Roll-out Virtual Agent Frameworks – They support the creation of chatbots, which can also be used in a variety of ways across different functions such as HR, customer service and sales.IT Leadership Can Lead the Charge to Transform with Artificial IntelligenceYour company’s IT strategy has a direct impact on its business outcomes. By focusing on the above areas, you can prepare for the inevitable onslaught of AI projects and set your business up to succeed.For additional resources and tips for IT leaders, Forrester Consulting’s checklist 8 Steps CIOs Must Take to Transform with Artificial Intelligence provides specific recommendations for CIOs to modernize their compute and take their companies to the next level.[i] Source: Forrester Data Global Technographics Data & Analytics Survey, 2017[ii] Source: A commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Dell EMC, January 2018.[iii] Source: Forrester Consulting Thought Leadership Checklist Commissioned by Dell EMC, May 2018 Artificial Intelligence is no longer a distant dream of the future. It’s here, and it’s changing the way companies do business.Organizations across all industries have embraced AI to help with everyday operations such as customer service, HR, marketing, sales, R&D and more.A recent survey by Forrester reported that over half of companies worldwide have already implemented AI, and another 20 percent plan to do so within the next year.[i] With good reason. The potential impacts are tremendous – improved processes, increased efficiency, automated workloads, greater ROI and countless other benefits.The question is no longer, “Should we embrace AI?” but rather, “How do we best use it to reach our targeted business outcomes?”AI Initiatives are a Top Priority for IT…For IT departments, the concerns are even more pressing. “How do we prepare for the tsunami of AI projects about to hit us from all areas of the business?”IT leaders know that AI is critical to their firm’s long-term success, and most list it as a top business priority for the upcoming year. CIO.com points out that in Gartner’s 2018 CIO Agenda Report, 47 percent of CIOs who have implemented AI report it as “the most pressing pain point”. Still, despite their knowledge and desire to embrace the technology, IT leaders face many challenges. There is no clear playbook or defined path for implementing AI across an enterprise, which means that many are making it up as they go (and, unsurprisingly, stumbling along the way).…But IT Departments are Often the Last to KnowOne of the most common AI issues is the lack of communication between lines of business and IT departments. When it comes to implementing AI projects, IT is often the last to know. In another recent study, Forrester Consulting found that lines of business “completely bypass IT departments 15 percent to 20 percent of the time on their AI initiatives.”[ii] Not only is this lack of communication frustrating, but it’s inefficient and costly.The good news is that IT leaders are well-suited to lead the AI charge across their organizations. Doing so helps to reduce silos and open lines of communication, increase efficiency, and reduce risk – improvements that directly affect the company’s bottom line. In fact, over half of the companies surveyed expect an ROI up to five times their investment.Although there is no magic, one-size-fits-all playbook, there are some clear steps that IT leaders can take to lead the charge toward transforming with AI.As an IT leader, you should focus on the following to prepare for upcoming AI projects: Modernize Data Management Technology – AI initiatives are based on enormous amounts of data, so it makes sense that that IT will require new tools to effectively manage all that data. If your database, data integration, storage capability and networking aren’t up to the task, now is the time to do something about it.Upgrade Infrastructure Hardware – New AI initiatives require faster response, increased storage, higher bandwidth and low-latency networking. Forrester Consulting showed that 61% of firms are challenged by a lack of servers with purpose-built processors, and 81% pointed to the need for new servers for high-performance computing.[iii] You’ll need highly scalable servers with accelerators to reduce model training times.Evaluate Staffing – AI requires a different set of skills to manage than traditional workloads do, and you may need to hire new staff or invest in training current employees. You’ll need skilled workers that can analyze and interpret the massive amounts of data involved.Deploy Predictive Analytics and Machine Learning Platforms – These platforms enable staff to collaborate and streamline projects across different lines of business. Engineers and data scientists will be able to train, deploy, and manage their models and data pipelines more effectively if they are centrally managed by IT.Implement Text Analytics, Natural Language Processing and Speech Analytics Platforms – These applications can be used in multiple ways across sales, marketing, customer service and R&D.
