News media buisness
News media businesses can no longer rely solely on making money from traditional advertising and must embrace the multiple commercial opportunities from online, according to magazine publisher and broadcaster Andrew Neil. The Press Holdings chairman, BBC presenter and former Sunday Times editor said the changes sweeping the media industry were "transformative and revolutionary" and that traditional ways of making money had all but eroded as increased competition and the explosion of online media erodes the exclusivity of advertising deals. Speaking at today's SIIA Global Information Industry Summit in London, Neil said that the internet was not a threat to the traditional printed media companies, but an "essential" opportunity to diversify and ultimately save them. "Sensible newspaper and magazine publishers do not see online as a threat or something they have to do because 'it is the future, so let's do it and grit our teeth'," he said. "Offline publications are still necessary for brand building and because people still like to hold a newspaper or particularly a magazine. But the revenues for that are in decline as search engines make classified ads increasingly irrelevant." Neil pointed out that his magazine websites (- he is also chairman of ITP Publishing, the Gulf's largest magazine publishers) were visited mainly by people who also read the print version and visit the site "for the additional material that is only online". He said The Spectator, owned by Press Holdings, had achieved great success with its Coffee House network of blogs, which has 200,000 unique users a month and will contribute "20 per cent of the bottom line" this year in terms of revenue. He also pointed out that the one of the biggest spikes in traffic for Telegraph.co.uk was around 10am every day, when the print readers had finished their Daily Telegraph and wanted to know what else its journalists were doing. "You now need to use online to do a whole host of things that you just could not before," he added. "It ceases to be an either-or situation." Neil admitted the going was tough for the media in a multi-platform world with complex revenue streams but it was, for him at least, "a lot more fun". He contrasted the UK market with the US, in which newspapers are run by big city monopolies that are unused to competition and "run for the journalists and not for the readers". In the UK many mainstream publishers grasped the need to diversify early on: "Most trends like this begin in the US but in this trend the British media are particularly much ahead of them," he said. "British newspapers have always been used to competition: it's the most competitive newspaper market in the world bar none."
The growth of money laundering
The amount of money sent back home by migrants working abroad has grown rapidly in recent years -according to the World Bank it doubled in the five years from 2002, reaching at least $350bn. But the mechanisms used to transfer money can also be used for money laundering, and are of increasing concern to law enforcement agencies. Some estimates suggest that half of all money transfers from migrants living abroad are done outside the formal sector - that is, banks or money transfer firms. Of course, most migrant transfers are for legitimate reasons. But the vast volume of informal transfers has made it much easier to hide illicit transfers, whether they relate to criminal activity or terrorist finance. There are two reasons for the growth of the this informal sector. The first is the expense of transferring money abroad for poor individuals. The cost, especially for small amounts sent to nations with a less well-developed financial sector, can be as much as 20% of the sum, according to the World Bank. Secondly, there are a number of countries, for example in parts of Africa and the Middle East, where the banking system is not highly developed and so cash transactions are common. As directly sending cash, or its equivalent in gold or diamonds, is potentially risky, this has led to the widespread use, in Muslim countries, of the hawala system. Hawala is an informal system of money transfer based on trust, which uses a system of money brokers based throughout the Middle East, Africa and Asia, with links to others in major cities across Europe and North America. Under hawala, no money actually crosses international borders. Instead, a system of complex swaps is employed, using food, fuel, electronics or gold as a way of balancing the books between operators - hawaladas - in different countries. The OECD's Financial Action Task Force says these "alternative remittance systems" are widely used by terrorist finance, because of the "level of anonymity and rapidity" they offer, and for "cultural" reasons. They say that they have the additional attraction of "weaker and/or less opaque record-keeping" and in many places "less stringent regulatory oversight". This might particularly apply in failed states, such as Somalia, or large parts of Afghanistan. Finding terrorist funding in the huge volume of international money transfers may seem akin to looking for a needle in a haystack. The volume of normal transactions dwarfs the amount of money needed to carry out terrorist actions. The OECD estimates that the direct operational costs of major terrorist actions like the London and Madrid bombings were no more than $10,000 to $12,000 (£6,751 to £8,100). This level of funding - or even the Bali bombing, estimated to have cost $50,000 - could easily be incorporated into the hawala system. But the OECD says terrorist networks need other longer term funding to support their operations and logistics base - and so will also turn to money laundering, criminal activities, and the use of charities as conduits for money. Regulators, particularly in Europe, are beginning to tighten up the supervision of all types of financial institutions, formal and informal. An EU directive comes into force in 2009 that will compel financial companies above a certain size to become registered with the FSA and to put up bonds proportionate to their turnover or profit. At the same time, The World Bank has been pushing to lower the cost of formal money transfers. One possibility is to make more use of the postal system, which has the ability to create a global money transfer system. Another new development could be the use of mobile phone systems to credit small amounts to users. This would be particularly attractive in developing countries, where mobile phone use is growing and is much more dense than internet use. Meanwhile, private agencies such as Western Union and Moneygram have expanded rapidly across the globe, and the money transfer business has proved highly profitable, growing by 6% per year. There is no doubt that, overall, remittances make a positive contribution to economic growth in poor countries - although they might be better targeted. So finding ways of improving transfers, while avoiding the risks of hiding money, could be useful for economic development. And improving living conditions in these countries could be in itself an important antidote to the appeal of anti-Western militancy across the globe.
