Share – Bạn định nghĩa thế nào là tự do? — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

(826 chữ, 3.5 phút đọc) Nhưng khi bạn được trao cho tự do, chắp cho một đôi cánh để bay, bạn nghĩ chắc người ta trêu đùa bạn. Bạn không biết bay lên bằng cách nào.

via Bạn định nghĩa thế nào là tự do? — Triết Học Đường Phố 2.0

Ai trong đời cũng có những chiếc hộp của riêng mình. Khi nhỏ đó là chiếc nôi ấm áp. Khi chết là 6 tấm ván gỗ lạnh lẽo. Hai chiếc hộp đó, mình không có quyền lựa chọn.
Nhưng có những chiếc hộp khác, chúng ta lựa chọn bước vào, lựa chọn để cho người khác đặt ta vào chiếc hộp và cảm thấy an toàn trong chiếc hộp ấy. Đôi khi, người ta đóng nắp hộp lại, và ta cảm thấy quá ngột ngạt khi phải sống trong chiếc hộp chật chội ấy. Ta vùng vẫy muốn thoát ra.

Có thể lấy một ví dụ về một chiếc hộp trong đời là chuyện học hành. Tôi chợt vỡ lẽ ra bởi những gì thầy Thích Nhất Hạnh trình bày trong quyển Nói với tuổi hai mươi, cách đây hơn 50 năm. Thầy viết rằng:

“Em chán ghét trường học, nhưng em cũng cứ hằng ngày chui đầu vào lớp để nghe giảng những môn học hình như không dính líu gì đến những băn khoăn thao thức lớn nhất trong tâm hồn em. Em chán ghét thi cử, khinh miệt bằng cấp, vậy mà em vẫn phải chui đầu vào phòng thi, cố lấy cho được một mảnh bằng như bất cứ ai khác.”

Khi đọc những dòng này, tôi chợt vỡ òa ra: “Ai bắt mình đi học? Chẳng phải mình lựa chọn thế?” Chúng ta ai cũng biết rằng, nơi đâu cũng có những quy luật, và bước vào một tổ chức, có nghĩa là bước vào một cuộc chơi. Cuộc chơi nào cũng có luật lệ riêng của nó. Chúng ta đi học, để mong cho mình có một tấm bằng. Để có được tấm bằng, phải trải qua những kỳ thi. Mà những kỳ thi nào thì cũng có những điểm bất lợi cho người này, và thuận lợi cho người khác. Tất cả mọi hình thức đánh giá nào, cũng có những bất lợi riêng của nó.

Ta chê trách trường học quá đông sinh viên, thiếu vắng cơ hội để cho chúng ta thực tập nhiều hơn. Riêng tôi học Y khoa, chúng tôi chê bệnh viện nóng nực, bực bội, học hành gian khổ nhưng hàng ngày cũng lê thân đến bệnh viện. Chúng tôi chê sinh viên quá đông, bệnh nhân không đủ để chúng tôi học. Rồi chúng tôi quyết định ra hành lang ngồi đợi đến giờ về. Chúng tôi có quyền lựa chọn những gì mà chúng tôi nghĩ là tốt nhất cho chính mình. Chúng tôi trách những điều kiện bên ngoài làm chùn bước chúng tôi, và rồi chúng tôi quyết định dừng lại. Đó là sự lựa chọn của chúng tôi.

Cho đến một ngày, tôi đi đến trại Chấn Thương – Chỉnh Hình. Người hướng dẫn của tôi trao cho chúng tôi những cơ hội. Anh hỏi rằng: “Có bạn nào muốn phụ mổ không?” Tất cả những gì mà anh nhận lại là một hồi dài thinh lặng, và một lát sau mới có một hai bước chân rón rén đi rửa tay, mặc áo và lên phụ mổ. Chúng tôi quen với việc đánh giá mỗi lần chuyển trại là Làm Bệnh Án, một câu hỏi Tình huống Lâm sàng. Nhưng lần này, anh trao cho chúng tôi toàn quyền đánh giá bằng hai câu hỏi: “Mục tiêu của em ở trại này là gì? Em đánh giá mình hoàn thành mục tiêu này ra sao, và tự cho điểm.” Rất nhiều ánh mắt hoang mang, và nghi ngờ:”Chắc là anh giỡn?” Nhưng không, tôi chắc chắn là anh nói thật. Bởi vì tôi tin, anh tôn trọng tự do tuyệt đối của chúng tôi. Anh tôn trọng tự do phát triển cá nhân của riêng mỗi người chúng tôi, theo như cách chúng tôi muốn. Rõ ràng, anh rất thương chúng tôi, và mong muốn chúng tôi được hạnh phúc.

Chúng ta luôn đòi hỏi tự do cho mình. Nhưng cách bạn nghĩ tự do là thế nào? Nhiều người, rất nhiều người than vãn rằng mình mất tự do. Nhưng khi bạn được trao cho tự do, chắp cho một đôi cánh để bay, bạn nghĩ chắc người ta trêu đùa bạn. Bạn không biết bay lên bằng cách nào. Lúc này, bạn thấy chiếc hộp của mình là nơi an toàn nhất, và bạn quay về nơi trú ẩn an toàn ấy. Thôi thì, cứ để tôi yên trong chiếc hộp của tôi, của chúng tôi, của những người tôi thân quen. Đừng thay đổi điều gì nữa. Vậy thì bạn cứ ở yên đó, và làm theo những gì người ta vẽ ra cho cuộc đời bạn, không sao hết. Và bạn tiếp tục than trách cuộc đời bất công với bạn đi, cũng chẳng có sao hết. Bởi suy cho cùng, đó cũng là cách để bạn thể hiện bạn là một người tự do mà…


Tác giả: drkhoatran

Sưu tầm – Những con số đáng tự hào của TTCK Việt Nam

Theo số liệu của Ủy ban Chứng khoán Nhà nước (UBCKNN), dù các chỉ số thị trường sụt giảm so với năm trước nhưng thị trường chứng khoán Việt Nam năm 2018 vẫn ghi nhận nhiều con số nổi bật.

Mặc dù năm 2018 TTCK Việt Nam chịu nhiều tác động cả tích cực và tiêu cực từ những diễn biến phức tạp của tình hình kinh tế, tài chính tiền tệ thế giới và đã có một năm giao dịch nhiều biến động thăng trầm, tuy nhiên có thể đánh giá năm 2018 là một năm đạt được nhiều thành công, ghi nhận nhiều bước tiến và phát triển trong nhiều mặt hoạt động của thị trường.

[Infographic] Những con số đáng tự hào của TTCK Việt Nam - Ảnh 1.

Theo Bình An – Người đồng hành

Full link: http://cafef.vn/infographic-nhung-con-so-dang-tu-hao-cua-ttck-viet-nam-20190228075107201.chn

Share – Đôi mắt là thứ tham lam nhất trần đời, ông không cần dùng đến mắt, ông chỉ cần tâm để nhìn — Banmaihong’s Blog

Dù đôi mắt ông không còn thấy được bất cứ điều gì nữa, nhưng tâm ông vẫn sáng, ông luôn nhìn bằng tâm, nên đôi mắt có mất đi cũng không thể ngăn ông nhìn thấy bà. Ông bảo: “Dắt tay nhau một đời, có bao nhiêu đường vân trong lòng bàn tay mẹ con, […]

via Đôi mắt là thứ tham lam nhất trần đời, ông không cần dùng đến mắt, ông chỉ cần tâm để nhìn — Banmaihong’s Blog

Dù đôi mắt ông không còn thấy được bất cứ điều gì nữa, nhưng tâm ông vẫn sáng, ông luôn nhìn bằng tâm, nên đôi mắt có mất đi cũng không thể ngăn ông nhìn thấy bà. Ông bảo: “Dắt tay nhau một đời, có bao nhiêu đường vân trong lòng bàn tay mẹ con, đều đã in trong trái tim bố. Bố chưa từng trông thấy người đẹp nhất. Trong trái tim bố thì mẹ con là người đẹp hơn cả. Cần mắt để làm gì. Mắt là thứ tham lam nhất trần đời, nhìn cái gì cũng đánh giá tốt hay xấu, xinh hay không xinh; nhìn cái gì hay là muốn có cái đó. Trên mặt người ta có một vết sẹo cũng có thể để trong tim suốt đời.”

Ông bà vẫn nắm tay nhau trong suốt quãng đời bên nhau. (Ảnh qua 24h.com)

Ngoại kể, ngày xưa, khi lấy nhau, người chồng ngồi xe bò đi đón vợ. Tuy cô dâu và chú rể đều không nhìn thấy gì, nhưng chú rể vẫn nhờ người cuốn đầy lụa điều lên chiếc xe và đầu con bò, như vậy cho giống đám cưới.

Khi cô dâu vừa về nhà chồng, chú rể dắt tay vợ rà mò từ nhà trên xuống nhà bếp, khắp lượt các ngóc ngách trong gia đình. Rồi cũng từ đó, suốt hơn nửa thế kỷ, trong cái thôn nghèo chẳng mấy ai biết đến ấy, dù trời mưa hay nắng, người ta luôn nhìn thấy họ tay trong tay, lẳng lặng cùng nhau làm mọi việc.Có lẽ trong tất cả công việc thì khó nhất vẫn là múc nước từ giếng lên. Lần nào cũng thế, hai người họ đều dắt nhau đi. Người vợ sờ thấy cây gỗ ở cạnh giếng, một tay ôm chặt cây, còn tay kia níu chặt bàn tay chồng. Người chồng quỳ trên sàn giếng thả gầu xuống múc, kéo nước lên.

Có người nhìn thấy họ múc nước khó khăn ngỏ ý muốn giúp nhưng hai vợ chồng đều cảm ơn rồi từ chối. Họ bảo: “Các ông bà giúp được chúng tôi một lần, nhưng không giúp được chúng tôi một đời”.

Cứ như thế, hai vợ chồng luôn tay dắt tay nhau đi lấy nước cho đến khi đứa con đầu lòng có thể gánh được một gánh nước. Dân làng đều cảm thấy lạ lùng. Trong thôn cũng có nhiều trai gái trẻ từng vì đất trơn mà trượt chân ngã xuống giếng, nhưng đôi vợ chồng mù chưa lần nào té ngã. Càng lạ lùng hơn, dù không thể nhìn thấy nhưng vợ chồng họ vẫn có thể tìm ra nhau trong đám đông đang nói chuyện ồn ào.

Từ hồi ông bà cùng nhau đi ra giếng gánh nước, chưa lần nào bị té ngã bao giờ. (Ảnh qua disanlangviet)

Người chồng là một người thổi kèn trong ban nhạc ở thôn quê. Ông thường đến các đám cưới thổi những bài: “trăm con chim phượng hoàng”, “niềm vui đầy nhà” … Dù đi thổi kèn ở đâu, ông cũng có một yêu cầu, để người vợ mù của ông đi cùng. Ông nói, để vợ ở nhà một mình, ông không an tâm.

Mỗi khi tiếng kèn của người chồng cất lên, người vợ ngồi bên rất chăm chú nghe. Dường như những giai điệu ấy đều là ông thổi riêng cho bà.  Người ta bảo, những lúc ấy, khuôn mặt người vợ mù thường đỏ ửng lên, khiến ai nấy đều cảm thấy người phụ nữ đang ngồi lặng lẽ kia xinh đẹp biết nhường nào.

Có lần, người chồng sơ ý bị ngã gãy chân. Những ngày chồng nằm bệnh viện, ba bốn hôm liền người vợ không ăn hột cơm nào vào bụng. Bà bảo, không có bàn tay quen thuộc kia, bà chẳng còn lòng dạ nào mà ăn.

Sau này, khi hai vợ chồng đều đã già và không cần đi ra ngoài nữa, họ bắt đầu trồng hoa trong sân nhà. Dù chẳng thể nhìn thấy được những đoá hoa tươi rực rỡ mình trồng lên, nhưng ông bà đều rất hạnh phúc mỗi khi đến mùa hoa nở.

Những người con của ông bà từng hỏi bố mẹ : “Nếu ông trời dành cho bố mẹ một cơ hội, liệu bố mẹ có muốn nhìn nhau bằng mắt không?”

Ông tự hào nói: “Dắt tay nhau một đời, có bao nhiêu đường vân trong lòng bàn tay mẹ con, đều đã in trong trái tim bố. Bố chưa từng trông thấy người đẹp nhất. Trong trái tim bố thì mẹ con là người đẹp hơn cả. Cần mắt để làm gì. Mắt là thứ tham lam nhất  trần đời, nhìn cái gì cũng đánh giá tốt hay xấu, xinh hay không xinh; nhìn cái gì hay là muốn có cái đó. Trên mặt người ta có một vết sẹo cũng có thể để trong tim suốt đời.”

Còn bà thì trả lời: “Người ta nhìn người bằng mắt, bố mẹ nhìn người bằng trái tim. Tim sáng hơn mắt, thật.”

Bởi chúng ta có mắt. Nên khi chúng ta nhìn người, chỉ dựa vào mắt mà quên dùng trái tim.

Có lẽ người vợ mù đã nói đúng: Tim sáng hơn mắt. Nó là sáng nhất, thật nhất!

Theo ĐKN

Share – Công ty Ấn Độ phát minh điều hòa bằng ống đất sét nung không cần sử dụng điện — Banmaihong’s Blog

Công ty Thiết kế và Kiến ​​trúc New Delhi Ant Studio ở New Delhi, Ấn Độ, đã thiết kế một hệ thống điều hòa không khí có hình dạng tổ ong, một phương pháp kỹ thuật đơn giản mô phỏng theo cách làm của người xưa, không cần dùng điện, vừa thẩm mỹ, vừa an […]

via Công ty Ấn Độ phát minh điều hòa bằng ống đất sét nung không cần sử dụng điện — Banmaihong’s Blog

Công ty Thiết kế và Kiến ​​trúc New Delhi Ant Studio ở New Delhi, Ấn Độ, đã thiết kế một hệ thống điều hòa không khí có hình dạng tổ ong, một phương pháp kỹ thuật đơn giản mô phỏng theo cách làm của người xưa, không cần dùng điện, vừa thẩm mỹ, vừa an toàn và tiết kiệm.


Ống đất sét nung

Có thể nói điều hòa nhiệt độ là một phát minh vô cùng quan trọng và hữu ích phục vụ cuộc sống của con người. Tuy nhiên, nó lại gây ra hệ lụy lớn cho môi trường, góp phần không nhỏ gây ra hiệu ứng nhà kính. Hiện tại, các nhà khoa học, sáng chế đã và đang nghiên cứu và đưa ra nhiều giải pháp sáng tạo, cũng như nhiều phát minh nhằm đối phó với hiện tượng nóng lên của Trái Đất.