Submit StumbleUpon Share International profile buoys Flutter during troubled times April 17, 2020 Related Articles Flutter backs strategy to navigate 2019 complexities February 27, 2020 Reading the weather: The ‘nerdy’ aspect to RotoGrinders analysis February 26, 2020 Share Matt King – FanDuelNew Paddy Power Betfair’s US subsidiary FanDuel has announced that it has entered a strategic partnership with multi-state casino and leisure group, Boyd Gaming Corporation.Updating the market, FanDuel is set to become the lead sports betting and online gambling services provider for Boyd Gaming, a New York-listed gambling group which is set to significantly bolsters its US land-based presence acquiring Pinnacle Entertainment LV properties.“Under terms of the agreement, subject to state law and regulatory approvals, Boyd Gaming will establish a presence in the online gaming and sports wagering industry by leveraging FanDuel Group’s technology and related services to operate Boyd Gaming-branded mobile and online sports-betting and gaming services.In turn, FanDuel Group will establish and operate mobile and online sports-betting and gaming services under the FanDuel brand in the states where Boyd Gaming is licensed” details a joint corporate statement.Updating the market, FanDuel leadership confirms that it has secured a long-term solutions and cross-licensing arrangement, servicing all digital verticals across Boyd Gaming’s current and future US footprint.Deal stakeholders believe that, the partnership has secured the ‘largest network for sports betting in the US’, with Boyd Gaming set to increase its active casino portfolio to 29 gambling properties across 10 states once the firm completes its pending acquisition of Pinnacle Entertainment.“With more than 40 years of experience, Boyd Gaming is a leader in the gaming and entertainment space, and a natural partner as we continue to build a leading position in the sports betting market,” said Matt King, Chief Executive Officer of FanDuel Group.“There is incredible momentum in the sports betting space and we look forward to partnering with Boyd Gaming to bring the FanDuel Sportsbook to more customers across the United States.”Keith Smith – Boyd GamingThe two companies will further benefit from extensive co-branding and cross-promotional initiatives, promoting each other’s online gambling services, land-based properties and player rewards programs.Backing FanDuel as technology lead, Keith Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer of Boyd Gaming stated: “By joining forces with FanDuel’s nationally-known brand, as well as their considerable technical expertise and resources, we will be positioned to build market-leading sports-betting and online gaming operations in each state as they move forward with these new forms of entertainment. We will also see immediate benefits from our cross-marketing agreement with FanDuel, introducing millions of FanDuel customers to Boyd Gaming’s properties nationwide.”
Alex Morgan scored the winning goal as the USA overcame the absence of Megan Rapinoe to beat England 2-1 in their women’s World Cup semi-finalLyon, France | AFP | She was determined to give the credit to other members of her team, but Alex Morgan stepped up on the big occasion with the winning goal against England to take the United States through to the final of another women’s World Cup on Tuesday.The holders were without Megan Rapinoe for the semi-final in Lyon, the scorer of all her team’s goals in the wins over Spain and France in the previous two rounds missing out with a hamstring injury.That meant Christen Press came in and duly scored the opener, and it meant Morgan wore the captain’s armband on her 30th birthday as she headed home Lindsey Horan’s cross in the 31st minute for the deciding goal in a 2-1 victory watched by more than 53,000.It was Morgan’s sixth goal of the World Cup, putting her level with Ellen White — who had earlier scored England’s equaliser — at the top of the scorers’ chart.However, it was a much-needed goal for the striker, who had not found the net since scoring five in the record-breaking 13-0 humiliation of Thailand with which the USA opened their defence of the trophy.“I wouldn’t say it was important but for me obviously it felt good to get on the scoresheet and to get the game-winning goal. We had the goals early and we had to hold on,” said Morgan, who is back in Lyon having had a spell with Europe’s leading club side in 2017.Morgan celebrated her goal by miming sipping a cup of tea, which some saw as an attempt at a wind-up towards the English.“‘Pino’ has so many celebrations and nobody asks her about them. I have only one and everyone wants to know,” Morgan said, referring to her fellow co-captain Rapinoe.