October 31, 2010
2010 Worldwide Innovative Teacher Awards
Microsoft Partners in Learning today announced the winners of the 2010 Worldwide Innovative Teacher Awards at the sixth annual Worldwide Innovative Education Forum in Cape Town, South Africa.
These awards are the global culmination of local and regional events held around the world throughout the year, where teachers present ideas on how technology can further educational transformation to help improve the way students learn.
"The Innovative Teacher Awards exemplify the creativity and dedication of the world's most forward-thinking educators," said Anthony Salcito, vice president of Worldwide Public Sector Education for Microsoft Corp. "I am inspired by the energy and unique approaches of the winning teachers. They demonstrate the infinite possibilities that technology can create to improve learning opportunities and meet the needs of today's generation of students. Microsoft remains committed to supporting the education community to advance both teaching and learning around the world. I'd like to extend warm congratulations to our winners and to everyone who participated in the regional events that led up to today's celebration."
The 2010 Worldwide Innovation Education Forum award ceremony, held in Cape Town, South Africa, was attended by 500 educators, school leaders, government officials and others from more than 60 countries.
Participating teachers were judged by an international panel of education experts on a number of criteria.
The following are the top three finalists in each category, in finishing order:
Innovation in Community
• Best Practice: Samuel Avornyo (Ghana), " Rural Food Processing Industries": Students were exposed to some of the food processing techniques used by local industries and then identified and shared ways these industries could maximize profit through quality packaging, developing marketing strategies for their products and keeping proper records using information and communication technology (ICT).
• First Runner-Up: Barry Corrigan (Northern Ireland): " Making Homework Count -- Engaging Parents": Designed to break the cycle of child and parent frustration over homework when assistance is not available, pupils were provided with additional tools to support their learning. Students could e-mail with teachers, access materials through an online source and contribute to discussion forums -- all enabling learners to exchange ideas as well as develop the art of debate.
• Second Runner-Up: Simone Timms (Australia): " It Takes a Community to Raise a Child": This project created opportunities for busy families to engage in their children's education through the sharing of knowledge. The teacher looked beyond obvious materials and resources to create a multitude of opportunities for students to develop assessment strategies in keeping with their learning styles.
Innovation in Collaboration
• Best Practice: Martin Ryum and Mette Hauch (Denmark), "Teachers Leave Them Kids Alone": Expert groups of students engaged in peer-to-peer teaching and learning through producing, editing and analyzing a five-minute film in only one week. The film recognizes that some children are IT experts and can educate their peers and teachers.
• First Runner-Up: Jan Webb (U.K.), "Working in a Classroom Without Walls": Students engaged with peers in Singapore on a healthy living project and had a virtual field trip with peers in Brunei to learn about the rainforest. The project presented an opportunity to work with a class from another country, share results from science experiments, present information and understand diversity in the world.
• Second Runner-Up (tie): Ian Fogarty (Canada), "Xenotransplant Debate": Students learned complex thought through a semi-fictitious, bioethical issue debate. After researching a variety of stakeholder perspectives, deciding on a position and creating a political party with an associated media campaign, students engaged in a town hall debate and bill proposal.
• Second Runner-up (tie): Anna Karlsson (Sweden), "ICT Enriched Learning": Students worked to design, construct and program a robot using technology and mathematics in a laboratory environment and were encouraged to bring an entrepreneurial and creative approach and attitude to their work.
Innovation in Content
• Best Practice: Pat Yongpradit (U.S.), "Game Programming with the Zune to Promote High School Women in Technology": This project encouraged female students to engage in game programming. Using XNA Game Studio as software and the Zune as hardware provided students a comprehensive experience in game design and deployment that mirrors industry experiences.
• First Runner-Up: Adriana Silva de Oliveira (Brazil), "School on the Cloud": Aimed at breaking down barriers between teachers and students, this programme made use of the internet in order to facilitate learning and make it more enjoyable for students of the "digital age." Learning materials were made available online via the school blog so that students as well as parents could assess them after school hours and track learning tasks and projects through the year.
• Second Runner-Up: Peter de Lisle (South Africa), "Biodiversity": This project involved using thinking and research tools to find out about biomes and involved the creation of a collaborative spreadsheet tool to evaluate the best biome to live in. Learners then used creativity tools to create a biome as a context for a computer game and to design a suitably adapted creature to live in it. Finally, they narrated an adventure in their biome.
• Best Practice: Tareq Mahjoub, Tareq Mahmoud, Shahzlan Al Saffar, Omar Ashour, Futooh Khareetah and Majdi Daoud (Arabic region), "Accepting Each other": Created by a group of teachers, the project aims to answer the question: "We are all human beings. How can we accept each other despite our differences?" The project includes dramas, creating brochures and a press article, producing a documentary and a music concert, establishing a blog, and creating presentations. Through this, students gain understanding of "tolerance, communication, dialogue, peaceful coexistence and acceptance of others."
• First Runner-Up: Preesheila Bheem singh Ujoodha (Mauritius), "Wellness and Fitness for Life": Students conducted research on causes and cures of the epidemic proportion of noncommunicable diseases (NCD) such as diabetes and hypertension. They shared this information with peers in the community and through tools such as Glogster, auto collages, posters, video clips, brochures and blogs that they created.
• Second Runner-Up: Ricardo Espino Gonzalez (Mexico), "Electronic Logbook": Educator best practices and teaching methods are captured digitally and made available to others as a means of collaboration and to ensure that the years of experience of retired teachers are not lost to the academic world in the future.
