I've been thinking a lot lately, that maybe I'm over-thinking this thing.
For 2012, just be glad you have a shot at it - win or lose. You've got another chance.
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I've been thinking a lot lately, that maybe I'm over-thinking this thing.
For 2012, just be glad you have a shot at it - win or lose. You've got another chance.
Sent from my iPhone
Gain in U.S. Consumer Confidence Exceeds Forecasts: Economy
Dec. 27 (Bloomberg) -- Confidence among consumers rose to an eight-month high in December as an improving job market helped Americans regain all the ground lost following the mid- year government budget battle and credit-rating downgrade.
The Conference Board's index increased to 64.5, exceeding all estimates in a Bloomberg News survey and the highest since April, from a revised 55.2 reading in November, figures from the New York-based private research group showed today. Another report showed home prices fell more than projected in October.
Unemployment that dropped last month to its lowest in more than two years and the cheapest gasoline since February are prompting households to take advantage of discounts during the holiday shopping season. The improvement in sentiment may help sustain household purchases, which account for about 70 percent of the economy, into the new year.
"A large part of the problem in the economy is one of confidence, and to the extent that sentiment begins improving it would be a positive for growth," said Dana Saporta, director of U.S. economic research at Credit Suisse in New York, one of three forecasters that projected a reading of 63, the highest in the Bloomberg survey. "There are still a lot of headwinds out there, including the continued decline in home prices."
Stocks were little changed after the reports as concern about Europe's debt crisis overshadowed the improvement in confidence. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index rose 0.1 percent to 1,266.76 at 12:01 p.m. in New York.
Italian retailers had the worst Christmas in 10 years, consumer group Codacons said today, as austerity measures to combat the sovereign debt crisis prompted households to cut spending. Italians spent 48 euros ($62.75) less per person this holiday season than the average of the past five years, Rome based Codacons said in a statement on its website.
In China, profit gains at industrial companies cooled. Net income increased 24.4 percent in the first 11 months of 2011 from a year earlier to 4.66 trillion yuan ($737 billion), the National Bureau of Statistics said on its website today. The pace compared with a 25.3 percent gain in the first 10 months and a 27 percent rise in the first three quarters. The lingering Europe debt crisis and a cooling domestic property market are dimming growth prospects for the world's second-largest economy.
The median forecast of 69 economists surveyed by Bloomberg forecast the U.S. consumer confidence gauge would rise to 58.9. Estimates ranged from 52 to 63. The measure averaged 53.7 during the recession that ended in June 2009 and 98 during the economic expansion that ended in December 2007.
Other surveys have reflected similar gains in optimism. The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index improved to minus 45 in the period ended Dec. 18 from a reading of minus 49.9 the prior week, marking the biggest seven-day gain since January. The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan index of consumer sentiment rose to a six-month high in December.
The S&P/Case-Shiller index of home values in cities dropped 3.4 percent from October 2010 after decreasing 3.5 percent in the year ended September, the New York-based group said. The median forecast of 27 economists in a Bloomberg survey projected a 3.2 percent decrease.
The real-estate market is bracing for another wave of foreclosures that may keep pressure on home prices, indicating any housing recovery will take time to develop. Nonetheless, rising builder confidence, a pickup in construction and fewer unsold new properties for sale are among signs the industry that triggered the last recession is steadying.
Striving for 'Equilibrium'
"It's a picture of a market that's trying to get back to equilibrium," Karl Case, co-creator of the index, said today in an interview on Bloomberg Radio. "Different things are happening in different markets. It's very segmented. You've got these huge inventories that we've never really had before."
The Conference Board's confidence data showed a measure of present conditions increased to the highest level since September 2008. The measure of expectations for the next six months also climbed.
The share of consumers saying jobs were plentiful rose to the highest since January 2009, while those saying employment was hard to get decreased to the lowest since the same month.
Confidence slumped in August when S&P stripped the U.S. of its AAA credit rating after congressional gridlock on raising the debt limit almost forced a government shutdown and brought the nation to the brink of default.
A similar battle may be on the horizon. The Obama administration will ask Congress to increase federal borrowing authority by $1.2 trillion as the nation approaches the debt limit set by law, according to a Treasury Department official. The White House will send the request to Congress on Dec. 30, the day the debt is projected to rise to within $100 billion of the $15.194 trillion limit, the Treasury official told reporters today on condition of anonymity.
