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Recognizing Santorini’s ravishing beauty is not really a difficult task, but it’s pretty hard to come up with something that would make this place even more amazing than it normally is. Perched atop the sun-kissed cliffs of Oia, Santorini, Kirini stands out …
The post Kirini Offers Beauty And A Taste Of Greek Hospitality appeared first on Luxatic.
Before country outlaw Merle Haggard died earlier this year, he made sure to take another Nashville misfit under his wing and sat down for a conversation with rising star Sturgill Simpson. Returning the favor, Sturgill has now taken on the task of ensuring Haggard's legacy isn't sullied by those who ... More »
As the news of his death spreads, everyone will think of his or her favorite insane-slow-burn Gene Wilder moment. The late Pauline Kael mentioned a quintessential one, the bit in Start the Revolution Without Me (1970) in which Wilder (as a haughty aristocrat) is informed that the noble bird on ... More »
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If you're already mourning the impending loss of Pretty Little Liars, which showrunner I. Marlene King announced today will be coming to a close at the end of the current seventh season, there's a silver lining: King revealed that her new Freeform show, Famous in Love, will begin right on the heels of ... More »
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If you've noticed that Donald Trump's speech sounds short and simple, you're not alone.
A new report from Quote.com has found that the Republican presidential nominee speaks at a seventh-grade level — lower than many of his political peers.
Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton, meanwhile, delivers speeches at an eighth-grade level, the authors found.
The report analyzed about 4,000 words per person of public speeches from prominent public figures over the past two years. The authors ran the speeches through six different text-analysis algorithms and averaged the results to calculate the final score for each person. When comparing Trump and Clinton, however, the authors added two algorithms.
Jonathan Bachman/Getty ImagesBut as the authors of the report note, eloquence is not necessarily an indicator of intelligence. Trump's score puts him in the same company as Oprah Winfrey, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, and Vice President Joe Biden.
Among this election's crop of presidential candidates, Bernie Sanders ranked highest of those analyzed, checking in at a ninth-grade level. Marco Rubio was close behind, averaging between eighth and ninth grade. President Barack Obama was found to speak at just under an eighth-grade level, averaging a 7.9.
Former President George W. Bush, for all his rhetorical shortcomings, scored a reading level grade of 8.7 — the second highest among politicians analyzed.
Here's the full breakdown:
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
Read the full Quote.com report here »
Investors and analysts throw around the term “Fed” without much reflection on what the Federal Reserve actually is and is not.
It’s important to understand the Fed’s structure as a prelude to understanding its policy process. Knowing how the central bank is organized and who’s in charge can position you to preserve wealth and even profit from the coming Fed-induced turmoil.
The Federal Reserve is not a single central bank, but a system of twelve regional reserve banks under the supervision of a board of governors in Washington DC. This central body is called The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. It has a chairperson, currently Janet Yellen, and a vice chairperson, currently Stanley Fischer.
In addition, there are five other governors for a total of seven people on the board. Right now, there are two vacancies (and no pending nominees to fill the vacancies), so the entire board consists of five individuals: Yellen, Fischer, Lael Brainard, Daniel Tarullo, and Jerome Powell.
The chair, vice chair, and governors are nominated by the president of the United States subject to Senate confirmation. Governors serve fourteen-year terms (although many resign from the board before those terms expire). The chair and vice chair have four-year terms, and concurrently serve fourteen-year terms as governors. It’s unusual for a chair to remain as a governor if not reappointed for a new term as chair, but it has happened.
While the board of governors oversees the “system,” they are not in charge of any particular bank. The banking is left to the twelve regional reserve banks located in major cities such as Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and San Francisco. The reserve banks are privately owned by the commercial banks in each district. For example, Citibank and JPMorgan are shareholders in the Federal Reserve Bank of New York because those banks have their headquarters in the Fed’s Second District, which includes New York.
Since the regional reserve banks are privately owned, they elect their own boards of directors based on voting by the private member banks. In turn, these boards hire the president of each bank. This has sometimes given rise to charges of conflict of interest because shareholders are, in effect, hiring their own regulator.
It’s Just Business As Usual At The Fed.