Since 2003, the Partners in Learning award competition has been recognizing individuals with the Worldwide Innovative Education Awards for excellence in teaching. Teachers participate in country-level and regional events. Winners move up to the Worldwide competition.
The judging community includes education experts from all over the world. At the event, 47 judges representing more than 35 countries spend nearly 20 hours talking to the teachers and learning about their projects; then in a private room, they discuss, debate and share with one another until the winners are finally selected.
According to Microsoft, through its Partners in Learning program, it intends to transform education systems around the world. Since its inception in 2003, the Partners in Learning program has reached more than 196 million teachers and students in 114 countries, says the company.
• Next year's Innovative Teacher Awards results will be announced at the 2011 Worldwide Innovation Education Forum, which will take place in Washington, D.C., USA. Country and regional competitions will take place beginning in November 2010. Interested teachers should contact their local Microsoft office for more information.
October 28, 2010
Growing Global Imbalances Threaten a Sustainable Recovery, says Deloitte Research
Failure to adjust to new realities will only perpetuate uncertainty and volatility, the report warns.
In the fourth quarter issue of the Global Economic Outlook, Deloitte Research economists examine the current economic environment and, in particular, the varied pace of growth and global imbalances impacting nine of the world's major markets: the United States, Eurozone, China, India, Japan, United Kingdom, Russia, Brazil, and Australia.
"The global economy is imbalanced," says Ira Kalish, Director of Global Economics, Deloitte Research, part of Deloitte Services LP in the United States. "The money is flowing out of developed countries that have been supporting unusually low interest rates for some time into higher interest rate emerging countries. At the same time, rapid growth in emerging markets is creating new inflationary pressures. Many governments are intervening in their currency markets to improve export competitiveness, further exacerbating inflation.
"Additionally, countries that have traditionally relied on exports -- China, Japan, Germany -- and need to move toward domestic-led growth continue to depend heavily on exports. Meanwhile, countries that have relied heavily on consumer spending (the U.S. and UK), and need to export more face competitive devaluations in their target export markets. Even though the adjustments needed to address these new realities will involve short-term pain, the failure to do so will only delay the day of reckoning."
Highlights of the Q4 issue include:
• The United States is currently experiencing an epidemic of thrift as banks, non-financial corporations, and households hoard cash. Expanding the money supply and sparking inflation can result in stronger spending. While embracing higher inflation is a high risk strategy, it's also the path of least resistance out of the post-credit crisis liquidity trap that is currently inhibiting growth.
• The economic imbalances in the Eurozone continue. Strong export-driven growth in Germany and France is spilling over to the domestic sector, but fringe countries are still struggling as a result of financial market stress. The imminent move toward tighter regulation and stricter controls will be painful in the short run, but is ultimately likely to help the Eurozone to become a truly integrated economic region.
• The Chinese economy appears headed for a soft landing, as opposed to a full blown deceleration, which is good news -- both for China's trade partners and China. Yet, China's shifting demographics -- starting in 2011, the number of dependents (mainly retirees) will rise faster than the number of workers, reversing the trend of the past two decades when the ratio of dependents to workers has been declining -- is likely to lead to slower future growth.
• The outlook on the Indian economy is generally positive. A good harvest season is expected to help feed the substantial appetite for consumption in the domestic sector. But policymakers will have to address the appreciating rupee and rising inflation.
• The Japanese economy remains weak due to stagnant consumer spending and decelerating business investment amidst a small surge in imports. Moreover, the current political turmoil in the country is not conducive to economic success. Reviving consumer and business confidence will be keys to Japan's success.
• In the United Kingdom a surprisingly strong recovery will likely be followed by a slowdown in growth. As the United Kingdom rebalances the economy toward industrial production, exports and capital spending, consumers and government will likely play less of a role as drivers of growth.
• Policy-makers in Russia are facing significant disparities. They must balance concerns about growth and currency values with worries about potential inflation. They must also weigh the desire to invest in new infrastructure with aspirations to limit government debt. Longer term, the possibility of joining the World Trade Organization could help Russia diversify away from an excessive dependence on commodities.
• Brazil's economy is rapidly growing. Cooling down the economy may not be an easy task. The country's next president will have to safeguard against hyper-inflation and a rising currency.
• In Australia, the growth that was punted by government funding and healthy export volumes may not carry forward to future quarters. A slowdown in global economic conditions hint at some deceleration ahead.
An Official World Stock Markets Watchdog that, without any interference, identifies and monitors those stocks, stock exchanges, and stock indexes, whose activities produce worldwide repercussions.
It would help the governments and the regulators in formulating their relevant policies and in preventing another financial catastrophe."
© GlobalGiants.Com. All Rights Reserved.
Additional Comment: The United Nations along with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), whose one of the functions is to secure global financial stability, ought to take the initiative towards the establishment of such an official watchdog.
October 27, 2010
Honda, Toyota Dominate, While GM Makes Big Strides, says Consumer Reports' 2010 Annual Car Reliability Survey
Photo: Honda Acura TL 2011
At an Automotive Press Association luncheon yesterday in Detroit, Consumer Reports announced the results of its 2010 Annual Auto Survey.
According to the survey, General Motors has improved considerably, though Honda and Toyota still dominate in the latest predicted-reliability Ratings of new cars. Eighty-three percent of Chevrolets, GM's major brand, now have average or better scores in predicted reliability, up from 50 percent last year.