“Obviously we have fun with celebrations and we had to keep it interesting.”– ‘Saved our asses’ – That goal was not the end of it, however, as the USA were grateful to the VAR for disallowing another White goal midway through the second half and to goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher for saving Steph Houghton’s 84th-minute penalty, awarded after another VAR review.“She saved our asses in that moment and we knew after that moment that the momentum was shifting and that we had to put in a huge amount of defensive work to close out the game,” said Morgan of Naeher.Press also earned praise for having a “tremendous game”, and Morgan can now look forward to appearing in a third straight World Cup final.“Yeah, it’s pretty incredible. Each tournament for me has given me something different and I’ve looked at it through a different lens,” she said.Morgan was 22 when she came off the bench to score in the 2011 final against Japan in Frankfurt, which her team ended up losing on penalties.In 2015 she was in the starting line-up for the 5-2 win over the Japanese in which skipper Carli Lloyd netted a hat-trick.“Obviously I have a greater role being a captain on this team and leading this team in a different way so for me it’s just so great,” she added.“I just saw all my teammates being so emotional after the game. We have put so much into this journey together and now we have one more game to close it out.”Share on: WhatsApp
It took 12 months but Alex MacLeod and the Bentley Generals finally exacted some revenge.A year after the South East Praire defeated the Generals to win the 2015 Allan Cup, Bentley was able to turn the table, defeating the Thunder in their own backyard 4-3 in overtime to win their third Allan Cup — Canadian Men’s Senior AAA Hockey Championship — in franchise history. Bentley won the Allan Cup Championship in 2009 and 2013.”Watching the puck go into the net was almost surreal in overtime,” MacLeod told The Nelson Daily.”It took like 3-4 seconds to realize it was in.””Then shaking their hands and taking the championship from them in their rink was insane,” the son of Allan MacLeod and Deb Naka said.”Probably the best way to win it after losing the heartbreaker last year in Newfoundland. Now all the boys are saying one thing. Defend the title.”The Generals trailed 3-2 in the third period. Ian Schultz tied it up with a powerplay goal with 10:22 remaining. Carter Rigby ended it 15:47 into the extra period with his second goal of the game.”When we tied it up we all knew we could beat them,” MacLeod explained.”It just came down to who wanted it more. Who would take hits to make plays. Who would block shots. Sacrifice their body for the team.”The Allan Cup is the oldest national championship in the country dating back 107 years as the best Senior hockey teams in Canada battled it out for the coveted prize.This is the second season MacLeod has played for the Generals. After retiring from professional hockey following a few seasons in the East Coast Hockey League and Southern Professional Hockey League, MacLeod, a mechanical engineer, joined the Generals after hearing about the club from a friend.Bentley, playing in the four-team Chinook Hockey League with Stony Plain Eagles, Innisfail Eagles and Fort Saskatchewan Chiefs, won the regular season with a 14-3-0-1 record.The Generals defeated Innisfail 4-3 in a grueling seven-game semi final before knocking off Stony Plain 4-1 to clinch the final and advance to the Allan Cup.”As far as getting the chance to get back to the tournament and capitalizing on all our chances, we did exactly what we had to do,” MacLeod said.”We had four lines contributing every night.”At the Allan Cup, Bentley won its pool going undefeated.The Generals defeated Shelbrook Elks 3-1 in Friday’s semi final before shocking South East Praire in the final.”After we found out we would see South East P rairie again, it was pretty hard to sleep,” MacLeod said.”A lot of nerves ran through me thinking of how we didn’t score a goal against them last year.””When they scored the first goal. A few nerves were running through us. Can we do this? We stick to the game plan. And got a few bounces as did South East Prairie.”MacLeod, who scored twice in the tournament, graduated from Nelson Minor Hockey before playing for Beaver Valley Nitehawks of the KIJHL.He joined Penticton of the BCHL before being traded to Camrose Kodiaks during his final season of junior hockey.MacLeod then spent four years on a NCAA hockey scholarship at Michigan Tech where he earned a degree in mechanical engineering.Nelson Senior Maple Leafs were part of the Western International Hockey League, playing in three Allan Cup Finals in 1965, 1986 and 1987.The WIHL folded in the late 1980s.
