IS IT TRUE June 6, 2016

first_imgWe are saddened by the news of the death of a long-time friend, patriot and political activist, Berniece Timmerstein, yesterday in a traffic accident?  Our dear friends and neighbors, Jim and Charlene Braker were also injured in the same accident.   We offer our prayers for them and their families?IS IT TRUE  are hearing that a local charity thrift store known for its generous service to the most needy among us has fallen on hard times? …we know that other non-profit organizations are doing very well financially and hope that they will share their bounty with the more humble charities? … we have noticed that a few faith-based non-profits appear to be frequent recipients of grants through DMD because they have seemly exercised political influence helpful to the Winnecke administration?IS IT TRUE an Appeal Application has been quietly filed with the Zoning Appeals Board requesting that they give permission for an variance for someone who wants to start a STRIP CLUB on South Green River Road just across from Planet Fitness, Stein Mart and soon to be built Schnuck grocery store?  …we are hearing that property and business owners that do business in that section of South Green River Road are banning together to oppose this development? ….If you would like to join this battle please call Charles (Skip) Garnett at 812-430-2606?  ….this a developing story so get ready to read about a in your face Zoning Appeals battle?IS IT TRUE we have been told that a group of respected and well-heeled Democrats are already seeking a young, energetic primary opponent for Second Ward Councilwoman Missy Mosby in 2019?…that they have already identified one fresh face with no political baggage who is receptive to the idea? …we also hear the same group will seek opposition for other Democrat office holders? … the names of Jonathon Weaver and James Brinkmeyer might appear on their list, too?IS IT TRUE that the Southwestern corner of Indiana is shaping up to be a battleground in the Governor’s race?  …John Gregg has opened a campaign office in Evansville as a sign that he is courting local support?  …it looks like Mr. Gregg is in the  Governors race to win?IS IT TRUE attached below is the most recent 990 IRS Tax Report filed by Deaconess Hospital-Evansville for you to analyze?  …we hope you will pay special attention to the section that gives a detailed breakdown of salaries paid to top administrators?http://990s.foundationcenter.org/990_pdf_archive/350/350593390/350593390_201409_990.pdf?_ga=1.41844321.2138777471.1456258981IS IT TRUE we advise our readers to check for detours if they plan to traverse the downtown area anytime soon? …that construction of the land-based casino, the North Main project, and the public events held in the summer will cause a lot of street closings?IS IT TRUE today’s “READERS POLL” question is:  Who do you feel is the most effective Vanderburgh County Council member?FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more

Transgender rights advocate honored by Harvard Foundation

first_img Solange Knowles is Harvard Foundation Artist of Year Radcliffe has panelists, comedians, and an author explore how we talk about language and gender Janet Mock, the acclaimed transgender activist, writer, producer, advocate, and director, has been named the 2019 Harvard University Artist of the Year.  She will receive the Harvard Foundation’s arts medal on March 9 during the annual Cultural Rhythms festival in Memorial Hall’s Sanders Theatre.Mock’s two memoirs, “Redefining Realness” (2014) and “Surpassing Certainty” (2017), were New York Times best-sellers. She is a sought-after speaker, an advocate for transgender rights, and the founder of #GirlsLikeUs, a social media project that empowers transgender women.Mock made television history last year as the first transgender woman of color to write, direct, and produce a television series, Ryan Murphy’s FX drama “POSE,” which assembled the largest-ever cast of transgender actors in regular roles for a scripted series. The show was hailed  by critics and renewed for a second season, which is currently in production. Mock has a number of other TV projects in the works. Mock was named one of Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People of 2018,” calling her one of “12 new faces of black leadership” and one of “the most influential people on the internet.” In 2017, she was one of Variety’s “Power of Women” and Fast Company named her one of 2015’s “most creative people in business.” She was featured on Ebony magazine’s Power 100 list, and the PEN Center USA gave her an Award of Honor during its 27th annual Literary Awards Festival.The Ms. Foundation, Planned Parenthood, Feminist Press, GLSEN, Shorty Awards, and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project have all honored Mock for her work.Born in Hawaii, Mock earned a B.A. in fashion merchandisingfrom the University of Hawaii, Manoa, and an M.A. in journalism from New York University. She began her career as an editor at People.com and has written for The New Yorker, The New York Times, Marie Claire, Interview, and Allure. She has also worked as a correspondent for “Entertainment Tonight” and a host for MSNBC, where she helmed the groundbreaking series “So POPular!,” interviewing Lena Dunham, Salma Hayek, and Issa Rae.Mock also produced and conducted all interviews for the HBO documentary “The Trans List,” and hosted and produced the podcast “Never Before,” which featured in-depth interviews with people such as Rep. Maxine Waters, Tina Knowles, Kris Jenner, and Oscar winner Tarell Alvin McCraney.The award will be presented to Mock at the Cultural Rhythms Festival during a program on March 9. Tickets will be available to Harvard ID holders beginning Friday at noon (two-ticket limit per ID. Price $10), and to the general public beginning Saturday at noon, at the Harvard Box Office in the Smith Campus Center at 1350 Massachusetts Ave., by phone at 617-496-2222, or online at www.boxoffice.harvard.edu. (Handling fees may apply. Two-ticket limit. Price $20.)Media note: The Artist of the Year award will be presented to Mock during the Harvard Cultural Rhythms Festival. The official program begins at 4:30 p.m. on March 9. Press credentials will be issued between 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. on that day in the Sanders Theatre lobby. Please email [email protected]  for credential applications, which will be approved on March 8. Singer, songwriter, visual artist will receive award at March 3 ceremony center_img Related ‘Ways with Words’ conference will spark conversationlast_img read more