Photo: Cadillac SRX
While some GM nameplates had been among the least reliable brands in past years, they now rank above some major European competitors such as Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz. Two factors are aiding GM's reliability improvements. First, GM's recent introductions, such as the Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox, Buick LaCrosse V6 (FWD), and Cadillac SRX, are proving reliable from the time they were launched. In addition, GM shed many models with subpar reliability when it shut down the Saturn, Pontiac, and Hummer brands, says the report.
Photo: Chevrolet Camaro
The survey shows that as a company, GM is still a ways from the top when it comes to reliability -- the major Asian automakers, including Honda and Toyota, are still out in front. Among the three domestics, Ford continues to build the most reliable vehicles. Chrysler lags behind both GM and Ford.
Still, as the findings indicate, GM made the most progress of the three domestic manufacturers. Across GM brands (Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, and GMC), 69 percent of models had average or better reliability. Cadillac improved the most, rising seven places from last year's ranking. Chevrolet had its best showing in years; 83 percent of models had average or better scores in predicted reliability, up from 50 percent.
Photo: Ford Fusion Hybrid 2010
As a brand, Ford now outranks Mazda and Nissan and ranks just below Lexus. Ford vehicles are tops for reliability in two categories: family cars (Fusion Hybrid) and large SUVs (Ford Flex EcoBoost).
"General Motors and Ford have taken different paths to improving reliability," said David Champion, senior director of Consumer Reports Auto Test Center. "Some of GM's redesigned vehicles have scored well. The company has also dropped many of its below-average models. Ford has put its emphasis on fine-tuning existing platforms and limiting the number of new-model introductions."
None of Chrysler Corporation's models score above average. With Fiat's acquisition of Chrysler, many of its products will either be replaced or redesigned in the near future.
Photo: Kia Sorento
Despite recent safety recalls, Toyota models, including those from Scion and Lexus, remained among the most reliable and earned top scores in five vehicle categories: small cars (Yaris), midsized SUVs (FJ Cruiser), luxury SUVs (Lexus LX), minivans (Sienna V6, FWD), and full-size pickups (Tundra V6). The redesigned 2010 Toyota Prius, hurt by antilock brake problems on early vehicles, scored only average.
Honda and Acura are among the top four brands along with Porsche and Scion, with their models topping five vehicle categories -- upscale cars (Acura TL, FWD) , luxury cars (Acura RL), small SUVs (CR-V), upscale compact SUVs (Acura RDX) and compact pickups (Ridgeline).
Hyundai and Kia continued to do well, with only one model, the Kia Sedona minivan, rated below average. Nissan's mainstream models scored well. Subaru had a good record overall.
Photo: The new 2012 Volkswagen Eos hard top convertible will be unveiled to the public for the first time on November 17 at the Los Angeles Auto Show, with market introduction in early spring of 2011.
All Porsche and Volvo models are rated average or better. But Audi, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz are among the worst automakers overall in terms of reliability, indicates the survey. BMW had a bad year, with five of its 11 models scoring below average. Six of Mercedes-Benz's 13 models were below average, and the GLK SUV was far below average. However, the redesigned E350 sedan was above average. Nearly three-quarters of the Audi models Consumer Reports analyzed were below average. Volkswagen did better, with its Golf, formerly the Rabbit, doing very well and the various Jetta models scoring average or better.
The Porsche Boxster has the best predicted reliability score in Consumer Reports survey, while the Audi A6 3.0T and Jaguar XF have the worst.
Findings are based on responses on 1.3 million vehicles owned or leased by subscribers to Consumer Reports or its Web site, www.ConsumerReports.org . The survey was conducted in the spring of 2010 by Consumer Reports' National Survey Research Center and covered model years 2001 to 2010.
Full reliability history charts and predicted-reliability ratings on hundreds of 2011 models, plus a list of what's up and what's down, best and worst models, and a comparison chart of brands can be found online at www.ConsumerReports.org, in the December issue and in the latest Consumer Reports Cars publication, Best & Worst New Cars for 2011, on sale November 16, 2010.
October 26, 2010
Faster Decision Making: IBM Unveils New Information Management and Analytics Software
Photo: Business users can now gain instant insight with analytics in an easy to use format anytime, anywhere on their mobile devices, says IBM.
• IBM today introduced new business analytics software for today's evolving mobile workforce, expected to reach more than 1.19 billion by 2013. The new offerings combine social networking and collaboration capabilities.
IBM said that it is bringing business analytics capabilities to the masses with a new look and feel that more closely mirrors people's every day use of technology. It would result in faster, more collaborative decision-making, the company stated.
Spurred by the growth of mobile transactions, expected to grow by 40 times by 2015, the increase in the rate and pace of data is accelerating the IT opportunity around business analytics. It is to address these changing market dynamics, IBM explained, that it is announcing the following set of new business analytics and information management offerings:
• Cognos 10: New software that brings together the power of social collaboration and analytics for business users to gain real-time intelligence in a single, user-friendly interface -- online or through mobile devices such as ipad, iphones and blackberries.
• DB2 10: New database software that helps businesses combine data - from past, present and future, delivering 40% performance improvements.
• IBM InfoSphere Server: New software that redefines how an organization handles data behind the scenes with faster and more accurate integration of diverse forms of data, and the ability to see the quality of data before it's used.
