Month: October 2018

Access to Contraceptives Around the World: What You Need to Know

Here in the US, we’re lucky to have relatively easy access to contraception, with the FDA approving the first oral contraceptive in 1960. There are also other forms such as the implant, the patch and the sponge. Forty-five countries have proudly offered contraception to patients free of charge for years, whilst some governments have dragged their feet on making such treatments available.

How do seven varying countries around the world compare in terms of accessibility? Here’s what you need to know about people’s access to contraceptives.

United States

Despite being the first nation in the world to introduce the birth control pill, the United States does not give out free contraception. Instead, women have to pay around $59.25 each month for the pill, depending on their health insurance coverage. It also prohibits the sale of birth control pills over the counter.

Spain

condom-vending-machine
Via athingforwords.com

In Spain, the average cost of contraception is around $2.91 per box. Condoms are very easy to find in supermarkets and pharmacies, and there are also condom-dispensing machines dotted around on streets. The Spanish tend to have a pretty liberal view on contraception in general. In fact, some pharmacies even sell birth control pills over the counter.

Canada

Canada has a healthcare system called Medicare, which is publicly funded. Most forms of contraception are easily affordable and available under this system/ Birth control pills are usually available for free or up to around $37.57 per month, depending on the type.

Brazil

Brazil offers a year’s supply of birth control pills for only $2.36, as long as citizens are able to present their national identification card. By the letter of the law, one can only buy the morning after pill with a prescription. Most pharmacies, however, tend to sell it without. Women and girls of all ages can also purchase it legally.

Japan

blood test

Japan is not so relaxed when it comes to issuing birth control pills, probably because they have quite a low birth rate. Japanese Health Insurance doesn’t cover the contraceptive pill and women have to pay around $25.67 each month. Many doctors require women to take a blood test to see if they’re fit enough to take the pill, and this isn’t free either, costing around $86.

India

Although healthcare in India is universal, it greatly fluctuates in quality and coverage throughout the country. Those who live in more urban areas tend to benefit more. While contraception remains available from $2.48 to $5.85 in India, worryingly,the most common form of birth control is tubal ligation, a form of female sterilisation.

Ethiopia

Although there is a lot of awareness about modern contraception in Ethiopia, a large proportion of the country do not take any. Both male and female condoms are available in pharmacies at a low cost. There are also a few other places where Ethiopian nationals can get them for free. Birth control pills can also be bought without a prescription and, in some cases, are free as well.

Conclusion

Many medical advancements have been made since the 1960s. There are now more contraception options than ever before. Over the next coming years, a male contraceptive pill is expected to be rolled out for general consumption. This could balance the responsibility between men and women. For the moment, the pill is still being trialed, but has so far received an 83% success rate, with minimal side effects.

The post Access to Contraceptives Around the World: What You Need to Know appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Ariana Grande and James Corden survive a terrifying escape room

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Ariana Grande is super into Halloween, haunted houses, and escape rooms, so James Corden invited the pop star to a combination of the three.

As an addition to The Late Late Show‘s “Carpool Karaoke” segment with Grande, Corden decided to book a session at 60OUT Escape Rooms in Los Angeles, picking the horror themed room.

It looks downright terrifying, and Grande spends the entire time being understandably beside herself. 

“That’s not an escape room, that’s one of the seven gates to hell,” she said.

At least know we know how she injured her hand — running away from whatever the hell that is in the clip. Read more…

More about James Corden, Ariana Grande, The Late Late Show, The Late Late Show With James Corden, and Escape Room

Brex has partnered with WeWork, AWS and more for its new rewards program

Brex, the corporate card built for startups, unveiled its new rewards program today.

The billion-dollar company, which announced its $125 million Series C three weeks ago, has partnered with Amazon Web Services, WeWork, Instacart, Google Ads, SendGrid, Salesforce Essentials, Twilio, Zendesk, Caviar, HubSpot, Orrick, Snap, Clerky and DoorDash to give entrepreneurs the ability to accrue and spend points on services and products they use regularly.

Brex is lead by a pair of 22-year-old serial entrepreneurs who are well aware of the costs associated with building a startup. They’ve been carefully crafting Brex’s list of partners over the last year and say their cardholders will earn roughly 20 percent more rewards on Brex than from any competitor program.

“We didn’t want it to be something that everyone else was doing so we thought, what’s different about startups compared to traditional small businesses?” Brex co-founder and chief executive officer Henrique Dubugras told TechCrunch. “The biggest difference is where they spend money. Most credit card reward systems are designed for personal spend but startups spend a lot more on business.”

Companies that use Brex exclusively will receive 7x points on rideshare, 3x on restaurants, 3x on travel, 2x on recurring software and 1x on all other expenses with no cap on points earned. Brex carriers still using other corporate cards will receive just 1x points on all expenses.

Most corporate cards offer similar benefits for travel and restaurant expenses, but Brex is in a league of its own with the rideshare benefits its offering and especially with the recurring software (SalesForce, HubSpot, etc.) benefits.