Darwinism as a Post-Observation What-If Game

first_imgThe silly evolutionary spin put on observations of the natural world do not contribute to science; they cheapen it.Jellyfish Did Not Evolve SleepAll the secular news media entered dogmatic slumbers when Nature announced, “Jellyfish caught snoozing give clues to origin of sleep.” The comment came from a paper in Current Biology, “The Jellyfish Cassiopea Exhibits a Sleep-like State.” Cozy in their beds, dreaming snugly of Darwin playing sandman to jellyfish, they used the observation that jellyfish take breaks to explain why people evolved sleep.Jellyfish and humans may seem wildly different, but both still need to sleep (Science Daily): “This finding that jellyfish sleep implies that sleep is an ancient behavior, largely untouched by millennia [sic; hundreds of millions of years] of evolution.”Even jellyfish get sluggish if they don’t have enough sleep (New Scientist): “The findings push the origins of slumber further back in our evolutionary past,” Sam Wong writes. He can’t bring himself to even consider a designed reason for animals to sleep.Despite the vast evolutionary distance between jellyfish and backboned vertebrates like ourselves, the team found evidence for common mechanisms. The hormone melatonin, which promotes sleep in humans and our relatives, also induces quiescence in Cassiopea. So does pyrilamine, an antihistamine drug that causes drowsiness. It is also unclear why sleep evolved. The problem is that sleep has so many benefits, it’s hard to pick out the crucial one.If evolution is so powerful to design a mechanism for sleep, why couldn’t it, in 500 million years, design a human being to get by without sleep? Wouldn’t that be a fitness advantage? Wouldn’t it provide us with even more time to pass on our genes?Tomatoes Are Not Crystal BallsMembers of the tomato family use acylsugars for defense. Phys.org admits that “These specialized metabolites have a wide variety of structures and are made by different enzymes working together to carry out a series of biochemical reactions.” Rather than explain how random mutations arrived at the recipes for complex enzymes, let alone getting them to work together in organic synthesis, the authors, Layne Cameron and Robert Last, chose witchcraft. “Tomatoes’ crystal ball reveals evolutionary secrets,” they say, conjuring up images of the Bearded Buddha inside the skin of a tomato. “[S]tudying these specialized metabolites open an evolutionary window,” they believe. Last is least among philosophers of science. Look what he says:“We sought to understand how this novel pathway originated and diversified across 100 million years of plant evolution,” said Last, MSU Barnett Rosenberg Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Plant Biology and the study’s senior author. “This is our crystal ball, our view into evolution.”Evolution Did Not Make Sparrows an Ideal SizeWhy aren’t house sparrows as big as geese? It’s a weird question” that sent Norwegian evolutionists on a quest to venerate Darwin. “But the overall message is this: The researchers tested the theory of evolution, predicted the results and things went as expected,” an article on Phys.org boasts. “The sparrows tell us that the theory of evolution actually works outside the laboratory as well.” But here’s the catch: the sparrows in the experiment, forced to evolve larger and smaller sizes, reverted to their original sizes when returned to the wild! If anything, this empirical evidence refutes Darwin’s theory. The evolutionists missed the real story: intelligent design!But at the same time, it’s no benefit to be too big, either. Maybe you then become a more vulnerable catch for birds of prey? So far these are mostly speculations. We don’t actually know for sure.What we do know is that the bird populations changed very quickly. This can tell us something about how adaptable the sparrows are.Ageing Is Not a Quirk of EvolutionPeople grow old and die. So do roundworms. Why? Evolutionists at the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) in Mainz, Germany, put a Darwin spin on the question, according to Science Daily. In “Unveiling the mystery of why we age,” they decide it was just a “quirk of evolution” that happened way back when:As Charles Darwin explained, natural selection results in the fittest individuals for a given environment surviving to breed and pass on their genes to the next generation. The more fruitful a trait is at promoting reproductive success, the stronger the selection for that trait will be. In theory, this should give rise to individuals with traits which prevent ageing as their genes could be passed on nearly continuously. Thus, despite the obvious facts to the