Appiness.io blog

23 Jun 2017
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Weekend Roundup: Spotlight On The Apprentice

It is where Donald Trump’s reality-TV persona from “The Apprentice” meets his presidency that he can make the most significant difference for the “left behind” constituencies that voted for him. Last week, President Trump issued an executive order calling for the doubling of funding for apprenticeship grants in the United States ― a key area, like infrastructure, where a consensus can be built across America’s divided politics.

In an interview with The WorldPost this week, former U.S. Treasury Secretary Larry Summers makes Trump’s case: “We don’t do anything for people who don’t go to college. They are left to either sink or swim, and mostly they sink. I’m thinking here of the kind of vocational apprentice arrangements that Germany has implemented successfully.” Summers also argues for international economic policies that benefit the average person more than the global corporations, such as closing tax loopholes and shutting down tax havens as a priority over securing intellectual property protection for pharmaceutical companies. “Right now,” he says, “when we discuss the global economy, we mainly talk about things that improve ‘competitiveness’ and are painful to the regular worker.”

Alongside greater investment in public higher education, on-the-job vocational training is essential to creating workforce opportunities not only in a global economy, but, more importantly, when faced with the perpetual disruptions of digital capitalism. As economist Laura Tyson points out, “about 80 percent of the loss in U.S. manufacturing jobs over the last three decades was a result of labor-saving and productivity-enhancing technological change, with trade coming a distant second.” Constantly adjusting to an ever-shifting recomposition of the knowledge-driven innovation economy is only possible if skills remain aligned to the needs of employers.

Brookings Institution policy analyst Mark Muro thinks the president managed to get the big things right with his executive order. “In noting that a four-year college degree isn’t for everyone,” Muro writes, “he spoke reasonably about the potential of paid, hands-on workplace experiences that train workers and link them to employers. In addition, Trump rightly underscored the need for industry — rather than the government — to play the largest role in structuring those experiences.” Tamar Jacoby, president of Opportunity America, a Washington-based nonprofit working to promote economic mobility, concurs that industry, not government, knows best what skills they need. “After more than two years of unlikely promises — to restore coal mining, end offshoring and recreate the manufacturing jobs of a bygone era,” writes Jacoby, “the president is finally focusing on a solution that could make a difference for the working-class voters who elected him: skills.” 

Writing from Munich on her way to an international gathering on apprenticeships, Jobs for the Future’s Nancy Hoffman emphasizes that the most successful programs “combine structured learning in a workplace with credit-bearing community college course-taking so that a student arrives at completion of the apprenticeship not just with job-related skills, but with a useable transferable credential as well.” Joshua Pearce, who heads Michigan Tech’s Open Sustainability Technology Lab, completes the picture. “A relatively minor investment in retraining,” he says, “would allow the majority of coal workers to switch to solar-related positions.”

But not everyone is completely on board. McKinsey & Company’s Mona Mourshed offers a cautious note: only around 30 percent of youth employment programs have proven effective, according to World Bank estimates. “The hallmarks of an effective program,” she writes, “are employer engagement, a practice-based curriculum, student support services and a commitment to measuring results post-program.”

Stanford University economist Eric Hanushek is even more skeptical that the U.S. can replicate the successful German model of apprenticeship, because failing K-12 schools in America are not providing young people entering the workforce with the requisite cognitive skills to effectively prepare them for an uncertain future.

Bolstering vocational apprenticeship programs in the U.S. is imperative to enabling non-college-educated Americans to find work in a continually churning economy. But, clearly, much work will have to be done to realize that imperative itself.

Other highlights in The WorldPost this week:

WHO WE ARE  

 

EDITORS: Nathan Gardels, Co-Founder and Executive Advisor to the Berggruen Institute, is the Editor-in-Chief of The WorldPost. Kathleen Miles is the Executive Editor of The WorldPost. Farah Mohamed is the Managing Editor of The WorldPost. Alex Gardels and Peter Mellgard are the Associate Editors of The WorldPost. Suzanne Gaber is the Editorial Assistant of The WorldPost. Rosa O’Hara is the Social Editor of The WorldPost. Katie Nelson is News Director at HuffPost, overseeing The WorldPost and HuffPost’s news coverage. Nick Robins-Early and Jesselyn Cook are World Reporters.