According to IBM, the new software takes analytics out of the traditional format of reports and charts to a more interactive design. Business users can now gain instant insight with analytics in an easy to use format anytime, anywhere on their mobile devices.
• These new capabilities will have a profound impact on the way all business users interact with their teams, partners, managers and customers around the globe, IBM said.
October 24, 2010
Measuring University Performance
Global Research Benchmarking System for University Performance.
Photo: October 21, 2010. The United Nations flag flies on the Pont du Mont-Blanc, one of the bridges spanning the Rhone River in Geneva, Switzerland. UN Photo/Jean-Marc Ferre.
Photo: October 20, 2010. Elizabeth Capaldi, Provost of Arizona State University and Co-Editor at the Center for Measuring University Performance, briefs correspondents on a new alliance for measuring university performance called the Global Research Benchmarking System (GRBS). United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras.
Photo: October 20, 2010. Craig Abbey, Assistant Vice President for Academic Planning and Budget of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo and Research Director of the Center for Measuring University Performance, briefs correspondents on a new alliance for measuring university performance called the Global Research Benchmarking System (GRBS), conceived by Mr. Abbey's Center and the UN University International Institute for Software Technology (UNU-IIST). United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras.
Photo: October 20, 2010. Peter Haddawy, Director of the United Nations University International Institute for Software Technology (UNU-IIST), briefs correspondents on a new alliance for measuring university performance called the Global Research Benchmarking System (GRBS). Pictured next to him is Elizabeth Capaldi, Provost of Arizona State University and Co-Editor at the Center. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras.
Photo: October 20, 2010. Jean-Marc Coicaud, Director of the United Nations University Office in New York, moderates the press conference launching a new alliance for measuring university performance called the Global Research Benchmarking System (GRBS). United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras.
• Announcing the launch of the Global Research Benchmarking System (GRBS) at the UN Headquarters in New York, Jean-Marc Coicaud, Director of the United Nations University, said that university performance was comprised of complex and informative components and, as such, more than numbers defined their ranking.
The newly formed Global Alliance for Measuring University Performance would be developing the benchmarking system. The Alliance's collaborating partners include universities from around the world, the United States-based Center for Measuring University Performance, the United Nations University's International Institute for Software Technology (UNU-IIST) and Elsevier, one of the world's largest science publishers.
"As an academic and intellectual analysis project, all of the data would be publicly available, downloadable, and all the measures picked would ensure reliable and valid sources," said Elizabeth Capaldi, Provost of Arizona State University and Co-Editor at the Center for Measuring University Performance. "That would offer governing bodies and institutions information that would help them manage their operations more efficiently."
Peter Haddawy, Director of UNU-IIST, in an overview of the project, described the "broad vision of the Alliance", which, by providing objective data to universities, would help universities improve their performance in all areas, including education, community engagement, and research, as well as the societal impact of their activities. The Alliance's first project would be a benchmarking initiative on evaluating university research performance. That was "so important", he said, and should be done in a rigorous manner with full participation of the academic community.
• The benchmarking system overall was in stark contrast to existing university ranking systems, he said. The "richness of the contributions of the universities can't be represented by simple number in a lead table." Their contributions were much more complex and the new system would be designed to measure and represent that.
October 23, 2010
Overthrow Traditional Admissions Culture, says College Enrollment Expert
• New Book Offers Colleges a Way to Succeed in Today's Difficult Recruiting Environment.
• Higher education marketer Brian Niles has published a sobering look at the challenges faced by enrollment officers and a set of solutions rooted in the overthrow of traditional admissions culture.
Success in today's changing world of student admissions means thinking and acting differently than ever before. It means overthrowing the "dead culture" that persists in most admissions offices, says TargetX CEO Brian Niles.
Feeling strongly about the need for dramatic change, he has written a book that offers a roadmap for revolutionizing higher education recruiting and marketing.
In "Overthrowing Dead Culture: A Vision to Change the World of College Recruiting," the former admissions director tells the story of how combining business basics with innovation can lead to success -- and help the college admissions culture break from the past.
Brian Niles, a leading U.S. authority on interactive recruiting in higher education, decided it was time to write the book once he realized that schools were continuing to market themselves to students and families the same way they have for decades, despite the sea change that has taken place in college admissions communications.
A popular speaker in higher education, Niles was a college recruiter and marketer before starting his own company in 1998. "At TargetX, we have spent the last 12 years helping colleges think and act differently," he says, "and this book is the natural outgrowth of that effort."
The book includes a collection of practical exercises at the end of each chapter designed to help admissions offices think about who they are, what makes them distinctive and how they can use the latest tools and techniques to attract, admit and retain best-fit students.
According to the book, a NACAC (National Association for College Admissions Counseling) study demonstrates that recent demographic and economic trends have created a buyer's market for students in lieu of the seller's market that colleges have enjoyed for decades.
"But it's not just economics. In a major way, technology and communications have bypassed the way that colleges have reached out to potential students," explains the book. "In the days when glossy marketing packages arrived in their parents' mailboxes, it was colleges that called the shots; it was admissions offices that dictated how schools and students would communicate; and it was admissions offices that led students and families around by the nose, directing how applications would be handled, how finances would be covered, and how marketing campaigns would be delivered. But the Internet changed all that. As websites proliferated and technology went mobile in the form of cell phones and laptop computers with WiFi access, gradually it was the students who started setting the terms."
