Tornadoes, Fires, Floods: Are You Ready for a Disaster?

first_imgExperts say advance preparation can help people better respond to and recover from the impacts of a disaster or other emergency. Preparedness Month is a good time to make or update those plans. (Image: Jane M. Sawyer/morguefile.)INDIANAPOLIS – Tornadoes, fires, floods and other disasters can strike at almost any time, and during Preparedness Month, state leaders are reminding residents about the importance of being ready for an emergency.Households should gather supplies they would need in the event they find themselves without power, heat or clean running water, said John Erickson, senior public information officer for the Indiana Department of Homeland Security. It’s also wise, he said, to have a family plan of action that includes how to contact one another.“Whether that’s text-messaging, whether you are going to designate an out-of-state contact – because sometimes, long distance calls are easier to make, because local lines can be congested with 911 calls and other urgent phone calls,” he said.Important items for an emergency kit, Erickson said, include one gallon of drinking water per person per day, nonperishable foods that can last up to three days, flashlights, blankets and first-aid supplies.Erickson sais schools, businesses and community organizations also are encouraged to have contingency plans, so everyone is aware of what to do and where to go in order to stay safe.“They’re very important to help with situations where bad things happen,” he said, “and they’re going to help you react to those situations in the best way possible.”When talking to children about disasters, Erickson said focusing on safety can help them to feel better about the situation.“If they know how to get out of the house if there’s a fire, if they know where you’re going to meet, those things help them feel like they are helping the household, they are helping themselves,” he said. “They know what to do in those situations, and it gives them more confidence.”Preparing ahead of time, Erickson said, can help people better respond to, recover from and lessen the physical, emotional and financial impacts of a disaster or other emergency.Mary Kuhlmanlast_img read more

BRICS leaders’ informal meeting on the margins of the G20

first_imgThe BRICS leaders’ summit in Hangzhou, China on Sunday 4 September 2016. From left, Brazilian President Michel Temer, Indian President Narender Modi, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and South African President Jacob Zuma. (Image: The Presidency)Global political, security, economic and governance issues was the focus of discussions between leaders of the BRICS grouping of major emerging markets – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – held on the margins of the Group of 20 Summit in Chinese city of Hangzhou on 4 September 2016.To further strengthen the partnership, the BRICS leaders reaffirmed that cooperation would be based on principles of openness, solidarity, equality, mutual understanding, inclusiveness and mutually beneficial cooperation between them.Access to international law courts would improve the state of developing economies and the citizenry. Corruption, illicit cross-border financial-flows, and ill-gotten wealth derived from illegal activities are challenges that can best be tackled through enhanced cooperation between G20 countries.Wealth looted from developing economies, often invested through financial institutions in developed economies, robs developing economies of funding institutional and infrastructure development.Macroeconomic policy coordination between G20 member countries would ensure the benefits of any economic recovery would be sustainable and more equitably shared. Focused national growth strategies would only achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth if G20 members worked together.The G20 Blueprint on Innovative Growth could be a driver for mid and long term growth and sustainable development. Its recognition of the importance of innovation in growth was welcomed.New trade protectionist policies being implemented across the globe was a concern to the BRICS leadership. Strengthening the role and negotiation functions of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) would allow the regulatory body to facilitate market inter-linkages and an inclusive, rules-based and open world economy.BRICS leaders stressed the importance of the WTO adherence to a rule-based, open, transparent, non-discriminatory and inclusive global trading system. However they believe the WTO needs to put development at the centre of its policies.Implementation of the outcomes reached by trade ministries in Bali and Nairobi would go a long way to creating a more equitable global economy. The BRICS governments have called for early ratification and enforcement of the Trade Facilitation Agreement.International Monetary Fund (IMF) allocation quotas did not reflect present-day global economic realities. BRICS leaders are calling on the IMF to review the way resources are distributed, and increase their funding reserves. Direction from G20 members could ensure a fairer reflection of emerging and developing economies.Completion of the 15th General Review of Quotas – including a new quota formula – by the 2017 annual meeting would create a more effective and efficient global economic architecture, this would create the environment for resilient growth.BRICS leaders also congratulated India for the speed of its implementation and the expansion of the BRICS cooperation agenda. As chair of the grouping, India will host the upcoming 8th BRICS summit in Goa between 15-16 October.Progress in the implementation of the Strategy for BRICS Economic Partnership underscored the importance of the 2020 BRICS Roadmap on Trade, Economic and Investment Cooperation. This has strengthened trade, business and tourism ties between BRICS nations.India has been at the forefront of strengthening of these ties through the ongoing series of people-to-people exchanges across the provinces and cities of India.The New Development Bank’s approval of its first set of loans also drew praise from the assembled leaders. The first loans as well as the successful issuance of the Bank’s first funded programmes in the renewable and green energy sectors. Leaders applauded the Bank’s potential as a source for bridging finance for infrastructure projects.Universal access to energy and energy security are critical to shared prosperity and the future of the planet. They acknowledged the importance of affordable, clean and renewable energy to sustainable development.The success of the G20 Hangzhou Summit earned the Chinese government plaudits from the BRICS leadership. They applauded the emphasis placed on a development agenda and encouraged all G20 members to strengthen macroeconomic cooperation, promote innovation, robust and sustainable trade and investment growth.BRICS governments reaffirmed their commitment to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Addis Ababa Action Agenda on Financing for Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. BRICS leaders expect that the agenda in China would encourage a new vison of inclusive growth from G20 governments. In this regard, they welcomed the G20 Action Plan on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the G20 Initiative on Supporting Industrialisation in Africa and Least Developed Countries.Cooperation and ongoing dialogue with other emerging market economies would be strengthened. Fostering innovation between interconnected, inclusive and invigorated usher in a new era of global growth and sustainable development.International cooperation would blunt the threat of international terrorism and the risk of destabilization these heinous acts represent. BRICS leaders united to condemn terrorist violence that continue to disrupt global peace and security and undermine social and economic confidence.In expressing sympathy and support to innocent victims, they reiterated their commitment to fight terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. There can be no justification for terror or violence whether based on ideology, religion, politics, race or ethnic identity. They emphasised that a united effort guided by international law, with the United Nations playing a central role, was needed to combat terrorism.last_img read more