EDITORIAL BOARD: Nicolas Berggruen, Nathan Gardels, Arianna Huffington, Eric Schmidt (Google Inc.), Pierre Omidyar (First Look Media), Juan Luis Cebrian (El Pais/PRISA), Walter Isaacson (Aspen Institute/TIME-CNN), John Elkann (Corriere della Sera, La Stampa), Wadah Khanfar (Al Jazeera) and Yoichi Funabashi (Asahi Shimbun).

VICE PRESIDENT OF OPERATIONS: Dawn Nakagawa.

CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Moises Naim (former editor of Foreign Policy), Nayan Chanda (Yale/Global; Far Eastern Economic Review) and Katherine Keating (One-On-One). Sergio Munoz Bata and Parag Khanna are Contributing Editors-At-Large.

The Asia Society and its ChinaFile, edited by Orville Schell, is our primary partner on Asia coverage. Eric X. Li and the Chunqiu Institute/Fudan University in Shanghai and Guancha.cn also provide first person voices from China. We also draw on the content of China Digital Times. Seung-yoon Lee is The WorldPost link in South Korea.

Jared Cohen of Google Ideas provides regular commentary from young thinkers, leaders and activists around the globe. Bruce Mau provides regular columns from MassiveChangeNetwork.com on the “whole mind” way of thinking. Patrick Soon-Shiong is Contributing Editor for Health and Medicine.

ADVISORY COUNCIL: Members of the Berggruen Institute’s 21st Century Council and Council for the Future of Europe serve as theAdvisory Council — as well as regular contributors — to the site. These include, Jacques Attali, Shaukat Aziz, Gordon Brown, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Juan Luis Cebrian, Jack Dorsey, Mohamed El-Erian, Francis Fukuyama, Felipe Gonzalez, John Gray, Reid Hoffman, Fred Hu, Mo Ibrahim, Alexei KudrinPascal Lamy, Kishore Mahbubani, Alain Minc, Dambisa Moyo, Laura Tyson, Elon MuskPierre Omidyar, Raghuram Rajan, Nouriel RoubiniNicolas SarkozyEric Schmidt, Gerhard Schroeder, Peter SchwartzAmartya SenJeff Skoll, Michael Spence, Joe Stiglitz, Larry SummersWu Jianmin, George Yeo, Fareed Zakaria, Ernesto Zedillo, Ahmed Zewail and Zheng Bijian.

From the Europe group, these include: Marek Belka, Tony BlairJacques Delors, Niall Ferguson, Anthony Giddens, Otmar IssingMario MontiRobert Mundell, Peter Sutherland and Guy Verhofstadt.

MISSION STATEMENT

The WorldPost is a global media bridge that seeks to connect the world and connect the dots. Gathering together top editors and first person contributors from all corners of the planet, we aspire to be the one publication where the whole world meets.

We not only deliver breaking news from the best sources with original reportage on the ground and user-generated content; we bring the best minds and most authoritative as well as fresh and new voices together to make sense of events from a global perspective looking around, not a national perspective looking out.

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21 Jun 2017
by Admin
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People Are Apparently Spending $400 On A Machine That Brews Tea

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Welcome to 2017, the year in which your kitchen counter could very well host a fancy Keurig for making coffee, a pricey Juicero for making juice you don’t need the Juicero to make, and a new $400 device for making tea

The app-enabled Teforia Leaf claims to brew tea to perfection, as opposed to whatever pedestrian bag-dunking method you’re using. Depending on the type of its branded tea you crave, the gadget employs a series of short “microinfusions” and adjusts elements like water temperature and volume to “unlock each tea’s true character and depth of flavor,” per a description on Williams-Sonoma.com.

Gizmodo reviewer Libby Watson, a “literal British person” who drinks tea, reported the complexity of it all gave her an “existential crisis” while making her first cup. The tea, she concluded after questioning everything she ever knew about tea, was “fine.” And of course, some Twitter users were quick to chime in, critiquing the gadget as unnecessary and expensive since, you know, making decent tea really isn’t that hard. 

Teforia Leaf hit the market last week as a cheaper version of the $999 (!) Teforia Classic, which debuted in 2015. The Leaf is currently available only online via the Teforia websiteWilliams-Sonoma and Amazon, where it has mostly positive reviews for its beauty and flavors.

Its $399 price tag includes 15 “Sips,” Teforia’s answer to K-Cups, which come in “varietals” from classic Earl Grey to more adventurous “Velvet Rubies” black tea. Just plug one in, and Teforia Leaf brews your specific tea to alleged perfection with its “advanced algorithms.” 

