Are We Martians After All?

first_imgIf you looked in a mirror this morning, you may have seen a descendant of creatures from Mars. That is, if biochemist Steven Benner of the Westheimer Institute of Science and Technology in Gainesville, Florida, is right. “Life started on Mars and came to Earth on a rock,” Benner declares. Today, at the European Association of Geochemistry’s Goldschmidt Conference in Florence, Italy, Benner made what many in the origin-of-life debate call an interesting, but not convincing, new case for our martian heritage.However and wherever life began, one thing is sure: Its first organic building blocks, called hydrocarbons, had a number of hurdles to clear before evolving into living cells. Fed with heat or light and left to themselves, hydrocarbons tend to turn into useless tarlike substances. And even when complex molecules like RNA (most biologists’ best guess for the first genetic molecule) arise, water quickly breaks them down again.Benner argues that those chemical hurdles would have been lower on early Mars than on young Earth. To begin with, early Earth was probably a water world, completely covered by oceans, but water covered only parts of Mars’s surface. Moreover, he notes, rocks on Mars had a stronger oxidizing effect than rocks on Earth, so oxygen-bearing molecules would have formed more easily there. “This is established by observations today on both planets, as well as by models for how planets form,” he says.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)As a result, molybdates—molecules that contain molybdenum and oxygen—could have existed on Mars, but probably not on Earth. Like oxidized boron (which occurs in dry regions and would also have been rare on a water-covered early Earth), molybdates tend to prevent organic materials from turning into tar. Benner says laboratory experiments show that molybdates can convert certain organic molecules into ribose—an important component of DNA. “This is a fact,” he says.That would make it more likely that life originated on our planetary neighbor, Benner says. Martian microorganisms could have reached Earth on meteorites, flung away from the Red Planet’s surface by cosmic impacts.Benner’s hypothesis “is a neat idea, but not yet proven,” says biochemist William Bains of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. Some theories for the origin of life do not need molybdenum at all, Bains says, and scientists don’t know for sure whether early Earth was completely covered in water while early Mars was not.Astrobiologist Paul Davies of Arizona State University, Tempe, agrees that Benner’s argument “greatly strengthens the case” for Mars as the first home of terrestrial life. But, he adds, “It comes down to probabilities. The case is suggestive but not overwhelming.” Even if early life existed on Mars, he says, it would be hard to prove that those life forms planted the seeds of our own existence. “In fact, because the traffic of [meteoritic] material between Earth and Mars is so prolific, once life gets going on one it will be transferred to the other very quickly, making the place of origin almost impossible to discern.”Astrochemist Pascale Ehrenfreund of George Washington University in Washington, D.C., is a bit more optimistic about resolving the issue. Laboratory experiments under conditions that resemble early Mars might lead to realistic answers, she says. But she doesn’t find Benner’s “interesting idea” convincing.Benner himself concedes that scientists may never know how and where life emerged. “We will likely need to be satisfied with answers to a more indirect question: How might life have emerged?” Finding martian life, either extant or extinct, could help by revealing information about ancient martian biochemistry. “This could lead to an ‘Aha!’ moment that opens new thinking relevant to the historical question.”As for pinpointing the location of the origin of life once and for all, Benner quips, “Building a time machine will help.”last_img read more

Video: What Tail Wagging Means to Other Dogs

first_imgWhen your dog wags his tail, you probably think he’s happy. And he is, if he’s swinging it to the right; but if he’s wagging to the left, he’s likely anxious—a difference that scientists detected 6 years ago. But what about other dogs: Can they also read the message in a tail? To find out, researchers tested 43 dogs of various breeds for their ability to distinguish between wags. They monitored the dogs’ heart rates and reactions while showing them videos of other Fidos doing either left- or right-asymmetric tail wagging, as in the video above. To make sure that the animals weren’t watching other facial or body cues, the researchers also showed the dogs only a silhouetted version of the wagging pooch. In the end, it didn’t matter whether they watched the natural dog or the silhouette; every canine understood the meaning in a left or right tail wag, the team reports today in Current Biology. Those that saw the dog wag to the left looked anxious, and their heart rates increased—a sign of stress. But dogs that watched the pooch swing its tail to the right stayed calm and relaxed—an indication that right wags are an expression of companionship and confidence, the scientists say. Thus, tail wagging does matter to other dogs and is a good reflection of what is happening in a dog’s brain, the team concludes.last_img read more

Gundy: ‘Are you answering my question or do you want me to answer it?’

first_imgMike Gundy was asked about what bowl practices would mean for this team and he said he’s not concerned about it as much as he is winning another game.Whoever it was that asked the question kept pressing, though, saying “you guys look like you could use a few weeks of practice.”Gundy almost went full Gundy saying “are you answering my question or do you want me to answer it?”The exchange starts at 1:55.If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img

Sara Ali Khan flaunts toned midriff during power yoga in New York

first_img Next Sara Ali Khan flaunts toned midriff during power yoga in New YorkActress Sara Ali Khan is currently enjoying a vacation in New York City. A latest video of the actress shows that her fitness has not taken a backseat while she is on her holiday in the Big Apple.advertisement India Today Web Desk New DelhiApril 15, 2019UPDATED: April 15, 2019 13:33 IST Sara Ali Khan does core power yoga in New YorkSara Ali Khan is currently holidaying in New York and having a lot of fun. One look at the social media accounts of the star will make you want to drop everything and go on a holiday.Her Instagram is currently filled with gorgeous backdrops and jealousy-inducing food grams.However, the sultry actress is not letting her fitness take a back seat while she enjoys the world famous food in New York. We recently came across a video of the Simmba actress where she is doing core power yoga.For her power yoga session, Sara is wearing a sky blue sports bra. She matched her sports bra with a black and sky blue yoga pants.The 23-year-old looks radiant with her all natural no makeup face and open hair.In the video, the Kedarnath actress can be seen chilling with two other friends.On the work front, Sara is currently shooting for Imtiaz Ali’s next unnamed project alongside Kartik Aaryan. The two have just wrapped up a part of the shoot in Delhi.ALSO READ | Sara Ali Khan says hello to spring in these latest photos from New York vacation. See picsadvertisementALSO WATCH | Sara Ali Khan’s first look from Kedarnath outGet real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byNishtha Grover Tags :Follow Sara Ali KhanFollow New Yorklast_img read more

