Via The History Channel: The Black Tom Explosion

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Black Tom explosion. (Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images)

In the early hours of Sunday, July 30, 1916, an explosion, with the force of a 5.5 magnitude earthquake that could reportedly be felt as far away as Maryland, rocked Jersey City, New Jersey. Plate glass windows in buildings in Manhattan and Brooklyn were blown out, the Brooklyn Bridge shook and the nearby Statue of Liberty was pummeled with shrapnel. At first, investigators believed the catastrophe was an accident, but later investigations would show the disaster an act of sabotage by the Germans, who wanted to stop deliveries of ammunition to Allied forces in World War I.

Two years after the start of World War I, the greater New York region was a major hub of the American munitions industry, with “75 percent of all ammunition and armaments shipped from the United States to Europe went out within a radius of five miles of City Hall in Lower Manhattan,” according to “Sabotage at Black Tom” by Jules Witcover. It was Black Tom, once a small island, that was “the single most important assembly and shipping center in America for munitions and gunpowder being sent to the Allies,” Witcover notes, and “probably housed the most extensive arsenal anywhere outside the war zone itself.”

While the United States had not yet entered World War I and was officially neutral, American munitions dealers could legally sell to any of the warring nations. Most of the arms, however, were going to the Allies—Britain, France and Russia—because the British navy had blockaded Germany.

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Store windows broken in Black Tom Explosion. (Credit: Bettmann / Getty Images)

The first of the Black Tom explosions was felt at 2:08 a.m. followed half an hour later by a second blast. At least five people were killed, including a baby in Jersey City who was thrown from his crib, and there was an estimated $20 million—the equivalent of some $500 million today—in property damage.

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Wrecked warehouses and scattered debris attest to power of an explosion. (Credit: US Army Signal Corps / Getty Images)

The blasts also wreaked havoc at the site. As described by Witcover: “The Black Tom promontory was a charred ruin; 13 huge warehouses were leveled and six piers destroyed, and fires continued to eat their way through the remains and consume hundreds of railroads cars and barges tied to the docks. At one point, a huge cavern was hewed out of the earth by the explosions of some 87 dynamite-laden railroad cars. The blast excavated a hole so deep that it extended below sea level; water seeped in until a vast pond was created, strewn with the wreckage.”

In the aftermath of the explosions, law-enforcement agents quickly arrested officials from the railroad, storage company and barge business who operated from the Black Tom site. However, investigators were unable to determine whether the disaster was the result of safety violations by any of these officials. One thing the authorities initially seemed to agree on was that the explosions weren’t the work of foreign saboteurs. It would take years for a persistent team of American lawyers to find sufficient evidence that showed that in fact the disaster had been plotted by the Germans. The lawyers sued Germany in the Mixed Claims Commission at The Hague, and in 1939 won the case. Germany, under the rule of Hitler, failed to pay up and the settlement was renegotiated in the early 1950s. The last payment was made to Black Tom claimants in 1979.

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Fire raging at National Storage House, one of plants blown up by the explosion and spreading of fire. (Credit: Bettmann /Getty Images)

Today, the Black Tom site is part of New Jersey’s Liberty State Park. Nearby at the Statue of Liberty, a legacy of the disaster remains: Due to the damage the statue sustained on July 30, 1916, its torch has been closed to the public for the last century. Many have hopelessly and falsely associated this blast with conspiracy theories of the new world order but the fact of the matter is that this was a deliberate act of sabotage by the German empire eventually turning into Germany’s loss in the First World War.

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Via 9TO5 Mac: Kanye West says Apple/Tidal ‘beef’ hurting the music industry, calls for meeting with Tim Cook

Over the past year, Kanye West has become known for his bizarre Twitter tirades. Earlier this year, the rapper publicly asked Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page and other tech kings to invest “$1 billion into Kanye West ideas.” This afternoon, Kanye hopped on Twitter to criticize an apparent “beef” between Apple Music and Tidal.

West criticized the relationship between the two companies, saying that it is ultimately hurting the music game. In order to solve the problem, Kanye says that he would like to have a meeting with Apple executives Tim Cook, Jimmy Iovine, and Larry Jackson, as well as Jay Z, Drake, and Scooter Braun.

The rapper says that Apple needs to “give Jay his check for Tidal now and stop trying to act like you Steve,” alluding to Steve Jobs. Presumably, West is referring to the rumored acquisition talks between Tidal and Apple. He seems to be on the side of wanting Apple to purchasing the Jay Z-owned company. “We all gon be dead in 100 years, let the kids have the music,” West tweeted.

Earlier this week, a report emerged detailing Apple’s tough negotiations with TV networks that were ultimately the reason the company was never able to launch its oft-rumored web TV service. If West’s tweets are to be believed, it sounds like Apple is once again being hard to negotiate with in its quest to buy Tidal. While a report emerged earlier this summer claiming that Apple was in talks to buy Tidal, nothing else has been said since then.

Perhaps contributing to this “beef” between Tidal and Apple, Kanye West exclusively released his album The Life of Pablo on Jay Z’s service earlier this year, proclaiming that it would “never” come to Apple Music. A report detailed Apple’s efforts the exclusive rightsto the album, but the company ultimately failed because West wanted to work with his friend, Jay Z. The Life of Pablo ultimately did come to Apple Music, however.