Americans will be helped by Congress' decision last week to pass a two-month payroll tax cut extension, eight days before its scheduled expiration. Yet fiscal policy uncertainty remains as congressmen are debating measures to cut the budget deficit by $1.2 trillion over 10 years.
The labor market has gained traction in recent weeks, gasoline prices have fallen and stocks have climbed as European leaders worked to resolve their debt crisis, helping revive confidence.
Initial claims in the week ended Dec. 17 declined by 4,000 to 364,000, the lowest level since April 2008, while those continuing to receive benefits fell by 79,000 to 3.55 million in the prior week, the lowest since September 2008.
The unemployment rate in November fell to 8.6 percent, the lowest since March 2009, while the S&P 500 gained 9.2 percent from Nov. 25 through Dec. 23.
A gallon of regular unleaded gasoline fell to $3.21 on Dec. 20, the lowest since February, according to AAA, the nation's largest automobile association.
Holiday sales will rise 3.8 percent, compared with a 5.2 percent advance last year, according to the Washington-based National Retail Federation.
As they have throughout the season, retailers continued to discount and keep stores open longer than ever. Almost all 600 Toys "R" Us U.S. locations were to remain open from Dec. 20 to Christmas Eve -- or 112 hours straight.
"We took a number of actions to drive our business, including running effective promotions across multiple channels," Brian Dunn, chief executive officer at Best Buy Co., the world's largest consumer-electronics retailer, said on a Dec. 13 conference call. "We're excited about momentum we've seen in hot products like mobile phones, tables, and e-readers for the rest of the holiday season."
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Twitter Wins $300 Million Alwaleed Investment Amid Site Revamp
Dec. 19 (Bloomberg) -- Twitter Inc., the microblogging service with more than 100 million users, won a $300 million investment from Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal as it pushes through a redesign of its site to attract advertisers.
Alwaleed, ranked the richest Arab businessman this year by Arabian Business magazine, and his investment company agreed to buy a "strategic stake," Kingdom Holding said today. Alwaleed is the largest individual investor in Citigroup Inc. and his other investments include holdings in Apple Inc. and General Motors Co. Riyadh-based Kingdom Holding jumped as much as 8.9 percent on the local exchange.
Twitter, which lets its users send 140-character messages, is revamping the site to make it faster and simpler to navigate. The San Francisco-based company may boost ad revenue by 86 percent next year as it attracts more international advertisers, according to EMarketer Inc. Alwaleed's investment comes as Facebook Inc., the most-popular social networking site with more than 800 million users, is said to consider raising about $10 billion from an initial public offering.
"Twitter are looking to give themselves some more running space," said Jeff Mann, an analyst at Gartner in Amsterdam. "Their strategy has always been first get big, they're still holding reasonably close to that. Having a big audience is more important than a short-term revenue stream."
Twitter confirmed the investment in an e-mail, declining to give additional comments.
Demand for technology IPOs reignited in November after a summer lull, setting the stage for Groupon Inc., Zynga Inc., the largest maker of games for Facebook, and Angie's List Inc. to go public. Facebook may file for an IPO before the end of the year, a person with knowledge of the matter said last month. The sale may value the company at more than $100 billion, twice as high as it was in January, when the company announced a $1.5 billion investment from Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and other backers.
Alwaleed's investment may value Twitter at $10 billion, said Jack Neele, a fund manager at Robeco Groep NV, which had about $194 billion under management at the end of June. DST Global, the technology fund managed by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner and an investor in Facebook, led an $800 million financing round in Twitter in August. That investment valued the short-messaging service at $8 billion, people with knowledge of the plan said at the time.
"Twitter is seen as a strategic asset within the social media space, given its large user base," Neele said. "But the business model in its current form isn't ready for the public market."
Twitter is seeking to speed up its ad rollout program, its main source of revenue. The microblogging service's revamp will feature tabs at the top of the screen that let users more easily access their home pages, connect with others and discover new content. EMarketer cut its estimate for 2011 ad revenue to $139.5 million from $150 million in September because Twitter has been slow to roll out some services.