The most famous of all notions about man describes him as a social animal. That is to say, it is a part of his nature to form groups and communities wherever he lives, and that man cannot live without society. No one has indeed heard of any place where individuals live on their own. Only Homer in Odyssey presents us with a case where one-eyed giants lived in caves, and even they were said to have a family. Anyone who has observed animal life would know that they too live in groups, communicate with each other, and form herds and other such groupings. This seems like a typical social trait. What makes human groups unique is their advanced and descriptive vocal communication. We tend to form groups and a social life emerges sui generis - a self generating order. This spontaneous nature of social life is well understood by the social sciences. If this is what is meant by describing man as a social animal, then he is indeed so. A contention however may arise when the individual is described solely in social terms. Does this notion of man really describe an 'individual' in his or her totality? Is it a true reflection of his or her real nature? There are times when an individual wishes to interact with others, and there are times when he or she wishes to be left alone. An individual seems to have a 'dual nature' - he/she lives both at a personal as well as social level. Frank H. Knight, an American economist, has written on this issue, and has said that it is not 'as an animal' that man is social. I am trying to add to this. A more adequate description of man is to call him 'a thinking animal'. It is as a thinking animal that he is social. Indeed, our own personal growth in families never gives us an inkling of this issue - we are hardly even aware of it. A Prime Minister is said to have said, or perhaps she approved of the statement, that there is no such thing as society. There are norms however, for one thing. Customs and traditions to contend with. Guides to our life! If you can live without them, good luck. Or else, try and escape if you can!
Bollywood movies to look forward in 2018
So as we start a new year, we all hope that this one is better than the previous one and when it comes to Bollywood Movies, it is no different. We witnessed the grandeur of films like Baahubali and saw the fall of Tubelight, but 2018 promises to be bigger. The biggest movie to hit the floors this year is Sanjay Leela Bhansali's "Padmaavat". Starring Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh and Shahid Kapoor in lead roles, it has been center of controversies for past one year. The director was attacked on the sets, right wing protests had intensified as the film neared its original release date and ultimately it was postponed. But the big wait is finally over and we will be having a grand start to the year. Next we have is "Padman" coming on 26th January, where gender sensitisation reaches the cyclic level. Directed by R.Balki who courts the quirky with compelling credibility & starring Akshay Kumar the man who dares to venture into the unknown this movie promises to be a heart warming start to the year. The movie will clash with "Aiyaari" which is based on true story and as a tribute to the martyrs who laid down their lives for the country in 1971. After openly talking about the girlfriends and their tantrums in Pyaar Ka Punchnama the trio of Karthik Aaryan, director Luv Ranjan and Nushrat Bharucha is going to light up the big screen with "Sonu Ke Titu Ki Sweety". The next movie that we have is "Hichki" coming on 23rd February which is an official remake of "Front Of The Class". The movie is about the teacher, played by Rani Mukherjee, who is suffering from neurological disability and turns her biggest weakness into her biggest strength. "Sanju" , Yes one of the most awaited and really looked forward to movie that is based on the controversial life of Sanjay Dutt starring Ranbir Kapoor is expected to come out in theatres on 30th March. Kareena Kapoor and Sonam Kapoor will make sure the summers remain hot as the next movie gels well with the vacation mode. "Veere Di Wedding" is all about breaking the sterotype where the girl gang goes on the trip to find their true love instead of just sitting and waiting for it. How can a year go without any musical comedy and that is when the highly awaited "Fanney Khan" comes up on 13th April starring Anil Kapoor, Aishwarya Rai and Rajkumar Rao. It is the official remake of oscar nominated Dutch film "Everybody's Famous" ! "Kaalakaandi" is a dark comedy thriller is played out in 12 hours, with 6 different characters from different worlds featuring Saif Ali Khan in lead role and showing the city of mumbai with underworld goons. This promises to be an exciting year with lots of big hits in store. Stay excited because the future of Bollywood looks bright.