4 Ways Klout Can Evolve

first_imgTags:#Social Web#twitter#web Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification In the year and a half since Klout launched at SxSW 2009, the company has grown to become the leading social network influencer measurement within the online communications space. With success has come criticism within the public relations and advertising sector. This criticism of the algorithm-driven influence measurement ranges from its Twitter-heavy measurement of people’s participation to the ethics of its Perks program.Klout CEO and co-founder Joe Fernandez conducted an open interview on Tuesday that included a dozen communications bloggers and influencers to discuss these criticisms. The call revealed a corporate culture that actively weighs and debates the merits and ethics of influence. Here are four ways Klout is looking at its challenges and how it may evolve:Counterbalancing the Weight of Individual Data PointsWhen Klout launched it used Twitter data only, creating a metric that was over-reliant on one network. In recent months the service has added LinkedIn and Facebook analysis to its analysis of an individual’s influence capability. Guest author Geoff Livingston is the co-founder of Zoetica, a social enterprise that provides superior communication consulting, training, and strategy to help mindful organizations affect social change. He has worked as a public relations strategist in the Washington, D.C. region for more than 16 years, and is the author of “Now is Gone“. He can be found at geofflivingston.com and @geoffliving.Fernandez outlined the future algorithm roadmap, which includes adding the ability to weigh up to 20 social networks and commenting services to one’s Klout score. In addition to diffusing the weight of an individual data point with multiple networks, Klout may directly integrate individual content creators and systems. According to Fernandez, it is rare for a person to achieve a Klout score higher than 60 without creating some sort of content outside of just Twitter or Facebook.“We do plan on tying in with the content systems,” said Fernandez. “We want to move beyond just ReadWriteWeb or TechCrunch, and focus on individual writers. Conglomerate blogs are pools of voices, they are media properties. How do we break the author’s influence away from masthead?”By weighing a diverse set of data points, Klout is likely to bulwark itself against criticism about the algorithm’s validity. Past measures like Technorati and Twitter-specific solutions have suffered because of their inability to weigh multiple sets of data. Other measures – particularly those of blogs – that use multiple weights, such as PostRank and indexes like the AdAge 150, have survived criticism because they weigh diverse data points to counterbalance inconsistencies. Build Volatility Into the MetricAnother strong criticism of Klout remains the appearance of influential relationships in one’s profile that may or may not be relevant anymore. Klout currently values long-term relationships over zeitgeist events, such as someone who garners sudden influence due to a particular issue or event. In the past, networks like Technorati and Digg have tinkered with their algorithm to de-weight long-term relationships and influence, which in turn have met significant criticism and even lower usage.Klout wants to infuse more volatility into the algorithm to account for changes. The start-up is actively looking at how social data is created with more ease each day, and how data analysis can scale with it. Part of the timeliness challenge facing Klout is keeping the system fun and interactive for people to want to increase their Klout score while preventing gaming of the algorithm, which both Digg and Google search have had to combat. “It’s important to build the algorithm so that it can’t be gamed,” said Fernandez. “It has to be volatile enough that it can’t be moved. You want the score to be responsive to real life, but you want to avoid intentional gaming like retweet networks. We have scientists that spend the whole day thinking about all of the loopholes. We are going to have to live with (a constant battle against) the overall gaming.”“Influence is such a soft word,” he continued. “The idea of influence is everyone’s individual lens, and we are trying to standardize it. […] We see the idea of influence as the ability to drive action, and action can include retweets, mentions, and the ability to get people to do things like participate on calls and events.”The encouraging aspect of the algorithm volatility issue is Klout’s adherence to the past. It does not want to repeat the mistakes of past algorithms, and actively looks at what has worked, too. Only time will tell if the company is successful, but it’s not operating in a vacuum.The Warren Buffet ProblemIf one were to type Warren Buffet’s profile into Klout, there would be no measure for him. Inside Klout, executives and staff actively debate the Warren Buffet problem. How do you account for someone who has real-world fame but no online influence? This inability to qualify influence is endemic in any quantitative metic with limited data sets. Not every non-present celebrity has the presence of mind to create an account for references, like Seth Godin did. Further, there are individuals who may be influential in a specific sector, but not present in social networks.But are these people truly influential online? Is the Washington Post influential on Twitter even though it gets retweeted all the time?