San Francisco-based Brex has raised about $200 million to date from investors including Greenoaks Capital, DST Global and IVP.  At the time of its fundraise, the company told TechCrunch it planned to use its latest capital infusion to build out its rewards program, hire engineers and figure out how to grow the business’s client base beyond only tech startups.

“This is going to allow us to compete even more with Amex, Chase and the big banks,” Dubugras said.

Stephen Colbert on synagogue shooting: ‘Hate is not what America stands for’

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A very sombre Stephen Colbert responded to Pittsburgh’s synagogue shooting on The Late Show Monday. 

After declaring that “hate is not what America stands for,” and praising the Muslim group which raised more than $140,000 for the shooting’s victims, Colbert turned his attention to Trump’s indefensible response to the tragic event.

“Naturally, in times like these our nation looks to its president for comfort and guidance. That’s our first mistake,” he said.

Of particular annoyance to the late show host was Trump continuing with a rally hours after the attack, where he claimed that he did so because the New York Stock Exchange opened the day after 9/11That claim was in fact, false. Read more…

More about Entertainment, Tv, Donald Trump, Stephen Colbert, and Trump

Ian Small, former head of TokBox, takes over as Evernote CEO from Chris O’Neill

Former TokBox head Ian Small is replacing Chris O’Neill as CEO of Evernote, the note-taking and productivity app company said this morning. In a blog post, Small said that the leadership change was announced to employees this morning by Evernote’s board. “We are all hugely appreciative of the energy and dedication Chris has shown over the last three years, and in particular for putting Evernote on solid financial footing so we can continue to build for the future,” he wrote.

Small added, “When Stepan Pachikov founded Evernote, he had a vision for how technology could augment memory and how an app could change the way we relate to information at home and at work. Evernote has been more successful at making progress towards Stepan’s dreams than he could have imagined, but Stepan and I both think that there is more to explore and more to invent.”

O”Neill had been Evernote’s CEO since 2015, when he took over the position from co-founder Phil Libin. Small previously served as CEO of TokBox, which operates the OpenTok video calling platform, from 2009 to 2014, and then as its chairman from 2014 to July of this year.

O’Neill’s departure as CEO is the latest significant leadership shift for Evernote, which has withstood several key executive departures over the last few months. In early September, we reported that the company had lost several senior executives, including CTO Anirban Kundu, CFO Vincent Toolan, CPO Erik Wrobel, and head of HR Michelle Wagner, as it sought funding in a potential down-round from the unicorn valuation it hit in 2012. According to TechCrunch’s sources, Evernote had struggled to grow its base of paid users and active users, as well as enterprise clients, for the last six years.

Then a few weeks later, Evernote announced that had to lay off 54 people, or about 15 percent of its workforce. O’Neill wrote a blog post about the company’s future growth strategy, including streamlining specific functions like sales so it could focus on product development and engineering.

Far-right social network Gab goes offline after GoDaddy tells it to find another domain registrar

Gab, the far-right social network that the suspect in Saturday’s mass shooting at Pittsburgh synagogue used to share anti-Semitic posts, has gone offline after GoDaddy gave it 24 hours to find a new domain provider. GoDaddy’s decision comes after PayPal, Medium, Stripe, and Joyent banned Gab’s accounts over the weekend.

Bowers may face the death penalty after being charged with 11 counts of murder and multiple hate crimes in connection to the attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, which the Anti-Defamation League said it believes is the deadliest against the Jewish community in U.S. history.

On his Gab profile, Bowers had written “jews are the children of satan” in his biography and repeatedly shared anti-Semitic content and other hate speech. Shortly before the shooting, Bowers allegedly wrote “HIAS [an organization that aids Jewish refugees] likes to bring invaders in that kill our people. I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered. Screw your optics, I’m going in.”

In an emailed statement, a GoDaddy spokesperson said Gab was told to move after breaking the domain registrar’s rules against violent content:

“We have informed Gab.com that they have 24 hours to move the domain to another registrar, as they have violated our terms of service. In response to complaints received over the weekend, GoDaddy investigated and discovered numerous instances of content on the site that both promotes and encourages violence against people.”

Gab now displays a message claiming it “is under attack” and has been “systematically no-platformed by App Stores, multiple hosting providers, and several payment processors.”

This is not the first time Gab has run afoul of its online service providers. Last year, Gab was banned from the Apple app store and Google Play for content violations. In August, Microsoft threatened to boot it from Azure web services if two anti-Semitic posts were not removed (the posts were taken down and Microsoft continued serving Gab).

After being suspended by Joyent, Gab said through its Twitter account that it would “likely be down for weeks,” but later tweeted that it would “be back soon.”

GoDaddy also stopped providing domain services to white supremacist site Daily Stormer in August 2017 after it posted an obscene article about Heather Heyer, who was killed while protesting last year’s Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

It’s a very special Gritty Halloween

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Gritty just celebrated his one month birthday. He’s already accomplished so much in his time on planet earth.

For the past month, Gritty’s brought nothing but joy to the sad people of the internet, crushed daily by Trump. Now, he’s bringing hope in the form of  homemade Gritty Halloween costumes and carved Gritty pumpkins.

Everywhere you look, there’s Gritty. And thank God.