First day at job
So, it is your first day at your new job and you don't really know what to expect. You have been to the office before but only briefly at the interview and have got a first impression about the company. But, how much do you really know about the office etiquette and how you are expected to behave? Well, there are some simple rules and guidelines to abide by so that you will take to your new workplace like a duck to water. The basic behaviours that will be expected of a new starter are those that the current office will already practise. Adhering to the dress code will be demanded so ensure you know if the company encourages suit-wearing or smart casual as this will make you feel comfortable and prevent an embarrassing first day. It will feel awkward if you arrive for work in a three-piece suit to find your peers and boss in jeans and trainers or vice versa. As a new starter you will be expected to adapt to the office environment that you are joining. Don't think that you can just impose your personality on the workplace as this can appear as arrogance and may alienate you from certain members, if not all, of the office. Take your time when you start to monitor the other workers and get an understanding of how they work, speak and behave. Doing this will enable you to become a part of the office hierarchy as you smoothly integrate into the group. Many of your actions should be based upon those of the existing workforce. However, this doesn't mean that you should act sheepish and introverted and become an office clone. There may be various traditions that are followed so try to make yourself aware of these early on so you don't offend people when you flout these rules. An example of this could be communal tea runs, when the single cup-of-tea maker will be victim to whispers and gossip-mongering. Don't be afraid to be yourself as it will enable your new workmates to get to know you right from the start. Setting the tone and conveying your personality is an important part of making an impression, so do it in the right way and you will be a popular figure in no time at all. Respect is one of the cornerstones of a happy office so treat others with respect or risk becoming an eternal outcast. Talking over people, making personal calls and telling offensive jokes are all ways of making you disliked with little chance of reconciliation. First impressions are so important so be aware that your new office will be scrutinizing everything that you do in order to gauge a quick evaluation of what you're about. Your first day is likely to involve a lot of meeting new people, so ensure you sleep well the night before. Yawning or appearing disinterested and vacant when you are being shown around is not going to set you in good stead for your new career. Listen carefully to any important information and don't be afraid to ask questions when you don't understand. It will let your boss know that you are listening and that you are keen to learn. The key to becoming a fully-integrated member of your new workplace is simply to listen and observe to your new workmates. You will be spending more time with them than you will with your family so take the ime to get to know their quirks and beliefs. You will not want to seem invisible but you will also need to avoid standing out from the crowd for the wrong reasons. It will be hard to convince people that their first impressions were wrong. Starting you new job is an intimidating time for any person, but try not to be too nervous as this may affect your behaviour negatively. Be confident, without appearing arrogant, and get to know your new peers during breaks and conversations as this will further improve your chances of enjoying a happy working life. The new office could be your workplace for a very long time so it makes sense to make the effort to fit in without irritating too many people
Language in humans
Language in humans has evolved culturally rather than genetically, according to a study by the University College London and US researchers. By modeling the ways in which genes for language might have evolved alongside language itself, the study showed that genetic adaptation to language would be highly unlikely, as cultural conventions change much more rapidly than genes. Thus, the biological machinery upon which human language is built appears to predate the emergence of language. According to a phenomenon known as the Baldwin effect, characteristics that are learned or developed over a lifespan may become gradually encoded in the genome over many generations, because organisms with a stronger predisposition to acquire a trait have a selective advantage. Over generations, the amount of environmental exposure required to develop the trait decreases, and eventually no environmental exposure may be needed - the trait is genetically encoded. An example of the Baldwin effect is the development of calluses on the keels and sterna of ostriches. The calluses may initially have developed in response to abrasion where the keel and sterna touch the ground