This conflict came to a head with the hiring of William Dudley as President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Dudley is a former partner with Goldman Sachs. The New York Fed has direct supervisory authority over Goldman. Stephen Friedman, another former Goldman partner, was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the New York Fed at the time Dudley was hired. The conflict is obvious, yet little was said or done about it.
The set-up of twelve regional reserve banks is a throwback to a time when business conditions varied widely in the United States, and news traveled slowly. In 1915, a few years after the Fed was created, it was entirely possible to have tight money in Kansas City if drought conditions prevailed and farmers were failing to meet mortgage commitments. At the same time, there could be easy money in Boston if exports of manufactured goods were producing gold inflows. The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco might bring news of immigration patterns that affected labor market conditions. Each regional reserve bank could set its own discount rate to reflect local conditions and implement monetary tightness or ease as needed.
Today, This History Seems Quaint.
News on business conditions travels instantaneously. Technically regional reserve banks can vary their discount rates, but this never happens in practice. Banks borrow in the Fed funds market, and if slight differences in rates emerge, they are arbitraged away immediately by computer driven trading.
There is one exception to this description of the regional reserve bank presidents. That exception is the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. While interest rate policy decisions are made in Washington, they are carried out by the open-market trading desk in New York. This gives the New York Fed unique power to affect money markets that the other regional reserve banks do not have.
That’s the basic arrangement. You have a Board of Governors in Washington who have power, but no bank. You have eleven regional reserve banks around the country who are privately owned, but have little power. Finally you have one regional reserve bank in New York that is controlled by the largest private banks, has considerable market power, but carries out the wishes of the Board.
If you think this sounds convoluted, you’re right. Rube Goldberg could not have done a better job of designing a system that makes no sense. Yet, much of this convoluted design is intentional, and is intended to obscure the real workings of monetary policy from everyday Americans.
When conspiracy theorists and bloggers get carried away, they point to the big bank cronyism that emerges from this system. Elites like that just fine because the conspiracy mongers are easy to dismiss.
Truth is always stranger than fiction.
The modern smartphone is a remarkable device. A single device that fits in your pocket can do all the tasks that once required cameras, camcorders, GPS devices, watches, alarm clocks, calculators, and even TVs.
But the next change might be the most radical of all—it could eliminate the need to carry cash and credit cards.
The growing importance of the smartphone as the go-to computing device for every digital activity is having a profound effect everywhere you look, but it’s only the biggest story among many exciting developments in the world of payments:
- Apple Pay was first out of the gate, but now mobile wallets are everywhere you look—Android Pay, Google Pay, Chase Pay and even Walmart Pay are making smartphones a real alternative to carrying credit cards. And the potential for mobile wallets to limit a merchant’s fraud liability could help them really take off in acceptance for small businesses.
- As consumers move more purchasing online, gateway vendors that can act as a front-end processor for online businesses are seeing explosive growth. PayPal-owned Braintree grew 111% YoY in the number of cards on file in Q4 2015, while Stripe and Klarna now have multi-billion dollar valuations.
- Mobile Point-Of-Sale (mPOS) startups like Square and ShopKeep have pioneered a whole new payments niche—accepting payments via tablets and smartphones. Coupling their transactions capabilities with new apps can revolutionize a small business’ inventory management, marketing, loyalty and even payroll.
- Mobile Peer-to-Peer payments in the U.S. are forecast to grow from $5.6 billion in 2014 to nearly $175 billion by 2019 as consumers increasingly skip the hassle of writing a check or going to an ATM. But smartphone vendors like Apple could cripple the dominant player of 2016 (Venmo) if they make a serious push to own the space.
If your job or your company is involved in payment processing in any way, you know how complex this industry is. And you know that you simply can’t understand where the next big digital opportunities are unless you know the key players and roles in each step of the payments “supply chain:”
- Card Networks
- Independent sales organizations and merchant service providers
- Hardware and software providers
Fortunately, managing analyst John Heggestuen and research analyst Evan Bakker of BI Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, have compiled a detailed report that breaks down everything you need to know—whether you’re a payments industry veteran or a newcomer who is still getting a basic knowledge of this complex world.