Here’s some of the best Gritty Halloween costumes and pumpkins. There’s more to come.

This sweet lass dressed as a #DIY @gritty is seriously the most entertaining + creative #Halloween costume I’ve seen in ages! I love this town – you never know who you’re going to bump into in @haddonheights! 🏒🧟‍♀️ 🎃 #HootsandHowls pic.twitter.com/RaVdT7XvxQ

— Laura Storck (@Laura_Storck) October 21, 2018 Read more…

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Facial recognition startup Kairos founder continues to fight attempted takeover

There’s some turmoil brewing over at Miami-based facial recognition startup Kairos . Late last month, New World Angels President and Kairos board chairperson Steve O’Hara sent a letter to Kairos founder Brian Brackeen notifying him of his termination from the role of chief executive officer. The termination letter cited willful misconduct as the cause for Brackeen’s termination. Specifically, O’Hara said Brackeen misled shareholders and potential investors, misappropriated corporate funds, did not report to the board of directors and created a divisive atmosphere.

Kairos is trying to tackle the society-wide problem of discrimination in artificial intelligence. While that’s not the company’s explicit mission — it’s to provide authentication tools to businesses — algorithmic bias has long been a topic the company, especially Brackeen, has addressed.

Brackeen’s purported termination was followed by a lawsuit, on behalf of Kairos, against Brackeen, alleging theft, a breach of fiduciary duties — among other things. Brackeen, in an open letter sent a couple of days ago to shareholders — and one he shared with TechCrunch — about the “poorly constructed coup,” denies the allegations and details his side of the story. He hopes that the lawsuit will be dismissed and that he will officially be reinstated as CEO, he told TechCrunch. As it stands today, Melissa Doval who became CFO of Kairos in July, is acting as interim CEO.

“The Kairos team is amazing and resilient and has blown me away with their commitment to the brand,” Doval told TechCrunch. “I’m humbled by how everybody has just kind of stuck around in light of everything that has transpired.”

The lawsuit, filed on October 10 in Miami-Dade and spearheaded by Kairos COO Mary Wolff, alleges Brackeen “used his position as CEO and founder to further his own agenda of gaining personal notoriety, press, and a reputation in the global technology community” to the detriment of Kairos. The lawsuit describes how Brackeen spent less than 30 percent of his time in the company’s headquarters, “even though the Company was struggling financially.”

Other allegations detail how Brackeen used the company credit card to pay for personal expenses and had the company pay for a car he bought for his then-girlfriend. Kairos alleges Brackeen owes the company at least $60,000.

In his open letter, Brackeen says, “Steve, Melissa and Mary, as cause for my termination and their lawsuit against me, have accused me of stealing 60k from Kairos, comprised of non-work related travel, non-work related expenses, a laptop, and a beach club membership,” Brackeen wrote in a letter to shareholders. “Let’s talk about this. While I immediately found these accusations absurd, I had to consider that, to people on the outside of  ‘startup founder’ life— their claims could appear to be salacious, if not illegal.”

Brackeen goes on to say that none of the listed expenses — ranging from trips, meals, rides to iTunes purchases — were not “directly correlated to the business of selling Kairos to customers and investors, and growing Kairos to exit,” he wrote in the open letter. Though, he does note that there may be between $3,500 to $4,500 worth of charges that falls into a “grey area.”

“Conversely, I’ve personally invested, donated, or simply didn’t pay myself in order to make payroll for the rest of the team, to the tune of over $325,000 dollars,” he wrote. “That’s real money from my accounts.”

Regarding forcing Kairos to pay for his then-girlfriend’s car payments, Brackeen explains:

On my making Kairos ‘liable to make my girlfriend’s car payment’— in order to offset the cost of Uber rides to and from work, to meetings, the airport, etc, I determined it would be more cost effective to lease a car. Unfortunately, after having completely extended my personal credit to start and keep Kairos operating, it was necessary that the bank note on the car be obtained through her credit. The board approved the $700 per month per diem arrangement, which ended when I stopped driving the vehicle. Like their entire case— its not very sensational, when truthfully explained.

The company also claims Brackeen has interfered with the company and its affairs since his termination. Throughout his open letter, Brackeen refers to this as an “attempted termination” because, as advised by his lawyers, he has not been legally terminated. He also explains how, in the days leading up to his ouster, Brackeen was seeking to raise additional funding because in August, “we found ourselves in the position of running low on capital.” While he was presenting to potential investors in Singapore, Brackeen said that’s “when access to my email and documents was cut.”

He added, “I traveled to the other side of the world to work with my team on IP development and meet with the people who would commit to millions in investment— and was fired via voicemail the day after I returned.”

Despite the “termination” and lawsuit, O’Hara told TechCrunch via email that “in the interest of peaceful coexistence, we are open to reaching an agreement to allow Brian to remain part of the family as Founder, but not as CEO and with very limited responsibilities and no line authority.”

O’Hara also noted the company’s financials showed there was $44,000 in cash remaining at the end of September. He added, “Then reconcile it with the fact that Brian raised $6MM in 2018 and ask yourself, how does a company go through that kind of money in under 9 months.”