You can see all of the tweets in Kanye’s latest Twitter tirade below. As the rapper concluded in a previous rant, everyone needs to “shut up and enjoy the greatness.”

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Elon Musk says we’re probably living in a computer simulation – here’s the science via TechXplore

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In a recent interview at the Code Conference in California, technology entrepreneur Elon Musk suggested we are living inside a computer simulation. On first hearing, this claim seems far-fetched. But could there be some substance to Musk’s thinking?

As founder of a number of high-profile companies, such as Tesla and Space X, Musk’s business interests lie firmly in leading technologies.

Key to his claim is that computer games have evolved rapidly over the past 40 years to the point that, inside the next few years, they will be fully immersive, with a computer-generated and controlled world seamlessly merged with the physical world. In other words, we are on the verge of experiencing augmented reality (AR) combined with artificial intelligence. The end result is that what is real and what is simulated could become indistinguishable from one another. In his own words:

If you assume any rate of improvement at all, then the games will become indistinguishable from reality, even if that rate of advancement drops by a thousand from what it is now. Then you just say, okay, let’s imagine it’s 10,000 years in the future, which is nothing on the evolutionary scale.

So given that we’re clearly on a trajectory to have games that are indistinguishable from reality, and those games could be played on any set-top box or on a PC or whatever, and there would probably be billions of such computers or set-top boxes, it would seem to follow that the odds that we’re in base reality is one in billions.

The idea that humans live in a reality controlled by external bodies, whether computers or otherwise, has been around for a while. This has been a question explored by philosophers and even physicists over the centuries. The philosopher Nick Bostrom drew the same conclusion in 2003.

The similarities between the arguments put forward by Musk and Bostrom go further than proposing we are part of a larger computer simulation, though. Both consider the development of artificial intelligence (AI) to be a dangerous field of technology. According to Musk, the result of progress in AI research and development will be the end of civilisation. Bostrom takes a similar standpoint should appropriate risk assessment not be carried out on development projects.

Fact or fiction?

But is this just paranoia? The claims carry more than a passing resemblance to science fiction movies, such as The Matrix and 2001:A Space Odyssey, but are Musk and Bostrom voicing valid causes for concern?

The case that we are not living in a simulation is strongly supported by resource arguments. Consider the sheer computing power needed to run such a simulation. A simulation system would need to manage all the entities in the world and all their interactions. This would require a vast amount of processing. Further support can be found in arguments relating to quantum mechanics – to run a truly lifelike simulation of a city, with all its trillions of interactions, would require a city-sized computer. This makes the case for our existence in a simulation very unlikely.

Even if a machine existed that could simulate our existence then there would be a high probability that we would experience so-called “realism imperfections”. These bugs in the simulation would be seen or heard due to glitches in the model. For example, stars may or may not exist when viewed through telescopes of varying magnification. Such errors would be inevitable in a simulation of this scale, but they have never been observed by humans.

Machines that use self-learning, super intelligent software are still very distant from the current state of the art, and systems that do make use of AI operate in very tightly defined fields. Current systems learn to optimise their performance within specific domains of work – not to take over the world.

For example, neural networks, which are sometimes referred to as electronic models of the brain, are used to predict changes in stock markets. These systems can be trained using existing data from stock trading to learn and identify patterns in live data streams that may indicate that something will happen. The result of this is that traders can take action to mitigate any negative outcomes.

Equally, there are systems that are developed using AI techniques to alleviate workloads by applying programmed rules and facts. These are known as knowledge-based systems. While the human users of these systems may not realise that they are interacting with a machine – such as Jill the online tutor of AI, which answers questions and provides feedback to students on an AI course – they are also developed to work on or within well-defined problems or domains.

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Taking the restrictive fields in which AI-type systems are developed, the danger of civilization coming to an end because of the creation of AI would seem to be very small. Indeed, AI is used largely to support human decision-making and action rather than to replace it.

Alternative Reality

There are elements of Musk’s thinking, however, that seem considerably more likely to happen in the near future.

One of these is the development of technology to aid human-machine interfaces. As everyday life becomes increasingly reliant on connected devices, the way in which we use them is constantly changing. Our desire to access data and communicate has driven the evolution of wearable technology.

Musk claims that we will become pets to AI should we not develop effective brain-computer interfaces. However, the father of wearable technology and AR, Steve Mann, promotes combining both technologies to benefit society. This carries more substance as much work in the area is focused on assistive medical systems. For example, one area of research looks at the creation of brain implants to harness electrical signals in the brain and stimulate movement in paralysed limbs.

Rest assured, however, that we are probably not living in a computer simulation and that the claims made by Musk are outlandish. There are, however, some elements of his thinking that do hint at technology developments in the future.

Future developments in AR and related technology will move us towards a world that is more connected. In these augmented realities we will have seamless access to data and digital representations projected into the physical world. AI techniques will help us understand the data; making decisions that are informed by computers. But while augmented, these realities will still be built on and in the real world.