Twitter is also facing the loss of its two of its co- founders. Both Evan Williams and Biz Stone have lessened their involvement under Chief Executive Officer Dick Costolo, who took the reins in October 2010. Mike Abbott, a vice president in charge of engineering, also has stepped down.
The agreement followed "several months of negotiations," Kingdom Holding said its statement. The company, controlled by Alwaleed, a nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, added 5.1 percent to 8.25 riyals at 3:39 p.m. in Riyadh. Before today, the stock had lost 4.3 percent this year.
"Kingdom realizes the importance of social networks like Twitter and their future growth prospects, and decided to benefit from this trend," said Samer Darwiche, an analyst at Gulfmena Investments in Dubai.
The prince was ranked the richest Arab businessman this year by Arabian Business magazine with assets valued at $21.3 billion. Kingdom Holding, 95 percent owned by the prince, is building the tallest tower in the world in Jeddah at a cost of 4.6 billion riyals ($1.23 billion).
Alwaleed "is a savvy investor and the hot thing in the I.T. world is social networking," said Nabil Farhat, a partner at Abu Dhabi-based Al Fajer Securities in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.http://m.bloomberg.com/ipad/
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CNBC.com Article: Wal-Mart Poised to End Nine Quarters of Sales Declines
Wal-Mart Stores said it is finally poised to end its nine straight quarters of declining sales at stores open at least a year in its core U.S. business, SW Retail Advisors analyst Stacey Widlitz told CNBC.
Download CNBC Real-Time from the App Store for Free and get Streaming Real-Time quotes, breaking news and the latest videos from CNBC.
The Renminbi: The Political Economy of a Currency
By Arthur Kroeber
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With any new networking platform, the tech crowd always takes the lead while the rest of us are still complaining about our parents joining Facebook. When Google+ launched last month it seemed like a particularly novel way to stay socially organized, but we still weren't quite sure what to do with it. Turning to the digital community and beyond, we asked around to see how some of the earliest-adopters are engaging. From Refinery29's VP of Engineering Jorge Lopez, Gina Bianchi (who herself enabled anyone to make their own social network by co-founding Ning) and Selectism editor Jeff Carvalho to Jean Aw, Notcot founder, the overwhelming response from the total of 10 people that we surveyed was that, while there's tremendous potential, there's still a lot of learning that has to happen on both the consumer and Google's side.
Brett Renfer (Interaction Designer at Rockwell Group Lab told us that the more he uses it, the more he's discovered a need to share in the selective way that the site allows. Many from our list were on Google+ (or Plus, as some call it) since its launch, like technologist Joel Niedfeldt who described it as a "veritable ghostland at first." Matt Spangler (a friend of CH and digital entrepreneur) relays his more common experience, "I've read about it in articles more than I've used it."
Despite initial hesitations, most are checking Google+ two or three times a day. Ben Lerer, a Thrillist co-founder, and Taj Reid, who's the brains behind WeJetSet, point out they visit more thanks to the mobile app. And, as illustrator Keren Richter predicts, while it doesn't have the same activity as Twitter or Facebook, it "has a chance of catching on."
Jeff: Circles, based on common interests. I have circles for people I know interested in technology and music, for example.
Jorge: The Stream is pretty much as far as I go with it. Going to Google+ has pretty much been a chore.
Taj: Definitely the Stream and Circles. I'm also interested in making more use of the photo section.
Gina: My team and I kicked Skype to the curb and now use Hangouts for our daily stand-ups because of the higher quality and reliability. I think they just nailed it.
Keren: I use the Stream, I post photos and update my status.
Ben: It feels like a blend between LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to me, but it has some advantages of all of them.
Brett: The Circles more closely mimic real-world social structure. I can see Google+ growing into more of a hub for me, especially in a work context.
Joel: They've built a very mature social networking platform that does away with the early-stage stuff that just annoys me now on Facebook. It's more of a tool.
Jorge: If they had events, I like that I could create a public event and exclude some people. (Sorry parents, I love you, but I don't want you to hang out with my drunk friends.)
Taj: I like how the posting works—it encourages stickier conversations.
