NY Times Bits Daily Report

June 27, 2016 Leave a comment



The New York Times

Daily Report

June 27 2016

For years, Apple and Dell battled over sales to students and schools.
Apple was arguably the first tech company to make significant sales to the education market (not including those IBM and Hewlett-Packard mainframes used in engineering departments), thanks to computers that were far easier to use than early Windows PCs. But as Apple stumbled in the 1990s and Windows improved, Dell’s Windows PCs grabbed a significant share.
Now those old rivals have plenty of company.
This week, at an education conference in Colorado, executives from Amazon, Google, Microsoft and other tech companies will be discussing what they bring to the educational market, from software and online tools to devices like the Mac or Google’s Chromebooks.
A cynic would say they want to get them hooked while they’re young. And there might be some truth to that: Get comfortable with a Mac or a Chromebook when you’re young and you’ll probably use it for years to come.
But education is also a significant business opportunity.Last year, primary and secondary schools in the United States spent $4.9 billion on tablet, laptop and desktop computers, according to researchers at IDC.
– Jim Kerstetter

Amazon Unveils Online Education Service for Teachers

The new Amazon site will offer free lesson plans, teaching modules and other digital resources for educators.

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The Chronicle of Higher Education This Week

June 27, 2016 Leave a comment


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Turmoil Raises Specter of Faculty Exodus From Public Colleges

 8:59 AM


Weekly Briefing

Monday, June 27, 2016

Turmoil Raises Specter of Faculty Exodus From Public Colleges premium

By Lee GardnerHigh-profile defections stoke rumors of a mass exit, but even if professors aren’t fleeing in droves, there’s plenty of maneuvering behind the scenes.

Gay College Leaders Reflect on Barriers, and How Far They’ve Come premium

By Lee GardnerLGBTQ Presidents in Higher Education held its second annual conference in the wake of a mass shooting that targeted gay Americans. Even in the aftermath of that tragedy, some members saw encouraging signs.

Video: N.C. ‘Bathroom Bill’ Is Discriminatory

By Jack StriplingRandy Woodson, chancellor of North Carolina State University, says a controversial law that requires transgender people to use bathrooms corresponding to the gender listed on their birth certificates is discriminatory and could damage his campus’s standing in the scholarly community.  

Supreme Court Deals Blow to Obama’s Immigration Plan — and to Hopes of ‘Dreamers’

By Katherine ManganA deadlocked vote by the justices preserves a lower court’s ruling against a proposal that would have shielded from deportation many parents and siblings of college students.

As ‘Fisher’ Churned, Conversations About Campus Diversity Evolved premium

By Eric HooverShifts in economics and student demographics, along with resurgent activism, have altered the tenor of the discussion about affirmative action over the past eight years.

The Chronicle Review

The Flaw at the Heart of Psychological Research premium

By Christopher D. GreenThe nature of the discipline makes statistics create headaches.


The Supreme Court Frees Colleges to Sensibly Pursue Diversity

By Lorelle L. Espinosa and Peter McDonoughThe Fisher II decision signals, in a time of deep unrest, that race matters.


How Your Journal Editor Works

By Devoney LooserA glimpse into the not-so-glamorous lives and habits of scholarly-journal editors.


A Call to Replace Adjuncts With Tenure-Track Faculty Members

Michael H. Schill, president of the University of Oregon, also talks about his plans to focus marketing efforts more on academics and less on athletics.

Appointments, Resignations, Deaths


Lingua Franca

Colonialism in U.S. Spanish Departments

Latin American traditions, languages, literature, and histories inform North American culture in many ways, says Jeffrey Herlihy-Mera. So why are U.S. Spanish departments so Eurocentric?


Make a More Inclusive Syllabus With Tulane’s Accessible Syllabus Project

Tulane’s Accessible Syllabus project assembles handy resources for making any syllabus more accessible, inclusive, and engaging.

Vitae — for Your Academic Life

They Want Me to Reapply

How to proceed when the search gets postponed.

Cyborgs, Zombies, and P-Values

Writing science fiction can make you a better science communicator.

Tenure-Track Wisdom: Allison Lange

The latest in a series of interviews with rookie academics about what they learned in their first year on the tenure track.

Create a ‘Yes’ Filter

Sure, I am quite capable of speaking on that topic. Whether I actually want to is the question.