contrary, from the point of evolution ageing should never have happened. This evolutionary contradiction has been debated and theorised on since the 1800s. It was only in 1953 with his hypothesis of antagonistic pleiotropy (AP) that George C. Williams gave us a rational [sic] explanation for how ageing can arise in a population through evolution. Williams proposed that natural selection enriches genes promoting reproductive success but consequently ignores their negative effects on longevity. Importantly, this is only true when those negative effects occur after the onset of reproduction. Essentially, if a gene mutation results in more offspring but shortens life that’s fine.Thus, they have perpetuated the tautological formulation of natural selection by equating fitness with survival (6/19/14). The researchers are also apparently unaware that George Williams was a vehement critic of the reckless just-so storytelling by evolutionists (5/31/04). In a pretense of striving for empirical evidence, these scientists observe that autophagy (programmed cell death) slows down in older roundworms. But they did not show that such slowdown causes ageing in humans. Nor did they explain how autophagy (a complex, multi-step process that is tightly regulated; see “Dumpster Diving” at Evolution News) arose in the first place. In fact, they couldn’t even be sure that autophagy causes ageing in roundworms. But they invoked Darwin’s “Stuff Happens Law” as their all-purpose just-so story:This evidence has now arrived according to the co-lead author of the paper Jonathan Byrne, “The evolutionary theory of ageing just explains everything so nicely but it lacked real evidence that it was happening in nature. Evolution becomes blind to the effects of mutations that promote ageing as long as those effects only kick in after reproduction has started. Really, ageing is an evolutionary oversight.” Jonathan continues “These AP genes haven’t been found before because it’s incredibly difficult to work with already old animals, we were the first to figure out how to do this on a large scale.” He explains further “From a relatively small screen, we found a surprisingly large number of genes [30] that seem to operate in an antagonistic fashion.” Previous studies had found genes that encourage ageing while still being essential for development, but these 30 genes represent some of the first found promoting ageing specifically only in old worms. “Considering we tested only 0.05% of all the genes in a worm this suggests there could be many more of these genes out there to find,” says Jonathan.There’s no way to connect the observation to the result, in other words. But since it makes a nice story, they blessed the hearts of all seniors with the comforting words that ageing is just a quirk of evolution, an evolutionary oversight.When the Darwin Party can operate isolated in its own echo chamber, this is the kind of silliness you get. What the Darwin Party really needs is a strong opposition party. The opposition party needs to be strong, forthright, and invulnerable to bluffing and intimidation. It needs to have both powerful scientific evidence and grounding in philosophy of science. It needs to be good at laughing and shaming stupid ideas. Science suffers without it. If they really believed in survival of the fittest, wouldn’t this be seen as the best way forward? Instead, Big Science refuses to even consider publishing letters to the editor, let alone scientific papers, that don’t bow the knee to King Charlie.One evolutionist even agrees with this, surprisingly. Paul Braterman, writing for The Conversation, surprised colleagues by stating, “Listening to creationists can strengthen our understanding of evolution.” We don’t think so. In fact, CEH Editor challenged Braterman in his earlier mockery of creationism (“How to slam dunk creationists when it comes to the theory of evolution,” The Conversation, 9/14/17, a series of straw man arguments) to a written debate with Dr Walt Brown, who has had a standing invitation for decades now. Braterman refused, as has every other evolutionist. What are they afraid of? Here’s what: they are hooked on their just-so storytelling banquets with all those tantalizing speculations (6/25/14). How could they ever give those up?The stock answer by Darwinians why they cannot allow criticisms of evolution is that every opposing view is “religious” somehow. And yet here we see them practicing witchcraft, divination and magic, acting like shamans to pass on the origins myth of our culture, fighting vociferously anyone who challenges their authority.(Visited 576 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Time-travelling SKA to look back at the birth of stars