Matt: I like the simplicity and clarity of its design and user interface. Its biggest advantage is integrating the magic of push notification alerts into my everyday media activity.
Gina: It's seamlessly connected to Gmail as well as my Google docs and apps, so it fits in beautifully with the fabric of my workday.
Brett: My job is very tech-centric, so my circles lean more towards people I'm interested in because of work rather than people I know in a social context.
Jeff: Socially. We'll see how their business model turns out for the service. I have a feeling it will not be free.
Jean: So far it's the same mess I have on Facebook and Twitter.
Matt: I've started creating some client-specific circles that I'm monitoring, but its just the beginning of that. Once they open up the API and allow for third-party developing, I think I'll both use the system more and it will drive a lot more adoption. I can imagine ways my small groups of trusted individuals can connect in more exciting ways, but it will depend on how well done the API is.
Keren: I'm not the most business-minded. Right now, it's mostly for friends and memes, but it's not SO much better than Facebook that there will be a mass exodus.
Jojo, an altruistic Belgian shoe brand, picks up where philanthropic companies like Toms leave off. Designed to look like a bandaged foot, for every pair of Jojo shoes purchased, they plant one tree or provide one person with a year of clean drinking water. But you don't have to just take the company's word for it; the enterprising young pair behind Jojo allow customers to track the progress of their contribution well after the point of purchase.
With a "choose, act, check" tagline, Jojo co-founder Matthieu Vaxelaire explains that the last step—following the progress of your contribution—is the most important part. In the future they envision shoes labeled with unique code that buyers can use to locate via GPS the well or tree they helped fund, "to really see their personal impact."
The passion that Vaxelaire, along with his friend and business partner Christoph Nagel, share for bettering the world shows in every aspect of the brand. The Jojo blog is filled with Instagram photos of current inventory and brainstorm sessions, outtakes from video campaigns (such as their inventive pigeon delivery video), business information and more.
While they set out to produce the shoes in Brazil (where they first conceived the idea), after four months of working with manufacturers, the twosome realized this was nearly impossible and almost gave up. Their tenacity led them to finding a producer in China, who now makes the shoes in a clean facility using fair work ethics.
They put that same undaunted enthusiasm into finding Tree Nation and The Water Project, the charitable organizations with which they partner. Vaxelaire explained the need for "reliable NGOs, because it takes months and months to find the right place to build a well and we needed to be with them on every step."
To help with the replanting of trees in Niger or the building of water pumps in Sierra Leone, purchase one of seven styles of Jojo shoes (€80 per pair). Simply choose the color, decide which project to support and then check in online to follow its development.
Wal-Mart Debates Amazon on State Sales-Tax Plan at ALEC
Aug. 5 (Bloomberg) -- In a windowless hotel ballroom, Utah State Senator Wayne Niederhauser presented his idea for a streamlined state sales tax to a task force subcommittee of the American Legislative Exchange Council.
The proposal would allow several states to impose the same sales tax rate on both brick-and-mortar retailers and online outlets. Seated around the table were representatives from Wal- Mart Stores Inc. and Amazon.com, along with other state legislators from Oregon and New Hampshire, which have no sales tax.
"The group was pretty polarized," said Niederhauser, a Republican. People argued back and forth for about 15 minutes in what he called an "animated debate" before the idea was tabled.
ALEC is a Washington-based non-profit group that brings state legislators, corporate lobbyists and policy experts together to write model state laws. Niederhauser was one of more than a thousand state lawmakers who traveled to New Orleans on Aug. 3 to attend the group's 38th annual meeting.
This week's conference included workshops on health care, energy and states' rights. To sit on a legislation-writing task force, Wal-Mart and Amazon would have had to pay a fee between $3,000 and $10,000, in addition to their membership dues which range from $7,000 to $25,000, according to ALEC's website.
ALEC has become a target for some activist groups who contend that corporations, which finance most of ALEC's operations and reimburse the travel costs for some elected officials who attend the meetings, shouldn't have a seat at the table when lawmakers are writing bills.
"Legislators are voting behind closed doors alongside corporations to change our rights," said Lisa Graves, executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy, a Washington- based group that tracks news sources, who traveled to New Orleans to provide a counterpoint to ALEC's messages.