Mohamed Salah comforts star-struck Liverpool fan who injured nose

first_img Reuters LiverpoolAugust 11, 2019UPDATED: August 12, 2019 16:29 IST Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah during the match Action (Reuters Photo)HIGHLIGHTSMo was apologetic and caring and was really compassionate towards the boys, said Fowler’s stepfather Joe CooperHe loves you so much and the pain went away instantly when you came to give them a hug, said Cooper to SalahSalah, thank you for coming back to check on my boys after Louis KO’d himself trying to get a wave, added CooperA young Liverpool supporter’s attempt to get a glimpse of his hero Mohamed Salah left him with a bloodied nose but the pain was quickly forgotten when the Egyptian striker showed his compassionate side by posing for photos.Louis Fowler, 11, crashed into a lamppost and fell to the ground with blood coming out of his nose after he and his younger brother Isaac ran beside Salah’s car on Saturday while waving at the Liverpool player, Sky News reported.Having spotted the youngster in pain, Salah circled round to check on him before offering to pose for pictures.”Mo was apologetic and caring and was really compassionate towards the boys and made them feel so much better,” Fowler’s stepfather Joe Cooper told Sky News.”@MoSalah thank you for coming back to check on my boys after Louis KO’d himself trying to get a wave,” Cooper added on Twitter with pictures https://twitter.com/joecooper93/status/1160246084414922753 of the forward with the two boys.@MoSalah thank you for coming back to check on my boys after Louis KO’d himself trying to get a wave! He loves you so much and the pain went away instantly when you came to give them a hug. A nose reset worth well worth it he said. You are a top man and a true gent! #EgyptianKing pic.twitter.com/wrmHc4vxB9Joe Cooper (@joecooper93) August 10, 2019″He loves you so much and the pain went away instantly when you came to give them a hug. A nose reset worth well worth it he said. You are a top man and a true gent! #EgyptianKing.”advertisementRead more | Harry Kane scores two late goals to help Tottenham beat Aston Villa 3-1Also see:For sports news, updates, live scores and cricket fixtures, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for Sports news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byNitin Kumar Tags :Follow salahFollow LiverpoolFollow Liverpool fans Next Mohamed Salah comforts star-struck Liverpool fan who injured noseA young Liverpool’s fan crashed into a lamppost and fell to the ground with broken nose after he and his younger brother Isaac ran beside Mohamed Salah’s car while waving at the Liverpool player.advertisementlast_img read more

Instructional Leadership Academy Welcomes Second Grad Class

first_imgFifty-seven school administrators, including principals and vice-principals, graduate today, May 29, as the second class of the Nova Scotia Instructional Leadership Academy. “Congratulations to all of this year’s graduates for their commitment to teaching and leadership excellence,” said Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Karen Casey. “This program directly helps students by ensuring the leaders in their schools have modern, practical and proven teaching strategies that will help students and teachers.” Introduced in September 2010, the Nova Scotia Instructional Leadership Program is a three-year diploma program that provides principals and other instructional leaders with the skills and knowledge they need to improve their instruction and leadership abilities. “The program has been a great support for me,” said Ben McNeil, vice-principal, Digby Regional High School. “It provides well-reasoned, evidence-based approaches to education instruction that I can use when working with staff to provide the best quality learning environment.” The program was designed with principals, school boards, the Nova Scotia Teachers Union, the Nova Scotia School Boards Association, universities, and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development. Principals had asked for more effective instructional leadership support. For more information on the program, visit nselc.ednet.ns.ca/ .last_img read more

Oil downturn hitting Calgary harder than Edmonton job numbers

(Stock photo: Thinkstock) The latest job picture in Alberta is not a good one.New figures from ATB Financial show our province shed 11,000 jobs in October, most of them full-time positions.Again most of the losses were in the resource sector.While the national jobless rate came down a touch to an even seven per cent, Alberta’s rose to 6.6 per cent.The figures also show more people in Calgary than Edmonton are being impacted by the economic downturn, blamed on low commodity prices.Our unemployment rate sits at 6.7 per cent, compared to 6 per cent in the provincial capital. by Posted Nov 6, 2015 11:34 am MDT Oil downturn hitting Calgary harder than Edmonton: job numbers AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email read more

Popular Science Names Joe Brown EIC People on the Move – 81716

first_img This is Brown’s second time at Popular Science, where he worked as an assistant editor starting in 2002, before leaving for his first stint at Wired in 2005. “Popular Science has always been an important place for me as a journalist and reader, and I’m so looking forward to returning as editor,” Brown said in a statement. “It’s a legendary brand, and I’m humbled to be entrusted with its care.” Here are the rest of this week’s people on the move: Paradigm Communications Group has hired Lara Douglass as assistant editor of Alaska Beyond Magazine and Horizon Edition Magazine. Douglass formerly worked as an editor of Wine & Spirits magazine and as a freelance reporter. Time Inc. has hired Kevin Martinez and promoted Jim Cavan. Martinez was named VP, group sales director for InStyle and StyleWatch. He joins time from his position as publisher and CRO of Maxim. Cavan was promoted to the newly minted position of editor-in-chief of Fansided.com. Cavan was previously senior editor of The Cauldron, a product of Sports Illustrated. Brown replaced Cliff Ransom, who, along with executive editor Jennifer Bogo, was dismissed by Bonnier in April. Essence has promoted Yolanda Sangweni and Charli Penn. Sangweni is now digital content director of Essence.com, from her position as entertainment editor for the website. Penn is now senior editor of relationships and lifestyle for Essence.com, from her position as relationships and wedding editor for the website. “We are thrilled to welcome Joe back to Popular Science,” Gregory Gatto, VP & Publishing Director, Lifestyle Group, Bonnier Corp., said in a statement. “He has exactly the qualities we sought out for the leader of the brand: a nose for a great story, strong leadership, and a wealth of experience elegantly handling website strategy and digital operations.” Christopher Cox was named executive editor of GQ. Previously, Cox was deputy editor of Harper’s Magazine, and senior editor at The Paris Review. Bonnier Corp. has named Joe Brown editor-in-chief of Popular Science. Brown joins the brand from Wired, where he was executive editor of Wired.com. Before that, he was editor-in-chief of Gizmodo. Adam Davidson was hired as a contributing writer for The New Yorker. Davidson joins from The New York Times, where he worked as an economics writer and columnist. He is also the co-founder of NPR’s Planet Money.More on this topic Active Interest Media Adds a Managing Director and CFO | People on the Move — 1.11.17 Bob Mankoff Joins Esquire | People on the Move — 05.03.17 Scott Dadich Exits Wired | People on the Move — 1.4.17 Elle Decor Names Editor-in-Chief — People on the Move | 06.28.17 New York Media Names New CRO and Publisher | People on the Move — 03.08.17 Wired Bulks Up Its Editorial Team — People on the Move | 05.31.17Just In TIME Names New Sales, Marketing Leads | People on the Move Meredith Corp. Makes Digital-Side Promotions | People on the Move This Just In: Magazines Are Not TV Networks PE Firm Acquires Majority Stake in Industry Dive Shanker Out, Litterick In as CEO of EnsembleIQ Four More Execs Depart SourceMedia in Latest RestructuringPowered bylast_img read more