during sitting. Natural selection then favored individuals that could develop calluses more rapidly, until callus development became triggered within the embryo and could occur without environmental stimulation. The PNAS paper explored circumstances under which a similar evolutionary mechanism could genetically assimilate properties of language - a theory that has been widely favoured by those arguing for the existence of 'language genes'. The study modeled ways in which genes encoding language-specific properties could have coevolved with language itself. The key finding was that genes for language could have coevolved only in a highly stable linguistic environment; a rapidly changing linguistic environment would not provide a stable target for natural selection. Thus, a biological endowment could not coevolve with properties of language that began as learned cultural conventions, because cultural conventions change much more rapidly than genes. The authors conclude that it is unlikely that humans possess a genetic 'language module' which has evolved by natural selection. The genetic basis of human language appears to primarily predate the emergence of language. The conclusion is reinforced by the observation that had such adaptation occurred in the human lineage, these processes would have operated independently on modern human populations as they spread throughout Africa and the rest of the world over the last 100,000 years. If this were so, genetic populations should have coevolved with their own language groups, leading to divergent and mutually incompatible language modules. Linguists have found no evidence of this, however; for example, native Australasian populations have been largely isolated for 50,000 years but learn European languages readily. Professor Nick Chater, UCL Cognitive, Perceptual and Brain Sciences, says: "Language is uniquely human. But does this uniqueness stem from biology or culture? This question is central to our understanding of what it is to be human, and has fundamental implications for the relationship between genes and culture. Our paper uncovers a paradox at the heart of theories about the evolutionary origin and genetic basis of human language - although we appear to have a genetic predisposition towards language, human language has evolved far more quickly than our genes could keep up with, suggesting that language is shaped and driven by culture rather than biology. "The linguistic environment is continually changing; indeed, linguistic change is vastly more rapid than genetic change. For example, the entire Indo-European language group has diverged in less than 10,000 years. Our simulations show the evolutionary impact of such rapid linguistic change: genes cannot evolve fast enough to keep up with this 'moving target'.
The character of drinks
Given overwhelming evidence for the primacy of sociocultural factors in determining both drinking patterns and their consequences, it is clear that ethnographic research findings on the social and cultural roles of alcohol may have important implications for policy-makers - particularly in areas such as Europe where economic and political 'convergence' could have significant impact on drinking-cultures and their associated lifestyles. In this context, it is essential for those concerned with policy and legislation on alcohol to have a clear understanding of the sociocultural functions and meanings of drinking. This passage outlines the principal conclusions that can be drawn from the available cross-cultural material regarding the symbolic uses of alcoholic beverages, the social functions of drinking-places and the roles of alcohol in transitional and celebratory rituals. From the ethnographic material available, it is clear that in all cultures where more than one type of alcoholic beverage is available, drinks are classified in terms of their social meaning, and the classification of drinks is used to define the social world. Few, if any, alcoholic beverages are 'socially neutral': every drink is loaded with symbolic meaning, every drink conveys a message. Alcohol is a symbolic vehicle for identifying, describing, constructing and manipulating cultural systems, values, interpersonal relationships, behavioural norms and expectations. Choice of beverage is rarely a matter of personal taste. At the simplest level, drinks are used to define the nature of the occasion. In many Western cultures, for example, champagne is synonymous with celebration, such that if champagne is ordered or served at an otherwise 'ordinary' occasion, someone will invariably ask "What are we celebrating?" In the Weiner Becken in Austria, sekt is drunk on formal occasions, while schnapps is reserved for more intimate, convivial gatherings - the type of drink served defines both the nature of the event and the social relationship between the drinkers. The choice of drink also dictates behaviour, to the extent that the appearance of a bottle of schnapps can prompt a switch from the 'polite' form of address, sie, to the highly intimate du.