first_imgAn artist’s impression of the MeerKAT array telescope, the major part of the Square Kilometre Array to be built in South Africa’s Karoo desert. The MeerKAT is expected to be science-ready by the end of 2017. Click for a larger view. (Image: SKA South Africa)• SKA South Africa3rd Floor, The Park, Park Road, Pinelands, Cape Town+27 21 506 [email protected]• Massive funding injection for Square Kilometre Array• SKA will change the way we listen to the universe • South African research funding fourth-highest in the world • Nelson Mandela science school – a promise fulfilled • Bloemfontein becomes city of stars • Cosmic proof of comet strike on EarthLorraine KearneyThe biggest science project in the world is happening right here – and all South Africans should be excited. The Square Kilometre Array is like Nasa for Africa. It’s the World Cup of science.A group of journalists from the US, UK and China are currently touring the country, on the invitation of Brand South Africa, to find about more about local innovation. On Wednesday 26 March they visited the Cape Town offices of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) South Africa, where technical development manager Francois Kapp explained the massive telescope project.The SKA is an international effort to build the largest and most sensitive radio telescope in the world. South Africa is one of its 10 member countries, charged with delivering two-thirds of the project, while Australia constructs a third. In partnership with various other African countries, SKA South Africa is currently designing and building the MeerKAT radio telescope in the desert of the Northern Cape. SKA International will remain in the design phase for the next three years, while SKA South Africa is already at work on construction.Set up deep in the Karoo desert, KAT 7, with its seven telescopes, is the prototype for MeerKAT, which will be South Africa’s contribution to the SKA. KAT 7 is up and running already, while MeerKAT is still being installed – the first telescope is to be unveiled by the ministers of the partner countries on 27 March. Engineering work on MeerKAT is likely to be done by the end of 2016, with the project science-ready by the end of 2017. Two telescopes will be completed by June as the pilots.Are we alone in the universe?Kapp, an engineer, told the visiting journalists what the massive project aimed to achieve. “The first goal is an attempt to picture the evolution of the universe,” he said. “SKA expects to be examining as far back as 400-million years after the Big Bang, when the first stars appeared. It will attempt to find out why the universe is expanding, and why that expansion is accelerating. Other questions are about dark energy – what is it and what is its role in the accelerating expansion.”Another goal was exploring gravity, Kapp explained, and “testing Einstein’s theories to the limit”. A third goal was to better understand cosmic magnetism. “SKA will be exploring the Dark Ages, or what is known as the Epoch of Re-ionisation in the history of the universe. But we will also be looking for life elsewhere, it whatever form that might take. Are we alone? I’d be surprised if we were.”Big, silent and remoteMeerKAT is being installed about 80 kilometres from Carnarvon in the sparsely populated Northern Cape. The site choice is critical – there must be as little noise interference as possible, meaning it has to be far from human settlements. With mountains between the site and big cities, it’s about as remote as you can get. Much of the supercomputer room for data gathering – the Karoo Array Processor – is underground and sheathed in metal plates to keep noise to a minimum.There are no mobile phones, laptops, televisions or radios there. Vehicles must run on diesel as the sparks of petrol engines interfere with the telescopes’ work. Everything is being assembled on site, with most components being built in South Africa – 75% are locally made, mainly the mechanical structures; the balance is imported, mostly in the electronic field. The engineering aspects are mainly South African.Once complete, it will have 64 telescopes with a dense core across a one-kilometre diameter. More telescopes will then be set up in a more sparse array spread out up to eight kilometres away. The global SKA will have a dense core across five kilometres, from which outer telescopes will be placed up to 3 000 kilometres away, as far as Mauritius and Ghana. The first phase of SKA will have 254 telescopes; the second phase 2 540.“We are already getting time booked on MeerKAT from scientists around the world,” Kapp said. “More than 500 scientists are involved, of whom 50 are from South Africa.” And South Africa is definitely holding its own: it went from mere participant to leader in the Collaboration for Astronomy Signal Processing and Electronics Research group at University of California Berkeley in a short space of time, and is custom designing the software and hardware for MeerKAT.Intellectual property for South AfricaCarla Sharpe, the business development manager at SKA South Africa, spoke of the benefits South Africa would get from hosting the SKA. “We are developing this technology that is our intellectual property,” she said, “and we are working with private companies to commercialise it. The idea is that the benefits will expand so that the whole country will benefit.”But it is bigger than that: SKA South Africa is a member of SKA Africa as well. “We are establishing the Africa VLBI [Very Long Baseline Interferometry] network,” Sharpe said. “There are many satellite segment dishes spread out across Africa that are no longer required – as telecommunications moves to fibre optics – or that have fallen into disrepair. We are paying to refurbish these and train scientists in these countries to run and maintain them, so that they can be used for SKA as well.”Where countries do not have existing antennae suitable for conversion, converted dishes from other parts of Africa could be “transplanted”. In some cases, new dishes will be built, SKA South Africa says.The African European Radio Astronomy Platform explains that the idea is to link all these telescopes together, and to radio telescopes in South Africa. “This, in turn, would be connected to radio telescopes and arrays in Europe and elsewhere in the world. The longer the baselines – the greater the array of linked telescopes – the greater is the astronomical detail that can be discerned. The project will also stimulate astronomy in the participating countries and help to develop skills in electronics and information and communications technology.”Ghana, Kenya and Madagascar have already joined this project.Business development from SKA technologyOther schemes are the R50-million Financial Assistance Programme “to help small companies participate in the SKA South Africa setup. There are already 11 small companies partnering in this”; and the Human Capital Development Programme, which has established research chairs at universities.Other business development projects linked to SKA South Africa, all technical solutions, are BabyKAT, a small telescope used for training purposes, as well as Ratty, Roach 3, and PCB Manufacturing.Big Data Africa and WC DEDAT Big Data Programme have “major implications in terms of data becoming easily available across Africa”. A sort of supercomputer clustering, it will use SKA South Africa technology. Ratty (Real Time Transient Analyser) will help as a fast, cheap way to make mandatory tests on electronic equipment. Roach (Reconfigurable Open Architecture Computing Hardware) is being designed and developed in South Africa. Roach is the building block of the SKA hardware, as it forms the heart of the signal processing. It will help bring know-how to the masses, such as in the Egg Box PC Programme, which is looking to build computers for about R500 for rural and underprivileged areas.Two other business development projects, Sharpe said, were renewables, whereby SKA South Africa was sourcing funding to help develop renewable technology to help local communities, as well as in superconductors. In this field, it was working on ground-breaking technology with experts in Stellenbosch for cooling.SKA South Africa is administered by the National Research Foundation and is funded by the National Treasury through the Department of Science and Technology. In the three-year budget tabled by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on 26 February, the project was given R2.1-billion. This sum is for the telescope project itself, with off-set benefits of money spent in the local economy in designing the project, such as on staff salaries and rent, as well as cash for bursaries. Other offset projects will be funded by grants and sponsors. “It gives a multiplier effect to the SKA South Africa government investment.”The fracking impactThe government has given the go-ahead for fracking explorations in the Karoo, but Kapp is optimistic it will not affect the SKA. “Fracking itself does not affect radio telescopes,” he said. “A micro earthquake would affect an optical telescope first. But the infrastructure that goes with fracking may affect the radio telescopes – the people, vehicles, mobile phones, technology needed. However, the Astronomy Geographical Advantage Act protects the site, and covers optical and radio astronomy.”last_img read more