"Consider Digital Equipment Corp., the industry leader in mid-range computers in the early 1990s," the book points out. "The company isn't around today for one good reason--it didn't foresee the ascent of the personal computer. 'There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home,' said Ken Olson, president, chairman, and founder of Digital in 1977."
• "There's a price to pay when you resist change," the book warns. "And it's a big one for college leaders who preside over archaic admissions cultures that don't connect with twenty-first century students and families." "Make no mistake, these are the lean times, not only for American families but for colleges and universities, too. Public universities have their own financial problems. The amount of public funding such schools receive from their respective states is in decline."
"Hundreds of universities across the U.S. have put building projects on hold, closed classes, fired staff, frozen salaries and scaled back benefits," the book quotes a source. "Harvard, for example, eliminated 275 jobs this year in addition to halting construction in Allston. Yale reduced staff salaries and other non-personnel costs by 12.5 percent and froze several hundred job vacancies. Princeton, which chose to skip a transfer of funds from its endowment to its operating budget last spring, convinced 145 staff members to take early retirement as part of a two-year, $170 million (13 percent) budget cut and is now facing further staff reductions. Stanford has laid off 412 staff members, and 60 more people will lose their jobs by the end of the year."
• The book informs that due to the huge endowment losses suffered by colleges and universities, and the subsequent decline in donations from alumni, who were also adversely impacted by the global recession, schools were forced to do the unthinkable -- issue bonds to raise much-needed cash.
"Harvard was first, floating $1.5 billion in taxable bonds last December, joined early this year by Princeton and Stanford, which each issued $1 billion in bonds," the book quotes 'Institutional Investor'. "By the time most students had gone home for summer break, Brown University, the University of Chicago, Cornell University, Duke University, Johns Hopkins University and Vanderbilt University had followed suit, issuing anywhere from $100 million to $500 million in bonds."
• According to the book, there is no doubt that colleges are caught between two eras. Behind them are decades of traditions and tenets that have historically served colleges well in their search for new students to share the unique experience that each campus offers. In front of them is the second decade of the twenty-first century, which poses challenges in the form of a troubled economy and new modes of communication that schools have failed -- or are at least reluctant -- to master.
• In conclusion, the book "Overthrowing Dead Culture" is relevant to colleges and universities facing a new age of admissions. It tells that institutions are using an outdated model that no longer works in recruiting today's prospective student and that the colleges must overthrow their own dead culture in order to thrive in a new economy and meet the needs of a new generation of students and parents.
October 19, 2010
United Nations Day - October 24: Secretary-General Greets the Citizens of the World
Photo: October 18, 2010. Security Council Meets on Situation in Middle East. A wide view of the Security Council at its meeting on the situation in the Middle East, including the question of Palestine. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras.
Photo: October 14, 2010. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (centre) and Sergio de Queiroz Duarte (left of Mr. Ban), High Representative for Disarmament, pose for a group photo with participants of the 2010 United Nations Programme of Fellowship on Disarmament. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Mark Garten.
Photo: October 16, 2010. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses the opening session of the third World Policy Conference, organized by the Institut Français des Relations Internationales (IFRI), in Marrakesh, Morocco. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe.
• United Nations has released UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s following message for United Nations Day, to be observed on October 24, 2010:
“On United Nations Day, I express my great appreciation to the millions of people throughout the world who believe deeply in our work for peace, development and human rights, and who uphold our ideals and help us achieve our goals. To all of you, friends and fellow citizens of the world, I say: thank you.
Sixty-five years ago on this date, the founding Charter of the United Nations entered into force. Every year on UN Day, we reaffirm our global mission. We reassert the universal values of tolerance, mutual respect and human dignity. And we recognize the progress we have made together: gains in literacy and life expectancy; the spread of knowledge and technology; advances in democracy and the rule of law.
But above all, United Nations Day is a day on which we resolve to do more. More to protect those caught up in armed conflict, to fight climate change and avert nuclear catastrophe; more to expand opportunities for women and girls, and to combat injustice and impunity; more to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
Last month’s Millennium Development Goals Summit at the United Nations generated political momentum as well as financial commitments that are especially significant in these difficult economic times. I am determined to press ahead as the 2015 deadline approaches.
Despite our problems, despite polarization and distrust, our interconnected world has opened up vast new possibilities for common progress. Let us commit to do even more to realize the great vision set out in the United Nations Charter.”
“I am not an Athenian or a Greek, but a citizen of the world.”
Independence Trumps Marriage, Wealth and Professional Success as Important Life Goals for Millennial Women says New Global Study
Photo: Levi's ShapeWhatsToCome.com, new global community helps Millennial women shape their futures.
• Jean brand Levi's has released the findings of a global study to better understand the challenges, expectations, goals and experiences Millennial women face around the world.
The results show a surprising generational shift in life priorities and a need for a new, nontraditional form of mentorship.
In response to these findings, the Levi's brand has launched ShapeWhatsToCome.com, a global online community where Millennial women around the world can connect with peers and mentors to shape their futures.
Photo: A Levi's customer tries out the Intellifit to find her perfect pair of jeans in less than 10 seconds. Levi's Store, SoHo New York.
"Since introducing the first pair of women's jeans 75 years ago, Levi's has been a relevant part of women's lives," said Mary Alderete, Vice President of Levi's Global Women's Marketing. "Today, young women face more opportunity in their twenties than any generation of women before them. It's important we understand their mindset and their cultural and societal impact. We truly see ShapeWhatsToCome.com as a community of women changing the world - it's a global platform of women coming together to share, inspire, grow and shape their futures."