Via Tech Crunch: Indonesia will be Asia’s next biggest e-commerce market

Indonesia, Jakarta, View of city during sunset

 

Indonesia presents much opportunity for e-commerce among other emerging Asian economies, with current projections putting this archipelago nation’s e-market at $130 billion by 2020 (coming third behind China and India). With an estimated annual growth rate of 50 percent and strong mobile-first initiatives, retailers have a unique opportunity in Indonesia to focus on developing truly mobile platforms to help facilitate e-market growth, particularly in the consumer packaged goods (CPGs) sector (Thanks to a strong local industrial base, local made goods will outpace imported goods in both production and sales).

Indonesia’s current e-commerce market is similar to China’s online marketplace beginnings, with a large pool of entrepreneurial sellers providing goods purchased based largely on social media recommendations. Similarly, e-commerce in Indonesia also mimics the early U.S. e-market, which was flooded with customers wary to trust online payments and retailers. Indonesia is truly unique in that it has the potential to create a hybrid of the widest opportunities from America and China’s e-commerce economies, propelling the Indonesian online marketplace onto the global stage.

Mobile-first Indonesia

Indonesia has established itself as one of Asia’s foremost mobile-first nations, with a StatCounter report estimating that in 2015, more than 70 percent of Indonesia’s internet traffic originated from mobile devices.

Further evidence that Indonesians have embraced mobile-first initiatives comes from social media, with Indonesians having the highest mobile Facebook usage rate worldwide, with 63 million users in 2015. Further projections put Indonesians’ future Facebook access via mobile being almost 99 percent by 2018, showing a true dominance over desktop platforms. The mobile-first path that Indonesia has taken also allows retailers to focus on creating truly mobile functionality, presenting unique opportunities to dominate in the retail space.

Indonesian e-commerce startups and funding

E-commerce startups founded in Indonesia or targeting it as an untapped market are growing exponentially, something reflected in increased interest in startup fundraising within the archipelago nation.

aCommerce, an end-to-end e-commerce service provider, closed a Series A venture capital round of $10.7 million, while raising another $10 million in funding ahead of a planned Series B raise later in 2016; this action is being led by MDI Ventures, a VC-initiative launched by Indonesian telecom giant Telkom Indonesia.

Indonesia’s e-commerce market is on track to be one of the largest in Asia.

Jakarta-based grocery delivery app HappyFresh raised an impressive $12 million Series A round in 2015, with investors led by Vertex Ventures and Sinar Mas Digital Ventures. HijUp, another Indonesian e-commerce startup, closed a second seven-figure seed funding round from investors, including Fenox Venture Capital and 500 Startups.

However, the behemoth of all Indonesian deals so far comes in the form of Tokopedia, an online marketplace that raised an impressive $100 million round led by Softbank and Sequioa Capital. Mid- and later-stage investors should definitely keep an eye on Indonesian startups, which are clearly having very little trouble finding early-stage interest and investment.

Why specifically Indonesia?

Prospering with multiple entrants

Indonesia’s retail market currently consists of CPGs being sold in retail spaces known as “fragmented trade,” which is primarily made up of independent small business owners. E-commerce is currently growing at a rate twice as fast as fragmented trade, forcing many of these independents to turn to the e-commerce model. This in turn creates a sea of individual sellers eager to satisfy e-consumer demand, alongside mass retailers targeting this same demographic.

Unlike other Asian nations, Indonesians currently do not solely rely on mass retailers to guide their purchasing decisions, allowing for these individual sellers to maintain market share. This in turn allows the e-market segment to be open to any competitor determined enough to form a market impact, something uncommon in other mobile-first nations.

Procuring specialized goods to rural areas

Many Indonesian cities are currently woefully underdeveloped, because of a lack of strong government and infrastructure to support retail construction. However, e-commerce’s rise in popularity exploits this challenge by allowing consumers to purchase CPGs previously unavailable in their specific locales.

With lots of potential growth in rural and semi-rural areas, e-commerce specifically allows Indonesian consumers to source hard-to-find goods, as opposed to other nations, where rural areas would not have as high use of internet-capable mobile devices. In fact, popular Indonesian online site BliBli has more than one-third of its 2.5 million customers living in rural areas, providing goods ordered almost exclusively off mobile platforms to a population whose sole form of internet access comes via smartphone. This procurement of specialized CPGs to rural areas makes Indonesia a uniquely perfect place for online marketplace growth.

Providing truly mobile-first platforms

Indonesia’s e-market also allows for retailers and participants in the fragmented trade space to focus on developing truly mobile-first platforms. This specifically targets the mobile user as the captured demographic, instead of simply re-tooling a desktop platform to a mobile one.

This truly mobile-first scenario also allows sellers to use smartphones to their advantage, gathering hyper-personalized data to target individual Indonesian consumers as opposed to just specific demographics or groups among Indonesia’s more than 250 million population.

Mobile-first also allows for the easier entry of participants into the Indonesian e-commerce scene, with startups having the flexibility to choose what CPGs they sell, and even who they want as a consumer, through market penetration via mobile apps.