Patrick Gallagher2663523%54%$466,298 Flavien Prat16631172519%44%$1,794,712 Drayden Van Dyke10311121311%35%$647,839 SANTA ANITA STATISTICS Philip D’Amato9019141521%53%$1,047,920 Kristin Mulhall3266219%44%$270,735 JockeyMts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won Victor Espinoza5569511%36%$622,660 Carla Gaines3452215%26%$417,410 (Current Through Friday, Feb. 26) Jeff Bonde2772426%48%$167,310 Tiago Pereira703864%24%$239,499 William Spawr2775326%56%$186,997 Brayan Pena433267%26%$94,045 TrainerSts1st2nd3rdWin%ITM%Money Won Abel Lezcano514248%20%$198,364 Steven Miyadi46911720%59%$300,059 J. Keith Desormeaux3365818%58%$238,624 FINISH LINES: Texas Red, winner of the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita, worked five furlongs for his four-year-old debut on Santa Anita’s fast main track Saturday in 1:02.60. “I’m not pushing him too hard yet,” said trainer Keith Desormeaux. “He’s in a nice rhythm, but I have no race in mind for him right now.” Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Swipe worked four furlongs for Desormeaux in 51.60 . . . Friday’s Pick Six payoff of 124.20 to 337 winning tickets resulted from favorites capturing five of the races in the sequence, and the other by a horse that was almost favored, paying $7.20. Winners in the Pick Six races were Abets Abet ($5.80), Shortstormcoming ($7.20, second choice by a dime), Amazing Lady ($3), Howdy ($4.20), Hawkedon (5.40) and Herunbridledpower ($4.20) . . . Congrats to Daily Racing Form’s Brad Free who had all six winners on top. Five out of six paid $8.80 on 1996 tickets . . . El Camino Real Derby winner Frank Conversation worked four furlongs under Mario Gutierrez in 49 seconds flat for the UAE Derby in Dubai on March 26. Trainer Doug O’Neill plans to ship Frank Conversation “about two weeks before the race” with Gutierrez arriving later to ride the son of Quality Road . . . Tom Quigley‘s guest Sunday in the East Paddock Gardens at 11:25 a.m. will be UK racing commentator and this weekend’s announcer at Santa Anita David Fitzgerald . . . Of Santa Anita’s top 24 jockeys, Kent Desormeaux has the highest in-the-money percentage at 59 with an 11-21-12 mark from 74 mounts. Meet leader Rafael Bejarano, who won three races Thursday to break a tie for the top spot with Santiago Gonzalez, is second with 51 percent in the money. Mario Gutierrez13818232013%44%$1,072,266 Martin Pedroza6998413%30%$232,310 Bob Baffert7316111122%52%$1,203,665 Mike Smith65761211%38%$931,385 Fernando Perez1191112189%34%$614,899 Kent Desormeaux7411211215%59%$973,519 AT 83, THE FUTURE IS NOW FOR AGENT DEGREGORY Vince DeGregory turns 84 on Aug. 29, but he has a lot to celebrate today.On Monday, the veteran agent who now calls the shots for jockey Tiago Pereira, underwent throat surgery for 90 minutes at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank to remove a growth attached to his thyroid gland that left a vertical scar of about three inches just below his Adam’s Apple.If he’s vain about his looks, he can cover the scar with a bow tie. But that’s the least of his worries.“The doctor (Warren Line) told me yesterday that when he first started the procedure he was expecting the growth to be the size of a pea, but as he went further, it became the size of a large grape,” DeGregory said. “He got it all out and thank God there’s no cancer. When I saw him yesterday he gave me a clean bill of health.“I said to him, ‘The scar’s going to remind me that God doesn’t want me to die yet.’”There are still plenty of leaves on the tree, even though the rings are growing.“I started as an agent in 1959,” DeGregory said. “My first jock was Conn Errico at Belmont Park. I went to Aqueduct when it opened later that year. Sword Dancer trained by Elliott Burch won the opening day stakes.“(Eddie) Arcaro was like a stepfather to me. He’s the one who got me to become a jockey’s agent. I had to go in front of (stewards) Marshall Cassidy and Cal Rainey at that time. “They were very, very strict and I remember Arcaro telling me, ‘Vince, never screw anybody at the draw.