Niederhauser, whose home is in Sandy, Utah, said the criticism is overblown. "I get lobbied much harder in my own state," he said. He and other elected officials attending this week's gathering said they come to ALEC meetings to network with colleagues from other states.
Corporations are "definitely here, but I've not been lobbied at all," said Kansas Representative Mike Burgess, a Republican who has served in the state legislature for nine years. "I've not been subjected to any arm twisting."
Wal-Mart and BP
Companies definitely were there. Officials from Wal-Mart, oil giant BP Plc, and drug-maker Allergan Inc. were among the hundreds of private sector members at the New Orleans meeting. Three boards more than six-feet tall listed the event sponsors, which included United Healthcare Inc., cigarette-maker Altria and pharmaceutical-maker Johnson & Johnson.
When Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, a Republican, spoke at the opening day luncheon, the logo for PhRMA, the lobbying arm of the pharmaceutical industry, was displayed on a screen behind him. Shell Oil Co.'s yellow shell logo hovered over the head of economist Arthur Laffer when he spoke at a breakfast.
Corporate sponsors of organizations' annual meetings aren't unusual. It is ALEC's task forces that are coming under most scrutiny.
The committees meet in sessions closed to reporters and the general public, during which they debate and vote on model bills. Legislators and private-sector task force members must vote to endorse any model legislation -- and each group must deliver a majority before it is officially adopted, said Raegan Weber, ALEC's spokeswoman.
Adoption doesn't mean it will automatically be considered for passage. It's up to the elected officials to bring the proposed bills to the state Capitol and usher them into law. Burgess of Kansas says he has gotten ideas at ALEC but has never brought a model bill home.
Representative Tim Brown, an emergency room physician who serves in the Indiana legislature, says last year he introduced a bill that would prevent Governor Mitch Daniels, a fellow Republican, from preparing to implement President Barack Obama's health-care law until a challenge to its constitutionality is settled. The bill died in the Senate.
To join ALEC, legislators pay $100 for a two-year membership. ALEC has task forces devoted to civil justice, energy and environment, commerce, education, international relations, public safety, taxes and telecommunications.
The Center for Media and Democracy created a website last month called ALEC Exposed where it posted about 800 model bills from ALEC's library that previously were available only to members. The bills include measures that have passed in dozens of states, including laws requiring voter identification; measures requiring states to pull out of cap-and-trade programs, which are designed to curb carbon emissions; and bills that prohibit states from implementing the national health-care law.
Common Cause, a Washington-based group that advocates for limits on money in politics, said companies affiliated with ALEC, along with their employees, spent more than $38 million electing state legislators and governors in 2009 and 2010.
The non-profit investigative reporting group ProPublica on Aug. 1 published on its website a guide for reporters to trace ALEC bills to their states.
The exposure doesn't appear to have hurt. More than 2,000 people signed up for the conference this week, about a 25 percent increase from last year's meeting, said Weber. The group has also attracted many more corporate sponsors, according to its program.
ALEC's mission is to promote free markets, limited government, federalism and individual freedom, according to its website. Legislators at the meeting said they joined because it represents their beliefs.
As for the corporate members, Brown said, "I'll take their money but I'm going to vote the way I want."
To contact the reporter on this story: Alison Fitzgerald in Washington at email@example.com
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When Range Rover asked me to be a City Shaper and help tell the world about their all-new Evoque one of my first requests was to meet the car's designers and visit the factory where they're being built.
Exploring the role of design at Range Rover we visited their creative team in Gaydon, England to learn about how the LRX concept vehicle was translated to the all-new Evoque. From there we traveled north to the factory in Halewood to see how the cars are manufactured and what it means to bring a design to life.
Plan To Bring 900 Jobs To Nashville Called Off
NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A deal to bring 900 jobs to Nashville has been called off after concerns that the company closed several offices in Canada and laid off workers.
On Tuesday, Matt Wilshire, director of the Mayor's Office of Economic and Community Development issued a statement saying that the city is "no longer in conversations with IQT (Solutions) regarding locating their operations here."
The statement said that they spoke with the company, which is based in Canada, on Monday evening and said it is unlikely that they will move forward with their proposed operation in Nashville.