Bringing African children’s stories to a new generation

first_imgWhat do you do if the bookstore doesn’t have books in your language, or they’re just too expensive? Sadly, this is often the case in Africa, a continent that is home to more than 2 000 languages.On a continent with over 2000 languages, finding mother tongue children’s books is a challenge. (Image: African Storybook)Brand South Africa reporterHolidays are a great occasion for reading, whether children are reading quietly to themselves or are sitting with their families with a book. But what do you do if the bookstore doesn’t have books in your language, or they’re just too expensive? Sadly, this is often the case in Africa, a continent that is home to more than 2 000 languages.To read “Maguru gives out legs” click the link below. https://t.co/0rHOmi5oZm Illustration by Wiehan de Jager pic.twitter.com/XzhGuoeo0U— AfricanStorybook.org (@africastorybook) December 7, 2015The African Storybook project may hold some solutions for families who want to read African stories with their children. It started in Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Lesotho, and has spread to Niger, Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Tanzania and Mozambique.In this time, it has collected more than 2 300 stories in 62 African languages. They are all free for download or printing, with some highlighted stories available in video format on the project’s YouTube channel. All the tales offer fascinating insights into how people on the continent tell stories that explore sometimes tough themes and ideas.Read more on “Adun, the beautiful” https://t.co/EXhqTopVL6 Story also available in #Yoruba https://t.co/Im8Was823R pic.twitter.com/g5kFjOGivk— AfricanStorybook.org (@africastorybook) November 2, 2015“Children’s books can tackle big themes in the simplest ways,” says African Storybook artist Catherine Groenewald. The stories deal with real issues faced by children in Africa today in a compassionate, realistic yet humorous manner. Death, urbanisation, respect for elders, and many more moral lessons are taught using the story format, accompanied by vibrant art.Here are some stories from the project’s website that children of all ages can enjoy during the long school holiday and once they’re back in class:Tselane and the giantAfter Tselane’s father dies her mother wants them to move to another village to start a new life. But Tselane does not want to go; her mother agrees to let her stay on her own. They make a pact that Tselane must only open the door when she hears her mother sing. But a giant is listening to their conversation and plans to catch Tselane.Nozibele, Meriri and MeraroThree young girls go to the forest to gather some wood on a hot day. There is enough, they think, and they can swim until it gets cooler. But by the time they finish swimming, it is already late and they have to rush back home.KhayangaKhayanga, a 10-year-old-girl, is taken in by a distant, poor and frail relative after the death of her parents. Her loss and pain lead her to seek guidance and comfort from her parents’ graves.Other stories include Leaving One Home for Another, about spending the holidays with grandmother in the countryside. Exploring the effects of a rapidly urbanised Africa, this is a familiar theme for many. And the story’s moral of strong family ties and teaching respect for elders is a universal one, ringing true in any culture and language.The African Storybook series also features more traditional African stories that often convey a moral lesson or caution against greed and other vices, such as the Ghanaian story Anansi and Turtle. In this story, Anansi the spider greedily eats all the food before his dinner guest Turtle gets a chance. But what can Anansi do when Turtle invites him over to her place for dinner – under water?Other stories are far more serious, such as Tingi and the Cows. Based on real events, the story is about soldiers entering a village as seen from the perspective of a young herd boy. It is an excellent starting point for a conversation about fear and brutality that has affected people across the continent, including many children. It’s a reminder that not all children are lucky enough to fully enjoy the holidays.This week’s #StorybookFriday is of Lekishon and his cows, an #earlyreading story about a Maasai boy. #Literature pic.twitter.com/5WDoJygAxH— AfricanStorybook.org (@africastorybook) August 14, 2015While teaching important life lessons, children also get a chance to develop their love of reading and language. Sometimes the tone of the books is also a little more nonsensical, funny and interactive. In Mr Fly and Mr Bighead, two whimsical characters want to cross a river. But Mr Bighead’s head is so big that he sinks. Mr Fly, on the other hand, “laughed so much that his mouth tore in two from one side to the other”.Naughty Hare is up to his tricks again. What will Elephant do to become a fast runner? pic.twitter.com/5ElqcDSGKs— AfricanStorybook.org (@africastorybook) September 14, 2015Going globalThe African Storybook caters, as the name indicates, to African languages. But sharing traditional and contemporary African stories is also important, not least for children from elsewhere to partake in the rich oral tradition and experience a positive picture of the continent.The creation of the Global African Storybook Project has made this possible. Stories have been translated into Cantonese, German, Hindi, Jamaican Creole, Norwegian and many more – 16 languages in total, and growing.This gives children from all over the world the chance to read stories from and about Africa.Telling your own storiesThe best stories are the ones you make up yourself. This is not only possible with the African Storybook, it is encouraged. Many of the stories on the website are adaptations of stories that others have written. The picture database has thousands of pictures that can be used to make a new story, or added to an existing story.Stories can serve many purposes, and with the African Storybook and Global African Storybook Project, African children’s stories are more accessible than ever before, in African and non-African languages alike.There are over 100 stories to read from on the #AfricanStorybook website. http://t.co/5x57CXN02y pic.twitter.com/waQPpfta8b— AfricanStorybook.org (@africastorybook) April 16, 2015Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See Using Brand South Africa material.last_img read more