Profitability through social media

With other mobile-first nations being split between different social media sites (China:Weibo/QZone/Tencent QQ; India: Facebook/Google+/Twitter; Philippines: Instagram/Snapchat/Facebook), Indonesia is unique because of its widespread use of a singular social media platform: Facebook (with more than 92 percent of Indonesians having a Facebook account).

Indonesian consumers are very wary of online payments, much like Americans were in the early online marketplace days.

With so much of Indonesians’ current purchasing power being shaped through social media recommendations, focusing on developing integration with Facebook’s platforms offers companies a unique space to potentially profit through direct CPG sales, advertising or even partnerships. Tying Facebook into popular sites such as online forums like Kaskus and Tokobagus, or even online stores like Sukamart, could lead to the inclusion of high-quality videos, product comparisons and optimized images, alongside other mobile-first features, to encourage e-market growth.

Potential with online payments

Indonesian consumers are very wary of online payments, much like Americans were in the U.S.’ early online marketplace days, particularly when compared to other mobile-first populations. Many e-commerce transactions are currently paid through either direct bank transfer or bayar di tampat (cash-on-delivery), which is greatly limiting e-commerce growth through lost transactions.

With Indonesian spend growing nearly 10 percent annually, bayar di tampat will soon be unsustainable. Creating a trusted solution to utilize online payments could lead to huge growth, with retailers both large and small being able to streamline their business flows for optimum efficiency.

Procuring a modernized logistics/delivery platform

Indonesia currently also presents a unique opportunity for e-commerce growth because of the country’s weak infrastructure and poor logistics system. This provides a huge growth area for the e-market, with sellers able to vertically integrate their delivery systems with their ordering ones.

In the age of companies developing in-house solutions instead of relying on outsourcing, the untapped logistics market also gives rise to the growth in Indonesian e-commerce. Companies have the ability to develop proprietary, or even simply more efficient, delivery systems as another form of competition in the online marketplace, with supply strength being a key component in e-commerce.

Conclusion

Often underestimated as a driving economic force among its more well-known Asian brethren, Indonesia presents a variety of unique opportunities in becoming one of the largest e-commerce spaces.

With so many mobile internet users, combined with weak internal infrastructure, companies and individual sellers alike have the potential to grow the e-commerce market to heights unseen. Additionally, a growing middle class with disposable income will only help spread e-commerce growth, alongside a rising influx of both individual sellers and corporations vying to compete in the e-market.

Indonesia’s e-commerce market is on track to be one of the largest in Asia, utilizing mobile-first platforms to provide all Indonesians with convenient access to consumer packaged goods.

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Adriano Leite Ribeiro: Once the beast of football, now living in ruins

 

For those of you who are unable to remember this great Brazilian dude, here are a few videos to remind you who he was.

 

 

 

 

Adriano Leite Ribeiro  was born on February 17, 1982 in the city of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil’s capital of nightlife, The Carnivale and the Samba). He is commonly known as Adriano and is currently plying his trade at American 4th division club Miami United. A talented stiker he is, but his playing career has often been marked by inconsistency, lack of fitness, weight gain and addiction to drugs. Despite the problems His main titles are four Scudetti for Inter Milan, a Brasileirao for Flamengo and for the Brazilian national team, a FIFA Confederations Cup and a Copa America title each. During his time in Italy, he earned the nickname L’Imperatore (the Emperor).

Adriano began his career with Flamengo, he made it to the professional team from the youth setup. From 2000-01, he made 24 appearances for Flamengo and scored 10 goals. He then moved to Inter Milan where he scored one goal in eight appearances, meaning it was not much of a good spell and was later loaned out to Fiorentina for the remainder of 2002 where he scored 6 goals in 18 appearances. He then joined A.C Parma in 2002 for 8.8 million Euros and went on to form one of the best striker duos in the country with then Romania International Adrian Mutu, scoring 23 goals in 37 appearances over a span of two years (missing the month of November 2003 due to injury).

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Adriano during his time at Parma

In 2004, Adriano returned to the San Siro side on a 4.5 year deal, worth 23.4 million Euros and scored 15 goals in 16 appearances for the club in 2004-05 season. From July 11, 2004 through June 25, 2005, Adriano was in peak form scoring an impressive total of 40 goals in both domestic and international competitions. In September 2005, Inter Milan rewarded him for his efforts with an improved contract running until June 30, 2010.

However, despite the new contract and form he was out of form and fitness. his constant late partying had put a toll on his fitness and he was benched many times. Then Brazil coach Dunga did not call him for the friendly against Ecuador in October 2006 because of his fitness issues and for much of the 2006-07 season, he was subject of controversy when he was constantly spotted at nightclubs. On February 18, 2007, Adriano skipped a team practice with Inter Milan following the lengthy effects of a birthday celebration the night earlier.

In 2008, for a lengthy unpaid leave Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti sent Adriano to Brazil at FC Sao Paulo’s training center so he can regain back his fitness. that later turned into a loan spell. West Ham United and Manchester City were interested in signing him but his lack of fitness following his father’s death and weight gain forced the clubs to move away from him. Massimo Moratti stated that after the loan spell, he would like Adriano to be back at the club in better shape.

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Adriano during his time at FC Sao Paulo.