The Levi's Shaping a New Future study shows that women in their 20s are experiencing a world unlike women of previous generations.
Key highlights from the Levi's Shaping a New Future study:
• Ninety-six percent of Millennial women worldwide list "being independent" as their most important life goal.
• Meanwhile, 87 percent of women surveyed defined success as "being able to shape their future."
• Last on Millennials' priority list? Marriage and other more traditional pursuits - being a mother (68 percent), getting married (50 percent) and being wealthy (43 percent), were seen as far less essential in defining success.
"For many Millennial women, the expected path or 'ladder' towards adulthood - which included milestones such as school, career, marriage and motherhood - to be achieved in that order, has blurred," said Lindsey Pollak, lead collaborator on the Levi's Shaping a New Future study. "In its place is a web of opportunities that Millennials sample throughout their twenties, representing a different approach from previous generations. These women are challenging long-held beliefs about success as they navigate a complex world."
The Levi's "Shaping a New Future: Women Navigating Adulthood in a New Millennium" study was managed by StrategyOne, an applied-research consulting firm. StrategyOne conducted a rigorous, two-phase study to provide projectable, reliable insights to form an understanding of Millennial women's perceptions of this important juncture of their lives.
October 16, 2010
Innovative Advertisements appear in Times Square New York
Photo: Hankook Tire has unveiled a giant tire-shaped building wrap that stretches across the New York Marriott Marquis hotel in Times Square.
Photo: Swiss watchmaker MILUS Advertisement in Times Square showing 10:00 AM. The current time is shown on the MILUS masterpiece - Tirion Repetition Minutes TriRetrograde.
Times Square in New York remains one of the most bustling and vibrant locations on earth, guaranteeing optimal brand exposure.
As the most visited tourist destination in the world, Times Square attracts a diverse range of more than 35 million people each year. Though it comprises only 0.1 percent of New York City's land area, Times Square draws more than 500,000 visitors daily, making it an iconic advertising location.
By placing their billboards in the heart of Times Square, emerging global companies are positioning themselves among the world's leading consumer brands such as Samsung, Kodak, LG, Sony and Toshiba. The brightly lit intersection is a signature place for marquee brands to establish their presence. Some advertisers, such as Coca-Cola, have been in this billboard capital since the 1930s.
October 15, 2010
Whirlpool Unveils Resource Efficient Laundry Pair - Front-load Duet(R) Washer and Dryer
With new energy and water efficiency requirements for household appliances on the horizon, Whirlpool says it has created a laundry pair that helps consumers conserve natural resources and save money.
"As the industry's most resource efficient brand, Whirlpool is dedicated to delivering products that provide superior energy and water savings coupled with exceptional performance," said Wes Pringle, vice president brand business teams, Whirlpool Corporation. "Now, nearly 10 years after the introduction of front-load technology to the United States with the first Duet laundry pair, Whirlpool brand is leading the way again with the introduction of the industry's most efficient laundry pair--the new premium front-load Duet washer and dryer."
According to Whirlpool, through its exclusive 6th Sense™ technology, intelligent tools that sense and manage what was once beyond a user's control, the laundry pair provides ultimate cleaning, gentleness and efficiency. Combined with the washer's easy-to-fill liquid detergent reservoir, which can hold up to 36 loads in one fill, the Whirlpool Duet premium washer senses load conditions and manages the precise release of each additive at the right time during the cycle for optimal fabric care and cleaning, the company explained.
Whirlpool Corporation, one of the world's leading manufacturers and marketers of major home appliances, has 67 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world.
October 13, 2010
United Nations General Assembly Elects Five New Non-Permanent Members of Security Council
Photo: October 12, 2010. Wide view of the United Nations General Assembly Hall during the meeting at which the Assembly elected five states -- Colombia, Germany, India, Portugal and South Africa -- as non-permanent members of the Security Council for two-year terms beginning in January 2011. United Nations, New York. UN Photo/Evan Schneider.
October 12, 2010
Microsoft and Partners Unveil Windows Phone 7 Global Portfolio
First phones available soon from leading mobile operators around the world.
Photo: (From left to right) HTC CEO Peter Chou, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, and AT&T Mobility CEO Ralph de la Vega gather in New York to launch HTC Windows Phone 7 devices.
Photo: Kate MacKenzie (Chief Marketing Officer, Telstra) and Tracey Fellows (Managing Director, Microsoft Australia) at the Windows Phone 7 launch event, in Sydney.
Microsoft Corp. today joined its partners in revealing nine new Windows Phone 7 handsets that will be available this holiday season from leading mobile operators in Europe, North America and Asia Pacific .
With more than 60 mobile operators in over 30 countries worldwide committed to bringing Windows Phones to market, the millions of people around the world looking for a phone that plays as hard as it works will have a variety of phones from leading device-makers to choose from.
"We have a beautiful lineup in this first wave of Windows Phone 7 handsets," said Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer at Microsoft. "Microsoft and its partners are delivering a different kind of mobile phone and experience -- one that makes everyday tasks faster by getting more done in fewer steps and providing timely information in a 'glance and go' format."
Photo: HTC releases five Windows Phone 7 devices today in New York City.