One thing it can’t do is go in the dishwasher: “The Carafe and the Globe are not dishwasher-safe, which seems to really miss the point of being rich enough to spend $400 on a tea machine,” Watson points out. 

Wild as it sounds, the Teforia Leaf does have a benefit: Optimal brewing time and water temperature do indeed vary by tea type, and while we humans may not often take time to consult the rules, Teforia knows them by heart. 

However, that certainty comes with costs, both financial and in time spent washing the gadget. The Sips pods (between $1 and $6.50 when purchased individually) are recyclable, but you’ll need to separate them into three pieces and mail the lids back to Teforia in order to dispose of them properly.

Sounds like the regular ol’ brew-and-pour method would be easier, indeed.

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21 Jun 2017
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What’s Next For Uber?

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Uber CEO Travis Kalanick metaphorically exited a moving vehicle Tuesday night and resigned from his position atop the company.

What challenges should Uber’s next CEO expect to tackle first? We asked some experts, and one thing is clear: Whoever lands behind the wheel should expect full throttle from Day One.

Jeff Reid, a professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business and the founding director of the school’s entrepreneurship initiative, said success will flow from an improved corporate culture, which could start with filling the company’s numerous senior vacancies with “people with great integrity and the right gravitas.”

“I think the first thing you’ve got to do is clean up the culture. And that means putting the right people in place,” Reid said. The right management team, and accompanying management systems, will signal to employees, customers and Uber drivers “that things are truly going to change.”

Having the right people in place starts at the very top, Evan Rawley, a professor at Columbia Business School and an expert on corporate strategy and entrepreneurship, explained to HuffPost in an email.

Uber doesn’t need a visionary anymore, they need a capable pair of hands to steer the ship.

Rawley said Uber needs a new CEO who is an outsider, with experience running a big tech company.

“Uber doesn’t need a visionary anymore, they need a capable pair of hands to steer the ship through some known challenges,” Rawley explained. Those challenges include “fixing the culture, competition with Lyft, international competition, fixing or selling off the autonomous car business, dealing with regulators, [and] managing driver relationships.”

Reid and Rawley both said Uber also needs to put serious effort into recruiting and hiring a trustworthy chief financial officer.

Uber has attracted substantial amounts of outside investment, but it’s no secret the company is burning through money and needs to get its cash flow under control.

“The biggest issue for Uber is how to generate enough cash to fund internal investments,” said Rawley. “If they have to go back to the capital markets with so much red ink flowing, the current investors will take a huge haircut on their investment.”

Rawley also suggested a new Uber leadership team may view this as an opportune time to raise prices to help increase cashflow, and to bring in an external consulting firm like McKinsey & Co. “to ‘professionalize’ the organization.” 

You have to keep the drivers happy at the same time you’re investing in technology that might replace them. That’s not an easy task.

As for self-driving cars, Reid said it makes sense for Uber to continue devoting significant resources to develop the technology. He noted a new CEO will have to focus more on the company’s drivers as well.

“You have to keep the drivers happy at the same time you’re investing in technology that might replace them. That’s not an easy task,” Reid said. “But if you stop doing the things that are clearly manipulative in relation to drivers, that’s a good first step.”

Despite substantial challenges, Reid was optimistic about Uber’s potential.

“Uber has transformed the transportation industry. If they continue to innovate and work on the core business model, then I think they should continue to be successful,” Reid said. “But the self-inflicted wounds are significant.”

The CEO role isn’t Uber’s only vacancy. Take a look at how much the company’s top leadership has crumbled in the last six months:

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20 Jun 2017
by Admin
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Uber Pulls A U-Turn, Decides Tipping Is OK After All

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Uber reversed itself Tuesday and said it will allow tipping of drivers.

Drivers in Seattle, Minneapolis and Houston can receive gratuities from passengers through the Uber smartphone app beginning Tuesday, and tipping will be allowed elsewhere in the U.S. by the end of July.

The ride-hailing company announced the policy U-turn as part of its “180 days of change” initiative that aims to improve conditions for drivers. The company is trying to cut down on driver turnover. Only 4 percent of Uber drivers stick with the company for more than a year, a study found, and compensation is the primary reason for leaving.

Uber called the change “the right thing to do” and “long overdue” in a company blog post.

Uber competitor Lyft has allowed tipping since 2012. As of Monday, its drivers have collected more than $250 million in tips.

New York’s Independent Drivers Guild, which represents 50,000 ride-hailing drivers in New York City, welcomed the news as a big step toward better wages.