 

Bài toán làm đau đầu các nhà nghiên cứu là làm thế nào để con người vừa được mát trong mùa hè mà không gây hại đến môi trường. Gần đây, Công ty Thiết kế và Kiến ​​trúc New Delhi Ant Studio ở New Delhi, Ấn Độ đã khắc phục được nhược điểm của điều hòa hiện đại, họ chế tạo được một hệ thống vừa có khả năng làm mát, điều hòa không khí không vận hành bằng điện.

Nhìn từ bên ngoài, rất khó để nhận biết rằng nó là một chiếc điều hòa không khí. Hệ thống làm mát hình cầu dạng tổ ong này là một phần của dự án ‘làm đẹp’ cho nhà máy Điện tử DEKI. Đây là một giải pháp kỹ thuật đơn giản, công nghệ thấp, thêm vào đó có tính thẩm mỹ cao, đồng thời đòi hỏi bảo dưỡng ít mà vẫn đảm bảo môi trường xung quanh được mát mẻ.

Hệ thống bao gồm hàng trăm ống tròn làm từ đất sét nung được sắp xếp lại với nhau nhờ một khung kim loại. Tiếp theo, nước được đổ xuống, các ống đất sét sẽ hút nước. Cuối cùng, nước sẽ qua những chiếc ống ngấm nước này từ từ bốc hơi mát vào không khí, làm nhiệt độ xung quanh hệ thống giảm từ 12 – 14 độ C.

Ống đất sét nung dùng để làm điều hòa. (Ảnh qua Trí thức VN)

Các bằng chứng khảo cổ cho thấy rằng khoảng 3.000 năm trước Công Nguyên, ở Pakistan và Ấn Độ, người ta đã sử dụng chậu đất sét để hỗ trợ cho các phương pháp làm mát. Hệ thống làm mát dạng tổ ong này cũng hoạt động dựa trên nguyên lý tương tự với phương pháp từ hàng nghìn năm trước – một giải pháp công nghệ thấp, làm mát tự nhiên bằng phương pháp thủ công.

Đồng thời, giải pháp tự nhiên này vừa có giá rẻ, lại vừa đẹp như một công trình nghệ thuật. Trông nó giống như một thác nước hiện đại hơn hệ thống HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air conditioning – Nhiệt, Thông gió và Điều hòa không khí). Mặc dù hệ thống này dựa vào bơm điện để đưa nước lên đổ vào hệ thống, nhưng hoàn toàn có thể dùng một nguồn nước tự nhiên chảy qua, để hệ thống điều hòa này hoàn toàn là tự nhiên, không cần sử dụng điện năng.

Hệ thống làm mát dạng tổ ong này cũng hoạt động dựa trên nguyên lý tương tự với phương pháp từ hàng nghìn năm trước. (Ảnh qua Trí thức VN)

Theo Trí Thức VN

Ẩm thực – The Best White Sneakers for Under $100

By YANG-YI GOH

Full link: https://www.gq.com/gallery/best-white-sneakers-under-100-dollars?utm_source=nl&utm_brand=gq&utm_mailing=gq_daily_022719&utm_medium=email&bxid=5c5cba14283d8e788b2c6f8c&user_id=56356405&hasha=b357a3f7d7c5d1ec57c25e9b6231f8b6&hashb=aeff271f8ff4a7fd8fe495e655c0eb7b5e4fe7ac&hashc=1f8ce695fd760fb4d65e389189e83ccceb06e601bec24bb9c826250bee570416&esrc=bounceX&utm_campaign=gq_daily_022719&utm_content=B&utm_term=GQ_Daily_Active_Gmail_Openers

Ẩm thực – Meet the 21 Designers, Stylists, Models, and Insiders Who Are Re-Energizing Fashion In N.Y.C.

New York has never looked cooler or more stylish—here’s why.

emily bode poses with her crew

Tommy Hayes, Venus X, Richie Shazam, and DJ Total Freedom posing
Clockwise from top left:
On Tommy Hayes: Overalls and belt, by Salvatore Ferragamo / Shoes, by Pierre Hardy
On Venus X: Coat, by Sies Marjan / Dress, by No Sesso / Jewelry, her own
On Richie Shazam: Dress, and tights, by Versace / Shoes, by Jimmy Choo
On DJ Total Freedom: Coat, $22,900, by Hermès / Pants, his own

Venus X with Tommy Hayes, DJ Total Freedom, and Richie Shazam

Culture Creators

Venus X reshaped N.Y.C. nightlife with her underground GHE20G0TH1K parties, and now the DJ is energizing street fashion with her boutique-slash-label, Planet X. When asked to describe the vibe she and her crew were serving up here, she didn’t miss a beat: “Tim Burton sex-tape cover.”


simon rasmussen holds his daughter his right hand
Jacket, $2,125, sweater, $550, and pants, $550, by Versace / Sunglasses, $240, by Retrosuperfuture
simon rasmussen sits with marz lovejoy and their daughter nomi, breastfeeding
On Rasmussen: Jacket, $2,125, sweater, $550, and pants, $550, by Versace / His own watch, Rolex 1979 Oysterquartz
On Lovejoy: Suit, by Joseph / Jewelry, her own

Simon RasmussenMarz Lovejoy, and their daughter, Nomi

Fashion Family

Simon Rasmussen and Marz Lovejoy’s first encounter was on the Hood By Air runway in 2015. Marz opened the show; Simon, stylist and editor of Office magazine, was sitting front row. Simon was so taken, Marz says with a laugh, “he screenshotted my look on his phone!” Now the Rasmussen-Lovejoys are proving just how fly parenthood can be: When they’re not on diaper duty, Marz is getting back out on the Fashion Week runway and writing a baby book, and Simon is styling some of this magazine’s biggest (and wildest) fashion stories.


mister mort poses and opens up his trench coat
Coat, $13,000, by Bally / Jacket, $1,295, and pants, $690, by Stella McCartney / Shirt, $1,990, by Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello / Shoes, $895, by Dunhill / Beret, his own

“I live to make people feel good about what they’re wearing.”

Mordechai Rubinstein (a.k.a. Mister Mort)

Style Anthropologist

Known to most New Yorkers by his nom de blog, Mister Mort, Mordechai Rubinstein celebrates the infinite mosaic of N.Y.C. style. Basically: “I like to follow well-dressed people around the streets and take pictures of them,” he says. “I am an anthropologist. I study how people wear their clothes.” His fascination with #beautyintheeveryday uniform takes him to the occasional industry event, although he prefers to hang out with real New Yorkers, whether they’re Upper East Side preppies or Brooklyn construction workers. “I’m most excited about the subway,” he says, “because I get on and it’s a fashion show every single day.”


alton mason stands with his feet wide and hands in his pockets
Jacket, $3,250, turtleneck, $890, pants, $990, and boots, $990, by Celine by Hedi Slimane
alton mason sits on a box, resting his left elbow on his left knee
Jacket, $1,617, and pants, $495, by Ralph Lauren / Shirt, $345, by Ermenegildo Zegna / Rings, his own

“We will be making history again in 2019.”

Model (and more)

Alton Mason, 22, has been modeling for only three years, but he’s already made waves in the industry—late last year, he became the first black male model to walk in a Chanel show. “It was unreal,” he says. “I got to make history.” Mason is on his way to bona fide superstardom for other reasons, too. There are his Michael Jackson–caliber dance moves, which he unleashed on the runway for, appropriately, Virgil Abloh’s MJ-themed Louis Vuitton fall-winter 2019 show. There’s his status as a budding style icon, thanks to his mastery of silhouette and penchant for daring androgynous high fashion. And there’s the music project he’s quietly gassing up. Soon you won’t need a front-row invite to see Mason toe-stand live.


daphne groeneveld takes a knee, leaning over
Jacket, and dress, by Dries Van Noten / Turtleneck, and sandals, by Simon Miller / Socks, by London Sock Co. / Ring, her own

“New York fashion means dressing however you want.”

Model

Daphne Groeneveld landed her first Vogue Paris cover way back in 2010. Ever since, the 24-year-old Tom Ford and Carine Roitfeld collaborator has been setting the bar for supermodel-dom in the Instagram era. “I’ve seen the industry change,” she says. “I do think that [the rise of] social media is an amazing thing, but I’m so glad I experienced old-school modeling.” She adds, “I really don’t care about followers.” What Groeneveld does care about: honing her photography hobby on the streets of the West Village, helping other models navigate the pitfalls of the industry, and working with “new young designers, new hair and makeup people, and new photographers,” she says. “I love to meet fresh creative minds. That’s what keeps the industry fun.”


brian procell and jessica gonsalves pointing at the camera
On Procell: Coat, $2,095, by Dunhill / Vintage shirt, his own
On Gonsalves: Coat, by Boss / Jewelry, her own

“New York is a breeding ground for cool shit that’s not accepted anywhere else.” —Brian Procell

Brian Procell and Jessica Gonsalves

Vintage Masters

If you’re wondering why everyone from Frank Ocean to that stylish skater you follow on Instagram is really into disintegrating punk tees, rare pieces of ’90s-fashion history, and artifacts from the early days of hip-hop, look no further than the expertly curated vintage mecca Procell on Delancey Street, which Brian runs with his fiancée, Jessica. With Alexander Wang and Awake NY collabs already in its archive, this spring it’s paying tribute to downtown N.Y.C. with the very first Procell-designed products: collaborative Nike Air Force 1s and Blazers, inspired by artists who called the Lower East Side home (like Jasper Johns and Keith Haring).


david casavant poses with models bella lucio, jada-renee b, and imaan sayed
From left:
On Bella Lucio: Dress by Ann Demeulemeester
On David Casavant: Vintage suit, by Dior Homme (autumn-winter 2012) / Vintage t-shirt, by Helmut Lang
On Jada-Renee B: Vintage suit, by Raf Simons / Vintage boots, by Calvin Klein (autumn-winter 2014) / Sunglasses, $175, by Sun Buddies
On Imaan Sayed: Dress, by Gucci by Tom Ford (spring-summer 1996) / Vintage boots, by Maison Margiela
All clothing from David Casavant Archive

“When I started collecting, my clothes were my art.”

Fashion Archivist

Just before Helmut Lang left fashion in 2005, David Casavant—then barely a teenager in small-town Tennessee—started tracking down and collecting the designer’s cast-off pieces on eBay. The vintage-fashion market may be red-hot now, but back then “it was not like that at all,” says Casavant (pictured here with his employees and muses, Bella Lucio, Jada-Renee Bland, and Imaan Sayed), who has dressed the likes of Kanye West, Rihanna, and Paul McCartney in garments from his trove of Helmut Lang and Raf Simons. Now Casavant is capitalizing on everyone’s throwback obsession with a gift shop for his archive that includes clothes and a book—windows into his world for non-triple-A-list customers. What’s Casavant got his eye on next? “Phoebe [Philo]-era Celine,” he says.


john mcpheters and miss info
On McPheters: Sweatshirt, $285, by Stone Island / Pants, $495, by Ralph Lauren / Sneakers, $150, by New Balance / His own watch, by Audemars Piguet
On Miss Info: Her own top, by Comme des Garçons / Her own skirt, by Issey Miyake / Her own sneakers, by Comme des Garçons x Nike / Jewelry, her own

John McPheters and Miss Info

Sneaker Moguls

When Farfetch bought secondary sneaker marketplace Stadium Goods for $250 million in December, it proved right everyone who bet on the growing role of sneakerhead culture in fashion—especially Stadium Goods co-founder John McPheters and legendary hip-hop personality Minya Oh (a.k.a. Miss Info), who, as partners in work and in life, have turned the store on Howard Street into a clubhouse for an entire generation of fashion consumers. The Farfetch deal, Oh says, “is kind of a game changer. Skaters and hip-hop kids, kids who scrounged together looks high and low, who didn’t want to put a suit on for their entire lives—we did that.”


alex olson sits with legs crossed and eyes closed
Jacket, $2,795, and sweater, $1,695, by Giorgio Armani / Pants, $800, by Paul Smith / Loafers, $650, by Tod’s

“My dad wasn’t into fashion, but he always said, ‘Regardless of what you’re doing, it’s all about style.’”

Pro Skater and Designer

As skateboarding reaches peak cultural saturation, Alex Olson—a standout in Supreme’s “Cherry” video and son of skate legend Steve Olson—is creating a highly stylized lane of his own. The pro skater founded the clothing label Bianca Chandôn and a core, board-focused offshoot, Call Me 917. In his free time he meditates, noodles around on a maybe-forthcoming Krautrock record, and reads copious volumes of self-help books. His eclectic references have made Bianca Chandôn one of fashion’s favorite indie brands—where else can you get a tie-dyed hoodie and an equally awesome tunic? “When I started Bianca, I always thought it would be cool to use it as a platform to teach in some capacity,” Olson says. “I’m always trying to turn people on to new ideas.”


emily bode poses with her crew
All clothing, by Bode / All shoes from Emily Bode’s personal collection

Designer

Emily Bode knows that in order to stand out in the chaos of fashion in 2019, it’s not enough to have a strong brand identity (which her line, Bode, certainly has) and compelling, lust-worthy goods (which Bode has, in bundles of one-of-a-kind quilted chore coats and hand-stitched silk pants). You need to create a community—and as any survey of downtown N.Y.C. style will show, the Bode crew (pictured here with Emily) is strong. “I cast my first New York Fashion Week show with all my friends,” Emily says. “A lot of the same friends I had as a child in Atlanta still collaborate with me on the brand, and I think you feel that. There’s a personal aspect to Bode.”

ASAP eva throws her hands in the air
Coat, by Joseph / T-shirt, by Uniqlo / Pants, her own / Boots, by Roger Vivier / Glasses, her own / Jewelry, by Popular Jewelry
asap eva holds up the necklaces she is wearing

“I work hard. Other stores open at 10 or 11, but I start at 8:30. Other stores close at 5 or 6, I close at 8.”