“Participation is an element,” said Fernandez. “And you look at the accounts retweeting the Washington Post and Mashable and there are a lot of bots and not so many influential people retweeting it, but the scale and speed that it occurs, you can’t deny there’s some influence. “Influence is such a soft word,” he continued. “The idea of influence is everyone’s individual lens, and we are trying to standardize it. We struggle with this, and everyone’s conversation demonstrates it is a lightening rod. We see the idea of influence as the ability to drive action, and action can include retweets, mentions, and the ability to get people to do things like participate on calls and events.”One of the ways Klout counters the qualitative issue is via subject matter-specific analysis of influence. Further, the company has a taxonomy of influence, thought leader, curators, etc. which allows it to parse what kind of a role they play in social networks. Most of these deeper qualifications and analysis are available online already.The Ethics of Klout PerksKlout Perks such as the Virgin America program are not only a way for companies to leverage the database and actively engage influencers, but also a method for Klout to test the validity of the algorithm. The company has built an ethics program around Perks based on several conversations with organizations like the Interactive Advertising Bureau and examining the FCC’s disclosure policies. However, the taking of Perks has raised cries of foul play, some a matter of jealousy and other with a little more substance. In particular the issue centers around social media consultants who are responsible for recommending (or not) Klout to clients, but then participate in the Perks program.“We’re not sending Scoble or big bloggers perks,” said Fernandez. “The way we’ve structured them is to make sure that people don’t pollute their Twitter stream. That’s the last thing we would want. But we’re in a space where everyone is a mid-tier influencer who is probably counseling someone. The percentage of end-users who are participants in Perks, and then use our disclosure recommendations is not as high as we’d like it to be.”Like other matters, ethics remains a matter of debate and evolution at Klout. It’s clear that the organization wants to influence more ethical disclosure of its Perks program and is also examining its program on a consistent basis. The company says it values its place in the industry as an influence standard above the Perks program. Related Posts Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro…center_img The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit guest author 1last_img read more

AUSSIE DAY AT EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIPS

first_imgIt was Australia Day in Jersey today with the Australian Masters teams winning all three ‘Rest of the World’ finals that they participated in at the 2004 European Championships. The Australian Women’s Masters won the Womens Open division defeating Colonials 3-2. The match was close and exciting, being won in a tense drop off. The Men’s 35 years division ‘Rest of the World’ Championship final was between the two Australian Senior teams with the Masters team defeating the Veterans 4-0. Please click on the link below for detailed resultsSenior Tour Daily DiaryAll photos attached to articles can be viewed by clicking on the following link Senior Tour Photo Gallery Once in the gallery use the scroll down box to visit to the Senior Tour Gallery. The Mens Open ‘Rest of the World’ Final was won by Australia 6-2. The Australian’s gradually improved throughout the tour, saving their best performance for the final. The Men played as a team, refusing to allow the New Zealand University team into the game at any stage. The Australian representatives have produced the goods at the right time once again, both on and off the field. They have been great ambassadors for Australia by educating and assisting all Touch teams participating in the European Championships. Congratulations to all tour members, you have done Australian Touch proud!last_img read more

a month agoDerby fire five past Man Utd U18

first_imgAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Derby fire five past Man Utd U18by Paul Vegasa month agoSend to a friendShare the loveManchester United U18s were thrashed 5-1 by Derby County yesterday.Hit by a three-goal, seven-minute Rams salvo in the first half, it was a blow which the Reds couldn’t recover from, despite Mark Helm’s strike providing a glimmer of hope before the interval. Two further Derby goals after the break put the game well out of United’s reach.The trio of Bjorn Hardley, Calen Gallagher-Allison and Hannibal Mejbri – all 16-year-olds – were called up to make their full Under-18 debuts in place of Connor Stanley, the suspended Reece Devine and Will Fish, who had made an impressive bow for the Under-23s against Fulham the previous evening at Leigh. last_img read more