Tech giants are guilty of bullying tactics says Obamas former economic advisor

first_img Share your voice Tech Industry 0 Post a comment Tags The biggest US tech companies are household names all over the world. Lionel Bonaventure / AFP/Getty Images The world’s largest technology companies are overly dominant and should have more competition, according to a report published in the UK on Wednesday.The review by a panel of experts was led by Harvard professor and former chief economic advisor to Barack Obama John Furman. It also concluded that UK competition rules are not fit for holding technology companies to account. They should be updated to tackle major mergers and improve enforcement, Furman said.The review coincides with remarks made earlier this week by US Senator Elizabeth Warren, who added Apple to the list of companies she wanted to break up for being too powerful.The knock-on effect of companies being overly powerful is that consumers will have less decision-making power. It’s a primary concern of competition watchdogs when regulating tech giants to ensure people have a number of choices when it comes to spending their money, and have the ability to go elsewhere if they feel disappointed or underserved by a company.Furman noted in the review that competition is often stifled in the tech world by big companies using “bullying tactics” to stay in control. They do this by pointing consumers towards using services they also own, or by leveraging their wealth to undercut competitors.”The digital sector has created substantial benefits but these have come at the cost of increasing dominance of a few companies, which is limiting competition and consumer choice and innovation,” said Furman in a statement. “Some say this is inevitable or even desirable. I think the UK can do better.”Andrea Coscelli, chief executive of UK watchdog the Competition and Markets Authority, said insights gleaned from the report would be “invaluable” for updating regulation that will govern tech in the future.”Competition is fundamental to ensuring the market works in the interest of consumers, but we know some tech giants are still accumulating too much power, preventing smaller businesses from entering the market,” said Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond in a statement. He added that he would study Furman’s proposals closely and respond with an action plan for implementing the changes later this year. Antitrustlast_img read more

Google Signs 60Year Lease with NASA for Moffett Airfield in California

first_imgSearch engine giant Google Inc has reportedly signed a deal with NASA to lease and manage the space agency’s Moffett Federal Airfield (MFA) in California for 60 years.Planetary Ventures LLC, Google’s real estate subdivision, will be leasing Hangar One, Two and Three, a flight operations building, two runways and a golf course from NASA. Apart from that, it will also be rehabilitating the historic hangars.NASA said the deal will help the space agency save $6.3 million in annual maintenance costs and Google is expected to pay $1.16 billion in rent over the 60-year period.The lease is a win-win deal for both NASA and Google. The web giant was in search of more space for experimental, research and development purposes and NASA wanted to cut down on maintenance costs of infrastructure.”As NASA expands its presence in space, we are making strides to reduce our footprint here on Earth. We want to invest taxpayer resources in scientific discovery, technology development and space exploration – not in maintaining infrastructure we no longer need. Moffett Field plays an important role in the Bay Area and is poised to continue to do so through this lease arrangement,” Charles Bolden, administrator at NASA, said in a statement.Google reportedly plans on spending $200 million on these properties including refurbishments of the hangars. The company also plans to create an educational centre for the public in the premises.”We look forward to rolling up our sleeves to restore the remarkable landmark Hangar One, which for years has been considered one of the most endangered historic sites in the United States,” David Radcliffe, vice-president of real estate and workplace services at Google Inc, added in the statement.There is no information as to when Google will take over the premises and the tech firm will need to comply with all tenancy rules including environmental compliance.Google and NASA were reportedly in talks of a lease deal since February this year. According to Fortune, Google had earlier signed a deal to build a new office complex in the premises, but those plans were put on hold probably because they were waiting to manage the rest of the 42-acre facility.The new lease gives Google a major foothold in the North Bayshore area of California. It has already taken up offices and other properties in Palo Alto, Mountain View and Sunnyvale, covering most parts of the region. Last month, Google invested $585 million in six office buildings just northwest of its Silicon Valley headquarters.Google is also expanding its footprint in New York City. It recently signed a lease to occupy 1,80,000 square feet of space at 85 Tenth Avenue in Manhattan.”We expect to continue to hire aggressively for the remainder of 2014. Acquisitions will also remain an important component of our strategy,” Google said in a filing, according to Bloomberg.last_img read more