A$AP Eva (a.k.a. Eva Sam)

Jeweler

Ever since Wu-Tang’s Cappadonna became a Popular Jewelry customer in 1996, eight years after its opening, Eva Sam’s humble Canal Street storefront has been a required stop on the road to rap stardom. Around the glass cases full of iced-out rings and chains hang photos of Sam and her clientele, from Soundcloud-rapper wannabes to Playboi Carti and A$AP Rocky, who shot his “Fukk Sleep” video in the store. Sam’s secret? Being there 365 days a year, to greet whoever may come through the door. It’s earned her an endearing nickname: “My husband says, ‘You see [A$AP Rocky] more than you see me—your name is A$AP Eva!’ ”


the drake's crew
From left:
On Winchell: Clothing, by Drake’s / Sneakers, $160, Nike Element React ’87 / Glasses, by Nackeymade
On Woodruff: Clothing, by Drake’s / Boots, by Lucchese / Watch, 1967 Rolex Datejust (with made-to-order bracelet by Codis Maya) / Cuff, by Codis Maya
On Winfrey: Clothing, by Drake’s / Loafers, by Alden / Sunglasses, by Guépard / Watch, vintage Swatch

The Drake’s Crew

Alex WinchellMatthew Woodruff, and Chase Winfrey

Meet the guys on the front lines of the modern tailored-clothing insurgency. Winchell, Woodruff, and Winfrey hold down the Drake’s store on Crosby Street, and whether on duty or off, the trio prove that there doesn’t have to be anything stuffy about wearing a suit. “We don’t really mind if we’re the only guys at the bar with a tie on,” says Winchell. That’s because their ancient madder ties look downright casual when paired with soft-shouldered Ivy-style suits, relaxed cashmere sweaters, and suede cowboy boots. Being the most uptown thing downtown works: A steady stream of what Woodruff calls “young fashion kids” are leaving Drake’s with the latest in men’s haberdashery.


raul de nieves squats on top of a box and shrugs and gestures
Jacket, $4,700, by Dior Men / His own pants, by Marc Jacobs / His own boots, by Gucci / Jewelry, his own

“I’m wearing either a suit or a dress. It depends on the day.”

Artist

In February, at the Cleveland Museum of Art, the Brooklyn-based de Nieves debuted his first solo show, an homage to his mother, Fina, who was a talented seamstress in Michoacán, Mexico. It features couture-level wearable sculptures made with countless hours of hand-sewn beading, a nod to his home country’s crafting traditions. (Some literally take years to finish.) “Making us clothes was [my mom’s] way of being creative,” de Nieves says. “Now I love making clothes as art objects. Right now I’m cutting up these horrible beaded ’80s party dresses and making them even tackier.” De Nieves’s own style is similarly maximalist, but more trippy than tacky—as exemplified by the towering, bead-encrusted high heels that turned him into a breakout star of 2017’s Whitney Biennial.

By

Full link: https://www.gq.com/story/nyc-fashion-portfolio-march-2019?utm_source=nl&utm_brand=gq&utm_mailing=gq_daily_022719&utm_medium=email&bxid=5c5cba14283d8e788b2c6f8c&user_id=56356405&hasha=b357a3f7d7c5d1ec57c25e9b6231f8b6&hashb=aeff271f8ff4a7fd8fe495e655c0eb7b5e4fe7ac&hashc=1f8ce695fd760fb4d65e389189e83ccceb06e601bec24bb9c826250bee570416&esrc=bounceX&utm_campaign=gq_daily_022719&utm_content=B&utm_term=GQ_Daily_Active_Gmail_Openers

 

Ẩm thực – This is The Best Time of Day To Eat A Banana

Nope, it’s not before your AM workout.

This is The Best Time of Day To Eat A Banana

When is the best time to eat bananas?

While many athletes swear that they’re the perfect pre-workout, daylight isn’t actually the best time to eat bananas. In fact, if you need help catching those Zzz’s, you may be surprised to find out that indulging in a banana before bedtime just may be insomnia’s sweetest antidote. How so? We break down the tropical fruit’s sleep-boosting powers below.

Bananas ‘Tryp’ Your Sleep Switch

The yellow fruit contains tryptophan, an essential amino acid (meaning, your body cannot produce it so it must be acquired from food) that helps your body produce serotonin — a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep.

“Serotonin may be the most important brain chemical because [it] is a natural anti-depressant and can treat anxiety and insomnia, as well as other mood issues such as fatigue, irritability, agitation, anger, and aggression,” explains Cassie Bjork, RD, LD of Healthy Simple Life.

Bananas Contain Mind-Soothing Melatonin

Tryptophan isn’t the only reason bananas will help you rest easy in the bedroom. A 2012 study published in the Journal of Pineal Research suggests that consuming melatonin-containing bananas correlates to an increase in serum melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle. Researchers discovered that consuming a banana juice extract — which was the equivalent of two peeled bananas — increased serum melatonin levels increased by nearly 4.5 times more than before eating the fruit. Additionally, the highest melatonin levels were observed two hours after noshing.

Bananas Are Full of Muscle-Relaxing Minerals

And, wait — there’s more! Nanners contain muscle-relaxing potassium and magnesium that’ll help you feel less tense and, consequently, finally knock out. Another sweet perk: magnesium helps your body burn fat — and so does slumber. In fact, a study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that sleep-deprived folks ate an average of 385 more calories per day. “Our results highlight sleep as a potential third factor, in addition to diet and exercise, to target weight gain more effectively,” Haya Al Khatib, the study’s lead author and PhD candidate at King’s College London, explained. It seems like science agrees that hitting the sack a bit earlier can help mitigate midnight cravings.

By APRIL BENSHOSAN

Full link: https://www.eatthis.com/best-time-eat-banana/?utm_source=nsltr&utm_medium=email&utm_content=how-to-lose-weight-eating-resistant-starch&utm_campaign=etntNewsletter

Ẩm thực – How to Lose Weight Eating Resistant Starch

Lose weight eating your favorite carbs!

How to Lose Weight Eating Resistant Starch

Starchy foods like potatoes and pasta have had horrible reputations among dieters for decades. We’ve been told we must stay away from them if we really want to lose weight—but that’s not exactly the truth. It’s more of a half truth. While some sources of carbs (like the refined variety) can contribute to weight gain, other sources can actually help the scale tip in your favor. And one of the most powerful waist-whittlers of them all is a type of carbohydrate called resistant starch — and it’s been getting a lot of buzz recently.

Resistant starch resists digestion (hence, the name) so it passes through the small intestine without being digested. This feeds healthy gut bacteria, leading to prolonged feelings of fullness and more efficient fat oxidation. In fact, one Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition animal study observed a body fat reduction of up to 45 percent in response to eating resistant starch. If that wasn’t impressive enough, studies also suggest that resistant starch can boost immunity, improve blood sugar control and lower cancer risk.

One Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition animal study observed a body fat reduction of up to 45 percent in response to eating resistant starch.

If weight loss is your primary goal, Cassie Bjork, RD, LD of Healthy Simple Life and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Spokesperson, Lori Zanini, RD, CDE, both suggest aiming for 20 grams of the nutrient daily. (There is no official daily recommended intake.) Aim to get your resistant starch from whole foods like potatoes and underripe bananas, say Bjork and Zanini, not a supplement. If you’re not eating much resistant starch currently, it’s a “good idea to gradually add the nutrient into your eating regimen. This will help avoid uncomfortable digestive issues like gas, bloating and constipation,” Bjork adds.

Keep reading to find out which sources of the nutrient are the most potent along with tips on how to add them to your diet. Then, start eating and watch the pounds melt away!

1

RAW OATS

Resistant starch content: 1/4 cup, 4.4 grams

We know what you’re thinking: How am I supposed to eat oatmeal raw? Won’t that taste awful? Eaten totally plain, yes it will. But raw oats can be used to make homemade energy bites, and they’re really delicious! Simply pulse ¾ cup of oats in a food processor, until it resembles a coarse meal. Then, add ½ cup of walnuts, ½ cup of raisins, ¼ teaspoon of vanilla and a pinch of salt and pulse the mixture until it is thoroughly combined and sticks together. Then, roll the mixture into 1″ balls and store them in the refrigerator in an air-tight container. Paired with some hard boiled eggs or a piece of fruit, these nutrient-packed bites make a great on-the-go breakfast or a quick, healthy snack.

2

WHITE BEANS

Resistant starch content: 1/2 cup, cooked, 3.7 grams

White beans, more formally referred to as cannellini beans, are native to Tuscany and taste great in rustic-style homemade soups. You can also use them to make a flavorful side dish. Here’s how: Chop and onion and cook it in a saucepan over medium heat with some olive oil. Stir occasionally, until soft and golden and then add minced garlic and crushed red pepper to taste. Cook until this combination is fragrant. Then, add desired amount of cannellini beans and cook until the mixture is heated through. Combine with baby spinach (an underrated superfoodthat’s healthier than kale), and top with some additional olive oil and fresh lemon juice before serving.

3

LENTILS

Resistant starch content: 1/2 cup, cooked, 3.4 grams

A half-cup of lentils not only packs 3.4 grams of resistant starch, it also carries nine grams of protein and eight grams of filling fiber, making lentils a delicious fat-fighting triple threat. Not to mention, the legumes are considered to be one of the healthiest foods in the world—and are also really inexpensive! Add chilled lentils into entree-sized salads, use them to make a stew or meat-free patties, or combine them with chopped celery, apple, parsley and lemon juice to enjoy as a refreshing, light side dish.

4

COLD POTATO

Resistant starch content: 1, medium, 2.5 grams

When potatoes are cooked and then cooled in the refrigerator, their digestible starches convert into resistant starch through a process called retrogradation. In fact, one Iowa State University study reported a 57 percent increase in resistant starch after refrigerating their spuds for 24 hours! If the idea of eating cold spuds plain doesn’t sound too appetizing, consider using them to make a potato salad. Here’s how: After baking Yukon Gold or red potatoes in the oven, allow them to cool and then cut them into small slices. Next, dress them with Dijon mustard, fresh pepper, chopped scallions, dill and plain Greek yogurt (its probiotics can help banish bloat, so it’s a win-win). Then, mix everything together and store in the refrigerator overnight before you dig in!

5

COLD PASTA

Resistant starch content: 3/4 cup, 1.05 grams

Transform pasta from a diet no-no into a waist-whittling champion simply by placing it in the fridge. When you chill pasta, the drop in temperature changes its chemical structure into resistant starch. Mix chilled noodles with a light Italian dressing, baby spinach, chopped peppers, onions and tomatoes, and watch the weight start to melt away.

6

UNDERRIPE BANANA

Resistant starch content: 1 medium, 4.7 grams

Prior to ripening, bananas are rich in resistant starch. However, as the fruit yellows, the starch converts into sugar, giving bananas their signature sweet flavor. So the more yellow the fruit is, the less resistant starch it will have. Since underripe bananas are a bit bitter, we suggest adding them into a smoothie with other fruits and veggies to mask the taste (for some blending ideas check out some of our favorite smoothie recipesfor weight loss). They also taste great in a yogurt parfait with cinnamon, blueberries, chopped nuts and a touch of honey.

By DANA LEIGH SMITH

Full link: https://www.eatthis.com/how-to-lose-weight-eating-resistant-starch/?utm_source=nsltr&utm_medium=email&utm_content=how-to-lose-weight-eating-resistant-starch&utm_campaign=etntNewsletter

Sưu tầm – The Brain That Remade Itself

Doctors removed one-sixth of this child’s brain — and what was left did something incredible

I put my hand on a bishop and slide it several squares before moving it back. “Should I move a different piece instead?” I wonder to myself.

“You have to move that piece if you’ve touched it,” my opponent says, flashing a wry grin.

Fine. I move the bishop. It’s becoming increasingly obvious to me now — I’m going to lose a game of chess to a 12-year-old.

My opponent is Tanner Collins, a seventh-grade student growing up in a Pittsburgh suburb. Besides playing chess, Collins likes building with Legos. One such set, a replica of Hogwarts Castle from the Harry Potter books, is displayed on a hutch in the dining room of his parents’ house. He points out to me a critical flaw in the design: The back of the castle isn’t closed off. “If you turn it around,” he says, “the whole side is open. That’s dumb.”

Tanner Collins, Credit: Courtesy of Nicole Collins

Though Collins is not dissimilar from many kids his age, there is something that makes him unlike most 12-year-olds in the United States, if not the world: He’s missing one-sixth of his brain.

Collins was three months shy of seven years old when surgeons sliced open his skull and removed a third of his brain’s right hemisphere. For two years prior, a benign tumor had been growing in the back of his brain, eventually reaching the size of a golf ball. The tumor caused a series of disruptive seizures that gave him migraines and kept him from school. Medications did little to treat the problem and made Collins drowsy. By the day of his surgery, Collins was experiencing daily seizures that were growing in severity. He would collapse and be incontinent and sometimes vomit, he says.

When neurologists told Collins’ parents, Nicole and Carl, that they could excise the seizure-inducing areas of their son’s brain, the couple agreed. “His neurologist wasn’t able to control his seizures no matter what medication she put him on,” Nicole says. “At that point, we were desperate… His quality of life was such that the benefits outweighed the risks.”

Surgeons cut out the entire right occipital lobe and half of the temporal lobe of Collins’ brain. Those lobes are important for processing the information that passes through our eyes’ optic nerves, allowing us to see. These regions are also critical for recognizing faces and objects and attaching corresponding names. There was no way of being sure whether Collins would ever see again, recognize his parents, or even develop normally after the surgery.

And then the miraculous happened: Despite the loss of more than 15 percent of his brain, Collins turned out to be fine.

“We’re looking at the entire remapping of the function of one hemisphere onto the other.”

The one exception is the loss of peripheral vision in his left eye. Though this means Collins will never legally be able to drive, he compensates for his blind spot by moving his head around, scanning a room to create a complete picture. “It’s not like it’s blurred or it’s just black there. It’s, like, all blended,” Collins tells me when I visit him at home in January. “So, it’s like a Bob Ross painting.”

Today, Collins is a critical puzzle piece in an ongoing study of how the human brain can change. That’s because his brain has done something remarkable: The left side has assumed all the responsibilities and tasks of his now largely missing right side.

“We’re looking at the entire remapping of the function of one hemisphere onto the other,” says Marlene Behrmann, a cognitive neuroscientist at Carnegie Mellon University who has been examining Collins’ brain for more than five years.

What happened to Collins is a remarkable example of neuroplasticity: the ability of the brain to reorganize, create new connections, and even heal itself after injury. Neuroplasticity allows the brain to strengthen or even recreate connections between brain cells—the pathways that help us learn a foreign language, for instance, or how to ride a bike.

The fact that the brain has a malleable capacity to change itself isn’t new. What’s less understood is how exactly the brain does it. That’s where Behrmann’s study of Collins comes in. Her research question is twofold: To what extent can the remaining structures of Collins’ brain take over the functions of the part of his brain that was removed? And can science describe how the brain carries out these changes, all the way down to the cellular level?