Among the big picture insights you’ll get from this new report, titled The Payments Ecosystem Report: Everything You Need to Know About The Next Era of Payment Processing:
- The 5 key events of 2015 that have set up 2016 as a watershed year for the entire payments ecosystem.
- The basics of traditional card processing from the start of the process through to the very end.
- Why new players and innovations like prepaid cards, store cards, and PIN debit transactions are gaining market share and creating new opportunities.
- The effects—good and bad—of the transition to new mobile payment methods. New players and old have surprising threats and opportunities in areas as varied as carrier billing, remittances, wearables, and more.
This exclusive report takes you inside these big issues to explore:
- The critical steps in credit card transactions and how they are changing.
- The six major types of organizations involved in the payments ecosystem.
- The significant differences for industry players who operate closed-loop networks and offer prepaid cards.
- The challenges and opportunities facing hardware and software providers for the payments sector.
- The 8 reasons why mobile wallets are growing so fast and how they will disrupt all aspects of the mobile ecosystem.
- The exciting possibilities ahead in fast-growing payments subsectors like remittances, connected devices and mobile P2P payments.
- And much more.
The Payments Ecosystem Report: Everything You Need to Know About The Next Era of Payment Processing is the only place you can get the full story on the rapidly-evolving world of payments.
To get your copy of this invaluable guide to the payments industry, choose one of these options:
The 2016 election season is in full swing, but groups like Emily's List are already trying out new campaign tactics they hope will come in handy in 2018 and 2020.
Last week, the group, which supports female pro-choice Democratic lawmakers, announced the first major push of a $20 million ad campaign aimed at engaging millennials, particularly younger female voters.
The group published sponsored posts on BuzzFeed, including a quiz as well as a series of GIF memes that mock Donald Trump's inflammatory past statements about women and families.
The group was pleased with the posts' performance — a source familiar with the ad metrics told Business Insider that each post had 11 views for each paid placement, and were viewed organically by 32,000 viewers through shares by different users.
Both are the first in a series of digital campaign moves the group with BuzzFeed and Elite Daily that the group plans to try out in the months leading up to the election. Emily's List is virtually alone in investing serious resources in sponsored digital content — they're the only major PAC working with on sponsored content with BuzzFeed and Elite Daily, two of the most popular online publishers among millennials.
The push comes as some Democratic supporters have worried about how to connect with less-engaged millennial voters who are not easily reached through traditional television advertising. For its part, the Clinton campaign was particularly dismayed by the relatively lukewarm support for the former secretary of state during the Democratic presidential primary.
Over the course of the 2016 election, Emily's List has coupled its more traditional advertising with notable online experiments targeting younger, more digitally savvy supporters.
Earlier this year, the group announced the formation of a "creative council" of high-profile entertainment industry figures like Lena Dunham and Hollywood mega-producer Shonda Rhimes to advise on projects and ads that could appeal to younger voters.
Emily's List rolled out a batch of fake "texts from Trump" to troll down-ballot Republican candidates like Sens. John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, and Mark Kirk. Throughout campaign, staffers at the organization have also made experimented with tactics on social-media sites like Snapchat and have granted exclusives to millennial-friendly sites like Refinery29 and Elle.
The group recognizes that in order to maintain its status as a heavyweight amount Democratic voters and supporters in future elections, it needs to engage online.
Denise Feriozzi, deputy executive director for Emily's List, said that millennial women are a "hugely powerful group of voters," and that the ad campaigns are specifically targeted toward building long term support through brands and outlets they identify with.
"These women don’t just have the power to decide this election— they can decide elections for cycles to come. By meeting them where they are, with messengers that they trust, and in a voice that resonates, it’s our goal to make sure they know that politics and elections can impact their lives," Feriozzi told Business Insider in a statement.
She continued: "The work we’re doing now will allow us to continue to reach these voters in future election cycles and hopefully encourage more young women to get involved."
At a private event in New York earlier this year, then-Vice President of Communications for Emily's List Jess McIntosh discussed the group's desire to reach new millennial voters and members who consume news and form their political views outside of traditional media.
Observers note that while Emily's List may be one of the first longtime groups to seriously invest in digital media experiments, it'll take time to adapt.