“When you give a person a call, stand by that. I’ve used that as my motto my whole life.“I’ve seen all the great horses of their day: Bold Ruler, Nashua, Tom Fool, Damascus, Sword Dancer, but the greatest one to me was Kelso (named Horse of the Year five consecutive years from 1960 through 1964).“When I was a young guy coming up I didn’t know enough about Thoroughbreds to give an opinion, but as time progressed and from being around the game, I learned from other people. I paid attention to trainers, and an old man I never forgot was Sam Winninger, who was a private clocker.“He would bet his own money and taught me how horses worked, how they traveled, so that when I got a rider, I could pick one horse from another. That helped throughout my career.”DeGregory, born in Greenwich, N.Y., about 10 miles from Saratoga Springs where he was raised, served in the Army at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia, with Dick Groat, a lifelong friend now 85 who would go on to play shortstop with second baseman Bill Mazeroski for the World Series champion Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960 and be named National League MVP.“My roommate in the service was (former catcher and longtime broadcaster and comedian) Bob Uecker,” said DeGregory. “He’s my buddy and I love him. He’s still kicking.”As is DeGregory, a living treasure of racing history who has represented seven Hall of Fame jockeys: Angel Cordero Jr., Chris McCarron, Laffit Pincay Jr., Bill Shoemaker, Alex Solis, Jacinto Vasquez and Jorge Velasquez, in addition to Victor Espinoza, Darrel McHargue and Joel Rosario, each with Hall of Fame credentials as well.If there’s room for DeGregory, there would be little argument that he deserves a spot, although he’d be the last to lobby for enshrinement.He got all the glory he needed on Monday. Mike Puype52611312%38%$294,475 David Lopez1132081618%39%$598,201 Alex Solis1930416%37%$218,303 Brice Blanc403478%35%$399,025 Alonso Quinonez614847%26%$206,150 Richard Baltas731210916%42%$890,569 Doug O’Neill12219172016%46%$1,025,373 Joseph Talamo16418202111%36%$961,404 Peter Eurton6612161118%59%$734,968 Ron Ellis2252223%41%$164,730 Peter Miller901171112%32%$444,160 Gary Stevens4796719%47%$1,052,338 Jeff Mullins2456021%46%$164,634 Edwin Maldonado12223101119%36%$804,515 Jose Verenzuela2931310%24%$105,855 Martin Garcia84139815%36%$825,339 Mark Glatt6377311%27%$304,425 QUARTET WORK FOR SAN FELIPE STAKESUndefeated California-bred Smokey Image worked six furlongs Saturday morning under Victor Espinoza in a bullet 1:12.20 as he prepares to run against open company in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 12.The clocking was the fastest of 30 at the distance, the average time of which was 1:14.45. Smokey Image, a son of 2004 Santa Anita Handicap winner Southern Image, won the California Cup Derby at 1 1/16 miles by 8 ½ lengths on Jan. 30 in his first start for Gaines and his first at two turns.Gaines was well satisfied with the drill by Smokey Image, as she was with Bolo’s five furlong workout on the main track in a minute flat.Bolo, winner of the Grade II Arcadia Stakes a mile on grass Feb. 13, is being considered for either the Grade I Frank E. Kilroe Mile on turf or the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Handicap at 1 ¼ miles on dirt March 12.“We still haven’t decided on a race,” Gaines said, adding that at this point it makes little difference except to the media, since both races are the same day, so it doesn’t alter Bolo’s routine from a training standpoint.Smokey Image previously was trained by Greg James who is based in the Bay Area.Also working for the San Felipe Saturday was Danzing Candy for Cliff Sise Jr., who called the six furlong drill under Mike Smith in 1:13 flat “Beautiful. I got him galloping out (seven furlongs) in 1:25 and one or two.”Robert B. Lewis Stakes runner-up Uncle Lino also worked for the San Felipe, going five furlongs in 1:03 with Fernando Perez aboard for trainer Gary Sherlock.