Previous neuroplasticity research has shed light on how the brain forms new neuronal connections with respect to memory, language, or learning abilities. (It’s the basis for popular brain-training games meant to improve short-term memory.) But Behrmann’s research is the first longitudinal study to look closely at what happens in the brain after the regions involved in visual processing are lost through surgery or damaged due to a traumatic brain injury.

“We know almost nothing about what happens in the visual system after this kind of surgery,” she says. “I think of this as kind of the tip of the iceberg.”

So far, Behrmann’s findings are turning medical dogma on its head. They suggest that conducting brain surgeries in kids suffering seizures shouldn’t be viewed as the last available option, as it was for Collins. The surgery he underwent, while successful roughly 70 percent of the time, is still uncommon, which means that many people with similar brain tumors may be suffering unnecessarily. And depending on what Behrmann discovers, we may learn more than we ever have before about the brain’s capacity to bounce back.


The first time Collins collapsed because of a seizure, he was four and being minded by a babysitter. Over time, his symptoms grew more varied and more severe. “It’s like my brain froze,” he says. “I was really confused, and then I’d get really nauseous, throw up, and then I’d be kind of acting normal again.”

A daily ritual ensued: Collins would go to school, have a seizure, collapse, and go home. Still, despite the misery, the seizures were a blessing in disguise. They led to the discovery of the tumor slowly enveloping a piece of his brain.

“These are some of the most common tumors we see in children,” says Christina Patterson, MD, a pediatric epilepsy neurologist and part of the medical team that prepared Collins for surgery at the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. “Taking out the tumor is ultimately the cure.”

The deeper problem with pediatric tumors like the one Collins developed — beyond the nausea, headaches, and confusion that he experienced — is that the seizures they produce can damage the electrical networks of the brain.

“We know that the pediatric brain has plasticity, [and] that we’re constantly creating new algorithms in the brain to live life,” Patterson says. “But when you have seizures on top of that, those disrupted electrical networks that are the seizures prevent any kind of meaningful remapping.”

Inside our brains are about 100 billion neurons. These neurons build thousands of connections with one another and communicate with their cellular brethren by converting electrical signals into chemical neurotransmitters, which are responsible for carrying information between the brain cells. As we master new skills, the brain’s neurons form new connections and strengthen old ones that aided in learning that information. Instead of discrete regions carrying out specific tasks, the brain depends on groups of neural networks talking to each other across multiple regions. (Behrmann says a single neuron can communicate with 50,000 other cells.) If the network is damaged, the brain cells can’t communicate effectively.

Picture a map of the United States that shows a phone company’s LTE network crisscrossing the country, and you have a rough approximation of how the human brain operates. Surgery for Collins, in this case, was akin to repairing a downed cell tower.

Before Collins’ surgery to remove the tumor, doctors opened up his head and placed electrodes on the surface of his brain and inside his visual cortex. For seven days, Collins lay in a hospital bed as the electrodes mapped his brain’s electrical activity, creating what was essentially a schematic diagram showing doctors where the seizures were originating and which brain areas needed to be cut out.

Collins recognized his parents after the surgery, but he couldn’t match their faces to their names. The problem resolved itself in a couple of days, but the episode left Nicole and Carl concerned: How was their son’s brain going to function with a missing part?


Consider, for a moment, a page from a Where’s Waldo? book. When your eye focuses on the crowded image, you’re actually only receiving two types of feedback: the light that falls on the retina and the color of that light. “That’s all your eye can pick up,” Behrmann says. “Yet somehow, almost instantaneously, you get an interpretation of the scene.”

Patterson put the Collins family in touch with Behrmann, who studies how brain plasticity relates to vision at her lab at Carnegie Mellon. Collins was the ideal candidate for Behrmann’s research. Children’s brains are young and still developing and therefore have the most potential for neuroplastic change. Because Collins’ tumor formed in the part of the brain crucial for visual processing, Behrmann could track his progress over time to determine whether there were any lingering deficits in his ability to interpret images. Because Collins was a child, his brain was also in a critical period of development where it builds the capacity to recognize faces, something that happens gradually and becomes more finely tuned throughout our teenage years.

As University of Toronto psychiatrist Norman Doidge notes in his 2007 book, The Brain That Changes Itself, the notion that there is a critical period of brain development is one of the most important discoveries in the area of neuroplasticity — and one for which we have kittens to thank. In the 1960s, as Doidge recounts, scientists David Hubel and Torsten Wiesel mapped the visual cortex of kittens — much in the same way Collins’ surgical team mapped his own brain — to learn how vision is processed. Then, in an admittedly grisly procedure, the scientists sewed shut the eyelid of one of the kittens in the study. Upon opening the eyelid, they found that the visual areas of the kitten’s brain responsible for processing images from that eye didn’t develop, leaving the kitten blind in that eye, even though nothing was biologically wrong with the eye. The researchers discovered that if kittens’ brains were to develop normally, they had to be able to see the world around them between their third and eighth weeks of life.

But another discovery from the study proved even more important — and earned Hubel and Wiesel the Nobel Prize. “The part of the kitten’s brain that had been deprived of input from the shut eye did not remain idle,” Doidge writes. “It had begun to process visual input from the open eye, as though the brain didn’t want to waste any ‘cortical real estate’ and had found a way to rewire itself.”

In Collins’ case, the question was whether the fully intact left hemisphere of his brain would pick up the functionality of the missing third of his brain, especially the task of facial recognition, which is typically carried out by the right hemisphere.

Collins’ left brain not only looked and performed the way his left brain should; it also looked similar in scans to other kids’ intact right brains.

Starting just before Collins was seven and continuing for three years, Behrmann administered a series of tests roughly every six months. In one challenge, he was shown photos of faces in intervals of roughly 30 seconds. If he remembered a face, he clicked a button. A similar test was administered using photos of houses, and if Collins saw the same photo back to back, he clicked a button. Each test occurred while he was inside a functional MRI machine, which allowed Behrmann to measure the flow of blood and oxygen to different regions of the brain. The more active an area of the brain, the more blood it draws.

Throughout these experiments, Behrmann compared Collins’ brain function to a control group of kids his own age without brain abnormalities. The results, published last August in Cell Reports, were striking: His neurological function was “absolutely normal,” with no subtle delays or deviations in development.

This figure shows the brain images of control groups of children around Tanner Collins’ age. The images show what normal brain development looks like at a given age. Credit: Liu et al., 2018, Cell Reports

Over coffee in the kitchen of her Pittsburgh home, Behrmann showed me successive scans of Collins’ brain that told the tale. “When he was eight, you can see the first glimmerings of face recognition in the brain,” she says. “By the time he got to 10, you can see that his left hemisphere looks really like the right hemisphere of the controls.”

In scans, Collins’ left brain not only looked and performed the way his left brain should; it also looked similar in scans as other kids’ intact right brains. That’s because the functions of the visual cortex he lost by having one-third of his right brain removed — the ability to see objects and know what they are, and the ability to recognize faces — were subsumed by his left brain. Also fascinating to Behrmann was how the left brain could accommodate two different skills: word recognition, which is the domain of the left brain, as well as facial recognition. Indeed, part of the surprise was that the left brain could keep doing what it normally does in addition to the newly added right-brain activity.

This figure is of Tanner Collins’ brain. The images show that the left hemisphere is successfully assuming the right hemisphere responsibilities that we would typically see in children his same age. The only difference here is that those responsibilities have all shifted over to Collins’ left brain. Credit: Liu et al., 2018, Cell Reports

In other words, Behrmann’s work revealed that Collins’ brain rewired itself, like the brain of the kitten that Hubel and Wiesel studied.

Just how the brain accomplishes this feat remains a central question. By analyzing brain scans using a neuroimaging technique known as diffusion tensor imaging, which shows how water travels along the brain’s white-matter tracts, Behrmann has found initial glimmerings that the white matter of the brain — the electrical wiring that underlines communication between multiple neurological regions — actually changes. Areas of the brain that weren’t connected before create new links, an example of neuroplasticity in action that may preserve brain functionality. But scientists still don’t know what triggers the cells of the white matter to behave in this way.

“When Tanner is 20, I think we’ll know a lot more about the overall wiring,” Behrmann says. “The one thing that we will not know in humans, and I don’t know how we will ever know it, are the changes that occur at the level of the cells themselves.”


Every three to six months, Collins returns to Behrmann’s lab to undergo tests and be examined for any visual deficits. Behrmann hopes that following him over time will lead to more definitive answers, not only about how his visual system finally reorganizes itself but also the process by which it does so. “We’ve got a long way to go, but the work, I think, is really exciting,” she says.

In a follow-up study Behrmann conducted with Collins and nine other children — all of whom are missing areas of either their left or right hemisphere — eight of them, including Collins, showed absolutely normal vision function. The two who did not are children whose brain damage from seizures was more severe prior to their surgeries.

This sort of insight is needed to gauge when to perform a brain surgery like the one Collins had. At what age should parents agree to remove a tumor that’s causing epileptic seizures? Sometimes, resective surgery that removes brain tissue can make it difficult for a person to use and understand words; it can also, as it did in Collins’ case, result in visual impairment.

“Once we have a better picture of exactly what happens after we remove large segments of the brain, we may be able to counsel families more effectively,” says Taylor Abel, MD, a pediatric neurosurgeon who specializes in epilepsy surgery and arrived at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh last summer to begin collaborating with Behrmann. “The goal should be to do whatever you can to stop the seizures and get off of medications as early in your life as possible. The sooner you do that, the sooner you can return to a normal developmental trajectory.”

It may even be the case, Abel and Behrmann point out, that some of the reorganization that took place in Collins’ brain started prior to his scheduled surgery. It’s not something Behrmann can prove, since all the research conducted on Collins has taken place post-surgery.

“When you have an abnormality in your brain that’s causing seizures, that abnormality can actually cause the brain to reorganize or start reorganizing before the surgery actually takes place,” Abel says. “But the other thing that sometimes happens is that the seizures affect the functions in the brain, and the brain doesn’t reorganize.”

Behrmann says one of the fundamental goals of her research is to study a large enough population of children to determine if there are patterns of optimal recovery based on the age they had their surgery. Reorganization to the degree Collins has experienced is impossible for adults undergoing similar surgery, Behrmann says, as they lack the neuroplasticity seen in children.

For Nicole and Carl, the surgery was unequivocally the right decision. “What was happening before the surgery was pretty awful,” Nicole says. “After surgery, the changes were only for the better. Yeah, he has his visual deficits. But everything else was for the better.”

In late 2017, a follow-up MRI at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh showed that Collins’ tumor grew back. This time, though, it was the size of a pea. Two months later, in February 2018, surgeons opened his brain a second time. Collins says the prospect of a second surgery didn’t bother him; he just wanted the pea-size tumor out of his head so he wouldn’t have to worry about it. (The surgery went well, and he’s still tumor-free.)


As we close in on minute 24 of our chess match, I move my king in the corner of the board, still certain of my impending doom. Collins scans his remaining white pieces and then takes a look at where his king sits.

“Mate,” he says, looking up at me.

Checkmate for me, I realize, surprised by a victory I did not expect. Collins begins breaking down the moves he made, retracing some of his steps. It seems he didn’t forgot about a pawn of mine that was still on the board.

“I like losing,” he says. “Obviously, I like winning, too. But when you lose, you gain the knowledge.”

Even after losing a portion of his brain, Collins is still learning. His brain is still growing, still adapting — and, even if it’s not readily apparent, still changing.

By Andrew Zaleski

Full link: https://onezero.medium.com/the-brain-that-remade-itself-bcc7b3a43cff

Sưu tầm – YouTube SEO: How to Optimize Videos for YouTube Search in 2019

youtube-seo

As recently as a decade ago, inbound marketing was a brand new idea. Marketers were learning that they couldn’t just publish a high volume of content — it also had to be high-quality and optimized in ways that made it as discoverable as possible through search engines.

That content was once largely limited to the written word. Today, that’s no longer the case.

Today, a comprehensive content strategy includes written work like blogs and ebooks, as well as media like podcasts, visual assets, and videos.

That last part — video — continues to be on the rise. According to the 2018 State of Inbound report, 45% of marketers are investing more in YouTube over the course of this year — more than any other marketing channel available to them.

And with the rise of other content formats comes the need to optimize them for search. One increasingly important place to do that is on YouTube, a video distribution website used by the masses — HubSpot included.

But how does YouTube SEO work? What are the steps you need to take to optimize your YouTube channel for search? We’ve outlined some major tips and tools below.

1. Rename your video file using a target keyword.

Just like you would when optimizing written content, you’ll use an SEO tool to first identify keywords you’d like your video to focus on (you can browse popular YouTube SEO tools below these tips, or just click that link earlier in this sentence).

With a keyword identified, the first place you should put it is your video file — before you even upload it to YouTube. Why? YouTube can’t actually “watch” your video to see how relevant it is to your target keyword, and as you’ll learn in the tips below, there are only so many places you can safely insert this keyword on your video’s viewing page once it’s published. But, YouTube canread your video’s file name and all the code that comes with it when it’s uploaded.

With that in mind, replace the “business_ad_003FINAL.mov” file name (don’t be embarrassed … we’ve all been there during post-production) with your desired keyword. If your keyword is “house painting tips,” for example, your video’s file name should be “house-painting-tips” followed by your preferred video file type (MOV, MP4, and WMV are some of the most common that are compatible with YouTube).

2. Insert your keyword naturally in the video title.

When we search for videos, one of the first things that our eyes are drawn to is the title. That’s often what determines whether or not the viewer will click to watch your video, so the title should not only be compelling, but also clear and concise.

Although your keyword plays a big part in your video title, it also helps if the title closely matches what the viewer is searching for. Research conducted by Backlinko found that videos with an exact keyword match in the title have only a slight advantage over those that don’t. Here’s a linear representation of those findings:

exact-match-title.pngSource: BacklinkoSo, while “using your target keyword in your title may help you rank for that term,” report author Brian Dean explains, “the relationship between keyword-rich video titles and rankings” isn’t always a strong one. Nonetheless, it’s a good idea to optimize your title for this keyword so long as it fits naturally into a title that tells viewers exactly what they’re about to see.

Lastly, make sure to keep your title fairly short — HubSpot campaigns manager Alicia Collins recommends limiting it to 60 characters to help keep it from getting cut off in results pages.

3. Optimize your video description.

First things first: According to Google, the official character limit for YouTube video descriptions is 1,000 characters. And while it’s okay to use all of that space, remember that your viewer most likely came here to watch a video, not to read an essay.

If you do choose to write a longer description, keep in mind that YouTube only displays the first two or three lines of text — that amounts to about 100 characters. After that point, viewers have to click “show more” to see the full description. That’s why we suggest front-loading the description with the most important information, like CTAs or crucial links.