Global Portfolio: Microsoft and its partners have worked together closely to create a different kind of phone with new experiences. Windows Phone 7 will be available in a variety of sleek form factors from device-makers such as Dell, HTC Corp., LG and Samsung, and from mobile operators including America Movil, AT&T, Deutsche Telekom AG, Movistar, O2, Orange, SFR, SingTel, Telstra, TELUS, T-Mobile USA and Vodafone. All Windows Phone 7 phones will include the high-performance Snapdragon™ processor from Qualcomm.
A broad selection of phones will begin shipping in holiday 2010 with more arriving in 2011, including phones from Sprint and Verizon Wireless.
Photo: Dr. Paul Jacobs, Qualcomm CEO at the AT&T Developer Summit.
Windows Phone 7, Glance and Go: According to Microsoft, in today's busy world we are spending more time heads-down on our phones than interacting with the people we're sitting next to and missing out on important life moments. Windows Phone 7 was designed to deliver a mobile experience that has the phone working better for people, bringing together the things they care about most and helping them to get things done faster.
Windows Phone 7 breaks the current smartphone convention to help people quickly and easily find and consume data, information and services from the Web and applications, says Microsoft.
Search is made easier with a dedicated button to help people find what they need, whether in contacts, in Marketplace, in e-mail or on the Web. From the Start screen, the Search button delivers Bing for mobile, delivering Web results, local information, maps, and directions.
According to Microsoft, the new phones are distinguished by unique design and integrated experiences built from Microsoft's deep portfolio such as Xbox LIVE, Microsoft Office Mobile, Zune, Windows Live, Bing and more.
October 11, 2010
McGraw-Hill's Custom Publishing Platform - Create
Platform enables professors to design custom classroom content from library of nearly 50,000 sources and receive e-books within hours.
• McGraw-Hill Education says it has brought custom publishing into the 21st century with McGraw-Hill Create, an innovative platform that gives instructors unprecedented control over the customization of higher education classroom content.
"Gone are the days when professors had no choice in how to assemble content for classroom instruction, or had to wait weeks to receive a customized text," explains McGraw-Hill. "With Create, instructors can produce their own e-books or printed texts by selecting content from a vast library of resources - and receive a digital proof in under an hour."
"McGraw-Hill's Create custom publishing tool gives me the power to provide only the content that is relevant to how I teach," said Cliff Thompson, director of Theatre at Freed-Hardeman University. "I can pick and choose what makes the most sense for me and my class, which allows me to be a more effective teacher and cost-conscious for my students."
Increasingly, instructors are demanding content solutions that are tailored to the way they teach. Custom publishing is one of the fastest growing areas in the higher education market, rising by 25 percent on a yearly basis. But not all custom content is created equal: results of a recent McGraw-Hill survey show that instructors are looking for low-cost solutions that offer the ability to integrate content from multiple disciplines, allow them to seamlessly incorporate their own material, contain enhanced search functions and promise faster delivery times. It is with these needs in mind that it developed Create, says McGraw-Hill.
"McGraw-Hill Education is committed to putting the control back in professors' hands when it comes to producing course content," said Ed Stanford, president, McGraw-Hill Higher Education. "Through Create, we are empowering professors to customize content with a great degree of specificity and flexibility based on their course and syllabus, enhancing students' learning experiences while lowering the burden of cost."
At Create's core is a Google-like search engine functionality that enables professors to immediately pull from a wide range of quality content, including 4,000 McGraw-Hill textbooks, 5,500 articles, 11,000 literature, philosophy and humanities readings, and 25,000 business case studies from prominent providers such as the Harvard Business School. This powerful search tool allows professors to view content across the library, or limit their search by category, such as discipline or copyright year. Professors can also easily upload and incorporate self-produced content into their Create project.
Once a Create text has been fully customized, the instructor receives a digital review copy in under an hour or a print review copy in three to five days. Once a professor finalizes the book in Create, he or she can make it available for student purchase. Students may purchase Create e-books through the McGraw-Hill ebookstore or purchase Create print books through their campus bookstore.
To simplify and streamline the custom publishing process, an index and table of contents is automatically generated for each Create project. Create allows professors to easily save and archive projects to work on at another time or edit for future semesters. Professors can customize the look and feel of their Create project by selecting a cover design and adding their name and course information. Additionally, instructors can share Create projects with colleagues for review, making content customization a collaborative experience.
According to McGraw-Hill, instructors from two-year, four-year and career colleges and universities in the USA have used Create to customize their educational content since its launch in April. Twenty-eight percent of the instructors who have used Create elected to receive their review copies as e-books.
• Create, which can be used by higher education institutions worldwide, is currently available across all 75 disciplines for which McGraw-Hill supplies content.
Founded in 1888, The McGraw-Hill Companies is a global information and education company providing knowledge, insights and analysis in the financial, education and business information sectors through leading brands including Standard & Poor's, McGraw-Hill Education, Platts, and J.D. Power and Associates. The Corporation has more than 280 offices in 40 countries.
October 8, 2010
Collective Intelligence of Groups Exceeds Cognitive Abilities of Individual Group Members: New Study by Carnegie Mellon, MIT and Union College
Groups demonstrate distinctive 'collective intelligence' when facing difficult tasks.
A new study co-authored by Carnegie Mellon University, MIT and Union College researchers documents the existence of collective intelligence among groups of people who cooperate well, showing that such intelligence extends beyond the cognitive abilities of the groups' individual members, and that the tendency to cooperate effectively is linked to the number of women in a group.