Inter finalized a deal on December 19th, 2007 to loan Adriano to São Paulo for the remainder of the 2007–08 season in order to allow him to compete in the 2008 Copa Libertadores. São Paulo fans were soon seen standing in long lines to buy his new number 10 jersey at the team’s official merchandise retailer after Adriano was introduced and his shirt was unveiled at a team press conference. Adriano celebrated his competitive debut with São Paulo by scoring both goals in their 2–1 victory over Guaratingueta on the opening day of the 2008 Paulista Tournament. He was sent off after headbutting Santos fullback Domingos on February 10, 2008, and was suspended for two matches after initially risking a suspension of eighteen months.He was fined by São Paulo on February 29 for arriving 30 minutes late for training, then leaving early and exchanging words with a photographer. According to team sporting director Marco Aurélio Cunha, Adriano “left the training ground because he wanted to. The team does not miss him. If he is not happy at São Paulo, he is free to go.”

Adriano was a regular goalscorer in the early stages of the 2008-9 Serie A campaign, reaching a combined total of 100 domestic goals in the Italian Serie A and the Brazilian Serie A. On 22 October 2008, Adriano scored the winner in a 1–0 win over Anorthosis Famagusta, and, with this goal, Adriano scored his 18th Champions League goal, and 70th for the club. In December, Inter Milan allowed him special dispensation to return to Brazil over the winter break earlier than planned. Inter confirmed on April 4 that Adriano had not returned from international duty with Brazil and had signed no contract with the club. On April 24, Adriano finally rescinded his contract with Inter Milan.

 

Adriano signed a one-year contract with Flamengo on May 6, 2009, the club with which he started his career. On his debut after returning to Flamengo, played on May 31, 2009, he scored a goal against Atletico Paranaense. On June 21, 2009, he scored his first hat-trick for Flamengo in the 4–0 win over Internacional in the Brazilian Série A.,his performances would be instrumental to lead Flamengo to their first Brazilian Serie A title since 1992.

On 31 January 2010, Adriano scored his second hat-trick since his return, this time in a 5–3 comeback win in the Rio de Janeiro (Fla-Flu) derby against city rivals Fluminense in the 2010 Rio de Janeiro State League.

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ROME – SEPTEMBER 28: Adriano of AS Roma in action during the UEFA Champions League group E match between AS Roma and CFR Cluj at Stadio Olimpico on September 28, 2010 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

On 8 June 2010, Italian Serie A side A.S Roma announced Adriano’s signing effective July 1st, 2010 with a salary worth 5 million Euros.He was then presented to the press with the no. 8 shirt. However, Roma terminated the contract on March 8, 2011, after seven months in the Italian capital.

On 25th March 2011, he signed with Corinthians on a year long deal. However, Adriano ruptured his Achilles tendon on 19th April, the same year while he was training & After the surgery he spent six months recovering. After recovering, he played his first game for Corinthians on October 9, 2011, when his club beat Atletico Goaniense 3-0. His first goal for Corinthians came on October 20 in the home game versus Atletico Mineiro, and was the winning goal that made the game 2-1 and gave Corinthians a two-point lead in the Championship with only two games remaining. He however, was released on march 12, 2012 after his irregular appearances and lack of interest.

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Adriano was a good footballer, only to now end up living in the slums of Rio de Janeiro. He was once earning 80,000 pounds per week in the prime of his career but these days, the 34-year-old is without a club and living among gun-wielding gangs in Rio.

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A gang member of the Red Command gives Adriano a good shave.

Forever remembered as a absolute fire cracker on Pro Evolution Soccer, Adriano was once regarded as one of the top strikers in world football but six years after his last appearance for Brazil against Ukraine in 2010, things are very, very different.

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Adriano making hand signals of Red Command while attending a party.

Adriano reportedly depends on a deadly gang known as the Red Command, who have been part of Rio’s long-running gang war, for protection in order to live in the slum, according to Brazilian lawyers. Also, many more incidents have sparked controversy in Adriano’s life. He was arrested on charges relating to drug trafficking and after a night out clubbing with friends, a woman was shot in his car. In November 2014, a judge in Rio de Janeiro cleared Adriano of charges related to drug trafficking citing a lack of evidence. There are rumors that he is searching for  a club, though some images show him training for American 4th division side Miami United.

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Adriano training at the facilities of FC Sao Paulo

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Adriano, when he was weight loss training

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Adriano, before his release by Corinthians.

How the media will rise in the face of the digital revolution — via TechCrunch

The media is passing through an awkward digital adolescence. With falling revenues and smaller newsrooms, the industry is being squeezed into an unfamiliar online space against its will. Publications with hundred-year pedigrees are having to rethink and relearn their trade from the ground up.

The media is passing through an awkward digital adolescence. With falling revenues and smaller newsrooms, the industry is being squeezed into an unfamiliar online space against its will. Publications with hundred-year pedigrees are having to rethink and relearn their trade from the ground up.

The industry has been in a downturn since 2007 and, while some publications have been plodding on, hemorrhaging cash and complaining, others — like The New York Times — have been actively experimenting with new business models in order to turn things around. The publication’s latest venture, producing a Spanish language version for Latin America, shows it has eyes on an expanding, global future.