As for optimizing the video itself, it doesn’t hurt to add a transcript of the video, especially for those who have to watch it without volume. That said, Backlinko’s research also found no correlation between descriptions that were optimized for a certain keyword and the rankings for that term.

keyword-in-description.pngSource: BacklinkoDean is careful not to encourage ditching an optimized description altogether, though. “An optimized description helps you show up in the suggested videos sidebar,” he writes, “which is a significant source of views for most channels.”

4. Tag your video with popular keywords that relate to your topic.

YouTube’s official Creator Academy suggests using tags to let viewers know what your video is about. But you’re not just informing your viewers — you’re also informing YouTube itself. Dean explains that the platform uses tags “to understand the content and context of your video.”

That way, YouTube figures out how to associate your video with similar videos, which can broaden your content’s reach. But choose your tags wisely. Don’t use an irrelevant tag because you think it’ll get you more views — in fact, Google might penalize you for that. And similar to your description, lead with the most important keywords, including a good mix of those that are common and more long-tail (as in, those that answer a question like “how do I?”).

5. Categorize your video.

Once you upload a video, you can categorize it under “Advanced settings.” Choosing a category is another way to group your video with similar content on YouTube so it winds up in different playlists and gains exposure to more viewers who identify with your audience.

It might not be as simple as it looks. In fact, YouTube’s Creator Academysuggests marketers go through a comprehensive process to determine which category each video belongs in. It’s helpful, the guide writes, “to think about what is working well for each category” you’re considering by answering questions like:

  • Who are the top creators within the category? What are they known for and what do they do well?
  • Are there any patterns between the audiences of similar channels within a given category?
  • Do the videos within a similar category have share qualities like production value, length, or format?

6. Upload a custom thumbnail image for your video’s result link.

Your video thumbnail is the main image viewers see when scrolling through a list of video results. Along with the video’s title, that thumbnail sends a signal to the viewer about the video’s content, so it can impact the number of clicks and views your video receives.

While you can always pick one of the thumbnail options auto-generated by YouTube, we highly recommend uploading a custom thumbnail. The Creator Academy reports that “90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails,” recommending the use of images that are 1280×720 pixels — representing a 16:9 ratio — that are saved as 2MB or smaller .jpg, .gif, .bmp, or .png files. If you follow those parameters, it can help to ensure that your thumbnail appears with equally high quality across multiple viewing platforms.

It’s important to note that your YouTube account has to be verified in order to upload a custom thumbnail image. To do that, visit youtube.com/verify and follow the instructions listed there.

7. Use an SRT File to add subtitles & closed captions.

Like much of the other text we’ve discussed here, subtitles and closed captions can boost YouTube search optimization by highlighting important keywords.

In order to add subtitles or closed captions to your video, you’ll have to upload a supported text transcript or timed subtitles file. For the former, you can also directly enter transcript text for a video so that it auto-syncs with the video.

Adding subtitles follows a similar process, however, you can limit the amount of text you want displayed. For either, head to your video manager then click on “Videos” under “Video Manager.” Find the video you want to add subtitles or closed captioning to, and click the drop-down arrow next to the edit button. Then, choose “Subtitles/CC.” You can then select how you’d like to add subtitles or closed captioning.

Find out how to add closed captions to your YouTube video in the video below.

8. Add Cards and End Screens to increase your YouTube channel’s viewership.

Cards

When you’re watching a video, have you ever seen a small white, circular icon with an “i” in the center appear in the corner, or a translucent bar of text asking you to subscribe? Those are Cards, which Creator Academy describes as “preformatted notifications that appear on desktop and mobile which you can set up to promote your brand and other videos on your channel.”

"i" icon to create End Cards in YouTube video Source: GoogleYou can add up to five cards to a single video, and there are six types:

  1. Channel cards that direct viewers to another channel.
  2. Donation cards to encourage fundraising on behalf of U.S. nonprofit organizations.
  3. Fan funding to ask your viewers to help support the creation of your video content.
  4. Link cards, which direct viewers to an external site, approved crowdfunding platform, or an approved merchandise selling platform.
  5. Poll cards, which pose a question to viewers and allow them to vote for a response.
  6. Video or playlist cards, which link to other YouTube content of this kind.

For detailed steps on adding a card to your video, follow these official stepsfrom Google, or check out the video below.

End Screens

End screens display similar information as cards, but as you may have guessed, they don’t display until a video is over, and are a bit more visually detailed in nature. A good example is the overlay with a book image and a visual link to view more on the video below:

End screens displayed on a YouTube videoSource: Jamie Oliver on YouTubeThere are a number of detailed instructions for adding end screens depending on what kind of platform you want to design them for, as well as different types of content allowed for them by YouTube. Google outlines the details for how to optimize for all of those considerations here.

It’s important to note that YouTube is always testing end screens to try to optimize the viewer experience, so there are times when “your end screen, as designated by you, may not appear.” Take these factors into account as you decide between using either cards or end screens.

These factors may seem a bit complicated and time-consuming, but remember: The time people spend watching YouTube on their TV has more than doubled year over year. There’s an audience to be discovered there, and when you optimize for YouTube, your chances of being discovered increase.

Now, most of the SEO tips above rely on you identifying a keyword and promoting your video correctly. And not all of those tips can be carried out through YouTube alone. To get the most bang for your videography buck, consider some of the tools below to optimize your video for search.

1. Ahrefs Keywords Explorer

ahrefs-keyword-explorer-youtube

Ahrefs is a comprehensive SEO platform that allows you to monitor a website’s ranking, estimate the organic traffic you’d get from each keyword, and research keywords for which you might want to create new content.

One popular feature of Ahrefs is Keywords Explorer, which allows you to look up numerous details related to a keyword you’re interested in. And as you can see in the screenshot above, you can filter your keyword results by search engine — including YouTube.

Ahrefs Keywords Explorer gives you a keyword’s monthly search volume, how many clicks received by videos ranking for that keyword, related keywords, and more.

2. Canva

canva-youtube-thumbnail-designer

You might know Canva as a design template for creating all kinds of cards, photos, logos, and more. It just so happens this popular product has a Thumbnail Creator just for YouTube videos.

As stated in the tips above, thumbnail images are critical to promoting your content in YouTube search results and enticing users to click on your video. Using Canva’s Thumbnail Creator, you can create the perfect preview image for your video in 1280 x 720 pixels — the thumbnail dimensions YouTube requires.

3. HubSpot Content Strategy

hubspot-content-strategy-toolOur content strategy tool, developed here at HubSpot, allows you to find popular keywords for which to create content and then organize these keywords into groupings — what we call “topic clusters.” By sorting your content into topic clusters, you can oversee which pieces of content are related to one another, which types of content you have planned, and what you’ve already created.

While the keywords you discover in HubSpot reflect their popularity in a standard Google search, many of these topics will also produce videos on Google’s search engine results pages. In those cases, you can create topic clusters that have both blog and YouTube content belonging to them.

Clustering your content — and linking from videos to blog posts, and vice-versa — can give you more authority in the eyes of Google and YouTube, while giving you more ways to capture traffic from the people searching your topic.

4. vidIQ Vision

vidiq-vision-for-youtubeThis is a Chrome extension, available through Chrome’s web store in the link above, that helps you analyze how and why certain YouTube videos perform so well. This includes the tags a video has been optimized for, its average watch time, and even how quickly that video might be gaining traffic.

The vidIQ tool then provides an SEO “score” you can use to create content that performs (or outperforms) the results you already see on YouTube.

5. TubeBuddy

tubebuddy-youtube-seo-tool

TubeBuddy is an all-in-one video platform that helps you manage the production, optimization, and promotion of your YouTube content. Its features include an automatic language translator (which helps you rank for non-English keywords), a keyword explorer, tag suggestions, a rank tracker for your published videos, and more.

6. Cyfe

cyfe-web-analytics-tool

Cyfe is a large software suite that offers, among other things, a web analytics platform. On this platform, you can track page performance across every website property you have content on — including YouTube — and where each page’s traffic is coming from.

In addition to traffic analytics, Cyfe can show you which keywords you’re ranking for and which ones are most popular across various search engines. Sounds a lot like Google Analytics or Moz, right? That’s because Cyfe has data from both of those tools, and more, built into it.

No matter what SEO tip or tool you start with, a successful YouTube channel begins with good content. Make sure your viewers have something high-quality and relevant to watch when they find you. Want step-by-step help? Download our free guide on YouTube for Business below.

By Braden Becker

Full link: https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/youtube-seo?utm_campaign=Marketing%20Blog%20-%20Daily%20Emails&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=70284491

Sưu tầm – This Is the Best Way to Argue With Your Partner, Says a Communication Expert

It’s hard to imagine a relationship without its fair share of arguments. Arguing is certainly not a great thing, but not all fights are created equal. From the petty annoyances to those deep-seated disagreements that just won’t die, there is one way to approach couples’ arguments to get the best possible result.

Related Video: How to Win an Argument on the Internet

Argument Checklist

Ever have the same stupid fight with your partner over and over again? Haven’t we all. The good news: There may be a way to put a stop to it once and for all, as long as you and your partner agree to make a slight tweak. According to a May 2018 study, changing the way you approach arguments with your significant other can turn those petty bickering matches into productive conversations.

Ioana Cionea, an assistant professor of communication at the University of Oklahoma, and her colleagues looked at what separates good arguments from bad ones for their research. In their definition, “good” fights are productive, have resolutions, and no one rattles off any sarcastic punches or starts crying tears of frustration. “Bad” fights, on the other hand, are not productive, are left unresolved, and one or more parties involves end up resorting to sarcasm or busting out the waterworks. Any of this sound familiar?

For the study, the team recruited 675 undergraduate students, roughly two-thirds of whom were women. Only those who were in a romantic relationship were allowed to participate, and, importantly, participants had to currently have a “serial argument” with their partner: one argument that they kept having over and over again. Finally, they filled out an online questionnaire about their relationship and their argument, including details about their goals for that argument and the effects the argument had.

The Right Fights

Cionea maintains that the key to having good arguments is a concept she calls “argument interdependence.” This is when both people involved are treating the disagreement like it’s something they can solve together, and one person isn’t getting blamed or bullied. For example, an argument with more interdependence might be deciding whether to buy a new home versus a fixer-upper. In order to reach a resolution, both parties have to come to an agreement. Participants who dealt with these types of arguments were more likely to report that they came from a cooperative standpoint, where the goals were things like coming to a mutual agreement and reassuring their partner that they cared about them despite the fight (d’aww).

The other side would be an argument with little interdependence. For example, one person might always leave dirty dishes on the counter, and the issue would be resolved if only they would get their act together and clean up after themselves more often. These types of arguments, the authors found, tended to be more about dominance. In lower-interdependence fights, partners were more intent on winning, changing the other person’s behavior, or even hurting their partner or ending the relationship. Not surprisingly, people who reported that their repeated arguments were higher in interdependence reported being more satisfied in their relationships.

Flip the Script

To turn your couple fights into healthy discussions, Cionea says to view them as obstacles instead of competitions. “One of the things we say in the paper is that maybe we should try, when we’re in these arguments, to think from this interdependent perspective,” she tells The Cut. “Think about if there’s any way to reframe it from ‘me versus you,’ especially in arguments that are high stakes.” In the dishes example, a partner should avoid making a demand of the other, but instead offer something like “How can we work together to change this behavior that bugs me so much?”

By Joanie Faletto

Full link: https://curiosity.com/topics/this-is-the-best-way-to-argue-with-your-partner-says-a-communication-expert-curiosity?utm_campaign=daily-digest&utm_source=sendgrid&utm_medium=email

Sưu tầm – Why women of colour take more risks in the workplace

Sophie Zinga, a fashion designer poses for a photograph at her office in Dakar, Senegal February 13, 2019.  Zinga is hoping the next president will do more to empower women, train youths and boost the creative industry to turn Dakar into the fashion hub of West Africa. Picture taken February 13, 2019 REUTERS/ Zohra Bensemra - RC198DAD9B90

Working hard. Crossing every T. Being organized.

These task-oriented attributes are the keys to personal and professional success, according to most women in the corporate world.

Risk-taking, on the other hand? Not so much

Risk-taking is inherent to everything we do to get ahead in our careers. And when you’re a woman, sometimes it’s the only way we can level the playing field.

The 2019 KPMG Women’s Leadership Study showed that while 55% of women believe people who take more career risks progress more quickly than others, fewer than half are willing to take the bigger risks often associated with career advancement. This may be preventing many women from reaching their potential as business leaders.

Image: 2019 KPMG Women’s Leadership Study

There is a surprising caveat, though. Women of color are significantly more open to taking risks to advance their careers—57% compared to just 38% of white women.

Why this disparity?

Women of color are accustomed to being only one of few—or the only one—in many corporate settings. Women have a tough enough time in the workplace, but people of color have to lean in to this discomfort to promote themselves even more.

Despite acknowledging the positive outcomes risk-taking can produce, we often hesitate. For women, perhaps this is due to concerns with the perception of peers and supervisors. A woman who takes the risk to lead a new company division or start her own business may be perceived as overconfident, bossy, or even unqualified. One study found that more than half of women are singled out or excluded because of their gender, race, and/or ethnicity on a regular basis.

For women of color, the emotional tax of being the only one, or one of the few, has always existed inside and outside of the workplace. Despite representing 18.5% of employees in the S&P 500, women of color make up less than 5% of executive or senior-level officials and managers. Of Fortune 500 companies, there are only two women of color who are CEOs.

There is another factor in the willingness to take more risks among women of color: the belief in their ability to overcome failure.

An alarming number of women overall—more than 85%—said that they have become subsequently more cautious when they have failed at an on-the-job initiative in the past. For example, if a woman takes a risk to move to another department and receives no support from her manager or HR, she might be less likely to raise her hand for a big project or leadership opportunity.

This perception changes among women of color. In our study, 77% say they are resilient when they fail, and 54% say they have no regrets in taking a risk that failed, because lessons learned have ultimately helped them move ahead. Women of color have been groomed from early on to work extra hard to overcome barriers—so even when there is failure, they must stand up and persevere.

Success is the result of confidence as much as it is competence. Understanding the benefit of taking risks—even if the ultimate outcome is not the intended result—helps build the confidence to raise your hand and be heard.

We therefore need to work against the grain of our comfort zones and take bigger risks. That means speaking up when it’s uncomfortable, raising our hands for that stretch assignment, asking for a raise, asking for feedback, and seeking that promotional opportunity.