The Steps You Need to Define the Stages of Your Sales & Marketing Funnel

first_imgBut that’s just our funnel … what does yours look like? And how exactly can you make sure both teams are aligned in their definition of the funnel? Follow these steps to help define the stages of your funnel that both Sales and Marketing can agree upon and collaborate around.Step 1: Understand Lead QualityFocus on the definition of a Marketing Qualified Lead (MQL). This is the crucial handoff point between marketing and sales, so it’s essential that the teams agree on the terminology. Every company’s definition of an MQL will vary, but it should reflect a combination of traits and actions that indicate a lead is both a good fit for your company and ready to talk to a salesperson. Here’s one way to examine your funnel to assess lead quality and determine whether a lead is ready for sales follow-up:Aspects of Lead QualificationIs the lead a good fit?Your company might target financial services companies with 5,000 or more employees, or small service businesses with fewer than 100 employees. Or, you may be only interested in manufacturing companies of a certain size. Within those categories, you also might identify individual lead profiles, such as title or job description and role in the decision-making process — e.g., economic buyer, end user, influencer. How closely a lead aligns with your ideal customer profile will determine whether and when you hand it over to the sales team.Is the lead interested?A lead’s activity can reveal how close they are to a buying decision. For example, if a lead has only visited your website once, or has just begun following you on Twitter, they may be aware of your company but aren’t particularly engaged yet. A lead that requests a demo or views pricing information is showing a lot more interest.Where a lead falls within the four quadrants of this matrix dictates the next step your marketing or sales team should take. For example:Good Fit & Interested: Leads in the upper right quadrant are a good fit for your company and are highly engaged with your marketing. These are hot leads that require immediate follow-up from your sales team — usually in fewer than 24 hours.Good Fit But Less Interested: Leads in the upper left quadrant are a good fit for your company but don’t show a lot of interest yet. Perhaps they’ve only signed up for an email newsletter or downloaded one piece of educational content. These are leads that the marketing team needs to nurture.Lots of Interest, But Not a Good Fit: Leads in the lower right don’t necessarily fit your ideal customer profile, but are highly engaged with your brand. They might have subscribed to your blog and email newsletter, downloaded your ebooks, and attended your webinars. It’s worth having a sales rep do a low-cost follow-up with these fans to see if there’s an easy sale to make from a non-traditional customer. Sometimes leads that don’t seem like a fit have a good reason to buy your product. They can also turn into great evangelists for your products or services, thus providing you with indirect support as non-customers. That’s why you can’t automate the entire sales and marketing process. At some point, a good marketer or sales rep can spot an opportunity that your systems might overlook.Little Interest & No Fit: Leads in the lower left quadrant aren’t a good fit for your company and haven’t shown much interest in your marketing content. They’re definitely not worth a sales rep’s time. Don’t be afraid to take them out of your communication stream.Step 2: Develop Your Definition of an MQLUsing this matrix as your guide, develop an MQL definition based on the combination of fit and interest that’s right for your company. Some marketers may focus more on fit because they have a tightly defined market; other marketers may have a broad customer base and focus more on interest level. That decision depends on your business model.MQL definitions in those two cases might look like this:A Focus on Fit: A contact with XYZ title or role who has filled out a landing page form and works at a financial services company in the U.S. with more than 5,000 employees.A Focus on Interest Level: A contact with the ABC title or role who has requested a product demonstration from a sales rep and works at any U.S.-based company.Whichever approach you chose, base your definitions on data — not on gut instinct. Even experienced marketers and salespeople can be way off base in their assumptions about what makes a good lead.Step 3: Implement Lead ScoringUsing a lead scoring or lead grading program that relies on data from your closed-loop analysis can help you determine the importance of different activities. Here is an example of what lead scoring can look like for you:Here’s how to implement a lead scoring system:Examine Behavioral HistoryExamine the activity history of recent customers and analyze how many actions they took before becoming a customer — i.e., the number of page views or number of conversions, such as downloading a report or registering for a webinar, etc.Identify PatternsLook for patters that indicate a lead’s likelihood of closing. For example, if a lead that downloads ten pieces of content from your website or visits your site more than 15 times in one month, she is more likely to close. Consider incorporating frequency measures into your MQL definition.List ActivitiesAlso, list all the activities that a lead can take before becoming a customer, and analyze the close rate for each one. For example, to determine the close rate for a webinar, look at all customers that had watched a webinar, then divide that number by the total number of leads that originally registered for the webinar. That gives you the close rate for leads from thatparticular event.Calculate Average Close RatesUsing the close rates for individual actions, calculate the average close rate for all your marketing activities. Then look for actions that have a significantly higher close rate. For example, if your average close rate is around 1%, you might find a handful of actions thathave a 3%-5% close rate. Add these top-closing events to your definition of an MQL. Any lead that engages in at least one of these activities, and is a good fit for your company, would be considered an MQL. Use those close rates to decide what score to give different activities in your lead scoring or lead grading system.Step 4: Optimize the Stages of Your Sales FunnelNow that you’ve identified the different stages of your sales funnel, it’s important to optimize each of those stages on an ongoing basis. And that means continual analysis of key metrics at each stage of the funnel, such as:Sales Funnel StagesVisitor-to-Lead Conversion RateLead-to-MQL Conversion Rate% Sales Accepted LeadsLead Work RatesMQL-to-Opportunity Conversion RateOpportunity-to-Customer Conversion RateLead-to-Customer Conversion RateSales Cycle LengthAverage Cost Per Sale By now, most marketers understand the importance of mending the traditional rift between sales and marketing. The mistrust and miscommunication that’s so often found between the two teams can act like an anchor on your company’s growth rate. In fact, organizations with good alignment between sales and marketing teams achieved 20% annual revenue growth in 2010, according to a study by the Aberdeen Group. By contrast, companies with poor alignment saw revenues decline by 4%.Get HubSpot’s free CRM software here for the tools you need to align marketing and sales.Often, one of the biggest blockers for sales and marketing alignment is the very different views each team has of the funnel. For example, they might disagree about the number of stages a lead passes through before becoming a customer. Furthermore, they often use different terminology to describe those stages. But in order to adopt an effective SMarketing (get it?) strategy, sales and marketing must have a unified picture of the funnel and standard definitions of each stage in the process. For example, HubSpot’s SMarketing team uses the following funnel stages: Topics: Originally published Oct 17, 2012 4:30:00 PM, updated July 28 2017 Marketing and Sales Alignment You should be looking at these metrics all the time so you can assess whether you’re slipping in any one area … because you don’t want to suffer a blip in your funnel. If your funnel develops a clog or hole somewhere along the way — and it will, it’s only natural — you need to be able to identify it and fix it to keep your sales and marketing machine efficient. And if you are working with multiple different types of leads, these metrics should be considered for each segment of lead, too, so you know if some segments are more valuable to your business than others (or, even better, if some segments have more potential than you once realized)!Image credit: danxoneil Don’t forget to share this post! 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Ready to Play Some Business Babble Bingo? [Free Customizable Bingo Cards]