It went on to say:
"We are disappointed these job opportunities won't be available to Nashvillians, but it is important to point out that no incentive dollars were expended. We are dismayed about what happened in Canada and don't think workers anywhere should be treated that way."
On Friday, IQT Solutions announced they were closing three call centers in Canada.
Other reports revealed that the company had not informed its workers in advance, and some workers said they had not gotten paid.
In June, the company had revealed major plans to move their corporate offices to Nashville and also build a customer support center. To encourage them to make the move, and bring hundreds of jobs with them, Metro even offered them a city grant worth $1.6 million .
In a statement issued Monday, Mayor Karl Dean said "We were surprised and concerned to hear about the developments in Canada, and I was dismayed by the way the company treated its employees there. Rest assured, Metro taxpayers are protected. Metro's agreements with IQT have not been finalized, and no incentive funds have been paid to the company. Consistent with my philosophy on economic development, the incentives offered to IQT are based on the company's ability to bring jobs to Nashville. If they don't create jobs here, they don't get incentives. We are not moving forward on this deal unless we get answers from IQT that satisfy my concerns."
NewsChannel 5 also got a copy of a letter that Mayor Dean's director of Economic and Community Development, Matthew A. Wiltshire, sent to IQT Chief Executive Officer Alex Morton.
He wrote: "we are deeply concerned about the announcement on Friday that IQT Incorporated had closed three operation centers in Canada. We prefer to be notified about this sort of substantive development prior to reading about it in the press. While we remain interested in attracting jobs to Tennessee, we will need a much clearer understand of IQT's plans and the commitment of your clients before we move forward with our discussions."
IQT is a Canadian based company that does technical support for a number of major companies, for devices like cell phones.
Past Stories: July 15: Reports: IQT Solutions Laying Off, Not Paying Workers June 9: 900 New Jobs Coming To Downtown Nashville
© 2004-2011 LSN, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Italy's heralded multidisciplinary creative agency Hangar Design Group (HDG) recently announced the upcoming release of their book, "As I told you before, Ideas not Airships," to celebrate 30 years of creativity. The lengthy book aims to reveal the intricate narrative between creatives and their unique design process through over 500 pages of inspiring imagery and thought provoking text.
Within seconds of getting our hands on this hefty coffee table book we were enamored with the brilliant graphics and modern mantras of design and creativity. The life of the studio is traced by taking the reader "on an unconventional figurative journey: suggestions, inspirations, memories, faces, places... belonging to anyone devoted to the process of shaping an idea into its full form."
Leading from HDG's first design sketches to the recent Sunset mobile home project—winner of 2011 Compasso d'Oro Award—this retrospective operates as a bound, over-sized mobile inspiration board delivering seemingly endless content.
Keep your eyes open come September to find a copy of "As I told you before, Ideas not Airships," presumably available through the Hangar shop.
New York interior textile supplier Maharam recently continued its foray into digital design with the newest edition of Maharam Digital Projects opening last month to coincide with Art Basel. The digitally-printed wallpaper patterns are installed at Weil am Rhein, Germany's VitraHaus, where they are on display to the general public throughout the rest of the summer.
VitraHaus, Swiss contemporary furniture company Vitra's stunning Herzog & de Meuron-designed flagship, provides a fitting backdrop for the seven Maharam designs. Spanning all four floors, each UV-resistant wall covering is the product of a different emerging or established artist (Cecilia Edefalk, Jacob Hashimoto, Maira Kalman, Harmen Liemburg, Karel Martens, Sarah Morris and Francesco Simeti) and is expertly styled with Vitra furnishings.
These tableaus show how the collection introduces a more affordable large-scale alternative than artwork or other pricey wall treatments into the home and office. As such, the wallpapers sell onsite at Vitrahaus, as well as through Maharam online.
Each design functions as a self-contained aesthetic while also exemplifying a conceptual reality. "Dutch Clouds" by Karel Martens (above) plays on perspective with a composition of artist-designed symbols which together form an image of the sky over Holland on the day of his grandson's birth.
"Coastal Plants" (above) chronicles a three-year period in which artist Cecelia Edefalk traveled the European seaboard and contains over 200 watercolors expressing her interest in the painted image.