The first step to working out which risks to take is understanding your own personal career aspirations and identifying the technical and leadership skills you need to get there. From there, ask for what you want. Start small with asking for a new assignment, then build up to taking the lead on an upcoming project. Push past your comfort zone and prove to yourself that you can succeed in the goals you set. The more risks you successfully navigate, the more confident you’ll become, and the more risks you’ll be willing to take.

As women, we have more opportunities than ever to create our own corporate legacy. Working hard and mastering basic skills are essential. But so, too, are taking bold and calculated steps outside our comfort zone. It’s worth the risk to take a risk.

By Michele Meyer-Shipp

Full link: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/02/why-women-of-color-take-more-risks-in-the-workplace

Sưu tầm – These are the countries where most adults still don’t have a smartphone

People use their smartphone to take photos of the L'Oreal fashion show on the Champs Elysees avenue during a public event organized by French cosmetics group L'Oreal as part of Paris Fashion Week, France, October 1, 2017.  REUTERS/Charles Platiau     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC1CAB6813E0

On 3 April 1973, Motorola employee Martin Bell made the world’s first mobile phone call. Nearly 50 years on, more than 5 billion people are connected to mobile services – and over half are smartphone users.

But while internet access continues to improve worldwide, developed countries still account for by far the highest shares of smartphone users.

In South Korea 95% of adults own a smartphone, and 5% have a regular mobile phone. By contrast 75% of adults in India don’t have a smartphone, although 40% do have a mobile phone.

The digital divide

South Korea is the world leader in smartphone take-up – it is the only country where 100% of the adult population have a mobile phone.

Image: Pew Research Center

It’s a similar picture in Israel, the Netherlands and Sweden, where more than 85% of adults have smartphones and just 2% have no mobile phone at all.

In Poland and Russia, where 30% and 34% of adults use regular mobile phones, the rate of smartphone ownership is significantly lower, at 63% and 59% respectively.

But Canada, where one-quarter of the population has no mobile phone, is a notable exception among advanced countries. Here, high smartphone usage in built-up areas is matched with low, or no, connectivity in the remote wilderness.

 

Japan – perhaps surprisingly, given the country’s obsession with high-tech gadgets – also has a relatively low rate of smartphone ownership at 66%.

Image: Statista

While smartphones are still beyond the reach of the poorest communities, rising living standards are creating huge new mobile markets across the developing world. China and India now have larger smartphone markets than the US, and Indonesia’s and Brazil’s are growing rapidly too.

But these gains are unevenly distributed. Pew research shows that in both advanced and developing nations, younger (under 35), educated people with higher incomes are more likely to own a smartphone.

In emerging economies with limited access to education, that gap becomes even wider. For example, in Nigeria 58% of adults with a secondary education use social media, compared with just 10% of those with less education.

By Johnny Wood

Full link: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/02/two-thirds-of-the-world-s-adults-still-don-t-have-a-smartphone

Sưu tầm – A brief history of cryptography and why it matters

A lock icon, signifying an encrypted Internet connection, is seen on an Internet Explorer browser in a photo illustration in Paris April 15, 2014. About two thirds of all websites use code known as OpenSSL to help secure those encrypted sessions. Researchers last week warned they have uncovered a security bug in OpenSLL dubbed Heartbleed, which could allow hackers to steal massive troves of information without leaving a trace.  REUTERS/Mal Langsdon  (FRANCE - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY CRIME LAW) - GM1EA4F1SZM01

Cryptography, cyphers, secret codes. Words that summon up images of a world of covert messages, clandestine meetings and international espionage. Those associations were reinforced recently when Queen Elizabeth II of the UK unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the centenary of GCHQ – the Government Communications Headquarters in Cheltenham, England.

The plaque unveiled by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth also contained a secret code of its own, which was made up of a series of dots and dashes under letters and numbers in the plaque’s dedication. Taken together the highlighted characters spell out the message hundred years – not the kind of classified material likely to get any spymasters feeling hot under the collar, nor a level of encryption you’d need a quantum computer to decipher. But a fitting touch to this particular memorial.

Can you crack the GCHQ plaque code?
Image: GCHQ

GCHQ was formed in the aftermath of World War I. It’s where the British military’s signals and intelligence units developed expertise in cracking coded German messages – one of which was the so-called Zimmermann telegram of 1917. Zimmermann, the then German Foreign Minister, had concocted a plan to keep the US out of the war by provoking disturbances along the Mexican border. This, it was hoped, would distract attention from US merchant ships being sunk in the Atlantic by German submarines.

But by intercepting and decoding the Zimmermann telegram, British intelligence publicized the German plan, which helped turn public opinion in America toward joining the fight.

The wisdom of the ancients

Despite the illustrious 100-year history of GCHQ, the practice of cryptography actually goes back thousands of years. One of the earliest examples dates back to around 200 BCE and was devised by the Greek historian Polybius. In a Polybius square, letters fill out a grid of 25 spaces and each letter is identified by its coordinates in the square. This allows for strings of numbers to be used as encoded messages that will only make sense to someone with a copy of the same Polybius square.

In the example below, a message reading ‘44 23 15 13 11 44 43 11 44 34 33 44 23 15 32 11 44’ would translate as the cat sat on the mat. Whether Polybius was in possession of either cats or mats, however, is unclear.

According to Nicholas McDonald of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Utah: “The earliest known text containing components of cryptography originates in the Egyptian town Menet Khufu on the tomb of nobleman Khnumhotep II nearly 4,000 years ago.”

The hidden message from Menet Khufu.
Image: University of Utah

The Spartans were also known to have developed a form of cryptography, based on wrapping parchment around a polygonal cylinder and Julius Caesar used a basic cypher to encode his messages – moving along the alphabet by a pre-agreed number of letters. But there’s a lot more to encryption than making it tricky for people to read your messages and despite its interesting historical roots, it is one of the fundamentals of business and personal life here in the 21st century.

Cryptography is at the heart of all secure digital communications – the emails you send, the websites you visit (well, a growing proportion of them) and the apps you use. It allows for data to be scrambled and rendered unreadable by everyone except the intended recipient. Its use can range from your bank card details being sent to a retailer via their online store to messaging apps such as Whatsapp or Telegram. It’s also hugely important to the internet of things (IoT) where data is seamlessly communicated between smart sensors and corporate networks.

Someone’s knocking at the (back) door

It transpired just a few years ago that international terrorist groups and organized criminal gangs were communicating via encrypted messages. This led to calls from politicians in Europe, the US and beyond for government intelligence services to be given the tools to intercept and read those messages. It’s an issue that was thrust centre stage amid one of America’s worst mass shootings of recent years.

On the morning of 2 December 2015, Syed Rizwan Farook and his wife Tashfeen Malik shot and killed 14 people in the Californian city of San Bernardino. Approximately 20 others were injured. The attackers were tracked down later that day and in an ensuing gun battle were both killed. Determined to find answers regarding the killers’ motives, the FBI soon sought help from Apple to unlock an iPhone belonging to Farook. Apple, however, refused to comply.

legal row broke out over the obligations, rights and wrongs of tech firms providing a back door to government agencies that would allow them to bypass encryption. The Justice Department described the situation as unfortunate, saying: “Apple continues to refuse to assist the department in obtaining access to the phone of one of the terrorists involved in a major terror attack on US soil.”

It was a view that garnered much support in the public domain but which Apple’s CEO Tim Cook called a “potentially” chilling breach of privacy: “The same engineers who built strong encryption into the iPhone to protect our users would, ironically, be ordered to weaken those protections and make our users less safe.” The problem, as Apple and many others in the tech industry see it, is that providing any kind of back-door access for official use would weaken security.

The end of the (encrypted) world as we know it

The next stage in the development of encryption may involve the use of quantum computers, which will add layers of complexity that are currently not possible. But until quantum cryptography becomes commonplace, there is a fear that this new groundbreaking technology could render current encryption next-to-useless. Attempts to hack encrypted services are thwarted by the use of long, complex prime numbers which can only be determined by the use of cryptography keys.

Encryption effectively shows you the answer to a puzzle or question and will only let you in if you know what the right question is. So, if the answer is 18, the question might be 3×6 or 2×9. But when the answer you’re dealing with is a very long prime number and the calculations are a complex sequence of multiplication, division and subtraction, a simple guess will never crack the code. A series of guesses, using a computer, could take hundreds of years. But a quantum computer could, theoretically, run through all the possible permutations of your encryption keys simultaneously.

By Sean Fleming

Full link: https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/02/a-brief-history-of-cryptography-and-why-it-matters

Sưu tầm – How to Increase Your Disposable Income

Although it is not the only factor in deciding how wealthy an individual is, disposable income does have a significant influence. If you have little or no money after taxes and expenses, then it is hard to save and invest for the future. In this article, we’ll look at four ways you can increase your disposable income.

1. Get a Raise – or a Second Job

There is no shortage of books and articles that give advice about getting more money out of your employer. Their counsel includes everything from dressing well to taking a pay cut in exchange for performance bonuses. One of the most highly touted techniques is to go for further training or education. This can cost you money now, but it will hopefully translate into higher wages and a more secure position in the company. (See also: Invest In Yourself With A College Education.)

Regardless of how you go about it, getting a raise is the most obvious way to increase your income. Along the same lines is the possibility of having another job on the side. Working two jobs in tandem can be physically and mentally draining, but it will bring more money in when you need it.

The problem with increasing your income through your job is that you expose yourself to increased income taxes. The loss resulting from entering a higher income bracket is not prohibitive, but it is discouraging. You are working harder and often longer hours, but the returns on your effort are diminishing as your income tax rate increases. Basically, you have to work harder just to add a little more to your pocket.

This is compounded by the fact that most people never really profit from the extra wages because their lifestyles adjust to absorb it. For example, you may notice that your taxes have increased so, in order to minimize your tax bill, you decide to move into a bigger house to take more advantage of the homeowner’s deductionon the mortgage. Although you can technically afford it, the larger mortgage payment leaves you with the same disposable income as before.

2. Start a Business

Starting a business, even a small one, is a legitimate way to bolster your income. Much like a raise or second job, running a business will put more demands on your time and require more effort. The difference is that you will see more of the income from your labor because taxation for business owners is a small pinch when compared to the slap that the IRS gives to employees. Some of your business write-offs can even be claimed against other income sources, but you have to follow the rules carefully. (See also: Capital Gains Tax Cuts For Middle Income Investors.)

The major drawback of starting a business is that there is no guarantee of success or income like there is with a raise or a second job. Entrepreneurial ventures take a certain type of person, one with the motivation and the ability to handle the details involved in implementing an idea. The time, effort and nerves that it takes to run a business (that has no certainty of success) means that very few people will take this route.

3. Investment Income

Investment income is considered a form of passive income. That’s a bit of a misnomer, because it does take active effort to create income from investing – you have to research investments, build and maintain your portfolio, etc. – but it is generally considered to take less effort than, let’s say, shoveling concrete day in and day out. Investing income can come from stocksbonds, real estate, or many other types of assets. The common theme is that they ideally produce a return on the money you put into them. (See also: A Guide To Portfolio Construction.)

Creating income through investing is a process of accumulation. Even if you consistently get a return on investments (ROI) of 20%, if you only have $1,000 in the investment, you will add a little less than $200 to your yearly income after any fees and taxes have been paid (and there is no guarantee of consistent returns of even 10%). Searching for stocks with a history of dividends, sometimes called income stocks, can help create some income now, but it will still not be as rapid in results as a second job.

As you put more money in, however, more money comes out in the form of returns. Investing is a great way to increase your disposable income in the long run, but it won’t do wonders for your immediate situation unless you have a huge chunk of capital just sitting around. Investing takes patience, time and discipline (it is also subject to taxation). That said, it is one of the surest ways to gradually add to your disposable income without exerting yourself too much.

4. Spend Less

The best way to increase your disposable income is by spending less. Tightening your budget will take some effort in the form of sacrificing a few luxuries, but the increase to your disposable income will not require longer hours or incur any extra tax. The more after-tax dollars you hold onto, the easier it is to do things like investing to secure more income in the future.

You don’t have to scour the classifieds or create a business model or subscribe to a bunch of financial magazines – you just have to shell out less  than you currently are, and certainly less than you are currently making. Earning more may help you, but spending less is the only iron-clad solution to the problem of living paycheck to paycheck and never having enough. (See also: Enjoy Life Now And Still Save For Later.)

The Bottom Line

Of all the ways to increase your disposable income, the simplest one is by far the best. Spending less/saving more can be used in conjunction with any of the other strategies. It’s also the only one that isn’t going to affect your taxes or require more of your time. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, “If you know how to spend less than you get, then you have the philosopher’s stone.”

By 

Full link: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/07/disposable_income.asp?utm_source=personalized&utm_campaign=bouncex&utm_term=16131485&utm_medium=email

Sưu tầm – 7 Fundamental Plays for a Stock Picker Market

Forecasts of 2019 earnings growth for companies in the S&P 500 Index (SPX) have a particularly wide variation, and Goldman Sachs sees this as an “opportunity for fundamental investors.” They expect that the key driver of gains for equity investors will shift from beta, or the impact of broad macro forces, to alpha, or company-specific fundamentals. “We believe the market has priced a stabilization in US economic growth and a patient Fed,” they write in a recent report.

Goldman has developed a list of 25 S&P 500 stocks that are most likely to be driven by company-specific factors. Based on a metric called the “dispersion score,” these seven stocks are in the top ten: Align Technology Inc. (ALGN), Nektar Therapeutics (NKTR), Monster Beverage Corp. (MNST), Akamai Technologies Inc. (AKAM), Nvidia Corp. (NVDA), Ulta Beauty Inc. (ULTA), and Abiomed Inc. (ABMD).

7 Fundamental Stock Picks

(Goldman Sachs Dispersion Scores)

  • Align Technology, 15.3
  • Nektar Therapeutics, 13.6
  • Monster Beverage, 8.9
  • Akamai, 8.0
  • Nvidia, 7.9
  • Ulta Beauty, 7.5
  • Abiomed, 7.5
  • Median stock in top 25, 6.0
  • Median stock in the S&P 500, 1.5
Source: Goldman Sachs

Significance for Investors

As evidence of the wide variation in 2019 consensus EPS estimates for the S&P 500 companies, Goldman notes that 43 have projected growth of 20% or more and 19 have expected declines of 20% or more. Meanwhile, the median S&P 500 stock is anticipated to experience an EPS increase of 6%.

To determine the impact of company-specific fundamentals on a given stock, Goldman looked at the last six months of returns and filtered out the effects of “market, sector, size, or value factors.” They next calculated “firm-specific risk,” defined as the forecasted volatility, over the next six months, of the proportion of total returns that are driven by company-specific fundamentals.