There are no words to explain it

first_imgAPTN National NewsThe stats are stunning.The UN says one million people will die from suicide this year.In Canada, a 2007 study showed First Nation people kill themselves at twice the rate of the rest of Canada.APTN National News reporter Rob Smith has a story about a family and how suicide changed their life.last_img

You Cant Opt Out Of Sharing Your Data Even If You Didnt

The Golden State Killer, who terrorized Californians from Sacramento to Orange County over the course of a decade, committed his last known murder in 1986, the same year that DNA profiling was used in a criminal investigation for the first time. In that early case, officers convinced thousands of men to voluntarily turn over blood samples, building a genetic dragnet to search for a killer in their midst. The murderer was eventually identified by his attempts to avoid giving up his DNA. In contrast, suspected Golden State Killer Joseph James DeAngelo, who was apprehended just last week, was found through other people’s DNA — samples taken from the crime scenes were matched to the profiles his distant relatives had uploaded to a publicly accessible genealogy website.You can see the rise of a modern privacy conundrum in the 32 years between the first DNA case and DeAngelo’s arrest. Digital privacy experts say that the way DeAngelo was found has implications reaching far beyond genetics, and the risks of exposure apply to everyone — not just alleged serial killers. We’re used to thinking about privacy breaches as what happens when we give data about ourselves to a third party, and that data is then stolen from or abused by that third party. It’s bad, sure. But we could have prevented it if we’d only made better choices.Increasingly, though, individuals need to worry about another kind of privacy violation. I think of it as a modern tweak on the tragedy of the commons — call it “privacy of the commons.” It’s what happens when one person’s voluntary disclosure of personal information exposes the personal information of others who had no say in the matter. Your choices didn’t cause the breach. Your choices can’t prevent it, either. Welcome to a world where you can’t opt out of sharing, even if you didn’t opt in.Yonatan Zunger, a former Google privacy engineer, noted we’ve known for a long time that one person’s personal information is never just their own to share. It’s the idea behind the old proverb, “Three may keep a secret if two of them are dead.” And as far back as the 1960s, said Jennifer Lynch, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, phone companies could help law enforcement collect a list of all the numbers one phone line called and how long the calls lasted. The phone records may help convict a guilty party, but they also likely call police attention to the phone numbers, identities and habits of people who may not have anything to do with the crime being investigated.But the digital economy has changed things, making the privacy of the commons easier to exploit and creating stronger incentives to do so.“One of the fascinating things we’ve now walked ourselves into is that companies are valued by the market on the basis of how much user data they have,” said Daniel Kahn Gillmor, senior staff technologist with the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy and Technology Project. A company can run along, not making a cent, but if it has a large user base and reams of private information about those users, then it’s valuable — and can be sold for millions. Companies that collect more data, keep that data, and use it to make connections between users are worth more. Sears, Roebuck and Co. may have been able to infer when you bought a gift from their catalog for a friend who lived in another town, but Amazon has more reason (and more ability) to use that information to build a profile of your friend’s interests.We all saw this in action in the recent Cambridge Analytica scandal. The privacy of the commons is how the 270,000 Facebook users who actually downloaded the “thisisyourdigitallife” app turned into as many as 87 million users whose data ended up in the hands of a political marketing firm. Much of the narrative surrounding that scandal has focused on what individuals should be doing to protect themselves. But that idea that privacy is all about your individual decisions is part of the problem, said Julie Cohen, a technology and law professor at Georgetown University. “There’s a lot of burden being put on individuals to have an understanding and mastery of something that’s so complex that it would be impossible for them to do what they need to do,” she said.Even if you do your searches from a specialized browser, tape over all your webcams and monitor your privacy settings without fail, your personal data has probably still been collected, stored and used in ways you didn’t intend — and don’t even know about.Companies can even build a profile of a person from birth based entirely on data-sharing choices made by others, said Salome Viljoen, a lawyer and fellow with the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard. Imagine new parents signing up for a loyalty card at their local pharmacy and then filling all of their child’s prescriptions there. The information collected every time they scan that loyalty card adds up to something like a medical history, which could later be sold to data brokers or combined with data bought from brokers to paint a fuller picture of a person who never consented to any of this.So does that mean that, in addition to locking down our own privacy choices, we need to police the choices of our friends and family? No, said Cohen, Gillmor and Viljoen. In fact, the privacy of the commons means that, in some cases, your data is collected in ways you cannot reasonably prevent, no matter how carefully you or anyone you know behaves.Take, for instance, Equifax, the credit-rating company that lost control of the data of 143 million people last year. Those people weren’t necessarily members of Equifax. Instead, the company collected data from other companies the people chose to do business with, and much of that business was stuff people can’t get by without, like renting or owning a home. Or, alternately, consider Facebook, again. That company has admitted it tracks the online behavior of people who never intentionally engage with it at all, thanks to partnerships with other websites. (Like many sites, FiveThirtyEight has this kind of partnership with Facebook. Our pages talk to the social network in several ways, including through ads and comments, and because of the embedded “Like” button.) If hounding every person you’ve ever cared about into adopting encryption tools like PGP sounded like fun, you’ll love living in a van down by the river with no internet access.1And I hope you’re prepared to buy the van with cash, because if you need credit, the credit check the dealer runs could hand your information to Equifax again.Instead, experts say these examples show that we need to think about online privacy less as a personal issue and more as a systemic one. Our digital commons is set up to encourage companies and governments to violate your privacy. If you live in a swamp and an alligator attacks you, do you blame yourself for being a slow swimmer? Or do you blame the swamp for forcing you to hang out with alligators?There isn’t yet a clear answer for what the U.S. should do. Almost all of our privacy law and policy is framed around the idea of privacy as a personal choice, Cohen said. The result: very little regulation addressing what data can be collected, how it should be protected, or what can be done with it. In some ways, Gillmor said, online privacy is where the environmental movement was back in the 1950s, when lots of big, centralized choices were hurting individuals’ health, and individuals had little power to change that. “I don’t even know if we have had our ‘Silent Spring’ yet,” he said. “Maybe Cambridge Analytica will be our ‘Silent Spring.’” read more