“Today’s tipping announcement is an important win for drivers and proves that thousands of drivers coming together with one voice can make big changes,“ Jim Conigliaro Jr, founder of the group, said in a statement emailed to HuffPost.

“Cuts to driver pay across the ride-hail industry have made tipping income more important than ever,” Conigliaro said. “We were proud to lead the way on this fight on behalf of drivers in New York City and across the nation. This is an important first step toward a more fair ride-hail industry.”

Uber also announced seven other policy changes for drivers, including eliminating unpaid wait times, an increased base fare for teenage passengers, and the option for drivers to pick up and drop off passengers while en route to a pre-set destination. 

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19 Jun 2017
by Admin
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This 10-Year-Old Is Creating A Device To Prevent Infants From Dying In Hot Cars

After Bishop Curry heard his neighbor’s 6-month-old infant died from being in an overheated car, he decided to create a life-saving device to prevent incidents like this from reoccurring ― as any responsible 10-year-old would.

“It kind of came in my head,” Bishop told HuffPost of his device, the Oasis. 

The Oasis would respond to rising temperatures by emitting cool air and use an antenna to signal parents and authorities. At the moment, Bishop only has a 3-D clay model of the device, but his father, Bishop Curry IV, began a GoFundMe campaign for the Oasis in January.

“I got lots of help from my parents,” Bishop said. 

Attorneys advised the family that the minimum amount they’d need for prototyping and manufacturing fees, as well as a patent for the device, is $20,000. 

The GoFundMe campaign has already exceeded that $20,000 goal and, as of Monday, has raised over $23,700. Bishop, who will begin sixth grade in the fall, told Fox News last week that in addition to his parents, his classmates and friends are fully behind him on his projects. 

“They want to work for me,” he said. 

Last June, CNN reported that the number of hot-car deaths had nearly tripled compared to the same time in 2015, which had 24 hot-car deaths in total.

When Curry grows up, he wants to center his career around inventions, including a time machine. 

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17 Jun 2017
by Admin
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Someone Trolled A GOP Senator By Signing Him Up To Nickelback Emails

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) is not diggin’ this at all.

On Friday, he tweeted that someone had signed several of his email accounts up to Nickelback promotional newsletters. “It’s. Not. Funny,” he wrote:

While signing people up to spam email is never to be condoned, Sasse does have major form in trolling the Canadian rock band himself.

Over the past 16 months, he’s repeatedly used Twitter to poke fun at the group:

It’s also not the first time someone has added Sasse to the band’s mailing list:

Sasse said the office of Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) was behind the latest prank:

Hatch’s office hasn’t confirmed its role in the joke, but did use the opportunity to indulge in some more trolling:

Sasse saw the funny side, as did many of his Twitter followers:

Some Twitter users, however, used the exchange to quiz both Sasse and Hatch over the GOP’s health care reform:

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17 Jun 2017
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Mark Hamill Expertly Mocks The Fake News Of His Own Death

Mark Hamill got the chance to write his own amusing obituary after fake news of his death spread online Friday.

The “Star Wars” actor mourned himself after a fake account falsely purporting to be from HuffPost claimed that he’d died:

“MUCH OF NATION MOURNS-RIP,” wrote Hamill in response to the lie.

He also dubbed himself a “wonderful-underrated” and “beloved icon” who was “truly a legend in his own mind.” He ended the post with the hashtags #SoGladIGotToMeetHim and #KindaSad.

Twitter has since suspended the fake @HuffPoGlobalPol account, but Hamill later shared this screenshot of the post to give context to his eulogy:

It’s not the first time this year that Hamill has been prematurely declared dead by people on the internet. He responded in similar hilarious style in February:

Hamill’s wry response to the latest bogus news of his demise appeared to delight many of his fans:

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16 Jun 2017
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You Probably Didn’t Hear The White House Announced Games At E3, Too

On Thursday, the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) ― where the video game industry announces their future plans ― wrapped up and now the gaming world has a bunch of new titles to look forward to.

But you probably didn’t know that the White House, perhaps as a way to distract from the Trump presidency, also announced some new games at E3. We’re excited to try them!

 

Angry Tweets

Fire a barrage of offensive tweets at people who stand in your way. Take them down with non-sensical bullying and made-up facts all while trying to gain the favorites and retweets of your dedicated army of Twitter sheep and bots!

