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The 20 best tech jobs in America in 2018

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 02:09 PM PST

Happy woman laptop

Tech skills are a hot commodity in the current job market, and if Glassdoor's list of the 50 best jobs in America is any indication, demand for them will only continue to grow. 

In fact, 20 out of the 50 jobs highlighted on the annual list are tech jobs, up from 14 out of 50 last year.

Even better news for people who can leverage technology to enhance their work on a daily basis? These jobs don't require you to work exclusively in the tech industry.

Dr. Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor's chief economist, told Business Insider that companies across all industries, including healthcare, finance, and retail, are hiring workers for these in-demand positions.

"Since every company is trying to become a tech company these days, they all need people who know how to collect, organize, and analyze data to help them make better, more informed business decisions," he said.

Glassdoor's 50 Best Jobs in America report identifies careers with the highest overall "job score," which is determined by weighing three factors equally: earning potential (median annual base salary), job satisfaction rating, and number of job openings. 

For a job title to be considered, it had to receive at least 100 salary reports and 100 job satisfaction ratings shared by US-based employees over the past year. The number of job openings per job title represents active job listings on Glassdoor as of January 1, 2018. 

Below are the 20 tech roles among Glassdoor's 50 best jobs:

SEE ALSO: The 50 best jobs in America in 2018

DON'T MISS: The 20 best tech companies to work for in 2018, according to employees

20. User interface (UI) developer

Overall job score (out of 5.0):4.1

Job satisfaction rating (out of 5.0):3.8

Number of job openings:1,004

Median base salary:$95,000



19. Business intelligence developer

Overall job score (out of 5.0): 4.1

Job satisfaction rating (out of 5.0): 3.9

Number of job openings: 882

Median base salary: $86,000



18. Systems analyst

Overall job score (out of 5.0): 4.2

Job satisfaction rating (out of 5.0): 3.7

Number of job openings: 2,710

Median base salary: $75,000



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Retailers GOAT and Flight Club merge into online sneaker shopping paradise, snag $60 million in new funding

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 02:03 PM PST

GOAT Fight Club

  • Online footwear retailer GOAT and sneaker consignment shop Flight Club are merging, but will maintain separate brands.
  • The two companies have shaken up the footwear industry and attracted fans among sneaker enthusiasts.
  • GOAT, a Y Combinator-backed startup, also announced that it had received an additional $60 million in funding from a round led by Index Ventures.


Online sneaker retailer GOAT announced Thursday it's merging with venerated sneaker consignment shop Flight Club and getting a $60 million cash infusion.

The companies, which focus on coveted, hard-to-find footwear, will each maintain their own brands after the merger, they said in a press release. But GOAT will move Flight Club onto its technology systems.

"The merger ... will allow us to significantly scale our online and retail operations to meet customer demand both domestically and internationally," Eddy Lu, GOAT's co-founder and CEO, said in a statement.  

The deal was completed on Tuesday, a GOAT representative said. The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the deal, but a "majority" of the $60 million in new funding GOAT announced will go to purchasing Flight Club shareholders' stakes in the company, Recode reported

The GOAT representative declined to confirm that, saying only that the deal was done with a mixture of cash and stock. 

The two companies have shaken up the shoe wear industry. Their merger was born out of mutual admiration between the two companies, GOAT co-founder Daishin Sugano told Business Insider.

Fight Club sneakers

Flight Club, which sells rare and collectible footwear from its two stores in LA and New York, has attracted a cult following among "sneakerheads" since it opened in 2005. Sugano, who owns hundreds of sneakers, said that the iconic store was an inspiration to him early on as he cultivated his own personal footwear collection.

"The reason GOAT exists at all is because Flight Club innovated the market," Sugano said.

GOAT, too, has its share of devoted fans among sneaker enthusiasts. The company's mobile app, which launched in 2015, offers a selection of more than 400,000 unique shoes. GOAT launched its service as a direct competitor to eBay's sneaker offerings, but its goal is to transform the sneaker retail industry.

GOAT is now valued at more than $200 million

"We're innovating the sneaker market with technology," Sugano said. By teaming up with Flight Club, "you have the future of retail," he added.

GOAT's funding round was led by Index Ventures. It values the company at more than $200 million. 

Other participants in the round included Upfront Ventures, Accel, Matrix Partners,
and Web Investment Network. Previously GOAT, which has now raised a total of $97 million, had attracted funding from high-profile investors including Andreessen Horowitz and Y Combinator.

GOAT and Flight Club have the opportunity to become leaders in the industry because of the business smarts of their teams and the broad popularity of their websites, Index Ventures partner David Rimer told Business Insider. Combined, their sites attract 15 million visits per month.

"The sneaker market is ... in [its] relative infancy," Rimer said. "The opportunity is really big."