The “dispersion score” is the “firm-specific risk” times the square root of the percentage of trailing returns that were company-specific. This theoretic framework was presented in Goldman’s US Weekly Kickstart report dated Feb. 15, 2019.

Goldman hastens to warn investors that the stocks on their list offer significant risk both to the upside and to the downside. Three of the seven stocks listed above have forecasted 2019 EPS growth rates that are significantly above the S&P 500 median of 6%: Ulta Beauty at 17%, and both Akamai and Monster at 13%. The other four have below-average, including negative, EPS growth figures: Align at 4%, Abiomed at 3%, Nvidia at -18%, and Nektar at a stunning -136%.

Align and Abiomed have projected revenue growth rates of 23% and 27%, respectively, suggesting that costs are expected to grow significantly as well. Nvidia and Nektar are projected to endure sales declines of 6% and 80%, respectively. Goldman’s report does not say so directly, but these four stocks may offer opportunities for significant gains if the consensus estimates prove to be unduly pessimistic, and if the companies thus deliver positive earnings surprises in 2019.

By the same token, the above-average expectations for the other three stocks suggest that they may have significant downside risk. Meanwhile, a report from Morgan Stanley also makes the case for shifting from macro drivers to more company-specific factors in making equity investment decisions right now.

Looking Ahead

Succeeding at stock picking requires great skill or great luck. The degree of difficulty is illustrated by the fact that only 24% of 4,600 actively-managed mutual funds studied by Morningstar beat their benchmarks over the past decade.

By 

Full link: https://www.investopedia.com/7-fundamental-plays-for-a-stock-picker-s-market-4588050?utm_source=news-to-use&utm_campaign=bouncex&utm_term=16131209&utm_medium=email

Sưu tầm – Air-mobility solutions: What they’ll need to take off

Innovators are designing air taxis and delivery drones. But these won’t take flight unless stakeholders accelerate investment in air-mobility infrastructure.
Traffic congestion forces US drivers to waste more than three billion gallons of fuel and keeps them trapped in their cars for almost seven billion extra hours each year.1 Much of that time might involve dreaming of a trip to work that does not involve staring at taillights on the expressway. Could we reduce long drives by transporting people with large drones tailored for passenger transport? Air-mobility solutions could also improve the transportation of goods. Can we deliver prescription drugs within 20 minutes to elderly people who lack transportation or provide medevac services to remote locations? And what about sending groceries or food to areas with few stores?

Start-ups, high-tech giants, and others have already begun investing in the innovative technologies needed to make such delivery and transport drones a reality. But the wider use of air-mobility solutions also requires other enablers. Potential drone operators need to develop strong business cases that attract investors. Regulators will play a critical role in setting comprehensive guidelines for everything from vehicle requirements to airspace management. Industry stakeholders must educate the public to address core concerns about air mobility, including safety. Another important enabler—one that is often overlooked—involves infrastructure, a broad category that includes places where drones take off and land.

It’s easy to understand why infrastructure has received minimal attention. Air-mobility solutions themselves are so technically complex, and their potential use cases so fascinating, that they tend to command the most attention. But now, many companies and private investors have begun exploring the infrastructure assets required to make air mobility a reality. Companies that have engaged stakeholders in a dialogue about infrastructure include Amazon, which recently patented a flight-management system, and Uber Technologies, which has tried to determine the costs and requirements for various infrastructure assets—including the vertiports that will serve electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft. On the government side, it seems that interest in infrastructure is also growing, with some public agencies investing in the development of air-mobility infrastructure for drone use cases. They’re also investigating how these systems can be integrated with the existing air-traffic-management system.

When companies and other stakeholders invest in infrastructure assets, they often face questions about their necessity, since air-mobility solutions still have many other hurdles to overcome. Wide availability of delivery drones is not expected for three to ten years, and it may be even longer before passenger-transport drones are deployed at scale. But the timelines for designing, constructing, and obtaining space for infrastructure, including vertiports, are also long, such that companies should begin planning now. If they hold back until air-mobility solutions are ready to hit the skies, their drones will be the aerial equivalent of a bridge to nowhere: expensive technologic marvels that serve no purpose.

To help investors, private companies, and the public sector avoid this outcome and quickly capture potential benefits once the technologies are ready, we identified infrastructure requirements in the critical US market. These include traffic-management infrastructure, physical infrastructure for receiving packages or landing vehicles, and supporting technology infrastructure, such as automatic doors for admitting drones into warehouses.

The role of unmanned traffic management

The most mature unmanned-aerial-systems (UAS) applications—and the only ones where drones are widely used in either the corporate or the consumer sector—involve short-range surveillance and associated photographs or videos. During these flights, drone operators can identify obstacles and redirect the flight path as needed, since the vehicles always remain within their visual line of sight. All drones that travel further distances require unmanned traffic management (UTM), a system of radar, beacons, flight-management services, communication systems, and servers that coordinate, organize, and manage all UAS traffic in the airspace. Within the private sector, companies had attracted more than $350 million in funding to create UTM and associated navigation systems by 2017, but these are still in the pilot phase.

For UAS that do not fly more than 400 feet above ground level, UTM serves a purpose similar to the air-traffic-management system for traditional aviation. It directs flight paths and prevents collisions between UAS and obstacles, such as buildings, other drones, and aircraft (interactive). Other important capabilities involve providing information in real time (or close to it) to help air-mobility solutions avoid severe weather, congestion, and prohibited airspace.

UTM requirements will vary by altitude and location. Consider air-mobility solutions that typically fly at relatively low altitudes.2 In rural areas, UTM can be relatively simple because air-mobility solutions will encounter few stationary obstacles or air traffic. However, in urban areas, UTM systems must be programmed to conduct more frequent checks for obstacles and handle more complicated flight paths.

UTM-development and airspace-management challenges

For UTM to function, air-mobility solutions must be equipped with critical technologies, such as detect-and-avoid systems and navigational tools for environments where GPS does not function—all of which will require significant investment and testing. Regulatory compliance will also present hurdles because, understandably, the industry must be prepared to address safety concerns for both passengers and people under the path of drone flights.

Some air-mobility solutions, including freight-delivery drones and passenger-transport eVTOLs, must fly in the airspace commonly used by manned commercial flights and general aviation aircraft. That means stakeholders cannot create UTM in isolation; instead, they must develop an integrated airspace-management system—one that can help air-mobility solutions avoid obstacles in any airspace and that can comply with multiple systems that govern flight rules. Such connections may be technically challenging, since today’s airspace relies on robust traffic-management systems, as well as highly trained pilots and air-traffic controllers who navigate within different levels of the national airspace and eliminate any conflicts within these zones. By contrast, most future UTM solutions will automate many tasks, with human intervention limited to emergencies.

To date, UTM development has been a joint public- and private-sector endeavor. For instance, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) formed a partnership with UAS stakeholders to create the Low Altitude Authorization and Notification Capability program, which provides UAS with access to controlled airspace near airports by processing airspace authorizations at low altitudes in near real time. In the future, however, some private companies may try to gain an edge by creating UTM solutions for specific geographic areas. If that materializes, air-mobility solutions, including small UAS and eVTOLs, would have to interact with a variety of competing UTM solutions as they travel to different areas, rather than a single system.

Stakeholders would have to ensure that all UTM systems were interoperable and could communicate with each other, as well as with the air-traffic-management system.

Physical assets and supporting technologies for air-mobility infrastructure

Beyond UTM, air-mobility solutions require three core physical infrastructure assets:

  • vertiports and vertistops—sophisticated helipads that facilitate UAS landings and takeoffs; with passenger transport, these will also serve as sites for embarking and disembarking 3
  • receiving vessels, such as lockers or other storage facilities, for package deliveries
  • charging stations, which could be in vertiports, vertistops, or low-cost docks

With all infrastructure assets, companies can pursue multiple design options. For instance, they could build vertiports with capacity for three to six eVTOLs or opt for additional space. In areas with limited demand, a vertistop accommodating one or two vehicles might suffice. There will be some common elements in each asset class, however. With vertiports, essential features will include charging stations and security-screening areas. Some may also include storage space for additional batteries to assist eVTOLs that have lost charge and can’t afford downtime. Developers must also ensure that their vertiport designs comply with regulatory requirements and state or local zoning guidelines.

The makeup, density, and distribution of air-mobility infrastructure assets will vary by location. As with UTM, urban areas with tall buildings and dense populations will have the most complex and expensive infrastructure needs. Consider drone deliveries. In rural or suburban areas, UAS could likely drop off packages on doorsteps, in backyards, or on driveways. In urban areas, by contrast,  companies will need to place receiving vessels on rooftops or other locations for deliveries to apartment buildings that lack a clear drop-off point. These areas would also require robots or delivery people to transport packages the short distance to their destination.

When budgeting for their infrastructure needs, companies should remember that the big-ticket items won’t be their only expense. They’ll also need to invest in supporting technologies, such as automated systems for loading packages onto delivery drones at distribution hubs. Finally, they will need funding for relevant infrastructure-operating technologies, such as automated systems for swapping eVTOL batteries for greater efficiency.

Next steps for air-mobility stakeholders

With air taxis and delivery drones still in early development, many air-mobility stakeholders have not begun to think about the associated infrastructure needs. But they must soon shift some attention to the creation of vertiports and other assets to prepare for the future. Here are some of the critical considerations for owners, investors, and public officials.

Owners

For physical asset owners, one major question looms: Should they build new infrastructure or try to retrofit existing structures to accommodate their air-mobility needs? Stakeholders must also decide how they’ll profit from their infrastructure investments. Some, for instance, might decide to charge other companies a fee to use their vertiports, while others might see value in restricting access because that could limit competition among air-mobility solution operators.

With airspace management, stakeholders must think about regulatory requirements. Consider iterative route planning. Should UTM systems be able to alter routes based on new information, or must air-mobility solutions always stick with the path specified at the outset? On the technical side, the issue of integrating UTM with current airspace-management systems also deserves attention now.

Investors

Air-mobility infrastructure will open opportunities for investors who are willing to explore a new asset class, provided that they’re willing to enter uncharted waters. The sums in play will be high, once the costs of all essential assets are considered. For instance, vertiport costs could range from $2 million to $200 million based on various features, including size, the number of vehicles accommodated, location, and building structure (for instance, whether it is located on a rooftop or a stand-alone building). In most metropolitan areas, the number of required vertiports could be on the same order as the number of subway stops, so there could easily be 100 or more of varying size. And that means the investment requirements for each city could be significant. As private-equity-style funds and institutional investors seek to invest ever-larger amounts in the infrastructure sector, the air-mobility segment could present interesting opportunities.

Public officials

Government officials might get the best picture of infrastructure requirements by collaborating with private companies interested in air-mobility solutions, developers creating UTM systems and other infrastructure, and community-interest groups (mostly consisting of concerned citizens in specific locations).

If government agencies were to invest in air-mobility infrastructure, they would likely be very selective. For instance, agencies might prioritize funding for vertiports in a transport system that serves many residents in a highly populated metropolitan area. Their involvement might also give them a say in important decisions, such as the locations of transport lines. But government agencies might restrict or deny public funding for vertiports that serve only a few businesses.

Even if they don’t provide funding, government agencies might still assist with air-mobility infrastructure planning and investment. The requirements for vertiports, UTM, and other systems will vary based on population density, open space, transportation patterns, and many other factors. State, local, and federal authorities could work with communities as they initiate infrastructure planning and investment. These authorities could also quantify the potential impact of air mobility on their regions to understand how it integrates with their broader mobility strategies and objectives, such as cutting commute times for citizens and reducing air pollution. They can then determine the infrastructure required to prioritize investments and support the desired outcomes.

Consider how the US federal government could work with private players on UTM, for example. Because many companies are now developing different technologies and approaches, the government could collaborate with them to define the design and create technical standards that allow safe, reliable performance while ensuring interoperability of UTM systems. Some initiatives are already under way to explore these topics.


Air-mobility solutions could transform commutes, package delivery, and other mundane tasks in ways that would have seemed impossible only a few years ago, producing repercussions that go far beyond transport. eVTOLs could help reduce pollution and alleviate the housing crunch in urban areas by making distant suburbs a viable option for city workers. Rapid drone delivery could accelerate the already steep uptick in e-commerce and increase the bottom line at many companies. And the overall economic benefits of air mobility could be immense as new applications increase efficiency and productivity. First, however, companies, governments, and other stakeholders must take thoughtful steps toward creating an environment that enables these societal benefits. Much is uncertain, as with any new industry, but the potential for gains is also great.

By Tyler DuvallAlastair Green, Meredith Langstaff, and Kayla Miele

Full link: https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/capital-projects-and-infrastructure/our-insights/air-mobility-solutions-what-theyll-need-to-take-off?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck&hlkid=7c5a3ebd6ac04515ab939b1c56cca9f7&hctky=2618809&hdpid=0b119905-64fa-45dc-ae62-ccdeee515e7d

Sưu tầm – Credibility is Beijing’s fragile defence against financial crisis

One of the most important factors driving the rapid growth of China’s economy over the previous decade has been the unprecedented expansion of the country’s financial system. Since the global financial crisis, bank assets have quadrupled to an astonishing US$39.5 trillion in 2018, roughly three times the size of China’s economy. This amounts to the largest single-country credit expansion in the last century.

A worker repairs a light on an inner city highway as he stands in the basket of a boom lift in a business district in Beijing, China, 12 July 2017 (Photo: Reuters/Thomas Peter).

Meanwhile, China has avoided the consequences that confront most emerging markets facing rapid credit expansions, including debilitating financial crises or sharp slowdowns in growth. How has China achieved this financial stability? And will it persist?

The most-discussed explanations for China’s long period of financial stability are unsatisfying upon closer examination. Many analysts argue that because China has a high savings rate or because most of its debts are internally held, a crisis is unlikely. But this ignores the fact that China’s savings are concentrated in areas of the financial system that are difficult to reallocate in the short term. And even debt held by domestic financial institutions still entails costs and difficult political compromises to restructure.

Beijing has no intention of bailing out all the debts incurred by wasteful local governments. And while the decisions of what institutions to support are in process, banks and investors must manage the financial consequences of malinvestment. Even if debt is domestically held, it cannot continue expanding relative to the size of the underlying economy without generating growing risks.

There is also no suggestion that China’s political system or more powerful administrative controls offer a sustainable defence against crisis. The equity market boom and bust in 2015, and Beijing’s failed intervention to slow the decline, highlight just how ineffective administrative diktat can be in markets with a large number of participants.

Instead, what is more important is Beijing’s long track record of intervention to shield investors from losses. The credibility of Beijing’s pattern of intervention in markets is arguably most decisive in explaining China’s financial stability despite a remarkable increase in systemic risks.