“He does that all the time,” Sherlock said of the relatively slow time. “He was by himself, nobody around (at 6:45 a.m.) and he’ll do that 100 times. I’ll put another horse with him next week when he works again.”San Vicente Stakes runner-up Exaggerator, also prepping for the San Felipe, worked five furlongs for Keith Desormeaux in 1:00.40.Tomorrow, Robert B. Lewis Stakes winner Mor Spirit, Bob Baffert’s leading Triple Crown contender, is set to work under Martin Garcia for the San Felipe.The son of Eskendereya was scheduled to breeze last Tuesday with regular rider Gary Stevens aboard but the drill was aborted when the colt “lost interest,” according to Baffert.“He’ll work tomorrow and Martin will work him,” Baffert said. “He’ll either go out at 7:45 or nine (o’clock).” Baffert did not announce a distance for the workout. George Papaprodromou3372521%42%$197,905 Vladimir Cerin3093430%53%$300,070 Tyler Baze18420292611%41%$1,055,661 SMOKEY IMAGE, DANZING CANDY BREEZE FOR SAN FELIPEOCTOGENARIAN AGENT DEGREGORY FINE AFTER THROAT SURGERYTEXAS RED IN EASY WORK FOR HIS FOUR-YEAR-OLD DEBUT Agapito Delgadillo6898613%34%$249,412 Steve Knapp2551220%32%$150,610 John Sadler5898516%38%$449,649 Jerry Hollendorfer951291313%36%$888,426 Santiago Gonzalez18736282319%47%$1,424,339 Rafael Bejarano17738341921%51%$1,767,342
There’s a fusion of the entertainment and culinary worlds this weekend at the annual DStv Delicious International Food & Music Festival! Brand South Africa is proud to partner with Proudly South African in hosting the Proudly SA village at this year’s event, taking place at the Kyalami Grand Prix Circuit on 22 & 23 September 2018 the festival features acts from overseas as well as many established local artists. The concept and production of the event is entirely home-grown which is in line with Brand South Africa’s role to promote buying locally produced goods and services. South Africa needs to support local in order to create jobs and to stimulate economic growth.The queen of soul, Erykah Badu will be the headline act at this year’s DStv Delicious International Food and Music Festival, along with the likes of Jordan Rakei, Womandla (Feat. Lira, Simphiwe Dana and Amanda Black), Louie Vega, DJ Fresh and many more! Pop around for some selfie fun at the Proudly SA village; take pictures using our selfie frame, tag Brand South Africa and stand the chance of winning #BuyLocal hampers daily.For more information about the Festival and to purchase tickets, click here.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest We haven’t started yet. A lot of guys haven’t started harvest yet up here. I heard some have started corn before beans. We haven’t really had any good drying days to run beans so far. It got close to the 80s a couple of days but it has been cloudy and humid so the beans don’t want to dry down. We got about a quarter inch of rain yesterday so it will be at least a day or two more before we can start.Most of the beans have been standing pretty well. Once the leaves came off of them they stood back up. There has been some corn going over but nothing widespread. There is some ear rot and sprout in the corn in some fields and hopefully we can get going on it before it gets ahead of us. I haven’t heard about any bad test weight or anything, though. It has been awhile since we have seen that problem with sprouting corn. It has only been in small areas.It looks like in the 10-day forecast there is a chance of rain every day. They are saying it will be in the 80s again next week. Hay is getting wrapped up. There is still a lot of sudangrass out that guys want to chop if it dries out. There is still some corn chopping going on too.We are hoping to get wheat planted if we can get the beans off. Our fly free date was Sept. 25. We can usually plant wheat until around Oct. 20 which is the insurance date. We contracted everything for wheat for next year already and we need to get about 150 acres planted this fall if we can.