Within the next twelve days, there will be a shareholder vote to remove the board, as well as a vote to reinstate Brackeen as CEO, he told me. After that, Brackeen said he intends to countersue Doval, O’Hara and Wolff.

In addition to New World Angels, Kairos counts Kapor Capital, Backstage Capital and others as investors. At least one investor, Arlan Hamilton of Backstage Capital, has publicly come out in support of Brackeen.

I’m proud of @BrianBrackeen. I’m honored to be his friend. He has handled recent events with his company with grace and patience, and has every right to be screaming inside. I’ve got his back. And he & I only want the best for @LoveKairos.

Certain distractions will be fleeting.

— Arlan 👊🏾 (@ArlanWasHere) October 25, 2018

As previously mentioned, Brackeen has been pretty outspoken about the ethical concerns of facial recognition technologies. In the case of law enforcement, no matter how accurate and unbiased these algorithms are, facial recognition software has no business in law enforcement, Brackeen said at TechCrunch Disrupt in early September. That’s because of the potential for unlawful, excessive surveillance of citizens.

Given the government already has our passport photos and identification photos, “they could put a camera on Main Street and know every single person driving by,” Brackeen said.

And that’s a real possibility. In the last couple of months, Brackeen said Kairos turned down a government request from Homeland Security, seeking facial recognition software for people behind moving cars.

“For us, that’s completely unacceptable,” Brackeen said.

Whether that’s entirely unacceptable for Doval, the interim CEO of Kairos, is not clear. In an interview with TechCrunch, Doval said, “we’re committed to being a responsible and ethical vendor” and that “we’re going to continue to champion the elimination of algorithmic bias in artificial intelligence.” While that’s not a horrific thing to say, it’s much vaguer than saying, “No, we will not ever sell to law enforcement.”

Selling to law enforcement could be lucrative, but that comes with ethical risks and concerns. But if the company is struggling financially, maybe the pros could outweigh the cons.

Tesla is rolling out its Navigate on Autopilot feature

Some Tesla owners in North America will wake up to a new driver assistance feature that had been delayed for testing, according to a tweet sent Friday evening by CEO Elon Musk.

“Tesla Autopilot Drive on Navigation going to wide release in North America tonight,” Musk tweeted. Tesla Autopilot Drive on Navigation is described by the company as its most advanced driver assistance feature to date. The feature, which is typically referred to as Navigate on Autopilot or just Navigate, was held back earlier this month when the automaker released the latest version of its in-car software, 9.0.

A blog posted by Tesla later in the evening said the feature would begin to roll out this week to U.S. customers who have purchased enhanced Autopilot or full self-driving capability. Tesla has offered enhanced Autopilot and FSD capability as upgrades that cost, $5,000 and $3,000, respectively.

Tesla’s vehicles are not self-driving. Autopilot is an advanced driver assistance system. But back in October 2016, when Tesla started producing Hardware 2 vehicles equipped with a more robust suite of sensors, it also started taking money from customers for FSD, which would become available if and when the technical challenges were conquered and regulatory approvals were met. Tesla removed the option to upgrade to FSD from its website, although Musk has said customers can still request it.

Autopilot on Navigate is considered a step towards that still on-met full self-driving promise; albeit it’s a small one.

Tesla Autopilot Drive on Navigation going to wide release in North America tonight

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 27, 2018

Tesla’s 9.0 software, which was released in early October, delivered a host of improvements, including a new dash cam feature (for cars built after August 2017), improved navigation and even Atari games that can be played when parked. But Navigate was held back. It was later introduced as a beta feature to some customers in the U.S.

Navigate is an active guidance feature of the company’s Enhanced Autopilot system that is supposed to guide a car from a highway on-ramp to off-ramp, including navigating interchanges and making lane changes. Once the driver enters a destination into the navigation, they can enable “Navigate on Autopilot” for that trip.

Tesla has placed some limitations on Navigate. For now, the feature makes a lane change suggestion that requires the driver to confirm by tapping the turn signal before it will proceed.

Yes. Will require tapping indicator to confirm at first. When safety looks good after 10M miles of driving or so, there will be an option to turn off confirm.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) October 27, 2018

Future versions of Navigate on Autopilot will allow customers to waive the confirmation requirement if they choose to, according to a blog posted by Tesla late Friday evening.

In Musk’s view, the feature will require confirmation until safety “looks good after 10M miles of driving, or so.”

Navigate on Autopilot will make suggestions for two different kinds of lane changes: route-based lane changes that allow the driver to stick with the navigation route, and speed-based lane changes, which are designed to keep the vehicle moving as close to the driver’s set speed as possible.

The speed-based lane changes have four settings, including disabled, mild, average, or Mad Max. This will suggest transitions into other lanes that are moving faster if, for example, the driver approaches a slow-moving car or truck ahead. The “mild” setting suggests lane changes when the driver is traveling significantly slower than the set speed. Mad Max will suggest lane changes when traveling just below the driver’s set speed.

6 International Travel Tips You’ll Find Handy

Exploring world-class destinations, learning about unique cultures, and treating your taste buds with delicious foods is what traveling is about. And the fun of traveling multiplies if you are flying to a foreign destination, more if that’s your first international trip.