For instance, China’s informal or ‘shadow’ banking system has grown rapidly over the past five years. Beijing has no interest in standing behind high-risk, high-return financial products that channel credit in ways difficult for Chinese authorities to monitor, let alone regulate. Reducing these growing risks was a key motivation for the deleveraging campaign of the past two years.

But the credibility to intervene decisively and meaningfully is changing. Bailing out all losing investors is incompatible with financial reform.

The August 2018 protests over failing peer-to-peer lending networks in Beijing are a prime example of the potential consequences of widespread implicit guarantees. Chinese citizens showed up in thousands on regulators’ doorsteps demanding repayment of losses on risky investments bearing no government guarantees at all. But because Beijing had previously intervened to restore stability in markets, investors assumed that all they needed to do to win some level of compensation was to make enough noise in public.

There are several implications of these economic policy dilemmas for developed economies and policymaking toward China. Notably, China has not discovered an alternative pattern of credit allocation or method of managing financial risks over time. Those risks are now materialising and both credit growth and economic growth in China will be slower in the future, one way or another.

China will continue to be more preoccupied with domestic financial difficulties than with external pressure from developed economies (via trade protectionism or investment restrictions). Naturally, the former will be more pronounced when domestic and international pressures coincide. But Beijing’s policy choices will be framed first by domestic economic and financial constraints. International pressure will only shift those policy options to a limited extent.

China’s economic and financial fragility has implications for Western economies considering altering their own market-oriented policies to compete more effectively against state-led behemoths from China. China has not created a viable alternative economic model, and financial resources are being wasted on an epic scale in the mainland economy. Managing those costs is a key factor explaining China’s current slowdown and will remain a critical challenge for China’s leaders for at least the next decade. There is no clear economic or political basis to adjust policy in developed economies based on the assumption of Chinese exceptionalism.

The credibility of China’s competitive threat to market-driven Western institutions will fade over time. But in the interim the debate in Western capitals about confronting China’s commercial practices will remain intense. The export of China’s financial overcapacity is a real threat to a level playing field in competitive global commerce, and Western countries are likely to diagnose both the problems and solutions differently. This will make policy alignment and coordination among like-minded nations increasingly challenging.

Author: Logan Wright

Full link: https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2019/02/27/credibility-is-beijings-fragile-defence-against-financial-crisis/

Sưu tầm – Sri Lanka’s debt problem isn’t made in China

Global media and numerous ‘experts’ routinely assert that Sri Lanka was forced to cede a strategically important port to China after being lured into a debt trap by easy Chinese loans. This story has now become part of the wider narrative of how China is using the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to achieve its diplomatic and strategic aims through debt diplomacy. But it is a story based more on fiction than fact.

A general view of Colombo Port City construction site, which is backed by Chinese investment, Colombo, Sri Lanka, 16 January 2019 (Photo: Reuters/Dinuka Liyanawatte).

Sri Lanka did (and still does) face a debt crisis. It has borrowed large amounts from China in recent years. And it did agree in 2017 to grant a 99-year lease of the strategically important Hambantota port to China on a debt-equity swap, though with the proviso that it cannot be used for military purposes.

But it is a myth that the port was ceded to China because Sri Lanka faced problems paying back Chinese loans.

Sri Lanka’s debt repayment problems had very little to do with Chinese loans. Chinese loans comprise about 10 per cent of Sri Lanka’s total foreign debt. Of this debt, over 60 per cent was lent to Sri Lanka on concessional terms that, while not as generous as those from Japan — Sri Lanka’s largest bilateral source of loans — were not really excessive (typically at fixed rates of 2 per cent, with other fees of 0.5 per cent and average maturity of 15–20 years).

The remaining 40 per cent of non-concessionary loans from China comprise only 20 per cent of Sri Lanka’s total debt from such borrowings. The rest (80 per cent) was borrowed from international capital markets in the form of sovereign bonds, term financing facilities and foreign holdings of gilt-edged securities.

From an initial US$500 million international sovereign bond (ISB) issue in 2007, Sri Lanka went on to amass US$15.3 billion in debt from subsequent ISB issues and foreign currency term financing facilities from 2007–18. Sri Lanka’s debt problem was (and is) really about avoiding default and meeting its obligations to international investors and commercial lenders from this growing and costly form of foreign borrowing.

Sri Lanka’s turn to international commercial borrowings in the past decade was part of a global phenomenon. Global economic conditions in the aftermath of the 2007–08 financial crisis depressed export prospects for emerging market economies. But they also provided an unexpected opportunity for ‘cheap’ borrowing in global capital markets as low yields in developed countries led to a scramble for higher returns by investors.

Faced with a restive electorate with rising expectations — and unable to implement policies to attract non-debt creating capital flows, enhance productivity and achieve sustained growth — successive Sri Lankan governments tapped cheap debt markets to finance persistent fiscal and current account deficits. Today, the country is caught up in a classic vicious cycle of ever-increasing borrowings to pay past debts and finance ongoing deficits.

These high interest borrowings now exceed a third of Sri Lanka’s total debt. As a result, Sri Lanka faces a record foreign debt repayment of nearly US$6 billion in 2019 — of which US$2.6 billion must be paid in the first quarter of 2019 alone. With low reserves and tightening market conditions, finding ways to meet these repayment obligations is an effort. Leasing the Hambantota port was part of a strategy to find cash and stave off pressures on the available fund of reserves.

The search for funds has pushed the country to borrow even more in recent months from non-concessional sources, including commercial bank borrowings from China, while searching for still cheaper funds. In January 2019, the Central Bank announced that Sri Lanka is seeking to raise nearly US$5 billion through sovereign bonds, a bilateral loan from China and a currency swap with the Reserve Bank of India.

Why Sri Lanka is so widely showcased as an example of the dangers of Chinese debt diplomacy despite the fact Chinese loans are clearly not the primary cause of Sri Lanka’s debt imbroglio has more to do with global politics than the real facts of the Sri Lankan case.

Meanwhile, developing countries face a growing challenge. The favourable conditions under which emerging economies like Sri Lanka borrowed excessively are starting to unwind, multiplying the risks associated with exposure to a large external debt stock. Developing nations are thus likely to find that they have even fewer options to access external funds.

All this makes funding from China’s Belt and Road Initiative even more attractive. But it also means that safely navigating the new financing landscape will become even more difficult for emerging economies in the context of intensifying global and regional geopolitical tensions.

Authors: Dushni Weerakoon

Full link: https://www.eastasiaforum.org/2019/02/28/sri-lankas-debt-problem-isnt-made-in-china/

Note – Investopedia: Shorts are out of Fashion & Watching for Signs of Global Risk Events

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Credits: Peter Cade / Getty Images

The Trade Fade

U.S. markets stalled on more trade talk uncertainty Wednesday as U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer told the U.S House and Ways Committee that there is more to be done to reach a deal and to enforce one, “if” any deal is even reached. Lighthizer stressed the need for more enforcement around intellectual property and technology theft protection, in what many perceived as a reference to China’s technology giant Huawei, a company that has been the subject of a U.S. investigation since the arrest and extradition of its CFO in December.

Perspective on the Markets

While this week has seen a slight cooling of the markets, 2019 is off to a historic start in terms of gains. After gaining 7.8% in January, the S&P 500 Index has added another 3.3% so far in February for a grand total year-to-date return of 11.1%. This is the best first two months of the year since 1987.

Ryan Detrick of LPL Financial put this statistic in a historical context:

“…Since 1950, the S&P 500 has kicked off the year higher each of the first two months 27 times…Incredibly, the final 10 months finished higher 25 of those times!”

If you want to get granular, zoom into LPL’s chart to see the annual gains (and losses) when January and February start off strong.

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Perspective

Historical records are always interesting and useful, until they are not. Trends like these get broken, like what we saw in 1987 and 2011. They should not be the basis of your investing decisions, but they can help you form your own opinions of where you want to put your money given your personal needs and goals. Back in December when markets were correcting, the prospect of an 18% gain in the S&P 500 in January and February was as mythical as Santa Claus. Markers of a Bear market and an impending recession were everywhere, and investors sold stocks and hid in cash at record levels. They sold at the lows and many missed a relief rally of historical proportions. No one can time the market.

What is more useful is to look at money flow. We talk a lot about mutual fund and ETF fund flows in this newsletter because it’s as good a representation of what individual investors and portfolio managers are actually doing with their portfolios. Today, we are going to look at what we call, ‘short interest‘.

Here is our definition:

Short interest is the number of shares that have been sold short but have not yet been covered or closed out. Short interest, which can be expressed as a number or percentage, is an indicator of market sentiment. Extremely high short interest shows investors are very pessimistic, potentially over-pessimistic. When investors are overly-pessimistic it can lead to very sharp price rises at times. Large changes in the short interest also flash warning signs, as it shows investors may be turning more more bearish or bullish on a stock.

In essence, a high level of short interest indicates that many traders are betting the market will fall. Well…they are doing the opposite right now. Short interest for the S&P 500 is at its lowest level since 2007. Take a look at this chart from Goldman Sachs.

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Why it Matters

Investing is about trends. We are in an uptrend so far in 2019. Trends don’t usually reverse all of a sudden. They break down or break out over time. An unexpected event, or what Nassim Taleb refers to as a ‘Black Swan‘, is the exception, but typically markets establish trends over the period of several days or weeks.

There is a saying in investing that ‘the trend is your friend’. If you are invested for the long term, the trend is your friend right now. Money is flowing back into stocks and many are topping their 50-day moving averages. That’s a bullish sign.

However… there is another saying in investing, and this one is attributed to Warren Buffett:

“(It is wise to be) fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”

You can apply that lesson to anything in life, but it is very useful to keep in mind as an investor. Nothing lasts forever and trends come and go. Don’t chase the market for fear of missing out, and don’t let the headlines scare you into selling if it is not part of your long-term strategy.

Chart of the Day: Best Buy Shares (BBY) Jump 14% on Earnings Beat

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Electronics retailer Best Buy (BBY) reported significantly better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and revenue on Wednesday morning. Shares of Best Buy surged more than 17% at one point on Wednesday to hit a high of $70.73 before ending the day at $68.82, up 14% from Tuesday’s close. The retail giant reported earnings of $2.72/share (excluding one-time items) and revenue of $14.8 billion, both above analysts’ estimates. The company reported that its stores saw brisk sales during the 2018 holiday season, particularly for electronic accessories used to play what may be the most popular video game ever – Fortnite. Further fueling investors’ appetite for the stock, Best Buy also announced on Wednesday that it would be raising its quarterly dividend from $0.45 to $0.50, a full 11%.

As shown on the chart above, the Best Buy stock had been on a sharp decline from August to late-December of last year. Like the overall market, however, BBY made a sharp reversal around Christmas, staging a strong rebound and recovery that has endured. Wednesday’s post-earnings market open saw a rare and massive gap-up that hit the stock’s 200-day moving average just short of the $70 level. And volume was exceptionally high for most of the day. Looking ahead from a technical perspective, this 200-day moving average will be key in determining whether BBY will be able to sustain its earnings-driven rally. Any strong break and sustained move above the 200-day moving average would confirm the return of a bull market for Best Buy.

Watching for Signs of Global Risk Events

Major Moves

As I mentioned in yesterday’s Chart Advisor newsletter, the British Pound (GBP) has been surprisingly defensive lately. From a technical perspective, the GBP/USDexchange rate was forming a bullish inverted head and shoulders pattern which was completed today. That pattern is surprising because of all the uncertainty Brexit is causing; it seems investors have already priced Brexit into the market. As you can see in the following chart, the technical pattern I pointed out yesterday has completed a breakout with a provisional price target of 1.3685 based on a Fibonacci retracement of the pattern itself. This method is reasonable at estimating breakout targets, however, in this case, the unknowns around Brexit could make this more of a guess than an estimate.

The bullishness in the GBP is the result of news that the European Union may insist on a delay of two years or more if an agreement can’t be reached. This announcement reduces the risk for a very “hard” or “no deal” Brexit where there is no agreement in place when the UK leaves the EU.

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S&P 500

As major components of the global economy, a smoother transition out of the EU (or even an increased potential for remaining in the union,) is good for both sides of Brexit. This is also a positive for US stocks which would otherwise suffer if growth in Europe and the UK were to decline further.

Unfortunately, the Brexit news did not help the S&P 500 make progress againstresistance at $2800 today. Investors may have been distracted by Fed Chair, Jerome Powell’s, testimony to the House Financial Services Committee, or President Trump’s former attorney’s testimony to the House Oversight Committee. The potential for anything earthshaking to emerge from either event was unlikely, but there weren’t any other positive catalysts for a breakout today either.

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Risk Indicators – Armed Conflict

With all the political news soaking up the headlines today, another issue facing the markets is heating up without very much coverage. Pakistan says it has shot down two Indian pilots over the disputed region of Kashmir after India had launched airstrikes on Pakistani territory yesterday. While this doesn’t guarantee war between the two nuclear powers, it is a significant escalation of hostilities.

It should go without saying that the potential for armed conflict is almost always a source of risk for the markets. However, traders have been surprisingly sanguine about the news. Indian stocks like Infosys Limited (INFY), Tata Motors, Limited (TTM), and Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, Limited (RDY) were a little mixed but didn’t show any signs of panic selling or hedging.

Hopefully, the conflict will be cooled before more lives are lost and this week’s events won’t have a lasting impact on the markets. However, keeping an eye on asset classes that move the most when investors fear an escalation may provide some advance notice for stock traders.

In my experience, gold and the Swiss franc (CHF) are the easiest safe-haven assets to track and both rise in value quickly when investors start to discount or hedge against global risk events like the Pakistan/India conflict. Both assets retreated today, which is a good sign. If you don’t have access to spot quotes or futures charts for the franc or gold, you can use ETFs that hold those assets as a substitute.

For example, in the following chart, I have plotted the SPDR Gold Trust (GLD) and the CurrencyShares Swiss Franc ETF (FXF). As you can see, both funds retreated today as investors evaluated the risks of the incidents over the last two days. However, if both safe-haven assets start to rise dramatically, investors should be careful about their long-stock positions as well.

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Bottom line: Expectations

Besides the unexpected news of conflict between India and Pakistan, this week’s schedule hasn’t produced many surprises. Powell’s testimony didn’t contribute much to market volatility and investors seem to be encouraged by the Brexit news. The last major remaining news event for this week is an advance GDPreport for the fourth quarter that will be out before the market opens on Thursday. In my opinion, although resistance on the S&P 500 has been holding at $2800 the risk of any major declines is continuing to recede.