Maira Kalman's "On This Day" (above) shows the illustrator's recordings of modern daily life's quirks and absurdities.
Francesco Simeti mixes hunting decoys and toy birds into his piece "New World" to playfully change up traditional nature-themed wallpaper.
Given that technological advancements in digital art are progressing by leaps andbounds, it's almost impossible to produce an excellent portfolio by just playingaround on your laptop after work. If you've decided to bite the bullet and get backin the classroom, New Zealand's Media Design School is becoming one of the best places to get a visual arts qualification (undergraduate or graduate-level) in a range of specialists, ranging from interactive advertising, 3D animation and graphic design.
Located in stunning (and outrageously livable Auckland), Media Design School started with a class of30 in 1998. Over the past decade and a half, it's become one of the best places in the world to study creative technologies. Young Guns named Media Design School the fourth most creativeschool in the world over the past decade, a hefty accolade coming from the organizationdevoted to spotting young talent. Graduates have gone on to work with George Lucas'Industrial Light Magic and Microsoft Game Studio, among many others. And New Zealand VFX and post-production powerhouse Weta Digital (owned by Peter Jackson) do their part too–they are the largest employer of Media Design School graduates in New Zealand.
But the best testimonial on behalf of the school is the work of the students themselves.Led by James Cunningham, a 3-D filmmaker whose most recent work premiered at the 2009 Telluride Film Festival, Media Design School students produced "Das Tub." Cunningham directedthe short film, and acclaimed New Zealand screenwriter Nick Ward wrote the screenplay.The film recently won Best Short Short at the Aspen Shortsfest, one of the world's top film festivals, and now qualifies for Oscar consideration—a considerable achievement for a film animated by students, who now have industry connections far and beyond what any of them might have imagined when they started their program.
Students in the 3-D department can also showcase their talents with Media Design School' Real or Render Challenge. Evenseasoned connoisseurs of 3-D will have a difficult time pinpointing the differencesbetween real photographs and student-produced 3-D renderings of household objects.Even an intricately detailed map offers no obvious clues.
All classes take place in Media Design School's beautiful Auckland campus.They're currently accepting applications online, for both domestic New Zealandand international students. For more information on the courses and how to apply,check the Media Design School website.
You can check out the school in this video:
“Envisioning technology” is a speculative and subjective overview of potential future technologies. Based on personal research and observations, this map is intended to facilitate predictions of where the technium is going, as well as provoke thought and stimulate debate.
Due to the intrinsic difficulty of speculation, the visualization is not to be interpreted as a roadmap, but rather as a point of reference for those investigating (or designing) the future of τεχνολογι
During the game, they all execute their plans based on the directives of their division. Everyone has a plan for winning the game, but they can't seem to score a point. Theoretically, everyone is right, but collectively they are wrong. In the end, the team has three options. One, they can blame other units for the collective failure. Two, they can go deeper in protectionism for their individual game plans. Or three, they can get a head coach who sets priorities among the individual units.
The game plan and priority list is all about realistically dealing with the opposing challenges, and nothing personally to do with the talent of each individual or division. This analogy is about discretion - mainly the degree to which it should be dispersed in a given plan. Priority places the ordinal context necessary for individuals and units to understand the freedom of discretion available within a given plan. Either unit plan mentioned above may work as a strategy, but the collective success will require all other units to alter what they originally planned for success.
Democracy rarely works in a social setting. It's even more difficult to execute in organizations, especially if you want to achieve certain goals.
Foxconn Faces Limited Impact From Chengdu Fire, Analysts Say
May 23 (Bloomberg) -- Foxconn Technology Group, maker of Apple Inc.'s iPhones and iPads, should have limited impact from an explosion and fire at its Chengdu plant in southwest China's Sichuan province, as the base isn't a main production site, analysts said.
Foxconn makes most of the iPhones and iPads at its base in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, Vincent Chen, head of Greater China technology research at Yuanta Securities Co., and Macquarie Group Ltd. analyst Daniel Chang said by phone from Taipei on May 21.
"The Chengdu plant is primarily for computer assembly and the iPad assembly is being pilot run," Chen said. "Foxconn is a very professional manufacturer and is very experienced in making adjustment in times of crisis, and the impact should be very minimal."