To help you prepare, here are some international travel tips you’ll find useful on your first vacation abroad.

Know Your Travel Budget

Are you traveling as a backpacker or want to bask in the luxury your hotel and airline may offer you? Knowing how much your vacation may cost you can help you budget your trip. It’s great if you already have the money in your bank. If not, take the time to prepare your budget and allocate your funds wisely.

See Also: 7 Ways To Save Money While Traveling

Create an Itinerary

create itinerary

This includes everything from the length of your trip to the attractions and landmarks you wish to explore. You don’t have to know the exact dates and time but a rough idea of when, where and for how long you’ll be staying there can greatly help you. Certainly, you wouldn’t want to be wondering what to do next with three or four more days in your hand, do you?

Book Flights and Hotels

With the internet at your disposal, once you know where you are going, booking your international flights, hotels, and activities are perhaps the easiest part of planning your trip. However, you must not be impatient to book whatever you find through your travel agent. Browse the internet and find out some great deals for yourself to make the most of your budget.

Pack Light and Right

pack light

No one likes to pay for extra bags unnecessarily! If you don’t wish to be levied with additional charges, knowing a little about the weather in your destination and packing accordingly may help you. Pack as less as possible.

Pack woolen clothes if you think it’ll be cold where you land and pack light clothes if it’s summer there. Don’t forget to pack a few waterproof jackets, a poncho, and a light sweater if your destination tends to experience rain a lot. This practice will also allow some space for you to bring home some keepsakes for your loved ones.

Buy travel insurance

We all want our vacations to be full of happy moments and great experiences, but that’s not always the case. For not-so-pleasant situations while traveling, such as lost baggage, health issues or trip interruption, you must buy travel insurance. Speak with your travel agent or ask people you know for recommendations and have an insurance that provides great services.

See Also: How To Stay Safe and Prevent Theft While Traveling

Automate Your Bills

A missed credit card payment or mortgage repayment may be the last thing you would like to discover after you are back from your vacation. You can automate your personal finances to ensure that your dues are paid on time while you are on a flight, sleeping in your hotel room or clicking pictures of a breathtaking sight before you. Do it and save yourself from incurring late charges.

The post 6 International Travel Tips You’ll Find Handy appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Tiffany Haddish and Jimmy Fallon throw down ’90s bangers in a Lip Sync Battle

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Ready for the fastest feet you’ve seen today?

For the latest instalment of his wildly popular “Lip Sync Battle” segment, Fallon invited Saturday Night Live favourite Tiffany Haddish into the arena.

Both kicked off with some solid ’90s nostalgia. Fallon shimmied through Deee-Lite’s 1990 banger “Groove Is in the Heart,” but Haddish absolutely nailed the Lady of Rage’s 1994 track “Afro Puffs.” 

The late show host picked Post Malone’s “Psycho,” which seemed to slow the pace, but Fallon picked it up with a few of the rapper’s signature face tattoos. But Haddish went old school for James Brown’s “Get Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine” with some highly fancy footwork. Read more…

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China’s NIO invests in LiDAR startup Innovusion

Innovusion, a two-year-old startup developing LiDAR sensor technology for autonomous vehicles, has raised $30 million in a Series A funding round co-led by Chinese firms Nio Capital and Eight Roads Ventures along with U.S.-based F-Prime Capital.

Other seed round and strategic investors joined the round, the startup said.

Nio Capital is the venture arm of Nio, the Chinese electric automaker aiming to compete with Tesla. Nio, which raised $1 billion when it debuted on the New York Stock Exchange in September, has operations in the U.S., U.K. and Germany, although it only sells its ES8 vehicle in China.

Innovusion, which was founded in November 2016, says it will use the funding to scale up its operations, specifically to ramp up production of its light detection and ranging sensor system called Innovusion Cheetah. The company began shipping samples of the system in the second quarter of 2018 and is beginning to take customer orders.

The round of funding will allow the Los Altos, California-based company to expand its R&D team and manufacturing facilities to more quickly develop, market and deliver Innovusion Cheetah LiDAR to customers around the world, according to Junwei Bao, the company’s co-founder and CEO. The company primarily is targeting customers in China and the U.S.

LiDAR is used by companies developing autonomous vehicles to detect and measure objects on the road around them. Most of the companies testing AVs believe LiDAR is an essential sensor required to deploy self-driving vehicles safely on public roads. It’s what has propelled demand for LiDAR and, in turn, an array of startups to pop up and try capture market share away from Velodyne, the long-time dominant leader in the space.

The Accomplishment Journal: A Yardstick Against Your Life

Have you ever gathered all of your professional and personal accomplishments into a single document?

An accomplishment journal isn’t equal to your CV, credentials or acquired skills. It’s a simple bullet list of your achievements that you’ve completed throughout your life or over the recent years.

Whether you are about to change careers, set stretching goals or just need a yardstick to measure where you are now, an accomplishment journal will let you address tough questions.

Let’s jump in and see what an accomplishment journal can offer and how to create one.