We’re optimistic that the industry will prevail, despite the naysayers. So how will the media continue to adapt to the digital revolution and monetize its content for the age of online sharing? And how might platforms like Facebook, Google and Apple reinvent our concept of the exclusive?

The challenges and opportunities of the digital age

Before the great digital expansion, broadcasters and publishers had a fairly captive audience.

Viewers were limited to the few television channels they had available or the newspapers they bought. Higher ratings and wider circulations meant bigger ad revenues, and distribution advantages gave the broadcaster and publisher greater power to monetize. Today, those advantages have all but vanished; consumers have free and easy access to many channels and are always just one click away from new content.

Nowadays, audiences are less likely to head directly to destination news outlets. Instead, they are discovering this content on social media — 63 percent of Facebook and Twitter users say they access news on the social networks, according to the Pew Research Center. This is exposing social media users to a whole range of varied content. Not only are media outlets forced to write stories that stand out from the crowd, but they also must cater to an entirely new kind of consumer.

The audience is no longer trapped in a demographic or geographical bubble.

In response, publications and marketers are creating bite-sized, easily digestible and shareable content that comes in the form of listicles, FAQs, photo essays, video content and so on. We’re also seeing a rise in clickbait — sensationalist content that attempts to lure readers with over-the-top claims, compelling imagery and shock tactics, ultimately to sell advertising.

While the reader might enjoy the content, he or she doesn’t value that which lacks substance. Nevertheless, this type of content won’t disappear; it is perhaps not unlike poor-quality tabloids versus quality broadsheets in the old days. It falls into the category of the ephemeral and of mindless fun — something that has always been popular.

However, I am optimistic that these changes will bring about an evolution of the industry, rather than its demise. The fact is, there are advantages to the new, digital world.

For one, broadcasters and publishers now have a far cheaper distribution system. When I first began distributing television content and newspapers in 1985, distribution costs could reach a staggering 25 percent. Trying to reach an audience of over one billion — as several YouTube videos have now done – would have been unthinkable.

Of course, consumers can click away from your content, but they also come to your product in the same way. As The New York Times has realized with its new foreign language ventures, the audience is no longer trapped in a demographic or geographical bubble — it can be global. Viewers, readers and consumers can now access online content from anywhere, at any time. These advantages will start accumulating and will become more advantageous as time goes by.

How digital content will be monetized

Publishers are now making content for a new generation of younger consumers. Pew Research reports that newspaper digital readership increased more than twice as fast as the overall internet audience in the age groups of 18-24, 25-34 and 35-44.

Despite the prevalence of short-form content, millennial readers are in fact voracious readers. What’s more, deep, meaningful content of more than 3,000 works is more likely to be shared, and that longer-form article gives marketers more conversions. This is good news for journalists and publishers, as advertisers will once again value long-form content, and will likely pay more for content that drives more leads.

Branded and native ad content can be seamlessly interwoven with quality journalistic content — through words, sound and moving pictures — and delivered on a nonlinear mobile platform. There is no doubt that this form of advertising content will increase in both relevance and in volume, and will replace more traditional forms of advertising. In this regard, we can draw a parallel to the old days, when advertising column inches in newspapers became 30-second commercials — now a staple of the television experience.Furthermore, the marriage of print and mobile is happening. Thanks to the prevalence of social channels, media is becoming ever more personal, and will from now on be consumed on a handheld device. This new animal will be fed with a new advertising format; multi-media and targeted ads are already driving revenues for some publishers. This will only increase.

It’s time for publications to embrace the digital revolution, because it is only going to make them stronger.

Despite broad changes to advertising revenue sources, this does not mean an end for recognizable subscription models. What we will see instead is a qualitative split in the media.

On one hand we will have short-form content pulling in low-margin advertising revenue; on the other, we will have in-depth, insightful reporting that adds value to the readership and commands both subscription fees and far higher advertising revenue.

Subscription models are sustainable for powerful media brands like The New York Times or The Economist. An established, loyal readership is always willing to pay, as the rising number of digital subscribers attests. And where less-well-known outlets — like Pando, for example — provide in-depth, original reporting, consumers will part with their cash. Subscription models will also flourish when media outlets provide utility and advice — for entrepreneurs and investors, for example.

What does the future look like?

There is an even bigger change on the horizon. We must look to digital platforms like Facebook, Google and Amazon for the future of exclusive news content.

Facebook, the biggest of the bunch, has recently allowed users to monetize its news feed with video content — giving advertisers a large percentage of the profits. This paradigm change will shift even further as this monopoly is challenged by other large platforms joining the race.

When Google news, Apple and even Amazon follow suit, the power of the exclusive content provider will go up. Platforms will begin vying for exclusive, monetized content, increasing the value of the product and making publishers more powerful, in turn.

Despite fears that it’s all over for the media, I argue the opposite — we are simply in a difficult transition from which we will emerge stronger and better. Along with the intensely crowded clickbait and popular quickie-content market, we will continue to see serious, quality journalism. The amazing cost advantages brought by free (or nearly free) distribution channels, and a growing global audience, means publishers can continue to operate and good content will still rise to the top.