first_img Topics: Originally published Jun 7, 2013 4:30:00 PM, updated February 01 2017 You know the best part of a meeting?When it ends.If it’s dragging on, and walking out mid-meeting is too brazen for your taste (fair), how about a covert game of Business Babble Bingo to keep your attention? You can make it look like you’re taking notes. It’s foolproof.I grabbed my fellow business-babble-averse co-worker Shannon Johnson, and hammered out a list of the 85 most egregious business babble buzzwords. Then I created some Bingo cards — available for you to print out or just save to your desktop — in this form-free, downloadable PowerPoint. Here’s a preview of one of the filled-in cards for you:You can also customize the cards to include your own Bingo words. So if your boss has a turn of phrase that really grinds your gears, feel free to add it into your cards before you start playing. I’ll leave it up to you how strict you want to be with the exact phrases — for instance I, personally, would accept “synergistic” just as easily as “synergy.” But your call.P.S. If you’re running the meetings, and you notice the Bingo cards popping out, you might have a meeting-crisis on your hands. Check out this blog post on how to run a more efficient, more useful marketing meeting.What’s your most reviled business babble word or phrase? Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Marketing Resourceslast_img read more

Essential Skill Sets for the Higher Education Inbound Marketer

first_img Education Marketing Don’t forget to share this post! AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to Email AppEmail AppShare to LinkedInLinkedInShare to MessengerMessengerShare to SlackSlack Whether you are currently working at a higher education institution and are delving into the world of inbound marketing or you are a job-seeker looking for a position in higher education marketing at a university or marketing agency, there are skill sets that can help you succeed. Sure, there are the usual tactics that anyone in the field of inbound marketing needs to know, but before you even get to that point, there are some broader skills and knowledge that are specific in the higher education industry.Barbara Scott, Associate Dean of Marketing, Communications and Corporate Relations at D’Amore-McKim School of Business, Northeastern University and Caitlin Way, Director of Admissions at Trulaske execMBA, University of Missouri-Columbia share what they look for in potential staff and internal resources for inbound marketing at their institutions.1) An Understanding of Higher EducationFor the External Job Seeker:There are some key things to know about higher education that you should be prepared to demonstrate. Higher education prospects have some of the longest lead times, with the average being 2-3 years before converting. So be prepared to demonstrate not only your conversion prowess, but also your lead nurturing techniques.For the Internal Marketing Professional:As someone who’s already on the inside, make sure you know exactly who you are as a university. Or, if the reason you are being charged with developing an inbound strategy is a rebranding initiative, be sure to have a good idea why the rebranding is happening and what they hope to achieve.For Both:Whether working in admissions, alumni relations, or advancement, you’ll also interact with a large number of stakeholders who have a very established vision of your university and its brand. Caitlin offers this advice, “Show the ability to understand the existing identity and integrate it into any new initiatives you might be charged with.”2) Strategy DevelopmentFor the External Job Seeker:Being able to demonstrate your strategic approach in relation to the higher education industry can really provide added-value for a potential employer. This is your opportunity to show how your experience is easily transferrable and translate that into a strategy for their specialized industry.For the Internal Marketing Professional:As an internal marketer at a university, Barbara Scott advises to “Make sure you understand what it is you’re trying to accomplish. Who do you want to engage and to what purpose?” Barbara and Caitlin both recommend not being afraid to approach an outside agency or consultant. With your knowledge of the university and their expertise in inbound marketing, you will be able to develop a strategy catered to your institution.For Both:Barbara says it’s important to, “understand the difference between an inbound strategy versus just putting stuff out there.” Do your research, pay attention to your analytics, and know your specific audience.3) Audience AnalysisFor the External Job Seeker:Knowing who your audience is and the different personas that make up your audience will help you create more relevant content for both branding and segmentation strategies. Before heading to an interview, develop some test personas that you might be marketing to for that university. This will show your potential employer that you already have a good base knowledge of their audience and demonstrates how you might develop a strategy around that.For the Internal Marketing Professional:Don’t be afraid to throw out or revise your old audience model. It could be a model that’s worked really well in the past, but as Barbara points out, higher education inbound marketing is an ever-evolving field. It’s important to always keep on top of both new trends and your audience.For Both:“The importance of audience analysis really can’t be overstated,” says Caitlin. You can’t develop content if you don’t know who you’re developing it