How do I keep an accomplishment journal?

accomplishment journals

It was a course I took on Coursera―one of the largest online learning platforms―when I first came across the idea of the accomplishment journal (credit to Charles Duquette and the Coursera community). I quickly embraced the concept and scheduled a one-on-one meeting with myself to create one.

Then, I faced a painful experience. It dawned on me that, despite my degrees, credentials and almost 10 years of work experience, I could hardly put any measurable accomplishments onto paper. Still, I persevered and finally hammered out a nice list of accomplishments. Well, it’s not so easy to get everything measured, but once you get the idea, it will be a lot easier and fun.

Your accomplishment journal should be composed of accomplishment statements. Begin your statement with an action verb and use the simple past tense. Be as specific as you can. Name things by their names and underpin your statements with exact numbers wherever possible. The key here is to be measurable. No place for rambling here.

For example, you could put an accomplishment statement like this: “Authored 13 guest posts in top-ranking productivity magazines with a total number of 152 comments.”

As a backup of your statement, articulate the antecedents, the steps you took to move things forward, the competencies you needed, and the deliverables. You could then make use of all these pieces of information as you will see later in this post.

Your journal can be a physical bullet journal. A note-taking app like Evernote or even a mind mapping tool will do the trick as well. Whatever platform you use for journaling, keep it simple and easily available for future references. The latter is the subject we continue with.

How do I harness my accomplishment journal?

writing accomplishment journal

Let’s assume you’ve gathered all your accomplishments and put them in a journal. The next step is to claim your benefit.

Have a look at your list and ask yourself the following questions: What are my enjoyable accomplishments? Are there any? How could I build on them? What steps could I take to get more enjoyable accomplishments done?

Maybe, it’s time to change careers, harness your dormant skills or negotiate with your boss for more deep work.

If you’re preparing for a job interview, it’s mandatory that you consider your accomplishment journal first. It’s very likely that you’ll meet some tough questions about your accomplishments and a list can help you with that.

Carefully selected accomplishment statements would perfectly fit into your CV as well. If you keep your accomplishment journal updated, you no longer have to spend hours updating your resume. You would just pick up those accomplishments that are in line with your targeted position and fine-tune them if necessary.

Your journal will best serve you if you keep it fresh and to the point. I suggest that you schedule a regular update of your accomplishment journal. I would prefer a monthly update, but a quarterly update is highly recommended. Group, rethink, and rephrase your statements as frequently as you need.

See Also: Inspiring Journaling Prompts To Help Re-Shape Your Life

Final thoughts

I found that an accomplishment journal takes minimum effort to assemble, but it really pays off in the long run. It can assist you when applying for a job or building your career further.

More importantly, it may serve as a yardstick against your life. It may point you in the right direction and keep you on track.

Give it a try and schedule a meeting with yourself now to put all your accomplishments together.

See Also: 5 Benefits of Journaling To Inspire and Motivate You

The post The Accomplishment Journal: A Yardstick Against Your Life appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Tesla to bring portion of Model 3 production to China next year

Tesla, which reported its first quarterly profits in two years Wednesday, is looking to extend its earnings streak by bringing its new Model 3 to customers beyond North America. And part of that plan involves accelerating its manufacturing plans in China.

Tesla saw its revenue skyrocket to $6.8 billion in the third quarter (and a $312 million profit) thanks to sales of its new Model 3 vehicle, despite production bottlenecks and more recent issues with delivery logistics. The company was able to achieve that profitability milestone just through sales in the U.S. and Canada. That leaves two other massive markets on the table. Cue Europe and China.

Tesla said Wednesday it will start to take orders for the Model 3 in Europe and China before the end of 2018. Tesla said it will begin deliveries of the Model 3 to Europe early next year.

“The mid-sized premium sedan market in Europe is more than twice as big as the same segment in the U.S.,” Tesla said in its shareholder letter released Wednesday. “This is why we are excited to bring Model 3 to Europe early next year.”

Notably, the company is further accelerating its timeline for China and said it will bring portions of Model 3 production to the country next year.

“We are aiming to bring portions of Model 3 production to China during 2019 and to progressively increase the level of localization through local sourcing and manufacturing,” Tesla said in its earnings report. “Production in China will be designated only for local customers.”

Tesla said earlier this month it plans for as rapid build out of a factory in China. But there’s something new here. The term “portions of Model 3 production” is the important phrase. This could be referring to a term used in the manufacturing world known as a complete knock down. CKD is basically a kit of non-assembled parts of a product, like say a Model 3. It’s a strategy used to avoid tariffs when shipping to foreign countries.

Tesla has plans to build a factory in Shanghai, but construction hasn’t even begun yet.

The company secured in October rights to about 210 acres of land in Lingang, Shanghai, the site of the electric automaker’s planned factory and its first outside of the U.S.

Tesla warned in its production and delivery report in early October that tariffs, combined with the cost of shipping its vehicles via ocean carrier and the lack of access to cash incentives available to locally produced electric vehicles, has put the company at a disadvantage in China. Tesla reiterated those cost constraints in its third-quarter earnings report.