Rep. Katherine Clark won her congressional seat with the help of Emily's List in 2012. While she praised the organization's commitment and weight, she noted that it was experiencing "growing pains" as it attempts to keep up with the rapidly changing campaign landscape, where one successful viral video can eclipse a deluge of paid advertisements.
"I think that Emily's List is really trying to remain on top of those changes and help candidates navigate their social media and how sort of candidates are perceived, what it means to have media buys in 2016 even compared to when I first ran back in 2008," Clark told Business Insider in an interview earlier this year. "It's a very different world. And I think that's going to be a challenge for Emily's List."
The TIOBE Index, a highly-regarded resource for ranking the popularity of programming languages, is a great place to figure out the skills you should learn if you want a career in technology.
By the same token, the TIOBE Index is also a great way to keep your fingers on the pulse of the programming world, as upstarts like Google's Go and Apple's Swift languages make steady gains, pushing old-timer heavyweights like COBOL and Fortran even further down the list.
Now, judging from the August update to the TIOBE Index, it looks like C — the legendary programming language invented in 1972 and still widely used — is showing signs of being left behind as the bulk of new software development gets done on the web and on the smartphone.
"The C programming language has a score of 11.303%, which is its lowest score ever since we started the TIOBE index back in 2001," writes Paul Jansen, who manages the TIOBE Index, in a preface to the August listings.
Overall, C is still doing pretty well. By TIOBE's reckoning, it's still the second most popular programming language in the world, behind only Java, which is widely used in both Android apps and in business software development.
But, by TIOBE's reckoning, this could be a sign of things to come, with C a " bit stuck" amid larger changes to the technology landscape.
Over the years, Java has evolved — originally intended as an operating system for smart televisions, it eventually became massively popular for its rock-solid stability, making it a go-to programming language even during the emergence of the smartphone era.
Meanwhile, C has stayed largely the same, not least because the community of volunteer developers who shepherd the language have focused squarely on performance, rather than adding new features. And so, while C is still being actively developed, it's possible that programmers are finding it less and less suitable for their day-to-day projects as time goes on and computing keeps changing.
And C++, an offshoot of C championed by the likes of Microsoft and Intel, already represents the changes that C would have to make to stay relevant. As the TIOBE Index notes, if C put in those C++ features, it would basically just be...C++, which is to say, redundant.
Finally, the TIOBE Index notes that unlike most other major programming languages, C doesn't currently have a major corporate sponsor. Oracle makes a lot of money from Java; Apple pushes both Swift and Objective-C for building iPhone apps. But no big tech company is getting on stage and pushing C as the future of development. So C's problems could be marketing as much as anything.
This is all extrapolated from one month of data, and it's possible that next month, C will have a massive comeback to top the charts. Regardless, this raises fascinating questions about the future of one of the oldest programming languages that's still widely used.
Acclaimed actor Gene Wilder charmed us in movies like Blazing Saddles, Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, and Young Frankenstein. Wilder had an extensive film career that included several collaborations with Mel Brooks. He was also an accomplished stage actor, voiceover artist, writer, and director.
The comic actor, who was twice Oscar nominated, for his role in “The Producers” and for co-penning “Young Frankenstein” with Mel Brooks, usually portrayed a neurotic who veered between total hysteria and dewy-eyed tenderness. “My quiet exterior used to be a mask for hysteria,” he told Time magazine in 1970. “After seven years of analysis, it just became a habit.”
Habit or not, he got a great deal of mileage out of his persona in the 1970s for directors like Mel Brooks and Woody Allen, leading to a few less successful stints behind the camera, the best of which was “The Woman in Red,” co-starring then-wife Gilda Radner. Wilder was devastated by Radner’s death from ovarian cancer in 1989 and worked only intermittently after that. He tried his hand briefly at a sitcom in 1994, “Something Wilder,” and won an Emmy in 2003 for a guest role on “Will & Grace.”
Wilder also did a lot of charity work to raise funds for cancer research after Radner’s death in 1989. He worked only intermittently after that, and hardly at all after Will and Grace in 2003. Wilder was a victim of Alzheimer’s disease, which he and his family decided not to disclose to the public because so many children saw him as Willie Wonka, and he didn’t want knowledge of his condition to infringe on the joy of such an encounter. He passed away today at his home from complications the disease. Gene Wilder was 83.