Terry Gou, chairman of Taiwan-based Foxconn, has been shifting production to Chengdu and other interior cities in China such as Wuhan and Chongqing, where labor is about a third cheaper than in the country's south.
Three people were killed and 15 injured in the blast that occurred at about 7 p.m. local time on May 20. Of the injured, six were treated at a local hospital and released, the company said in an e-mailed statement. The fire triggered by the blast was later extinguished, Edmund Ding, a company spokesman, said by phone. He declined to say what products the factory makes or estimate any financial loss related to the accident. Initial findings show the accident was caused by an explosion of combustible dust within a duct at the facility, the statement said.
Opened in October
The $2 billion laptop plant where the explosion took place opened in October, Xinhua reported May 20.
Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., the flagship of the Foxconn Group, fell 1 percent to NT$103 at the close of May 20 in Taipei trading before the incident. Apple Inc. dropped 1.6 percent in New York.
The affected plant makes Apple's iPad2 tablet computers, the Economic Observer said on its website on May 20, citing unidentified company workers. Gou flew to Chengdu, the Beijing- based newspaper said, citing unidentified company employees.
Production has been suspended at the site of the explosion until the completion of an investigation, Foxconn said in an e- mailed statement May 21.
The stoppage shouldn't cause any production disruption, Macquarie's Chang said, as iPads and iPhones are mostly made in Shenzhen.
"We are working closely with Foxconn at this point to understand what caused this terrible event," Steve Dowling, a spokesman for Cupertino, California-based Apple, said in a phone interview. "We are deeply saddened by the tragedy."
Dowling declined to comment on any possible supply disruptions, referring questions to Foxconn.
Police in Chengdu said they concluded preliminarily that the explosion, in a polishing workshop, wasn't intentionally caused, China News Service said.
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Now in our third year, the 99% Conference speakers are a group of hard-workers at the forefronts of their fields, carefully selected by Behance and Cool Hunting for how they manifest Edison's notion that genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.
The 2011 line-up features 16 thought-provoking leaders taking the stage over the course of two days, including designer Yves Behar, Google Ideas director Jared Cohen, partner at IDEO Diego Rodriguez, Pixar's Dr. Michael Johnson and more. In other words, there's no shortage of information on how to break a creative sweat, and yesterday started things off with some of those great ideas on how to produce ideas, which we've recapped below.
Author and leadership expert Simon Sinek spoke to the group of nearly 400 people about the importance of trust, providing several examples on how the concept stems from an authentic set of common values. Sinek explained its significance lies in the fact that trust encourages confidence in experimentation and exploration. Proving the premise that "as a group we're pretty damn amazing," Sinek showed the power in numbers and delved into how much more successful an organization can be when they are consistent in their beliefs and authentic in their actions. The professor and communications strategist also touched on how much generosity impacts action. While there's "no equation" for this selfless sentiment, Sinek left us with the thought, "If you don't understand people, you don't understand business."
Giving the audience a sigh of sleep-deprived relief, President and CEO of The Energy Project, Tony Schwartz explained the importance of shut-eye. Describing how you should "live life like a sprinter," Schwartz broke down some common myths about being a workaholic, explaining "human beings are designed to pulse" and that intermittent breaks yield far greater capacity for doing quality work than marathon all-nighters. Also emphasizing the importance of focus, his approach isn't to be confused with multi-tasking (or shift tasking as he calls it) since the brain actually can't do more than one task at once. Shift tasking actually disrupts the work flow and, according to Schwartz, you need to skillfully manage technology and focus on one task at hand for an extended amount of time. Summing it up with "sleep is the most important behavior in your life to get right," he advocates practicing renewal and recovery to align you with a natural rhythm that will give you the capacity to do better work.
Rounding out Schwartz's pragmatic approach to making ideas happen, Mien Shiang Institute founder Patrician McCarthy demonstrated how analyzing personality types can affect how you work. A professional in the Taoist technique of facial diagnosis, McCarthy gave an array of face shape examples, linking them to behaviors and explaining how to use them to find more a productive balance in the workplace. Understanding a face based on her classifications of Water, Wood, Earth, Metal and Fire helps better collaboration with colleagues by knowing their work habits.
Photos by James Ryang