Tesla reached a deal in July with the Shanghai government to build a factory that it says will be capable of producing 500,000 electric vehicles a year. Once construction begins, it will take about two years until Tesla can produce vehicles. It will be another “two to three years before the factory is fully ramped up to produce around 500,000 vehicles per year for Chinese customers,” a Tesla spokesman said at the time.

Yahoo agrees $50M settlement package for users hit by massive security breach

One of the largest consumer internet hacks has bred one of the largest class action settlements after Yahoo agreed to pay $50 million to victims of a security breach that’s said to have affected up to 200 million U.S. consumers and some three billion email accounts worldwide.

In what appears to be the closing move to the two-year-old lawsuit, Yahoo — which is now part of Verizon’s Oath business [which is the parent company of TechCrunch] — has proposed to pay $50 million in compensation to an estimated 200 million users in the U.S. and Israel, according to a court filing.

In addition, the company will cover up to $35 million on lawyer fees related to the case and provide affected users in the U.S. with credit monitoring services for two years via AllClear, a package that would retail for around $350. There are also compensation options for small business and individuals to claim back costs for losses associated with the hacks. That could include identity theft, delayed tax refunds and any other issues related to data lost at the hands of the breaches. Finally, those who paid for premium Yahoo email services are eligible for a 25 percent refund.

The deal is subject to final approval from U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of the Northern District of California at a hearing slated for November 29.

Since Yahoo is now part of Oath, the costs will be split 50-50 between Oath and Altaba, the holding company that owns what is left of Yahoo following the acquisition. Altaba last month revealed it had agreed to pay $47 million to settle three legal cases related to the landmark security breach.

Yahoo estimates that three billion accounts were impacted by a series of breaches that began in 2013. The intrusion is believed to have been state-sponsored attack by Russia, although no strong evidence has been provided to support that claim.

The incident wasn’t reported publicly until 2016, just months after Verizon announced that it would acquire Yahoo’s core business in a $4.8 billion deal.

At the time, Yahoo estimated that the incident had affected “at least” 500 million users but it later emerged that data on all of Yahoo’s three billion users had been swiped. A second attack a year later stole information that included email and passwords belonging to 500 million Yahoo account holders. Unsurprisingly, the huge attacks saw Verizon negotiate a $350 million discount on the deal.

Apple’s subscription TV service might be coming sooner than you think

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Apple’s competitor to Netflix and Amazon Prime Video is apparently just around the corner.

According to a report by The Information, Apple is set to launch a subscription TV service in the U.S. within the first half of next year.

In the months following the U.S. launch, the service will become available in more than 100 countries around the world, matching the availability of the aforementioned streaming giants.

The service will feature original Apple series, of which the tech giant has been slowly building on, and allow users to subscribe to TV network subscriptions as one can already do through Amazon Channels or Roku.  Read more…

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How To Choose the Best TENS Unit for Home Use

TENS machines come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and features. As a first time buyer, the long list of choices can frustrate, overwhelm and confuse you all at the same time.

Since TENS units for home use promise pain relief without the nasty side effects you can get from pain medications, you’d want to make sure you get one that’s effective and convenient to use.

In choosing the best TENS unit for home use, here are the 5 most important factors you need to consider.

Modes

Different types of pain respond to different electronic pulses or modes. With that, you need to make sure that your unit can be set in various modes. With most high-quality TENS unit, that won’t be a problem. However, in some low-end models, your options may be limited as they generally work with one or two models.

Choosing a TENS unit with multiple options can make the experience more enjoyable. It’s what will make the unit more effective in providing pain relief.

Battery Life

choosing best tens unit
Via thewirecutter.com

There are units that can work well on a 9-volt battery or 3 AAA batteries. While they look like a convenient and practical choice, they can increase the annual cost of using a TENS unit on a daily basis.

A high-quality device that works on a lithium battery is actually a better choice. It can take you weeks or even a full month of using the unit before you need to recharge it.

Additionally, a TENS unit working on a lithium battery can save you from the hassle and stress of constantly changing dead batteries.

Power Level

You need one that feels intense but won’t hurt. Now, this is tricky since people don’t have the same pain tolerance.

With most low priced TENS machines, their highest level may still not be enough to provide their promised benefits. So, what customers eventually do is upgrade their units to something better. This is simply a waste of money.

To avoid that mistake, get a TENS unit with a wide range of power. That way, you’ll be able to set your unit to your preferred intensity.

Number of Electronic Pads

The more electronic pads you have, the wider area of your body you’ll be able to cover. If you have multiple areas of pain or you’re suffering from multiple injuries, try to get a unit with multi-channel outputs.

Budget

You don’t necessarily have to spend a lot on a TENS unit for home use. However, you need to understand that a unit’s price will affect the features you’ll get. As mentioned, low-priced models may fall short when it comes to modes, battery life and even power level.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you won’t be able to enjoy a TENS machine at home just because you are on a tight budget. The trick here is to know exactly what you need. Don’t spend a lot of money on a unit with features you don’t really want or need.

Ease of Use

For someone who’s new to using a TENS machine at home, the idea of operating it on your own can be nerve-wracking. With that, find a unit that’s easy to use. You should also consider getting a unit with a user-friendly interface and buttons with clear and easy-to-read labels.