Tools & Resources

Better Candidates Require a Better Method
Discover Vitae Recruiter’s new candidate alert feature, designed to help you save time in filling your hard-to-fill positions. Schedule your demo.
The Academic’s Guide to a Successful Summer
Whatever your academic walk of life, you’ll find survival strategies and tips on how to make the most of the months ahead in Vitae’s free guide to a successful summer. Just sign in here and the booklet is all yours.
Your Guide to the Ins and Outs of Negotiating in Academe
Kudos on having an offer in hand. But that’s just the starting point for negotiations. Our experts tell you how to weigh the terms and broker a better outcome. Download it here.
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Mobile Strategies Update

June 27, 2016 Leave a comment



Mobile Speedometer

In the past two weeks, WebMD reduced its mobile home page load time by 0.34 seconds, boosting it up in the mobile performance ranking index Read the full story andsee how this week’s rankings played out.

Mobile Executive Report

This exclusive report investigates best practices and current trends in helping mobile executives improve their ROI by improving mobile site and app performance.

Featured News

Mobile shoppers who make the majority of their online retail purchases on their smartphone, make 61% of those purchases on Amazon.com, according to an Internet Retailer survey. [Retail, trends] Full Story

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How Britain’s Breakup With the E.U. Could Reshape World Markets

June 25, 2016 Leave a comment


JUNE 24, 2016

LONDON — First came the shock. Then fear seized world markets. As frenzied selling accelerated in Tokyo, Hong Kong and London, unfathomable amounts of wealth vanished in a matter of hours.

In crudest outlines, the panic that followed Britain’s vote to quit the European Union traced the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers, an event that turned an unfolding financial crisis into the bleakest economic downturn since the Great Depression. The similarities hung uneasily over markets on Friday, presenting a grim question: How ugly might things get?

As economists pored over the rout like accident investigators dispatched to the scene of a crash, most offered assurances that a Lehman-style financial panic was not unfolding. In that debacle, investors indiscriminately fled all assets connected to the disastrous American housing bubble. Mortgages had been carved into exotic investments and peddled around the globe, meaning they lurked everywhere. Distrust spread like a virus.

This time, the source of the trouble is both identifiable and relatively confined. Britain and the 27 remaining members of the European Union face significant uncertainty in their economic and financial dealings as they embark on complex divorce proceedings.

Fears that drawn-out negotiations could disrupt trade prompted investors to push their money toward safety. As night fell in London, the British pound was down more than 7 percent. Stock markets plummeted around the globe; the Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index closed down 3.6 percent in New York. London closed down a similar margin, and Tokyo surrendered more than 4 percent. Investors poured money into government bonds, seeking refuge.

“As of now, this doesn’t look like an end-of-the-world event,” said Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, an independent research organization. “It looks bad, but it’s not a cataclysmic game-changer similar to Lehman.” Then he paused. “Yet.”

In the best case, the plunge in markets represents an abrupt adjustment to the changing geography of global commerce. Britain has been diminished as a place for banking and business, and so the pound has lost some luster.

How ‘Brexit’ Will Affect the Global Economy, Now and Later JUNE 24, 2016
In the worst case, investors have begun a fearful march away from risk, potentially starving emerging markets and stripping European countries of needed capital. It could last as long as the uncertainties dogging Europe — perhaps years.

If recent traumas have clarified anything, it is the tendency for trouble to emerge unexpectedly. The global financial system is so intertwined that links can remain opaque.

One key factor undergirds confidence that the so-called Brexit will not deliver Lehman-like troubles. In 2008, central banks on both sides of the Atlantic failed to recognize the mounting disaster. They failed to prepare adequate relief. While people may argue over the degree to which regulators have tamed the speculative excesses of finance, few dispute that improvements have been delivered.

“The financial systems in the U.S. and Europe, including the U.K., are far more capitalized and less leveraged than they were in 2008,” said Adam S. Posen, a former member of the rate-setting committee at the Bank of England and now president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “The proclivity to panic in ways that create financial instability are much more limited.”

The Bank of England and the European Central Bank have tools they can wield to defuse threats to banks. They can simply print money and lend it out as needed.

Less than an hour after markets opened in London on Friday, Britain’s central bank governor, Mark J. Carney, stood before television cameras and struck a resolute pose as he promised to do what it took to stabilize markets. He announced that he was prepared to unleash another £250 billion (about $370 billion) in pursuit of financial tranquillity.

“We expect institutions to draw on this funding if and when appropriate,” Mr. Carney said. “The bank will assess economic conditions and will consider any additional policy responses.”

Those words appeared to assuage fears, as the pound and stock prices both pared their losses.

In recent years, the Federal Reserve in the United States, the Bank of England and the European Central Bank have subjected financial institutions to so-called stress tests. They regularly scrutinize banks’ portfolios and the money they hold in reserve to make sure they can hold up in various outbreaks of trouble.