Aviation stocks crash on rebound in crude oil prices

first_imgStock prices of aviation companies plunged on Thursday as concerns over their profits rose after a rebound in global crude oil prices.Shares of SpiceJet, India’s second-biggest budget airline by market share, fell sharply by 8.3 percent to close at Rs 76 on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), while the Jet Airways shares ended 5.6 percent lower at Rs 529.Stock prices of Interglobe Aviation, the owner of Indigo, also fell 4.4 percent to end the session at Rs 803.A sell-off was witnessed in the aviation stocks despite the benchmark indices ending on a positive note. While the BSE Sensex gained 115 points to close at 24,338 points, the 50-share Nifty rose 42 points to close at 7,404.Crude oil prices rebounded sharply on Wednesday with the benchmark Brent crude surging by 7 percent to trade above $30 a barrel. The rebound in prices has raised worries over profits of domestic aviation firms as fuel costs account for 40%-50% of their operating costs.”It is virtually impossible just now to predict how oil prices will perform in the near future,” said Commerzbank Corporates & Markets in a note.Late last month, shares of Jet Airways and SpiceJet touched multi-month highs, supported by a continued fall in crude oil prices. Overall fuel prices have declined by 24% in the past one year, giving significant cost savings for the domestic carriers.SpiceJet reported a net profit of Rs 238.40 crore for the quarter ended 31 December, 2015, as against a loss of Rs 275 crore registered in the corresponding quarter last fiscal. A 35% decline in fuel costs due to low jet fuel prices enabled the company to stage a turnaround. Its shares went up a whopping over 300% in the last one year alone.last_img read more

Amala Pauls exhusband AL Vijay embarks on new chapter in life ties

first_imgA picture of AL Vijay’s marriage with Dr Aishwarya.PR HandoutAL Vijay, who was earlier married to actress Amala Paul, has tied the knot with Dr Aishwarya who was chosen by his parents at a simple event on Thursday, July 11. The wedding was graced by limited members from their family along with the couple’s close friends.A picture of their marriage is now being circulated online, in which AL Vijay is apparently wearing a silk shirt and dhoti. Embellished with traditional ornaments, the bride has sported a red and golden Kanchivaram saree and a designer blouse. It is a new beginning for AL Vijay following a failed marriage with Amala Paul. “Just like everyone, my life travelled through different stages involving success, failure, joy and pain. But what stood by me through all such occasions is the strong support from the press media,” the director had stated in a press release recently.”I am happy to announce my marriage with Dr R Aishwarya and it is going to be a private ceremony which will be held in July 2019. With all your love and blessings, am embarking on a new chapter in my life!” the director said.After falling in love with Amala Paul, he had married the actress in June 2014. The couple had disagreements over the actress pursuing her career in acting which, unfortunately, led to their divorce.On his professional front, he is getting for his next film, Thalaivi. It is a biopic of Tamil Nadu’s former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa and Bollywood actress Kangana Ranaut plays the female lead.On the other hand, Amala Paul has moved on in her life and busy with her latest film Aadai, the teaser and poster of the film has raised eyebrows.last_img read more

Giant cruise ship slams into Venice jetty as tourists flee

first_imgThe MSC Magnifica cruise ship moors off St. Mark`s square and the Clock Tower (Rear R) in St. Mark`s basin, after it was stopped following an incident between the River Countess tourist which was hit early on 2 June 2019 by the MSC Opera cruise ship (Rear) that lost control as it was coming in to dock in Venice, Italy. Photo: AFPA massive cruise ship lost control as it docked in Venice on Sunday, crashing into the wharf and hitting a tourist boat after suffering an engine failure.Tourists on land could be seen running away as the 13-deck MSC Opera scraped along the dockside, its engine blaring, before knocking into a tourist boat, amateur video footage posted on Twitter showed.Four people were slightly injured in the accident at San Basilio-Zattere in Venice’s Giudecca Canal, port authorities said.The four, who were taken to hospital for check-ups, were on board the River Countess tourist boat.The Opera, which suffered mechanical trouble before in 2011 during a Baltic cruise, can carry more than 2,500 passengers and boasts a theatre, ballroom and water park for children.Ship unable to stop”The MSC ship had an engine failure, which was immediately reported by the captain,” Davide Calderan, head of a tugboat company involved in accompanying the ship into its berth, told Italian media.”The engine was blocked, but with its thrust on, because the speed was increasing,” he said.The two tug boats that had been guiding the ship into the Giudecca tried to slow it, but one of the chains linking them to the giant snapped under the pressure, he added.The accident reignited a heated row in the Serenissima over the damage caused to the city and its fragile ecosystem by cruise ships that sail exceptionally close to the shore.While gondoliers in striped T-shirts and woven straw hats row tourists around the narrow canals, the smoking chimneys of mammoth ships loom into sight behind the city’s picturesque bell towers and bridges.Critics say the waves the ships create are eroding the foundations of the lagoon city, which regularly floods, leaving iconic sites such as Saint Mark’s Square underwater.Rescuers stand onboard the damaged River Countess tourist boat after it was hit early on 2 June 2019 by the MSC Opera cruise ship (Rear) that lost control as it was coming in to dock in Venice, Italy. Photo: AFP”What happened in the port of Venice is confirmation of what we have been saying for some time,” Italy’s environment minister Sergio Costa wrote on Twitter.”Cruise ships must not sail down the Giudecca. We have been working on moving them for months now… and are nearing a solution,” he said.’Risk of carnage’Venice’s port authority said it was was working to resolve the accident and free up the blocked canal in the north Italian city.”In addition to protecting the Unesco heritage city, we have to safeguard the environment, and the safety of citizens and tourists,” Culture Minister Alberto Bonisoli said.Nicola Fratoianni, an MP with the Italian Left party, noted Italy’s open-armed attitude to cruise ships contrasted sharply with its hostile approach to charity rescue vessels that help migrants who run into difficulty in the Mediterranean.”It is truly curious that a country that tries to stop ships that have saved people at sea from entering its ports allows giant steel monsters to risk carnage in Venice,” he said.MSC Cruises, founded in Italy in 1960, is a global line registered in Switzerland and based in Geneva.The Opera, built 15 years ago, suffered a power failure in 2011 in the Baltic, forcing some 2,000 people to be disembarked in Stockholm rather than continuing their Southampton to Saint Petersburg voyage.last_img