Win McNamee/Getty Images
The government is offering some ideas to try and fix the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, amid a series of missteps that have befallen President Barack Obama's signature legislative achievement.
After being dogged by negative news for the last few weeks — from major insurers pulling out of state exchanges to regulators saying the exchanges are "near collapse" — the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a series of changes Monday to try and correct some of the exchange issues.
CMS, which is the division of the Department of Health and Human Services that oversees the exchanges, proposed tweaks that would make it less risky for insurers in the marketplace to take on sick patients and a number of outreach attempts.
Two of the biggest problems for the exchanges have been the lack of young people signing up for insurance, which helps offset higher costs patients, and generally sicker-than-expected people getting coverage through the exchanges, leading to huge losses for insurers.
Kevin Counihan, the insurance marketplace CEO at the center, said these changes would fix a number of issues with the exchanges.
"These proposed actions and others we have taken over the last six months would help to: support issuers with high-cost enrollees, while updating risk adjustment; strengthen the risk pool; promote additional enrollment; and support issuers in entering the Marketplace or growing their Marketplace business," Counihan wrote in a post summarizing the proposals.
A few of the 14 total proposals include:
- Using some of the fees from the Federally-funded marketplace for outreach to get more young people to sign up.
- Strengthening rules for signing up for insurance outside of the open enrollment period to ensure people are not waiting until they are sick to get coverage.
- Take prescription drug use into account when evaluating the risk profile of potential patients. Previously, this had not been taken into account and insurers argues it prevented them from getting a full picture of possible patients' health status.
- Requiring insurance companies that offer a bronze plan in an exchange (the lowest level of coverage) to also offer a silver and gold-level plan.
All of these changes serve as attempts to make it more economically sound for insurance companies to be in the market, to get more people into the exchanges (roughly 10% of Americans are still uncovered), and to eliminate loopholes that allow people to game the exchanges.
The exchanges are just part of the ACA, and represent only 6% of health-insurance coverage nationwide. But, as one of the signature parts of the law, their survival is a huge deal to the long-term future of the ACA.
Comments on the proposals close on October 6.
Apple is preparing new Mac laptops and desktops for launch as soon as October, Bloomberg's Mark Gurman reports.
Apple has prepared a new version of its entry-level MacBook Air and an updated iMac desktop for launch this year. The MacBook Air refresh will include a USB-C port, which hasn't been included on previous MacBook Air models.
The USB-C port is a reversible, next-generation plug that can be used for power as well as data transfer. Apple's current MacBook sports a single USB port. The last time the MacBook Air received a full update was in March, 2015.
Apple also plans to launch a new iMac in October, Gurman reports. Apple's newest desktop will include options for improved graphics cards from AMD.
Apple has been widely rumored to release new MacBook Pros this fall as well, equipped with a touchscreen area at the top of the keyboard that's separate from trackpad. That new feature is called the "Dynamic Function Row" internally, according to the report.
The feature would allow specific buttons to be shown for specific apps. For example, "the iMovie video editor would offer controls for cutting clips and a more-precise volume slider," according to the report.
Apple is also working on a new high-definition "5K" monitor that will replace the 27-inch Thunderbolt display discontinued earlier this year.
But some of Apple's future iPad plans indicate that it thinks that its iOS devices can become the first choice for a productivity-focused computer.
A new PC replacement
The report also indicates that Apple is planning a major free upgrade to its iPad software, possibly by next year.
New iPad software upgrades may include expanded support for Apple's stylus, as well as hardware performance improvements. Next year's iPad might have a 10.5-inch screen, up from a 9.7-inch screen, for example.
Apple will launch a new version of its iPhone and iPad software this fall called iOS 10. The company is also planning to reveal a new version of the iPhone at an event in San Francisco next week, although it is unlikely to show off its new Macs at the event.
Bengala Automotive, a European design studio based in Madrid and Geneva, has teamed up with the US-based aftermarket specialists from Vitesse Audessus to design and develop a bespoke carbon fiber program for all current Rolls-Royce models. Offering bespoke carbon fiber options for the …
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