for, nor can you reach your audience if you don’t know where they are. With higher education’s limited resources, you don’t have the time or resources for futile endeavors.4) Content DevelopmentFor the External Job Seeker:Content development isn’t about generating one good, relevant message and then plopping it into all the inbound channels you’ve heard people talking about. It’s creating the right message for the right channel and the right audience. When heading to an interview, do a little extra research and bring in a content roadmap based on your test personas. Impress your potential employers with content developed for inbound channels they are already using and that’s relevant to their audience. This will demonstrate a vested interest in their institution and how you can provide value using tools they already have instead of spending time, money, and resources to launch a new and untested inbound vehicle.For the Internal Marketing Professional:When developing content, Caitlin suggests using a “one voice” strategy. Take some time to talk with current employees who have any sort of interaction with external stakeholders. That could be a recruiter giving a webinar, a major gift officer meeting with a potential donor, or a member of your digital team who’s managing your social media and blog. Find out what their messaging is and if it’s consistent. It’s important that the message you’re putting out is unified both in content and tone. Use this information to develop messaging that is unified and works with your brand (or rebrand) and distribute it to your campus partners.For Both:With so much to do and so few resources, we often over complicate our messaging. According to Caitlin, there’s one idea you always need to go back to before publishing any content. “If your key message is that your institution/school/program can provide them enough value to be worth thousands of someone’s dollars (spoiler alert: that is your key message), you have to give them a taste of that value from the very first interaction.”5) Inbound Marketing TacticsFor the External Job Seeker:A key skill Barbara looks for in her staff is an understanding of SEO and how paid and organic search affect it. Taking your content roadmap and weaving in your search strategy including keywords can show that you not only understand inbound marketing, you have the skills to apply your inbound marketing knowledge directly to their university.For the Internal Marketing Professional:Having someone on staff who tweets a daily play-by-play of their life while somehow simultaneously posting on Instagram every meal they ate doesn’t necessarily mean you already have a social media guru on staff. Take some time to evaluate who’s on staff, what resources are already available, and how you can get creative with these. Maybe you already have someone who genuinely is in the know of the latest and greatest social media trend and could be easily trained on various social media algorithms and how to apply that to your inbound strategy.For Both:When it comes down to it, you want to be able to build an engaged community and not just amass followers. It’s important to be able to quantify your outcomes and make strategic decisions based on those results with limited resources.In the inbound marketing world love to throw around terms like SEO, lead qualification, paid search, strategy, social media, analytics, segmenting, audience engagement, oh and did we mention strategy? Yes, these are all tactical skills you need to have in your back pocket to be successful in any inbound marketing environment. But it’s not about knowing how to use them, it’s why you are using them and what you’re using them for that will make you a successful marketer. You have to know the higher education industry and have a good sense of what your particular university or potential university stands for. Only then should you pull out your digital Swiss army knife. Originally published Jun 16, 2015 7:00:00 AM, updated February 01 2017 Topics:last_img read more

Illegal Migrants warned leave or face deportation stop listed says Minister

first_imgFacebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsApp Facebook Twitter Google+LinkedInPinterestWhatsAppTurks and Caicos, July 28, 2017 – Providenciales – Some people are forecasting that the recent bold announcement by Border Control Minister, Deputy Premier Sean Astwood will see an exodus of hundreds of migrant workers who are in country illegally; others doubt the PDM Government will actually be able to do what it says.    Notwithstanding the latter thought, in the House of Assembly yesterday there was a firm promise by the DP that anyone without work permits, including expired ones will be deported and put on a stop list and he has given those who fall into this category, 14 days to voluntarily leave the Turks and Caicos Islands.The Deputy Premier says the cost of illegal migrants in the country is becoming too heavy a burden to bear, and the hammer will drop by August 15 for those in the Turks and Caicos without proper status.    The law will not only deal with the person who is here illegally, but will deal with those condoning it as employers were also warned by Deputy Premier Astwood.Additionally, there will be a freeze on visitor visas for people from certain countries, though those countries were not named and it was shared that Government knows they are not only looking for foreigners engaged in human smuggling, but locals as well.#MagneticMediaNews#illegalmigrantswarnedtoleaveTCI Related Items:#illegalmigrantswarnedtoleaveTCI, #magneticmedianewslast_img read more