Analysis Texas Most Persistent Policy Problem

first_img Share During that period, overall spending rose about 25 percent; adjusted for inflation, it fell almost 6 percent. State funding rose, but not as fast as the student population; the result was a per-student drop in state spending and a local increase in per-student spending.That shift to local funding increases Texas public education’s reliance on “recapture” — a formula that balances differences in local property values by taking money from property-rich school districts and distributing it to property-poor districts. That redistribution is built into the state system, but when Texas cuts its share of the total, it increases the load on local property taxpayers — both for their own schools and for recapture.Abbott contends his limits would also limit recapture but also says it would increase pressure on the state to put up the money to equalize spending across school districts.“It is difficult to estimate the exact amount of funding that the state would have allocate for this purpose, though it is worth noting that a revenue cap would not likely eliminate the entire $1.7 billion in annual recapture payments,” the governor’s proposal says. “The state has, for too long, relied on the rapid growth of school district property tax collections to fund increases in public education spending.”The governor, like the legislators who make up a good part of the new school finance committee, is on the ballot in 2018, and he’s clearly siding with property taxpayers. That built-in nod to increased state spending can wait until the Legislature comes back — or until the new committee starts crunching the numbers. And the current crop of state officials elected by a price-sensitive electorate — you might remember that the now-assimilated TEA Party movement was an acronym for Taxed Enough Already — isn’t in the mood for a sudden increase in state spending, for education or anything else.That’s the minefield the state’s latest school finance reformers want to cross. This week, the Texas Commission on Public School Finance started work on one of the state’s most intractable problems, hoping to come up with remedies in advance of 2019’s 86th legislative session.You wouldn’t be out of line wondering why this didn’t happen in 2017. Or 2015. Or 2013. But it’s because this is a hard policy problem and a harder political one. The prompt now is that property taxes have gotten so far out of hand that lawmakers have no choice but to act.The governor is in on this, too, recently unveiling his proposal — a worked-over version of legislation that fell short last year — to limit increases in local property taxes without voter approval. The governor’s plan doesn’t call for lower property taxes and, in fact, in a detailed version of the proposal from Abbott’s political campaign, he makes the case for higher state spending on public education.“A major effect of capping the growth of local property tax collections will be to reduce the extent to which local revenue for public schools is able to grow,” the proposal says. “The state must therefore be prepared to increase its share to the extent necessary to ensure that public schools have access to the funding they need.”Declining public education spending by the state puts pressure on local school districts to raise property taxes to compensate. It’s not the only reason taxes rise: Overall spending per student has risen, too. But the state’s share of the costs of public education dropped to about 38 percent in 2017 from about 45 percent in 2007, according to the Legislative Budget Board. The local share — reliant on those rising property taxes — rose to 52 percent from 45 percent. (Federal funds accounted for the remainder.)center_img Bob Daemmrich for the Texas TribuneState Sen. Larry Taylor, R-Friendswood, l, chats at the lunch break with chairman Justice Scott Brister at the Texas Commission on School Finance meeting on Jan. 23, 2018.You can’t untangle school finance in Texas unless you do one of three politically dangerous things:Cut spending on public education.Raise local property taxes to keep up with growth and rising costs.Raise state spending (and state taxes) to keep up with costs while keeping local property taxes down.State lawmakers cut spending in 2011. Texans didn’t like it much, and the state has, to this day, never recovered the even balance of state and local spending it had set just five years before those cuts.High and rising property taxes have become — for understandable reasons — a major concern for voters and, in turn, for the people who rely on voter favor to stay in office.last_img read more

Snap Share Price Closes Below 5 as Company Skips Holiday Bonuses

first_img ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Popular on Variety Snapchat corporate parent Snap ended a day of trading with a stock price below $5 for the first time in the company’s history, with shares priced $4.98 at the close of markets, down 1.78% on Friday.Snap’s shares were dragged down by uncertainty in the financial markets over a looming government shut-down. Other tech companies, including Alphabet/Google, Apple, and Facebook also saw their share prices decline, with Facebook investors feeling additional pressure from the company’s latest privacy scandal. Share prices for the social network closed down 6.33% on Friday.However, Snap stock has been on an extended downward trajectory as the company faces increased pressure over declining user numbers and questions about its ability to compete with Facebook’s Instagram.These issues came to the forefront this week when a report surfaced that the company was skipping its regular holiday bonus for employees, suggesting that it may not have hit its internal goals.center_img Snap has also been plagued by a number of executive departures, which included the company’s chief strategy officer Imran Khan, vice president of marketing and brand identity Steve LaBella, former longtime WarnerMedia/Time Warner exec Kristen O’Hara, vice president of content Nick Bell, and vice president of hardware development Sahil Sharma.last_img read more