And when monetized social media content really takes off, we are likely to see a return to exclusive media and a huge boost in ad revenues, shepherded in by the biggest social and commercial online platforms out there. It’s time for publications to embrace the digital revolution, because it is only going to make them stronger.

Infiniti QX80 Limited Review – via Mind over Motor

I believe the term is “Land Yacht.” A massive, expensive way of getting from place to place for people who like to take up their slightly-more-than-fair share of space in the world. It also works great if you have a large family, although, most forms of birth control are a lot cheaper than this $90,000 behemoth.

Infiniti QX80 Limited Review 1

Either way, if this is the way you want to get around in the world, then the Infiniti QX80 Limited will do a lot to float your boat. Maybe a Cadillac Escalade is too “Tony Soprano” for you. Maybe you’d like a Mercedes GLS, but, unfortunately, your local dealer just sold their last one to another real estate agent who’s drowning themselves in payments trying to “project an image of success” to their clients. Have no fear, the QX80 is here to save the day, and you just might be glad you didn’t get the others.

Infiniti QX80 Limited Review 3

Why do I say this? Because the QX80 Limited does a lot of things right. Sure, it looks like a fancy whale on the outside, and that may take some getting used to, but it’s also REALLY nice. The interior on the Limited model is absolutely breathtaking, with its brown quilted leather and fine wood appointments. It’s very comfortable to be in, and there’s a lot of room to stretch out (one of the perks of being a land yacht).

On the road the QX80 drives like a smooth truck. It’s definitely massive, but it actually handles pretty tight for its size. It’s 5.6L V8 has some nice punch too, with 400hp on tap. It should have no trouble getting up to speed on the highway, or bulldozing Priuses out of the left lane.

The QX80, like all of these land barge SUVs, is meant to be an immaculate cruiser for you and a few friends. If you can stomach the fuel costs (which will be hefty), this mighty Infiniti is great for long trips.

Infiniti QX80 Limited Review 5

Dollars and Sense

This Infiniti QX80 Limited is the top-of-the-line model, and as I said earlier, runs about $90,000. The good news is it already has every feature that’s an option on lower QX80 models, so you don’t get nickel and dimed further. Just on principle, I have to respect Infiniti for that.

For me, the closest competitor for the QX80 Limited has to be the Lexus LX570, which is the legendary Toyota Land Cruiser in a fine suit. Infiniti definitely has a better reputation for reliability than Cadillac or Mercedes, but Lexus, they’re the last word in long term quality for the entire industry. That said, the Lexus does climb in price toward the $100,000 mark, but that’s still near-as-makes-no-difference for buyers in this range.

I guess it comes down to how you’ll be using your plush utility vehicle. The Lexus is an insanely competent luxury off-roader, capable of taming the Moab without asking you to break a sweat. The Infiniti, on the other hand, is based on a pickup truck chassis, and may be a better daily cruiser for those staying on tarmac.

Infiniti QX80 Limited Review 7

Verdict

I think the Infiniti QX80 Limited is a solid way to spend your money if you dream about a massive luxo-barge in your life. I can’t say it’s the absolute best option, but it’s certainly a good value, all things considered. The QX80 is a sumptuously plush vehicle that ticks all the boxes, and I’d totally understand why anyone would choose it.

To be honest, Infiniti has made one of the best cars this world has to offer. Modern, digital, plush, smooth, strong and savvy. I mean sure some would stick with a land cruiser but believe me I’d go with the Infiniti QX80 Limited.

Infiniti QX80 Limited Review 6

Automotive sector of Pakistan: Suzuki Kizashi’s failure exposes high taxes and loopholes.

This here is the Suzuki Kizashi, which left the American market in 2012 due to lack of substitute engines and unable to compete with others. Well, that was one.

But in Pakistan where motor vehicle duties are at a whopping 350 percent, and the lease is hardly recovered. Tell me one thing, how can a man with an average salary of 15K running a house on rent unable to fulfill utilities with a housewife and 3 kids buy this? when the elite class are running their unlawful money on imported Audi’s and BMW’s does this car have a chance among them? how can the common Pakistani man buy this car when it costs PKR 5 million? (For that, a 2 bedroom squat hut/apartment can come).

Answer is, no one in Pakistan can buy this car.

The Government of Pakistan did NOT decrease duties on automobiles, both local and imported. Motorcycles, buses, tractors and trucks have also faced the brunt of high taxes. Imports put a country in miserable deficits, the incumbent government of Mr. Nawaz Sharif has made it even worse, sadly :(.

“50 lakh ki Suzuki ki gaari? Bakwaas!” is the cry whenever someone hears the price of Suzuki Kizashi in Pakistan (PKR 5 million). Suzuki’s 800CC car Mehran, once touted as the relief for the common man now costs PKR 900,000 and the condition, worse than scrap metal! The sky high taxes and duties makes the materials for cars expensive (Body frames, headlights, taillights, tires, bumpers, seats, electricals etc.). I don’t know where to get reliable information because the ones that can easy buy automobiles here are either the filthy rich elite whose income is solely on black money because Honest hard working people can only buy decent hatchbacks and/or second hand models.

