business or their startups — so that’s what I focused the copy on.3) Added Social ProofNext I added quotes from Hiten Shah and Andrew Warner. Many visitors to OkDork already know Hiten and Andrew and respect them greatly. Adding the quotes increased sign-ups further and gave people reassurance that I wasn’t going to send them spam.4) Removed the Navigation BarWhile it’s important to have easy to use navigation, the menu/header bar is often the most distracting element on a homepage. Now visitors couldn’t skip around unless they left their email address or scrolled past the quotes and clicked “Read the Blog”. You can see a ton of people were clicking on the menu in the heat mat below … so I said sayanora to it. Focus visitors on the actions you want them to take. Once all of these changes were implemented, email conversions increased to 8% of all site visitors. I was on my way to achieving my goal.How You Can Get the Same ResultsEach site is different — what worked for me may not work for you. Here’s how you can figure out what’ll work for you:1) Write down the number one goal of your website in the next 90 days. You can use the spreadsheet to figure out what you need to do to get there.2) Find the number one page your visitors are landing on your website.3) Go test 10 changes to that page and see for yourself how much closer to your goal you got! Topics: Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlacklast_img read more

  • 20 Display Advertising Stats That Demonstrate Digital Advertising’s Evolution

    first_img Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Originally published Sep 25, 2015 8:00:00 AM, updated June 28 2019 Are Banner Ads Effective?Display and banner ads are most effective when you leverage the channel in a way that makes sense for both your business’ specific goals and the tone of native site or platform. Display ads are not limited to just banner ads, they have also moved into search engines and social networks.When display advertising first surfaced in the world of marketing, many marketers were left with a bad taste in their mouth. The ads we were being presented with lacked context and value, and as a result, many of us were quick to deem them untrustworthy. At HubSpot, we held onto this notion for a while. There was just something about paying for an irrelevant banner ad that didn’t sit well with us. But then things started to change … As technology advanced, we started looking at display advertising — digital advertising in general, really — in a new light. Sure, there are still a ton of horrible, spammy ads floating around, but there are also a lot of effective ones.So what’s the difference between the good and the bad? Let’s take a look at how display advertising has changed, and how you can make it work for your business if you decide to incorporate it alongside your inbound marketing strategy.Download Now: Free Ad Campaign Planning KitWhat Is Display Advertising?In the simplest of terms, display advertising refers to the use of ads — from text to video to audio — on a website. Display advertisements serve as a way for businesses to monetize their website traffic, as advertisers pay to have their promotion displayed alongside the content on the page. While the concept was initially appealing to both businesses and advertisers, early implementation strategies lacked scalability. The process of getting your advertisement on a website fell back on a direct sales process between the advertiser and the website owner where ad space could be purchased on a cost-per-thousand basis. This approach carried on for a while, however, the exchanges between companies weren’t necessarily rooted in context, meaning that the advertisement often had little to do with the content on the page. This led website visitors to become skeptical of the ads they were seeing, and ultimately resulted in what we know today as “banner blindness.”However, more sophisticated means have surfaced since then, allowing advertisers to serve up contextual advertisements that are more well-received by visitors. Thanks to ad exchanges and real-time bidding, advertisers can choose to bid only on ad space that is relevant to them, based on the targeting criteria of the audience. In addition to this change in process, the introduction of more seamless advertising techniques such as native advertising and retargeting have helped to reshape the way people are seeing and engaging with advertising material online. While display advertising is continuing to evolve for the better, all this change ultimately comes with a learning curve. There’s a lot to be considered when planning to run a paid ad, and without a clear concept of what a display ad done right should look like, mastering the method has become an ongoing challenge for many businesses.10 Shocking (But True) Stats About Display and Banner AdsDisplay ad viewability rates did not budge between 2013 and 2014. (Source: comScore)The average clickthrough