CBS All Access and Pluto TV A CBSViacom Streaming Strategy Must Now

first_imgSoon-to-be ViacomCBS chief Bob Bakish and CBS head Joe Ianniello addressed some of those concerns on the investor call after the close Tuesday. Related Popular on Variety Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg-Produced United Nations Comedy in Development at CBS Two households alike in dignity, once star-crossed Viacom and CBS are now set to enter yet another union, this one perhaps less brief than their last. Their imminent integration as ViacomCBS raises a number of questions to be answered in the coming days – that of synergies, executive leadership and overarching strategy.With CBS and Viacom making official Tuesday their plans to once again merge, one particular question, in this age of streaming-service matchups, is what will become of their over-the-top platforms. Viacom and CBS are something near opposites in the streaming sphere. Where CBS has invested in creating a dual paid subscription video-on-demand offering in the form of CBS All Access and Showtime, Viacom’s path has thus far been an inversion of its new partner, primarily pursuing an ad-supported free path after acquiring Pluto TV earlier this year. ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Media and Tech Execs Talk Fostering Safe Dialogue Online Viacom, meanwhile, headlines its streaming efforts with recently acquired Pluto TV, which is completely ad-supported and free of charge. The service boasts over 150 content suppliers – a wide-ranging lot that includes everything from Bloomberg to Fox Sports to a channel dedicated solely to old episodes of “Wahlburgers” – and a deep library of its own shows and movies from its MTV, Comedy Central, Nickelodeon, BET and Spike brands.Fresh episodes of shows that air on Viacom’s linear channels come to Pluto TV a whole 18 months later, making it clear that the service’s raison d’etre is not to replace traditional TV watching but to supplement it. Viacom is investing in its growth and attractiveness to viewers; the company has notably shifted its strategy, forgoing licensing its library content to other SVOD services in favor of beefing up Pluto with those properties.Pluto TV has grown to 18 million monthly active users, up from the 12 million-plus at the time of its acquisition announcement in January. Bakish said on the company’s Q2 earnings call in May that there would be “tens of millions” of Pluto TV-enabled devices coming online in the following months, expressing bullishness about the platform’s future.Viacom’s presence in paid subscription services includes kid-friendly Noggin – which has 2.5 million paid subscribers globally – and older-kid-friendly NickHits, plus MTV Hits and Comedy Central Now. The latter three channels can mostly be accessed via services such as Amazon Channels and the forthcoming Apple TV direct-to-consumer platform. Viacom’s primary new effort to gain ground in the direct-to-consumer pay-TV market is its BET-branded streamer, which will launch later in the year.On the studio side, Viacom has previously signaled that it is happy to use its studios to provide shows and movies to other platforms – think AwesomenessTV-produced “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” for Netflix – as it concentrates on monetizing library content via Pluto TV, which it plans to expand internationally. The merger call Tuesday revealed that Bakish plans to use the combined ViacomCBS to be a hearty supplier of third-party content to MPVDs as well as broadcast, cable and streaming platforms. Contrary to what some had predicted, the top execs indicated that there would be cross-platform integration of CBS and Viacom’s media brands, with potential for Nickelodeon, BET, MTV and Comedy Central shows to appear on CBS All Access, and for Paramount films to air on premium cable Showtime. The same goes for beefing up Viacom’s free, ad-supported platform Pluto TV with series from CBS Sports HQ and ET Live.“Mass is better, scale is better – so it’s better if they’re together,” Needham media analyst Laura Martin told Variety back in June, ahead of the announced merger.Should CBS All Access harvest Viacom’s younger-skewing media brands, it would mean a product that has the potential to capture an incredibly broad demographic spectrum, from the MTV crowd to “NCIS” loyalists.Martin sees the two entertainment conglomerates’ brands as being “perfectly complementary,” with synergies to be realized if streaming teams are merged and platforms are consolidated.To recap: CBS All Access’ muscular, albeit insular, platform is made up entirely of shows from its own flagship linear network (the “NCIS” franchise, “The Big Bang Theory,” “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert”) and exclusive, online-only originals (“The Good Fight,” “Star Trek: Discovery,” “Tell Me a Story”), offering a limited-commercial tier for $5.99 a month and an ad-free tier for $9.99 a month. Its sister service, Showtime OTT, is an extension of the premium cable network that features shows such as “Billions” and “Desus & Mero.”Combined, CBS All Access and Showtime have a healthy paying subscriber base, eight million strong – a goal achieved nearly two years ahead of time, executives there will tell you – with an ambitious target of 25 million subs, not including its international or ad-supported services, by 2020.CBS’ presence in the ad-supported video realm is less high profile, but consists of a varied portfolio that includes news-focused CBSN, local news-focused CBS Local, CBS Sports HQ and ET Live. CBS, meanwhile, is aggressively pursuing content for its own services, anticipating an $8 billion-plus investment in programming this year. Its online division has the technological infrastructure to withstand the addition of a few extra properties to its existing 38 brands, regardless of how they become integrated.Leadership at the newly named ViacomCBS Inc. will likely spend some time in the coming months nailing the details of a forward-looking digital strategy that can keep and attract subscribers, amid the soon-to-launch streamers from Disney, WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal, not to mention established streaming pure-play Netflix.Even the strongest players should be primed to keep their elbows out.“People are willing to lose money to stay in the game,” said Cowen analyst Doug Creutz.last_img read more

Is Artificial Intelligence Replacing Your Intelligence

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. March 21, 2018 Register Now » Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. 5 min read We should be afraid of collective stupidity. What I am referring to is millions of people displaying a lack of intelligence, particularly in areas where humans have made intelligence breakthroughs in the past.Think of common school subjects like reading, writing and arithmetic. We are collectively more intelligent in these areas today than centuries ago, but many of us are slipping back in time despite being surrounded by modern technology.How is it happening? Artificial intelligence is replacing or competing with human intelligence. It’s called cognitive offloading. We are outsourcing part of our intelligence to technology. When this happens, our own intelligence atrophies. If this plays out over several generations, some foundational intelligence will be lost for most humans.Related: Humans vs. Machine: Blue Collar Tech Startups Side With HumansBob High, Chief Technology Officer of IBM Watson, puts it this way: “Our tools tend to be most valuable when they’re amplifying us, when they’re extending our reach, when they’re increasing our strength, when they’re allowing us to do things that we can’t do by ourselves as human beings.”Artificial intelligence often replaces real intelligence.A common example today is spelling. With the emergence of spell-check in Microsoft Word, auto-correct or voice-to-text in iMessage and auto-complete in Google, many of us use artificial intelligence to replace (not augment) our own intelligence. Words like beautiful, pneumonia, schedule and appreciate are frequently misspelled. We simply don’t know how to spell them correctly.A common example in the future could be audible machine-based language translation. The promise of this advancement in artificial intelligence is that we’ll be able to speak into a device that instantly translates and vocalizes our words into any language we want. That sounds amazing, right? That depends whether we use the artificial intelligence to replace our own intelligence. This AI shouldn’t be an excuse for humans to stop learning other languages. Instead, it should be an opportunity to for us to reach more people around the globe or increase the speed with which critical messages are disseminated.AI is an incredible tool when it’s applied correctly. When we use artificial intelligence to augment our own intelligence, our skills are amplified but remain intact. It’s sometimes called intelligence amplification (IA). For example, augmented vision is a concept of layering data on top of what we already see. Think of real-time Yelp reviews in your line of sight when you walk in front of a café. It doesn’t replace our underlying vision.Related: Robots May Replace Some Jobs, But Your Human Team Members Should Be There to Guide ThemThree ways to keep your real intelligence intact.Here are three simple ways to ensure your real intelligence isn’t entirely replaced by artificial intelligence anytime soon.1. Practice math without a calculator.A calculator can be a time-saver, but it’s not meant to replace our ability to do math. If you’re using a calculator or other mathematical tools as a crutch, try multiplication and division by hand. What is 286 multiplied by 9? Or 142,500 divided by 4,655?Our ability to do basic math will ensure we don’t forget how to calculate a tip, validate the total amount on an invoice or bill or convert teaspoons to tablespoons when cooking.2. Drive to your next appointment without GPS assistance.Google Maps and Waze are pervasive today. These apps are standard operating procedure for Uber or Lyft drivers. The intelligent applications are meticulously plotting out each left and right turn, and updating routes in real-time. If you’re using this form of AI each time you get from Point A to Point B, try looking at the route on a map and then navigating to the destination on your own.Reading maps and navigating from one place to another builds spatial reasoning skills (i.e., seeing with our mind’s eye). In contrast, GPS systems allow us to follow directions without assembling a picture of where we’ve been.3. Get a free brain test and re-test periodically.The irony is that in the pursuit of technological advancement, we may actually lower our intelligence collectively. We are absorbing more and more content. We download podcasts, scan social newsfeeds, search the internet and read online publications. These activities are typically bite-sized and done while multi-tasking. The trouble is that we are neglecting deep processing, which is more often associated with reading long-form books. Deep processing is the brain’s ability to focus, remember and build meaning through previous knowledge.Related: Ready or Not, It’s Time to Embrace AITry a brain test such as Cambridge Brain Sciences to gauge your short-term memory, reasoning and verbal ability. You can establish a baseline in order to better assess if you’re trending downward.With the leaders of Facebook, Google and other influential technology companies investing incredible sums in artificial intelligence, you might argue basic skills are becoming obsolete in the digital age. Maybe we can offload several forms of intelligence. However, the benefits are likely to have other setbacks. Case in point: It would be a shame if the advancement in driverless cars renders current or future generations unable to drive on their own should the need arise. Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goalslast_img read more