Route Your Way to Premium MembershipImagine a world built around all things geocaching. In this world traveling from “here” to “there” includes a customized list of your ideal geocaches. You choose which geocaches are on the list, including the cache types, sizes, and terrain and difficulty ratings. You even choose how far these caches are hidden from the road. If you’re a Premium Member, you’re in luck; this world exists today.The Premium Member feature we’re talking about is called “Caches Along a Route.” It’s a custom search that pinpoints only the geocaches you’d like to find between Point A and Point B. A new route is easy to create and send to your GPS device. Premium Members also enjoy the benefits of Google Maps and can award and sort search results by Favorite Points. A Premium Membership costs as little as $2.50 a month, and it could turn your next road trip into an epic geocaching adventure. Explore Premium Membership now!Share with your Friends:More SharePrint RelatedGeocaching.com Presents: Caches Along a RouteJuly 6, 2012In “Deutsch”Groundspeak Weekly Newsletter – March 30, 2011March 30, 2011In “Groundspeak’s Weekly Newsletter”5 tips for planning your next vacation with geocachingJuly 31, 2017In “GeoTours”
The 40th anniversary of Earth Day arrives this week to relatively little fanfare. We’re focused on other things: high unemployment, a moribund economy, residual sniveling over health insurance reform. But 40 years is an important milestone.I was the Earth Day coordinator at my junior high school in Wayne, Pennsylvania, 40 years ago. I remember running off Earth Day flyers on the school’s mimeograph machine and can still recall that sweet (no-doubt-toxic) aroma of the chemicals those machines used. I recall, too, the huge celebration in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park (I believe the largest Earth Day celebration anywhere that year). Pioneering landscape architect Ian McHarg, of the University of Pennsylvania, chaired the event.One of my distinct memories was of a speaker asking participants to pledge never to buy a new internal-combustion-engine car. We knew about the air pollution and resource extraction impacts of petroleum (though not yet global warming), and automobiles were correctly recognized as one of the major culprits. I didn’t join that pledge—suspecting, rightly, that I would indeed buy a new car somewhere along the line, and I’ve bought several. But all of us, cheering the speakers from the broad expanse of lawn at Fairmount Park that day, knew that reducing our addiction to oil was important.Unfortunately, our enthusiasm didn’t get us very far.By the time the first Earth Day came along in 1970, the world had consumed roughly 240 billion barrels of oil since the dawn of the petroleum age (when oil was discovered in 1859 in Titusville, Pennsylvania). Today, in 2010, that cumulative consumption is up another 860 billion barrels — to 1.1 trillion barrels. That’s right, of all of the oil consumed in the world since the dawn of the petroleum age, an astonishing 78% of it has been consumed since Earth Day in 1970 — that day when environmental awareness reached the mainstream! [Early data from “The Oil Age: World Oil Production 1859 – 2050″; later data from the BP Statistical Review of World Energy, June 2009.]Three years after the first Earth Day, in 1973, the world was hit with the “energy crisis,” and then a second one at the end of the 1970s. This was another incentive to conserve — but still our petroleum consumption climbed. And, in the process, we’ve released all of that stored carbon — carbon that took hundreds of millions of years to accumulate — into the atmosphere, contributing to global climate change.We can’t go another 40 years without dramatic reductions in oil consumption. Indeed, most experts say we can’t go even another 20 years on our present course. We’re long past the time for serious action on our addiction to fossil fuels. While I didn’t pledge to never buy a new car 40 years ago, I did make a personal commitment to doing what I could to make a difference. The company I founded in 1985 — 15 years after that first Earth Day — BuildingGreen, LLC, is one of the ways I’ve tried to make a difference — publishing information on reducing the environmental impacts of buildings and the built environment.Clearly, there’s a lot left to accomplish, but I remain guardedly optimistic that once our nation really gets it, we will be able to employ the sort of focused determination and drive shown in the retooling of our entire industrial sector during World War II while Americans accepted dramatic reductions in personal resource consumption necessary to divert resources to the war effort. With the growing solar and wind industries, with know-how in weatherizing and insulating existing buildings, with new models about how to create pedestrian-friendly communities, and with the best universities in the world pushing the technology innovation, we have the potential to solve these challenges once our nation collectively decides it’s finally time to take action.I invite you to share comments on this blog.Alex Wilson is the executive editor of Environmental Building News and founder of BuildingGreen, LLC. To keep up with his latest articles and musings, you can sign up for his Twitter feeds.