These tests have been welcomed by economists as a helpful addition to the warning system. Just this week, major American banks all gained passing grades.

Yet, these are academic exercises.

“This is the real stress test,” said Simon Johnson, a former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund and a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management.

The immediate run on stocks and currencies might yet grow into something worse, shaking consumer confidence and prompting households to limit their spending. As businesses lose profit opportunities, they are likely to put off investing and hiring.

If that happens, it could create a spiral ending in recession, both in Britain and across Europe, adding to pressure on banks. The markets seemed to be warning of this possibility as they savaged the value of banking stocks on Friday.

The triumph of the Brexit campaign has also invigorated separatist inclinations elsewhere, in Scotland, the Netherlands and beyond.

The greater the odds that the European Union will splinter, the more investors are likely to demand extra payouts for fresh loans to debt-saturated countries like Greece, Italy and Portugal. That could squeeze businesses there, making it harder for them to borrow, further crimping their economies.

“That could then spread to the banks and go global, and that could smell like a Lehman,” said Markus Schomer, chief economist for PineBridge Investments, a global asset management firm. He put very low odds on this “referendum contagion” case.

If history is a guide, hedge funds, private equity and other realms of finance will also suffer. There, aggressive players borrow enormous sums of money to place outsize bets. Crises have previously revealed those taking on outsize risk. Long Term Capital Management, which borrowed heavily, appeared robust before losses in the Asian financial crisis of the late 1990s brought it to the verge of a collapse that threatened the broader financial system and required a private bailout.

As the prominent investor Warren E. Buffett once put it, “Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.”

Those who had been paying attention to the American housing crisis were hardly surprised when Lehman’s afflictions burst into public view. Lenders had been writing mortgages to seemingly anyone in possession of a signature. Lehman had been repackaging these loans and selling them for vast profits.

The surprise was that Lehman actually went bankrupt, exposing its trading partners to losses. By contrast, polls had suggested that Britain might really walk. This is a source of hope, given that central banks, governments and investors had more time to prepare.

“Lehman came out of the blue,” said John Van Reenen, director of the Center for Economic Performance at the London School of Economics. “This is like a train wreck where you can see the trains coming together for a long distance and you’re hoping the trains will swerve away.”

But any comfort in that is sapped by the fact that Britain, one of the oldest democracies on earth, put itself in this spot through an exercise of free will. Now, the world waits to see how far the pain spreads.

Advice as Markets React to ‘Brexit’: Take Some Deep Breaths and Don’t Do a Thing JUNE 24, 2016

Some Early Signs of ‘Brexit’ Upheaval JUNE 24, 2016

What to Watch for in Trading After Shock of ‘Brexit’ JUNE 24, 2016

Overwhelmed by ‘Brexit’? Here Are the Basics JUNE 24, 2016

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Neiman Marcus profits plummet 81% on slow apparel sales

June 15, 2016 Leave a comment


By | June 15, 2016

Dive Brief:

  • Upscale department store Neiman Marcus said Tuesdaythat same-store sales fell 5% in its fiscal third quarter, the company’s third straight quarter of declines.
  • Neiman Marcus’ Q3 net income fell 81% to $3.8 million, compared to $19.8 million in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was $173.2 million, compared to $202.6 million in fiscal Q3 2015.
  • For the period ended April 30, Neiman Marcus reported total revenues of $3.82 billion, down 2.7% from $3.93 billion a year ago. In that time, same-store sales fell 4.2% and the company reported net earnings of $1.1 million, compared to net earnings of $47.8 million in the prior year.

Dive Insight:

In order to decrease pressure for promotions, Neiman Marcus says will re-evaluate its inventory and focus on cutting costs, according to Luxury Daily’s report on the company’s conference call with investors. Neiman Marcus is also facing the fact that e-commerce sales, which are growing as brick-and-mortar store traffic declines, present slimmer margins.

Department store retailers in general including Neiman Marcus have given mostly the same excuses for their unfavorable quarters: Unseasonably warm weather in the winter, unseasonably cool weather in the spring, and a strong dollar that has muted sales from international tourists. But on Tuesday Neiman Marcus CEO Karen Katz also blamed the retailer’s woes on the uncertainty presented by the U.S. presidential election season.

“While it is difficult to pinpoint the specific reasons why, our sense is that the overall economic outlook combined with uncertainty related to the continued fluctuations of the U.S. stock market and the upcoming presidential elections are tempering our customers’ overall enthusiasm for shopping,” Katz said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Neiman Marcus filed for an initial public offering last year, but pulled back amid a bleak outlook for luxury retail. Its results in recent quarters mean that a second IPO attempt is unlikely.