Last summer as the Cardinals searched for a quart

first_imgLast summer, as the Cardinals searched for a quarterback,Larry Fitzgerald’s name came up often.The team’s best player, it was thought (true or not) Fitzhad some say in who the team was targeting. At the veryleast, the hope to sign the Pro Bowler to a contractextension had to have played a role in the move to go outand get a guy like Kevin Kolb, who was considered by manyto be the best QB on the market. Things didn’t work out as planned in Kolb’s first seasonwith the Cardinals, and while Fitzgerald isn’t campaigningfor the team to get a new signal caller, he said he’d liketo play with one who could be on the market very soon.“Everybody, you play receiver, would love to play with aquarterback like Peyton Manning,” he told ESPN Radio’sMike and Mike. “I think Peyton Manning should be incontention for winning the MVP this season. That’s howvaluable he is to this league and obviously how valuablehe is to the Indianapolis Colts.”The Colts, once a perennial playoff team, slipped to 2-14last season, with Manning not playing a single snap due toa neck injury. Set to take Stanford QB Andrew Luck withthe number one overall pick in the NFL Draft, the Coltscould part with their MVP, giving the rest of the NFL achance to get one of the game’s best players.And, since there have been plenty of reportslinking the Cards to Manning, it’s possible one of theteam’s current QBs could be a bit miffed at the idea ofpossibly being replaced.“Obviously Peyton is a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and alot of teams are going to be interested,” Fitzgerald said.“They might not be unhappy with their quarterback play,but you know Peyton is an upgrade to what you alreadyhave. Top Stories Comments   Share   Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinke Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation “I think there’d probably be some feelings hurt.”Maybe so, but that’s a risk the Cardinals would have totake.last_img read more

Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires

first_img Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires 5 Comments   Share   Budda Baker chimed in as well, offering some perspective from the secondary.“He throws some crisp routes,” the second year safety said. “In team drills today, I had Larry [Fitzgerald] on the over and it was perfect ball, perfect placement. So he’s a great quarterback and I’m excited to see what he’s going to do.”EXTRA POINTS– Wilks called third-year defensive tackle Robert Nkemdiche a “tremendous player,” saying he liked his commitment and energy on the field. But Wilks also pointed out that consistency will ultimately be the key — and that the 2016 first rounder needs to be careful about jumping offsides.– Rookie corner Chris Campbell intercepted fellow rookie Charles Kanoff during 11-on-11 drills. A sixth rounder out of Penn State, Campbell is fighting for a spot in that secondary opposite Patrick Peterson. – / 26 Arizona Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford (9) hands off to running back David Johnson (31) during the first day of NFL football training camp, Saturday, July 28, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York) GLENDALE, Ariz. — Sure, training camp technically began for the Arizona Cardinals a couple days ago. But everyone knows things don’t really ramp up until they put the pads on for the first time.That happened Monday. And there were some memorable moments.Steve Wilks took a unique approach to the festivities, opening his first padded practice as Arizona’s head coach with one-on-one blocking drills right in the middle of the field for everyone to see. A few minutes later, Chandler Jones literally broke one of the sleds when he charged it. Top Stories Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact “You’re going to have a little bit of ups and downs but it’s how you respond to it,” Wilks said, calling the team’s performance a day prior inconsistent. “So those guys did a great job coming back today. Early, quick turnaround in the morning and I was very pleased. Guys competing against one another, competition was great, and we’re going to try to put another one back-to-back tomorrow.”Wilks explained that he’s looking to create physicality and establish the tempo as camp evolves. The one-on-one drills, he said, are a good way to go about it because they instantly breed accountability among teammates.“It was crazy. I thought we were going to do the Oklahoma Drill,” linebacker Deone Bucannon said. “But we ended up doing something a little different. Oklahoma would’ve been cool but, like I said, it’s new energy, it’s a new feel, it’s a new everything. For him to start it off like that, you know, it brings back high school, college, you know, kind of like that pre-practice jitters to get ready.”With the first preseason game against the Chargers only 12 days away, it makes sense why Wilks wants to set the tone and build up the collective energy around camp in a hurry. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Related LinksFor now, the Cardinals embrace the present with Sam BradfordNo setbacks, no timeline for Cardinals DE Markus Golden’s returnPro scouting director Quentin Harris thinks Cardinals have a third weaponCenter A.Q. Shipley loving Cardinals’ downhill attack so farBRADFORD MAKING AN EARLY IMPRESSIONSam Bradford finds himself in a unique spot. He enters camp as the starter, but with the caveat that everyone knows this will probably be his one and only season with the Cardinals.Many fans and NFL insiders are already looking over Bradford’s shoulder at rookie quarterback Josh Rosen.Everyone has seen Bradford play at the NFL level before, but no one outside the organization seen him with the Cardinals. So while he enters camp as a vet, he’s still looking to make a strong first impression with his new team. And it’s working so far.“That dude was the No. 1 pick. That wasn’t an accident,” left tackle D.J. Humphries said. “That dude fell out of the sky. You don’t bump into people like that. Dudes like that fall out of the sky, you don’t just bump into people like him.”Wilks wasn’t quite as effusive in praise, but he did like what he saw.“Sam performed well, in my opinion, today,” the coach said. “He’s moving around great, stepping up in the pocket. He feels like he has a lot of confidence right now, so I’m excited to see where he is.” Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and sellinglast_img read more