The short answer to how to become a lifelong learner is never to stop learning. The question is valuable enough to deserve a more extended explanation and practical advice on the specifics.Shore Up Your WeaknessesIf you are going to spend time learning, you may want to focus your effort on areas where you are weak. Many people will tell you not to worry about your weaknesses and to focus on your strengths. Like anything else, there is a truth in that advice, but it is partial and devoid of context. If there are areas you need to increase your knowledge and skills to produce the positive results you want, those are good places to start.Maybe your success depends on you becoming a better, more effective leader. Reading books, taking courses, and asking for help from a coach or mentor can help level you up. Understanding concepts you are missing, recognizing the better choices that are available to you, and making better decisions will improve your results.There are salespeople and business people who know little about business outside of their company and their role. Even though their chosen professions are in business, they haven’t focused on learning things that might improve their results. If you lack business acumen, there are any number of ways to gain it, and in doing so, bettering your results and making yourself more valuable.Whatever your weakness, if it holds you back, start your lifelong learning there. But don’t end there.Follow Your InterestsBecoming a lifelong learner doesn’t mean that you must only study things that improve your business results. It also doesn’t have to be something that helps you be successful in the areas people commonly associate with the idea of “success.” There is no reason not to learn more about some subject that interests you. Not only will you enjoy it, but it will also make you a more well-rounded, more interesting, and a better conversationalist.Maybe you want to learn some form of art, like drawing or painting. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to study acting. I am right now being tutored in defensive strategies in the game of football, as well as learning to print the way architects write on their plans. I know not how these things will ever be useful to me, except maybe making my writing on something on whiteboards other people can read and understand.If something interests you, if it captures your attention, then it’s worth spending time to learn. Your interest is enough to make it a worthwhile use of your time, even if no one other than you believes it is worth your time.Pull on a ThreadSometimes when you are learning something, you bump into something else that interests you. The one thing leads you to another. You pull on the thread, and you keep pulling.Your study of leadership connects you to human psychology, which leads to organizational development, which leads to cognitive biases and their connection to poor decisions. Your learning on poor decisions leads you to how large organizations fail. This isn’t a path you would design for yourself, but because you pulled the thread, you uncovered other areas of interest.In 1995, I picked up a book called The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History by Howard Bloom. The book led me to read additional books about memetics (memes, the way ideas spread, not cute cat videos), which eventually brought me to evolutionary psychology (or paleo-psychology as it was known then). This path eventually led me to Integral Theory, an area of learning I am still vigorously pursuing.If you want to be a lifelong learner, follow your interests, and when you run into something that captures your attention, follow that path.Apply Your LearningIt’s helpful to know things that are not directly related to your domain or area of expertise. Even though you may not recognize the value of something that has your interest now, reading, studying, and continuing to learn helps you become a lateral thinker, connecting disparate ideas into something useful.John Boyd, a fighter pilot and the most profound military strategist of the last century, used to challenge people with a thought experiment. You have a motorboat and a set of skis, a tank with treads and guns, and a bicycle with wheels and handlebars and gears. What can you make with these items? Boyd, a lateral thinker, would produce an image of a snowmobile, an object most people would not consider.One strategy I have developed about leveraging time in sales comes from clock management in football (the American version). If you have the ball, you can take time off the clock, depriving them of time and creating a competitive advantage. What you might believe doesn’t have any practical application or value often turns out to be something beneficial later, even when its value isn’t apparent.As human knowledge continues to grow exponentially—and exponentially faster–becoming a lifelong learner is imperative. The only way to get lifelong learning wrong is by doing nothing.