Neiman Marcus must also replace Chief Marketing Officer Wanda Gierhart, who announced her imminent departure in March. Gierhart, who had directed all marketing functions for Neiman Marcus Group’s Neiman Marcus, Neiman Marcus Direct and Bergdorf Goodman brands since 2009, spearheaded new omnichannel initiatives such as free shipping and returns for online orders, as well as the chain’s Snap.Find.Shop. visual search app. She also brainstormed creative strategies designed to bring in younger shoppers, like event installations at conferences such as South by Southwest.

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Why Microsoft Likes LinkedIn

June 14, 2016 Leave a comment


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

The New York Times

For the latest updates, go to nytimes.com/technology »

The New York Times

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Daily Report
Why Microsoft Likes LinkedIn | So what does Microsoft get for $26.2 billion?
On Monday, the world’s largest software company paid that much for LinkedIn, the world’s premier online job site, reports Nick Wingfield. It is by far the largest acquisition in Microsoft’s history, though not the biggest deal of 2016. That is Shire’s $30 billion purchase of Baxalta, another pharmaceutical company.
Drug company deals are more straightforward though, and the price is usually based on what the acquirer hopes to squeeze out of the products and talent. Technology mergers tend to require a little more imagination to justify their cost.
LinkedIn may have 400 million “members,” as the people who post their job data there are called, but in 2015 it had revenue of about $3 billion, and posted a net loss of $166 million. The year before it lost only $15 million on $2.2 billion in revenue. It is hard to see why Microsoft paid a premium of about 50 percent of Friday’s LinkedIn share price.
But think like a tech chief executive, using the key values of relevance, synergy, data and growth. Microsoft is in the midst of an epochal transition from the time of personal computers and computer servers to machine-based intelligence everywhere, via cloud computing and mobile devices. Where once it owned the desktop, now it strives with the likes of Google and Amazon for a $1 trillion prize, the global market for corporate computing.
At the end of last March, Microsoft had $105 billion in cash, far more than the competition. Spending some of that on a well-regarded cloud company it can transition over to its own enormous cloud system makes Microsoft ever more relevant in this world.
Unlike Google and Amazon, Microsoft already has a large presence in corporate software, and some of LinkedIn’s functions will fit nicely into its human resources and financial planning products. Microsoft is also trying to increase the corporate utility of Skype, the online communications company it bought for $8.5 billion in 2011.
Bolted onto LinkedIn, it could be a means not just of recruitment, but of organizing teams. Much of LinkedIn’s proposition has been that it will be the core of a future in which there is much less lifetime employment and lots more freelancing, consulting and other independent contracting across the globe.
LinkedIn already has probably the world’s best trove of data on the work people are doing and looking for, and one of the best-regarded teams of data scientists in tech. That information and those people will now work with counterparts in areas like online search, gaming and artificial intelligence, or A.I.
Data is not just inherently important these days; it is a key asset for improving the performance of A.I. systems. Big data sets lend themselves to better results (incidentally, a reason many in tech are starting to worry about the data owned by the biggest companies.) Buying LinkedIn didn’t just improve the likely performance of Microsoft’s own algorithms. It took a large potential data resource off the table for Amazon and Google.
That is, in large part, the positive situation — which is how such enormous acquisitions should begin. Now for the hard part of making it all work as planned.
— Quentin Hardy
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Take THAT Donald

June 11, 2016 Leave a comment


Saturday, June 11, 2016

The New York Times

For the latest updates, go to nytimes.com/technology »