Go back to the enewsletter The firstever ILTM Asi

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterThe first-ever ILTM Asia Pacific, 21–24 May 2018, was a resounding success. As Charles de Foucault, GM of One&Only Le Saint Géran, Mauritius, said at the end of the second day: “ILTM is so well organised, and the venue is spectacular.” Marina Bay Sands’ convention space offers, as someone else said, a venue for a 21st-century ILTM, spacious and bright. It can certainly cope with numbers (other recent events here have been for tax-free and YPO, and ILTM was simultaneously held with a Mary Kay convention and a meeting of iron-ore people). ILTM took up two of the six main convention rooms, which was more than ample space for 155 main exhibitor stands, holding in all over 553 exhibitors.As always with ILTM there was a matching number, 538, of top travel advisors, concierge companies and private travel designers, coming from 16 countries in Asia Pacific, plus seven Russia/CIS nations and 11 other countries (compared to previous ILTMs in Asia, there were 83% more buyers from Australasia). In all, over three days, there were 28,829 pre-arranged meetings. Well done to ILTM Portfolio Director, Alison Gilmore, and Andy Ventris and the rest of the 20-strong ILTM team for making it all such a success.The serious business, three days of meetings, was at Marina Bay Sands. Fifteen-minute slots ran from 10 am until 6 pm for the first two days, closing an hour earlier on the final day to allow everyone to get ready for the winding-down party on the 57th-floor rooftop deck of Marina Bay Sands.ILTM Asia Pacific at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia SingaporeEvery day there were hosted lunches and cocktails galore, and yes, I did manage three cocktail gatherings one evening. One day I lunched with a couple of dozen Australians, and others, at the brilliant Red Dot Design Museum (hosts that day were Dolder Grand, Zurich, and the La Réserve group, whose CEO Jean-Luc Naret had brought along champagne and wines produced by La Réserve owner, Michel Reybier). And evenings? No, they did not fade into oblivion. One of the most unusual was One&Only’s elegant soirée in Marina Bay Sands’ Louis Vuitton store, a futuristic sculpture sticking out into Marina Bay; reach it by an underwater tunnel and, once there, it was as chic as Faubourg Saint- Honoré, with one young salesman patiently spending the entire evening packing and unpacking a US$3,500 carry-on bag, just to show how it should be done. But as we heard constantly throughout this incredibly worthwhile ILTM, experiences are more important than ever. Note: next ILTM Asia Pacific, same venue, is 27–30 May 2019.ILTM Asia Pacific at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia SingaporeThe Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore, by the way, not only hosted the pre-ILTM Forum but also the party that followed for over a thousand on the swimming pool. Yes, I GOT THAT RIGHT. The hotel uniquely has a plexiglass pool cover, made in Guangzhou, that holds over a thousand, plus vehicles and, that night, a lion dance and dozens of food stations. Really, this hotel is outstanding. It is superlative, by all world standards.For ILTM, the hotel had 300 arrivals, most on the same day, and it made every one of those travel industry people feel special. For first-timers, it must have been double wow. For me, coming back yet again to this unique 608-room hotel, it was wow as always. Look at the art, for instance; there are over 4,000 modern works, including pieces by Chihuly, Hockney, Stella and Warhol.The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore lobbyThe hotel is unique for many reasons. For a start, the 32-floor structure has a massive hole through it, to let good spirits through and bad spirits out. Its porte cochère is a mother-of-pearl umbrella. Its lobby shines with marble, which extends down the 50 curved steps to meeting areas (where ILTM’s opening Forum was held) and on down to the pool at the base, covered over for one of the most memorable parties for 1,000 that I have ever been to. Down there, too, is the 24/7 Technogym, with lots of fresh fruit. I was lucky enough to spend time, as well, in the ocean-themed spa, designed by SPIN. Enter past a guard of honour of eight marine-blue glass sculptures and, as you walk along to the treatment room, a marine-blue light glows from the walls.And of course La Mer, the products the spa uses, just feels the best. But some would say everything is the best here. (It was amusing to see at least one of the top media people staying here during ILTM having breakfast here, in the 32nd-floor club, before going out to an official breakfast at another hotel.) One night I even dined in the club before a drinks function elsewhere, and, honestly, sautéed eel with wok-fried greens was a healthy and memorable snack, with a glass of St Hallett Barossa 2016 Gamekeeper’s Shiraz from the eight-bottle oenotheque machine. Sheila Benzon, who runs the club, has a team of 12 and every day they go through arrivals and, as if they were all IBM Watsons, memorise names and how to pronounce them.Somehow this filters through to the entire 560-strong team; even bellmen call you by name. Somehow, too, the hotel operates on staff turnover that is just over half of the Singapore norm. This is a luxury hotel that runs as smoothly and efficiently as the Berlin Philharmonic, with oodles of practice, but also spontaneity, and, just as any good orchestra needs a first-class conductor, so The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia works because of its GM, Peter Mainguy. He has time for everyone and makes them all feel special. For me, for instance, he even came in an hour early supposedly for breakfast, though he only had a cappuccino. I, like everyone, felt really special. And that amazing view helps, of course.Lead image: The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore poolGo back to the enewsletterlast_img read more