Mumbai: developing city overshadowing the ecology
Mumbai : Development overshadows Ecology Given the astronomical land prices in many parts of Mumbai, and the extreme scarcity of land, it is no surprise that Mumbai has sacrificed its ecology for development. Real estate projects, industry, and state infrastructure have built over, and choked, the city’s water networks at various strategic points. Every monsoon, the city floods. Local trains considered the lifeline of Mumbai, today moved at the snail's pace due to water-logging of the tracks, resulting in harrowing times for lakhs of office-goers and other commuters. A distance, usually covered in about an hour, took several hours, even up to five hours in some cases, as the rail tracks, as well as roads were submerged. This was the scene of the metropolis as it continued to be lashed by heavy rains for the fourth straight day. Mudflats, mangroves and wooded vegetation once slowed down the flow of stormwater. The mangrove’s complex root systems and the branching architecture of trees acted as a natural barrier to reduce the force of water flow. But now, they are built over. Garbage spread everywhere clogs the waterways. Most channels and waterways that connect water bodies have been built over too, resulting preventing streams from easily reaching the sea, adding to the severe flooding. Today, with nothing but concrete all around, the city’s land surface does not allow water to soak into it. In especially intense periods of rain, the devastation is extreme The story of Mumbai today is a reflection of the ills that plague many Indian cities and those in other parts of the world as well, such as Miami and Houston. In a wetter future, it is clearer than ever that cities need ecology to grow.
The sceptic media
Every day, experts bombard us with their views on topics as varied as Iraqi insurgents, Bolivian coca growers, European central bankers, and North Korea's Politburo. But how much credibility should we attach to the opinions of experts? Skeptics, warn that the mass media dictate the voices we hear and are less interested in reasoned debate than in catering to popular prejudices. As a result, fame could be negatively, not positively, correlated with long-run accuracy. Until recently, no one knew who is right, because no one was keeping score. But the results of a 20-year research project now suggest that the skeptics are closer to the truth. I describe the project in detail in my book Expert Political Judgment: How good is it? How can we know? The basic idea was to solicit thousands of predictions from hundreds of experts about the fates of dozens of countries, and then score the predictions for accuracy. We find that the media not only fail to weed out bad ideas, but that they often favor bad ideas, especially when the truth is too messy to be packaged neatly. The evidence falls into two categories. First, as the skeptics warned, when hordes of pundits are jostling for the limelight, many are tempted to claim that they know more than they do. Boom and doom pundits are the most reliable over-claimers. Between 1985 and 2005, boomsters made 10-year forecasts that exaggerated the chances of big positive changes in both financial markets. They assigned probabilities of 65% to rosy scenarios that materialized only 15% of the time. In the same period, doomsters performed even more poorly, exaggerating the chances of negative changes in all the same places where boomsters accentuated the positive. They assigned probabilities of 70% to bleak scenarios that materialized only 12% of the time. Second, again as the skeptics warned, over-claimers rarely pay penalties for being wrong. Indeed, the media shower lavish attention on over-claimers while neglecting their humbler colleagues. We can see this process in sharp relief when, following the philosopher Sir Isaiah Berlin, we classify experts as "hedgehogs" or "foxes." Hedgehogs are big-idea thinkers in love with grand theories: libertarianism, Marxism, environmentalism, etc. Their self-confidence can be infectious. They know how to stoke momentum in an argument by multiplying reasons why they are right and others are wrong. That wins them media acclaim. But they don't know when to slam the mental brakes by making concessions to other points of view. They take their theories too seriously. The result: hedgehogs make more mistakes, but they pile up more hits on Google. Imagine your job as a media executive depends on expanding your viewing audience. Whom would you pick: an expert who balances conflicting arguments and concludes that the likeliest outcome is more of the same, or an expert who gets viewers on the edge of their seats over radical Islamists seizing control and causing oil prices to soar? At this point, uncharitable skeptics chortle that we get the media we deserve. But that is unfair. No society has yet created a widely trusted method for keeping score on the punditocracy. Even citizens who prize accuracy have little way of knowing that they are sacrificing it when they switch channels from boring foxes to charismatic hedgehogs. Here, then, is a modest proposal that applies to all democracies: the marketplace of ideas works better if it is easier for citizens to see the trade-offs between accuracy and entertainment, or between accuracy and party loyalty. Wouldn't they be more likely to read pundits with better track records?