rate of display ads across all formats and placements is 0.06% (Source: Display Benchmarks Tool)Ad blocking grew by 41% globally in the last 12 months. (Source: PageFair)There are now 198 million active ad block users around the world. (Source: PageFair)A 2013 study revealed that 28% of respondents admitted to hiding their activities from advertisers — second only to criminals. (Source: Pew Research Center)A study revealed that only 2.8% of participants thought that ads on website were relevant. (Source: Infolinks and bannerblindness.org)A January 2014 study found that 18- to 34-year-olds were far more likely to ignore online ads, such as banners and those on social media and search engines, than they were traditional TV, radio and newspaper ads. (Source: eMarketer)About 50% of clicks on mobile ads are accidental. (Source: GoldSpot Media) 54% of users don’t click banner ads because they don’t trust them. (Source: BannerSnack) 33% of internet users find display ads completely intolerable (Source: Adobe)The Right Way to Do Display AdvertisingAs we mentioned before, paid online advertising has come a long way since its inception. Yet according to Unbounce, 98% of advertisers are wasting money on ads. What seems to be the problem?It boils down to a lack of understanding — both in terms of how to leverage the channel in a way that makes the most sense for a business’ specific goals, and how to master the software required to do so. You see, effective display advertising no longer falls within the constraints of banners and skyscraper ad units. Rather, it has made its way into your News Feed on Facebook and it’s living alongside the updates of your connections on LinkedIn. As we said before, it took us at HubSpot awhile to realize this. In fact, it was our customers who actually convinced us that display advertising isn’t all that bad. A recent post on the subject from HubSpot CTO and co-founder Dharmesh Shah revealed that 53% of our customers admitted to using ads alongside their inbound efforts. That’s a lot. So to ensure that they had the means to succeed with this new wave of display advertising, we partnered with LinkedIn and Google and created the HubSpot Ads Add-On. The way we see it, these advertising leaders offer services that can help people execute on digital ad campaigns in a better way. What does that mean exactly? Let’s take a look …Example 1: LinkedIn Display NetworkSponsored UpdatesUnlike the confused banner ads we’ve grown blind to, LinkedIn Sponsored Updates fit seamlessly into the professional platforms we’ve grown to trust. Taking the shape of an organic update, these “advertisements” are tailored to a specific audience using advanced targeting criteria to ensure they’re relevant to your interests and needs, like this one from Uberflip:Example 2: Google Display NetworkAdWordsWith AdWords, businesses can align keywords with their business goals to remain in front of their customers — both potential and existing — without being too invasive. Search advertising with AdWords is effective because it enables you to reach your audience in real-time by displaying your ad when they input a search that matches the product or services you offer. To demonstrate the relevance, check out the ads that I was presented with when searching for lunch delivery options:With the flexibility to choose where your ads appear and how much you spend, the future of display advertising is sure to be even more promising. 10 Stats That Show Display Ad Success … When Done Right Native ads are viewed 53% more than banner ads. (Source: Dedicated Media)A retargeting campaign from Magoosh Online Test prep generated $58,608 in attributable revenue. At a total cost of $11,000 the campaign resulted in an ROI of 486%. (Source: Retargeter)Users who are retargeted to are 70% more likely to convert. (Source: Digital Information World)Heineken Light reached 54% of audience — 35 million people — in just three days using video ads on Facebook. (Source: Facebook)Airbnb achieved an engagement rate of over 4% for one of their Promoted Tweets. (Source: Twitter)32% of consumers said they would share a native ad with friends and family, versus 19% for banner ads. (Source: ShareThrough)Native ads that include rich media boost conversion rates by up to 60%. (Source: Social Times)Julian Bakery saw a 35% increase in conversions and a 330% increase in impressions on the Google Display Network. (Source: Google)71% of publishers received no major complaints from readers for featuring native ads, while 29% received minor backlash. (Source: Digital Content Next)After one year of leveraging Targeted Status Updates on LinkedIn, ADP’s Company Page followers doubled to 85,000. (Source: LinkedIn)Has your business experimented with display advertising? Tell us about your experiences in the comments section below.Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in 2013, and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.last_img read more