There are machines that are compatible with smartphones. Some of them even come with their own dedicated apps and downloading them on your phone can make it possible for you to control your session with just your handset.

There are units that allow users to pre-set programs, making them easy to use. Others feature options to customize intensity and frequency to give you maximum control.

Life of the TENS pads

Quality electrode pads should last for months even with daily use. Low priced replacements pads, on the other hand, wear out easily and quickly which means that you will have to purchase new ones more frequently. This can skyrocket the cost of using a TENS unit over time.

In addition to inquiring about the life of the TENS pads, you should also ask about their price. Those pads, in general, don’t come cheap but they don’t have to burn holes in your wallet. Choosing an expensive set of TENS pads that will last long is better than buying low priced TENS pads that wear out in just a few weeks.

Customer Service

great customer service

Believe it or not, this is one of the most important factors you need to consider when buying a TENS unit. Should something go wrong with your machine, there should be someone to assist you and answer your questions concerning the unit. A reputable company can easily address that.

Apart from the quality of customer service a brand has, you should also ask about its return policy. If you notice that your unit isn’t working as it should or you’re just generally unhappy with it, you should be able to return the machine without encountering a lot of issues.

Portability

Since you are looking for a unit you can use at home, it’s a good idea to consider its size. A small and compact TENS unit will make it easy for you to use the machine anywhere in the house. A small size also means better portability. You’ll be able to take it with you when you travel or work.

Treatment Timer

Most TENS machines have treatment timers as an added feature. A timer allows you to set your desired time for the treatment and automatically shuts off the unit when that time runs out. While it’s not that necessary, a timer makes your TENS unit more convenient.

Conclusion

Choosing the best TENS unit for home use isn’t easy. You have to be thoroughly informed if you want to find a unit that will fit your needs. With this list, you should be able to have a clearer idea about what you want and don’t want in a quality TENS machine.

The post How To Choose the Best TENS Unit for Home Use appeared first on Dumb Little Man.

Oracle acquires DataFox, a developer of ‘predictive intelligence as a service’ across millions of company records

Oracle today announced that it has made another acquisition, this time to enhance both the kind of data that it can provide to its business customers, and its artificial intelligence capabilities: it is buying DataFox, a startup that has amassed a huge company database — currently covering 2.8 million public and private businesses, adding 1.2 million each year — and uses AI to analyse that to make larger business predictions. The business intelligence resulting from that service can in turn be used for a range of CRM-related services: prioritising sales accounts, finding leads, and so on.

“The combination of Oracle and DataFox will enhance Oracle Cloud Applications with an extensive set of AI-derived company-level data and signals, enabling customers to reach even better decisions and business outcomes,” noted Steve Miranda, EVP of applications development at Oracle, in a note to DataFox customers announcing the deal. He said that DataFox will sit among Oracle’s existing portfolio of business planning services like ERP, CX, HCM and SCM. “Together, Oracle and DataFox will enrich cloud applications with AI-driven company-level data, powering recommendations to elevate business performance across the enterprise.”

Terms of the deal do not appear to have been disclosed but we are trying to find out. DataFox — which launched in 2014 as a contender in the TC Battlefield at Disrupt — had raised just under $19 million and was last valued at $33 million back in January 2017, according to PitchBook. Investors in the company included Slack, GV, Howard Linzon, and strategic investor Goldman Sachs among others.

Oracle said that it is not committing to a specific product roadmap for DataFox longer term, but for now it will be keeping the product going as is for those who are already customers. The startup counted Goldman Sachs, Bain & Company and Twilio among those using its services. 

The deal is interesting for a couple of reasons. First, it shows that larger platform providers are on the hunt for more AI-driven tools to provide an increasingly sophisticated level of service to customers. Second, in this case, it’s a sign of how content remains a compelling proposition, when it is presented and able to be manipulated for specific ends. Many customer databases can get old and out of date, so the idea of constantly trawling information sources in order to create the most accurate record of businesses possible is a very compelling idea to anyone who has faced the alternative, and that goes even more so in sales environments when people are trying to look their sharpest.

It also shows that, although both companies have evolved quite a lot, and there are many other alternatives on the market, Oracle remains in hot competition with Salesforce for customers and are hoping to woo and keep more of them with the better, integrated innovations. That also points to Oracle potentially cross and up-selling people who come to them by way of DataFox, which is an SaaS that pitches itself very much as something anyone can subscribe to online.

Hear a brand new song from ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ in latest trailer

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There’s a dolphin in the bath and a brand new song in the latest trailer for Mary Poppins Returns.

As everyone’s favourite magical, singing nanny, Emily Blunt takes the lead in a new original track for the Disney sequel, called “Can You Imagine That?” and teased in a clip released Monday. 

Directed by Rob Marshall, the film features all new original songs by Broadway stalwarts Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, and a musical score by Shaiman.

The teaser also appears to feature a few aesthetic throwbacks to Poppins classics like “Jolly Holiday” and “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” but foregrounds the original track. And many, many dolphins. Read more…

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