Why Old Ideas Are a Secret Weapon
A series of explosions shook the city of St. Louis on March 16, 1972. The first building fell to the ground at 3 p.m. that afternoon. In the months that followed, more than 30 buildings would be turned to rubble. The buildings that were destroyed were part of the now infamous housing project known as Pruitt-Igoe. When the Pruitt-Igoe housing project opened in 1954 it was believed to be a breakthrough in urban architecture. Spanning 57 acres across the north side of St. Louis, Pruitt-Igoe consisted of 33 high-rise buildings and provided nearly 3,000 new apartments to the surrounding population. Pruitt-Igoe was designed with cutting-edge ideas from modern architecture. The designers emphasized green spaces and packed residents into high-rise towers with beautiful views of the surrounding city. The buildings employed skip-stop elevators, which only stopped at the first, fourth, seventh, and tenth floors. (Architects believed that forcing people to use the stairs would lessen the foot traffic and congestion in the building.) The buildings were outfitted with “unbreakable” lights that were covered in metal mesh and intended to reduce vandalism. The floors featured communal garbage chutes and large windows to brighten the corridors with natural light. On paper, Pruitt-Igoe was a testament to modern engineering. In practice, the project was a disaster. The Pruitt-Igoe Failure Once the troublemakers of the neighborhood heard that the light fixtures were supposedly unbreakable, they accepted the challenge and threw water on the lights until they overheated and burnt out. Next, they busted the garbage chutes and shattered the windows. According to one report, the bright new corridors had so many broken windows that “it was possible to see straight through to the other side.” The St. Louis Housing Authority had planned to use rental incomes to pay for the maintenance of the buildings. In the years after the massive project opened, the population of St. Louis began to drop as people moved out of the city. With fewer tenants than expected and increasing rates of vandalism, the buildings were left unfixed. Soon the modern design of Pruitt-Igoe began to accelerate its downfall. Suddenly, the skip-stop elevators became a danger to well-behaved citizens who were forced to walk through additional corridors and risky stairways just to get into and out of their apartments. As criminal activity rose, more things were broken, more people moved away, and less money came in. In 1972, less than 20 years after the project had opened, the St. Louis Housing Authority scheduled a demolition and blew up the entire $36 million complex. Old Ideas Are Undervalued The sprawling 33-building, 57-acre layout of Pruitt-Igoe ignored the traditional knowledge about how cities grow and develop. Nearly every thriving and successful city on our planet was built organically and unpredictably. Buildings popped up as needed. City blocks expanded gradually. There is a reason we tend to undervalue old ideas: At first glance, we just see an idea that has been around for a long time. We incorrectly assume that familiar ideas provide average results. “Everyone does it this way, so it can't be that great … right?” What we fail to understand is that the fundamentals are not merely a collection of good ideas. The fundamentals are a collection of good ideas that outlasted thousands of bad ideas. For example: Fitness. Decades have seen the rise and fall of countless exercise fads. New training styles come into vogue, only to be replaced by another a few years later. In our quest to get fit we chase the latest and greatest offering even though boring fundamentals like lifting weights three times per week or going for a daily walk have outlasted all the previous fads. Entrepreneurship. Simple fundamentals like making more sales calls can be the difference between success and failure as an entrepreneur. As Patrick McKenzie, CEO of Starfighter, says “Our secret weapon is patient execution of what everyone knows they should be doing, because that actually is a competitive barrier.” Reading. Half of this year's best-selling books are filled with ideas that may seem intelligent today, but will be proven wrong in the near future. Only a handful will still be read consistently a decade from now. These books—the ones that stand the test of time—are the ones you want to be reading because they are filled with ideas that last. This is why old books can provide incredible value. The Power of Inherited Knowledge Across the street from Pruitt-Igoe was more traditional housing complex named Carr Square Village. Unlike Pruitt-Igoe, Carr Square Village was a smaller, low-rise complex and featured more traditional designs. It was built 12 years before Pruitt-Igoe, but despite its older age, Carr Square Village outlasted Pruitt-Igoe and boasted lower crime and vacancy rates all while being in the same neighborhood. Is this evidence that we should abandon creative thinking and innovation in the name of sticking to the fundamentals? Of course not. But I do believe the Pruitt-Igoe story is one example of our tendency to undervalue inherited knowledge. Furthermore, I'd like to propose that sometimes the creative thing to do is to actually practice the fundamentals more consistently than everyone else. Most people don’t fully use the knowledge they already have. As I have written previously, “Everybody already knows that” is very different from “Everybody already does that.”