 

Character Assassin’s Creed

Slander the good names of your enemies from the shadows of your social media accounts, spokespeople and children! Use your relationships with seedy characters for personal gains, all while delivering intentionally false information to your minions.

 

Fallout 4 VR

This fully immersive 360-adventure takes you inside the Trump White House as it implodes on a daily basis. From the president’s unseen tantrums to Mike Pence’s secret side hugs with women who aren’t his wife, you’ll experience the circus first-hand!  

 

Maddening 18

You live in a world with a 24-hour news cycle, each news item more infuriating than the last. Tackle an unyielding social media landscape and administration whose stance changes every day! While navigating a field of trolls and pundits, can you preserve your sanity and maintain a healthy personal life with family and friends?

 

Spicer-Man

You’ve been given great power and with that comes great responsibility. Dodge and weave through news reporters’ tough questions and keep up the charade for as long as you can! How long can you defend utter lunacy while hanging by a thread?

 

Debtroid 6: Bankruptcies

We’re under attack by creditors and bankruptcy lawyers! Your experience with failing businesses makes you uniquely qualified and the galaxy’s last remaining hope to defend Earth from the forces of debt!

 

Midwest Earth: Shadow Of Supporters

The world of men who still support your leadership is failing fast. With a record low approval rating, your only solution is to resign, then deliver your fourth wedding ring of power to the fires of Mount Ivanka.

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15 Jun 2017
by Admin
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Look At How Uber’s Top Leadership Has Crumbled

Once the darling of the sharing economy, Uber is knee-deep in a PR crisis pileup with few executives left to guide it back into Silicon Valley’s good graces.

In the last six months, the ride-hailing app has hemorrhaged high-ranking leaders as allegations of sexual harassment, a toxic workplace culture, corporate subterfuge and profiteering came to light and played out in viral social media campaigns ― and those are apparently just the tip of the iceberg. 

The intense public scrutiny was enough for CEO Travis Kalanick, who was caught on video chewing out an Uber driver who questioned the company’s compensation policies in February, to admit he needed “leadership help.” If the vacancies at the top of Uber’s ranks indicate anything, the whole company needs it.

Take a look for yourself:

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14 Jun 2017
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KFC Launches Chicken Sandwich Into Space Next Week

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It’s one small step for a chicken sandwich, and one giant leap for fast food.

On June 21, KFC plans to launch its Zinger chicken sandwich into a space via a high-altitude solar-powered balloon known as a “stratollite,” a word combining “stratosphere” and “satellite.”

The chicken sandwich will zip up to about 28.5 miles above Earth ― not quite the 62-mile threshold to be considered to be the edge of space, but, as the New York Times notes, it’s cheaper than shooting off an orbiting rocket.

Assuming the launch goes off without a hitch, the balloon and the sandwich will float above Earth for at least four days, while the stratollite records telemetry data to help future launches by World View, the balloon’s manufacturer, according to the Associated Press.

Whether anyone wants to eat the sandwich after that remains a mystery.

KFC is funding the flight of the Zinger, which will mark the balloon’s first multi-day mission, according to Space.com.

World View co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Taber MacCallum told the website that the project will benefit both companies.

“This mission offers edge-of-space access to KFC, allowing them to embark upon a one-of-a-kind marketing experiment, while we get to pursue our maiden multiday Stratollite shakedown cruise and open unprecedented access to the stratosphere,” MacCallum said. “It’s a double win.”

The stratollite launch will be streamed at kfcin.space, a web address that expands to yesweareactuallysendingachickensandwichto.space, according to the Times.

KFC has hatched lots of plans to promote the four-day trip, including dropping a single coupon on the ground.

The information gathered during the trip will help World View perfect future balloons, which are designed to travel long distances or hover over one spot on Earth for long periods like a drone.

The stratollites may soon be used to monitor natural disasters, provide Wi-Fi service in remote areas or other services, World View representatives told Space.com.

MacCallum and his wife and business partner Jane Poynter explain the project in the video below.

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Poynter told reporters on Tuesday she was amused when KFC approached their company.

“We had a good chuckle,” she said, according to Space.com. “We thought it was quite funny. But after we thought about it for a minute, we all decided it was incredibly cool.”

KFC sneak-previewed the voyage last month in a commercial featuring Rob Lowe as Colonel Sanders.

“The time has come to explore beyond our known horizons to push KFC’s spicy, crispy chicken sandwich to new heights,” he said in the ad. “Sure, there’ll be questions. Like, ‘why?’” 

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© 2017