The New York Times

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Farhad’s and Mike’s Week in Tech: When Politicians Diss Each Other Online
Each Saturday, Farhad Manjoo and Mike Isaac, technology reporters at The New York Times, review the week’s news, offering analysis and maybe a joke or two about the most important developments in the tech industry.
Mike: Hail, Farhad!
Did you like that intro? I’m getting really into “Game of Thrones” this season, and I think that’s what people used to say when they first saw one another. Well, that or “Hodor.
Farhad: I read the “Game of Thrones” books. “Hodor,” said Hodor is really one of the greatest sentences ever written. Anyway, yes, hello, Mike.
Mike: Hodor, Farhad. Hodor. Anyway, on with the news.
I believe we have officially slipped into the doldrums of summer with slowing tech news. Nonetheless, some stuff happened.
For instance, Larry Page, Google’s co-founder, deciding to invest $100 million in a flying car start-up, and also investing in one of its competitors. Clearly this guy cares little about a “winning investment,” and a lot about eventually getting cars in the sky.
Farhad: Flying cars! “The Jetsons” really is coming true. Now if only someone would create a robot maid.
Mike: I thought that’s what Roomba was for. If only it sucked up all the dog hair in my house.
In more, uh, down-to-earth news, kids aged 13 to 17 are no longer allowed to have Tinder profiles or to use the service, according to the company. I may not be the expert on how to raise children — in fact, I’m legally bound by the state to never procreate — but I have a hard time thinking kids using Tinder is a good idea at all. Getting rejected every few months in high school is already hard enough, much less getting swiped left on every few minutes.
This was interesting: Facebook hired Ricky Van Veen, the guy who created CollegeHumor.com, to be Facebook’s “head of global creative strategy,” which I assume means “head of getting media companies to blow up watermelons with rubber bands on live video.”
Farhad: I used to be a huge, huge fan of CollegeHumor. I totally approve of this move.
Mike: Speaking of virality, I want to get to something that blew everyone’s minds this week. Three little words from the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton: Delete your account.
She sent them in response to a tweet from Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, who dissed her on Twitter after Clinton secured President Obama’s endorsement. This is par for the course for Trump, and occasionally it incites a bit of banter among Clinton or other politicians.
No, this particular tweet seemed to resonate — at least in part — because Clinton, or one of her “823 staff” handling the Twitter account, was speaking the language of the internet to diss Trump right back. The phrase was tailor-made for Twitter to travel far and wide, to be retweeted by web pundits and blasted out by millennial outlets with subheadlines like “the first burn of the general election has been scored.”
Since we are both scholars of Twitter, we should muse on why this seemed to tap into the viral internet so well. You first.
Farhad: I was trying to explain this to my wife, who doesn’t use Twitter, and I failed. I think the main reason Hillary’s tweet did so well is because “delete your account” has a very specific, nuanced and difficult-to-explain meaning on Twitter — and the fact that Hillary seemed to know that it carried special meaning gave her some cred with Twitter’s leading lights (of which I am a member).
Mike: Farhad.
Farhad: No, but seriously, “Delete your account” is interesting. For one thing, it is not a literal request to delete your account. I saw some commentators saying that this was like a schoolyard taunt, the online equivalent of telling Donald to shut up, but that gets it wrong.
It’s more like the saying, “What you said was a little ridiculous and sad, and I’m going to do the hilarious thing of pretending it was so bad that you should no longer even use Twitter, and my hyperbole will itself be a mike drop.” Does that make sense? If not, it’s probably because you don’t use Twitter (which is fine).
Anyway, as Philip Bump explained in The Washington Post, what was remarkable about Hillary’s tweet was that she used the phrase correctly. As he wrote, “It’s like your uncle suddenly turned to you and said, “You know who’s good? [Cool underground band you’re amazed he’s heard of].”
Now, as someone who’s been on the receiving end of lots of “delete your accounts,” I can tell you that it’s hard to recover from one. And that’s what we saw in responses from Reince Priebus, the Republican Party chairman, and from Trump himself.
They both tried to tie the tweet back to Clinton’s email scandal, but the comeback felt very forced, like, “Oh yeah, the jerk store called …
Mike: Nice George Costanza reference.
And you’re totally right. Priebus and Trump came back way, way later after they realized that Clinton’s tweet landed and resonated with people like us. Their tweets felt like they were work-shopped inside a conference room for 45 minutes with a bunch of college students. The uncool ones.
Here’s the thing: It’s cool she got a “sick burn” or whatever, but retweets do not equate to political activism or actual votes. Everyone loves to share a Facebook or Twitter post, but look at voter turnout over the two decades. The people who use Twitter are probably not the people doing the voting.
Maybe that’s the true sick burn, Secretary Clinton.
I just wonder if any of these conversations amount to anything at all other than a daily news cycle and a raise for the intern who thought it up. And fun television hits for us!
Farhad: Oh, I think this sort of thing has an impact. Any one tweet does not make a difference, of course, but over all, what happens on Twitter makes its way into the rest of the news either directly (when cable news shows display pictures of tweets) or indirectly, in the way it colors how reporters think about the campaign.
And I’d also add that Trump himself seems to take Twitter insults pretty seriously. He spent several days last month battling Senator Elizabeth Warren over some shade she threw at him on Twitter. So to the extent that his opponent can use Twitter owns to rattle him, well, why not?
Also, that reminds me of something I’ve been meaning to tell you: Delete your account.
Mike: Fine. Also, never tweet. See you next week!
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