Troy Smith earns starting nod for 49ers

Former Ohio State Heisman trophy-winning quarterback Troy Smith will get the third start of his career — and his first since the 2007 season — when his San Francisco 49ers take on the Denver Broncos on Sunday in London. Cut by the Baltimore Ravens after the last day of training camp on Aug. 20, Smith was claimed off the waivers by San Francisco. He spent the team’s first seven games as the third-string quarterback. “The way that you prepare as a professional athlete, you have to be prepared when your number is called,” Smith told local media in San Francisco after practice Wednesday. “And that’s exactly where I’m at.” Smith faces the difficult task of turning around San Francisco’s 1-6 start. Starting quarterback Alex Smith separated his non-throwing shoulder when he was sacked in the third quarter of last Sunday’s 23-20 loss at Carolina. Backup David Carr took his place and threw a costly interception. “I think Troy Smith gives us a good opportunity to win this game,” coach Mike Singletary told media in a press conference Wednesday. “He’s been studying since we got here and he’s been getting with the coaches as much as he possibly could. He has enough of the offense to play.” Joining the 49ers this offseason, Smith reunited with former OSU and high school teammate Ted Ginn, who was acquired by the 49ers in an offseason trade with the Miami Dolphins. Ginn was one of Smith’s favorite targets in his 2006 Heisman campaign and was on the receiving end of nine of Smith’s 30 touchdown passes. “We just did so much together for so many years and had great success,” Ginn said. “He’s always been big brother and I’ve been little brother. It’s not really going to ever change, no matter how old we get.” Smith said he is prepared to play and knows that things can’t get worse for the struggling 49ers. “I think the easiest way to get through to your teammates is to show that you know exactly what your job is, what everyone expects of you and to go out there and execute,” Smith said. “We have a tremendous group of guys around us and we can do nothing but get better.” Smith has made two starts in his four-year NFL career. He took over for an injured Kyle Boller and went 1-1 in the last two games of the 2007 season. In those contests, he completed 32 of 60 passes, throwing for two touchdowns and no interceptions. Singletary hopes Smith can bring some stability to a 49ers team that has been viewed as a disappointment in the shaky NFC West. “The No. 1 thing I like about him … is leadership,” Singletary said. “That is his ability to get everybody on the same page.” Although Ginn is excited to join his Buckeye counterpart in the huddle, he said that it will take time for Smith to shake off the rust. “It’ll take some time,” Ginn told Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area. “We can’t expect him to go in and be a Tom Brady. We just want him to go in and be Troy Smith, enjoy his time and make a difference.” read more