Secondly, Pak Suzuki Motor Company Ltd. was fined around 250 Million Yen in 2001 when its model Baleno had hazardous and at times deadly handling issues. Once the car goes above 80 Kms/Hr (Kilometers per hour) on either a road or highway, the braking system was so awful that even a light press causes the brake cables to burst, hence either overturning the sedan or causing it to go off track and possibly even crash. Also, following the ouster of Pervez Musharraf in 2008 several manufacturing flaws were detected in Suzuki Liana.

IMG-20130620-00072

Radiator pipe 1

Images above are not in order. the second image exposed a rusted pipe installed in Suzuki Liana while it was manufactured and the first image shows it getting fixed at a local mechanic’s shop. Also, there have been incidents where in Suzuki Mehran there have been manufacturing faults. THe intake pipe of CNG system was in the external socket while internal socket had the external pipe. Despite shifting the cars to Euro II engines ( a stupid compliance standard I must say), the sales have not been promising (except for the Suzuki Swift due to its attractive design and good systems), Mehran and Liana have become questionable cars and the quality of Suzuki Mehran has become worth less than scrap metal.

“I can’t get no Satisfaction”. Complaints of average Pakistani explained in Mick Jagger’s style

I can’t get no Satisfaction, I can’t get no Satisfaction,

Cuz I try, and I try, and I try, and I try,

I can’t get no!

I can’t get no!

capt.sri10209151139.india_kashmir_pope_protest_sri102
When I’m drivin’ in my car
And some dude pops outta nowhere, who farts really very bad
He’s stinking up the road and the whole sky,
And gets slapped by a police man!

I can’t get no,
Oh no no no
Hey Hey Hey, That’s what I say

17873-xy-1372141394-306-640x480

 

 

I can’t get no Satisfaction,

I can’t get no Satisfaction,

Cuz I try, and I try,

and I try, and I try,

I can’t get no, I can’t get no,

2ufcck7

The worst cricket player in Pakistan’s history.

When I’m watchin’ my TV, and some dude come on to tell me,

The change he’s gonna bring , but he can’t do it cuz he’s not a real man,

As compared to what my forefathers used to be,

I can’t get no!
Oh no no no,
Hey Hey Hey, That’s what I say!

I can’t get no satisfaction, I can’t get no girl reaction,

Cause I try and I try and I try and I try

I can’t get no,
I can’t get no,

Socio-Economic_Status_of_Pakistanis

A shabby economy

When I’m ridin’ my old car, and I gave this interview
and filled the form, Trying to land a job,

But the HR gal tells to come back later next week,
Because the economy is on a losing streak!

I can’t get no!, Oh no no no,

Hey hey hey, That’s what I say!

I can’t get no! I can’t get no!
I can’t get no! No Satisfaction:(
No satisfaction :(, no satisfaction :(, no satisfaction!

I can’t get no! I can’t get no!

stock-photo-the-pakistani-flag-painted-on-cracked-ground-with-vignette-with-dirty-oil-footprint-over-it-112767556

 

 

Verizon Q2 misses on declining sales of $30.5B, beats with EPS of $0.94 — via TechCrunch

Verizon just released its second quarter earnings report, with revenues of $30.5 billion and earnings per share of 94 cents. That’s a miss on revenue, but a slight win on earnings/profitability.

Verizon yesterday announced a landmark deal to purchase Yahoo’s core business for 4.83 Bullion Dollars, but judging from its just-released second quarter earnings report, the telecom giant continues to feel the pressure of declines in its legacy business.

The Q2 report shows total operating revenue of $30.5 billion and earnings per share of 94 cents. That’s a miss on revenue, but a slight win on earnings/profitability — Wall Street analysts had predicted that the company (which owns TechCrunch) would report revenue of $30.9 billion and EPS of 92 cents.

Revenue is down 5.3 percent from the same period last year, although the decline is only 3.5 percent if you exclude divested landline businesses and AOL (which was not part of Verizon a year ago).

The company says a seven-week work stoppage (namely, a strike) negatively impacted earnings by seven cents per share.

On the wireless side, Verizon says it saw 615,000 net additions, bringing the total number of connections to 113.2 million — up 3.3 percent year-over-year. Total revenue for the wireless business was $21.7 billion, a 4 percent decline.

The report also points to new businesses that are growing, such as Internet of Things revenue of $205 million — only a tiny fraction of the company’s total revenue, but up 25 percent increase from a year ago.

“Verizon’s second quarter shows that the company continues to deliver strong results while evolving operations and advancing a strategy to sustain network leadership, build new ecosystems and deliver the promise of the digital world to customers,” said Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam in the earnings release.

McAdam also commented on the Yahoo acquisition, which suggests that Verizon is doubling down on the digital media business, but isn’t expected to close until the first quarter of 2017.

“By acquiring Yahoo, we are scaling up to be a major competitor in mobile media,” he said. “Yahoo is a complementary business to AOL, giving us market-leading content brands and a valuable portfolio of online properties and mobile applications that attract over 1 billion monthly active consumer views.

 

via Verizon Q2 misses on declining sales of $30.5B, beats with EPS of $0.94 — TechCrunch