Many social scientists have long contended that the ability of individuals to fare well on diverse cognitive tasks demonstrates the existence of a measurable level of intelligence in each person. In a study to be published in an upcoming issue of the journal Science, the researchers applied a similar principle to small teams of people. They discovered that groups featuring the right kind of internal dynamics perform well on a wide range of assignments, a finding with potential applications for businesses and other organizations.
"We set out to test the hypothesis that groups, like individuals, have a consistent ability to perform across different kinds of tasks," says Anita Williams Woolley, the paper's lead author and an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon's Tepper School of Business.
"Our hypothesis was confirmed," continues Thomas W. Malone, a co-author and Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management. "We found that there is a general effectiveness, a group collective intelligence, which predicts a group's performance in many situations."
That collective intelligence, the researchers believe, stems from how well the group works together. For instance, groups whose members had higher levels of "social sensitivity" were more collectively intelligent. "Social sensitivity has to do with how well group members perceive each other's emotions," says Christopher Chabris, a co-author and assistant professor of psychology at Union College in New York.
"Also, in groups where one person dominated, the group was less collectively intelligent than in groups where the conversational turns were more evenly distributed," adds Woolley. And teams containing more women demonstrated greater social sensitivity and in turn greater collective intelligence compared to teams containing fewer women.
To arrive at their conclusions, the researchers conducted studies at MIT's Center for Collective Intelligence and Carnegie Mellon, in which 699 people were placed in groups of two to five. The groups worked together on tasks that ranged from visual puzzles to negotiations, brainstorming, games and complex rule-based design assignments. The researchers concluded that a group's collective intelligence accounted for about 40 percent of the variation in performance on this wide range of tasks.
Moreover, the researchers found that the performance of groups was not primarily due to the individual abilities of the group's members. For instance, the average and maximum intelligence of individual group members did not significantly predict the performance of their groups overall.
Only when analyzing the data did the co-authors suspect that the number of women in a group had significant predictive power. "We didn't design this study to focus on the gender effect," Malone says. "That was a surprise to us." However, further analysis revealed that the effect seemed to be explained by the higher social sensitivity exhibited by females, on average. "So having group members with higher social sensitivity is better regardless of whether they are male or female," Woolley explains.
Malone believes the study applies to many kinds of organizations. "Imagine if you could give a one-hour test to a top management team or a product development team that would allow you to predict how flexibly that group of people would respond to a wide range of problems that might arise," he says. "That would be a pretty interesting application. We also think it's possible to improve the intelligence of a group by changing the members of a group, teaching them better ways of interacting or giving them better electronic collaboration tools."
• Woolley and Malone say they and their co-authors "definitely intend to continue research on this topic," including studies on the ways groups interact online, and they are "considering further studies on the gender question."
Still, they believe their research has already identified a general principle indicating how the whole adds up to something more than the sum of its parts. As Woolley explains, "It really calls into question our whole notion of what intelligence is. What individuals can do all by themselves is becoming less important; what matters more is what they can do with others and by using technology."
"Having a bunch of smart people in a group doesn't necessarily make the group smart," concludes Malone.
In addition to Woolley, Malone and Chabris, the other co-authors were Alexander Pentland, the Toshiba Professor of Media Arts & Science at the MIT Media Lab; and Nada Hashmi, a doctoral candidate at MIT Sloan.
"I used to say of Napoleon that his presence on the field made the difference of forty thousand men."
-- Duke of Wellington.
"There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise:
The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;
The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks;
The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by bands;
The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces."
-- Proverbs of Solomon 30:24-28.
October 7, 2010
Casio Introduces EDIFICE Black Label Collection
The EDIFICE Black Label Collection, the newest in men's watches from Casio Timepieces, has been designed for the upwardly mobile man with a sense of style, intelligence and savvy.
According to Casio, this timepiece collection is dynamic and striking, exuding speed and technology through its aesthetic and functionality.
Trying to find a meeting point between fashion and function, and with six sleek and active styles, the Black Label collection possesses many special features such as double disk hands, multi-layered dials, world time, daily alarms, water resistance, and full automatic calendar.
Casio America is the U.S. subsidiary of Casio Computer Co., Ltd., Tokyo, Japan, one of the world's leading manufacturers of consumer electronics and business equipment solutions, established in 1957.
October 1, 2010
Mercedes-Benz at the 2010 "Mondial de l'Automobile" in Paris
Photo: Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars in front of the new Mercedes-Benz Gallery on the Champs Elysees with the smart car2go edition, the world's first series-production car-sharing vehicle.
Mercedes-Benz is starting its activities surrounding the 125th anniversary of the automobile with a bold look forward. On January 29, 2011 it will be 125 years to the day when Carl Benz submitted his patent application for the first automobile, the three-wheel "Tricycle". In parallel, Gottlieb Daimler was developing the first four-wheel motor car. Thus, independently from each other, the two inventors laid the foundation stone for the modern automobile and motorized individual transportation.
"The invention created by Daimler and Benz changed the world and affected virtually every aspect of daily life," said Dr. Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars, on the eve of the Paris Motor Show in the premiere cinema theater UCG Normandie on the Champs Elysees. "Now we are inventing the automobile for the second time. And the effect will once again be revolutionary."
Along the lines of "Liberte, Egalite, E-Mobilite" Zetsche decribed the role of the automobile in the modern society, the accumulated demand for automobiles in the emerging markets, such as China, Russia or India, and Mercedes-Benz solutions for sustainable mobility.