SEE ALSO: Silicon Valley's ultimate status symbol is the sneaker — here are the rare, expensive, and goofy sneakers worn by the top tech CEOs

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: These exoskeletons are making the world easier to navigate

Snap nailed its fourth quarter earnings, pleasantly surprising investors

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 01:44 PM PST

Snapchat's parent company Snap beat its projected revenue by over $30 million in its most recent earnings report. The app's growth had slowed down since Snap went public in March 2017, but Snap isn't the only iconic social media company that's struggled with acquiring new users after it went public. As this chart by Statista shows,  Twitter experienced similar growing pains during the months following its IPO — which might mean that Snapchat just needs more time to finesse its platform and attract new users.

Chart of the day

SEE ALSO: Tech stocks took a huge hit when the market plunged on Monday Tech stocks took a huge hit when the market plunged on Monday

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NOW WATCH: These inventions will help save the earth

The Amazon-Whole Foods delivery service may actually be a good thing for other grocers (AMZN, KR, SFM, WMT)

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 01:44 PM PST

Whole Foods

  • Amazon said it's testing a two-hour grocery delivery service with the recently-acquired Whole Foods Market.
  • Shares of major grocery stores fell on the news.
  • One analyst believes the move creates a "buying opportunity" for grocers, especially Kroger.


While shares of the major grocery stores fell Thursday on the news that Amazon is testing a two-hour grocery delivery service from Whole Foods, investors should see this as an opportunity to scoop up shares. 

Adopting the "buy at the dip" mentality, Jefferies analyst Christopher Mandeville sees the news as an opportunity for investors to buy other grocery stocks on the cheap.

"Today's grocery stocks' reactions to the WFM/AMZN 2-hr. delivery news, [especially] for KR [Kroger], is unwarranted in our view and we'd suggest investors be buyers of the dip as the pullback creates an improved set-up for 4Q17 earnings and increases the discount to what [long-term] value we see is attainable," Mandeville wrote in a note to clients.

He said that while the move may eventually force grocery retailers to narrow the window of time to deliver goods, it does not mean customers will immediately rush into this service. He noted that most customers already have a method of ordering online, such as Instacart and Postmates, and that Amazon’s service is limited to Prime members in Cincinnati; Dallas; Austin, Texas; and Virginia Beach, Virginia.

Mandeville added that grocers like Kroger have done a good job closing the competitive gap. Kroger is rapidly expanding its online delivery options, offering competitive timing, such as four-hour same-day service, greater convenience, and digital coupons, which helps the consumer "capture better value."

Walmart has made a significant push into offering its own same-day delivery services through its acquisitions of Bonobos, Jet.com, and Parcel. Matthew Fassler, an analyst at Goldman Sachs, said that Walmart's strategy to target middle-income consumers in smaller metropolitan areas is compelling.

"Retail is still subject to significant disruption, while WMT, we think, is still very much in control of its own destiny," Fassler told investors.

Here's how shares of major grocery stores performed Thursday:

Read more about why Goldman Sachs believes Walmart is 'in control of its own destiny.'

SEE ALSO: Goldman Sachs says Walmart is 'in control of its own destiny' despite retail's troubles

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Microsoft President Brad Smith says the US shouldn't get 'too isolationist'

A Spirit passenger claims employees made her flush her emotional-support hamster down the toilet

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 01:35 PM PST

hamster

  • A woman claims that a Spirit Airlines employee encouraged her to flush her pet hamster down an airport toilet.
  • The airline said that it mistakenly told the woman the hamster would be allowed on the flight, but it denied that any employees recommended flushing or harming the animal.
  • The woman is reportedly considering filing a lawsuit against the airline.


The debate over what counts as an emotional-support animal, and which animals should be allowed on commercial flights, has become a near-crisis for airlines.

Now, Spirit Airlines is in trouble after a woman alleged that an airline employee encouraged her to flush her pet hamster down an airport toilet, the Miami Herald first reported. The woman, Belen Aldecosea, claims the hamster was a certified emotional-support animal.

The incident stemmed from a miscommunication between Aldecosea and Spirit. Aldecosea said she called the airline twice to make sure her hamster would be allowed on her November 21 flight home from Baltimore to South Florida. Each time, an airline representative told her the hamster could fly with her, a Spirit spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider.

But Spirit doesn't let rodents on its flights, which a Spirit employee told Aldecosea before she went through security at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

Aldecosea says she was left in a difficult position. She didn't have any friends or family close enough to pick up the hamster, wasn't able to rent a car, and needed to return home to attend to a medical issue. Eventually, a Spirit employee allegedly suggested that Aldecosea release the hamster outside or flush it down an airport toilet.

Aldecosea chose the latter.

"She was scared. I was scared. It was horrifying trying to put her in the toilet," Aldecosea told the Herald. "I was emotional. I was crying. I sat there for a good 10 minutes crying in the stall."

"After researching this incident, we can say confidently that at no point did any of our agents suggest this Guest (or any other for that matter) should flush or otherwise injure an animal," Spirit said in a statement to Business Insider. "When the Guest appeared with the hamster at the airport, our agents offered and the Guest accepted an opportunity to take a later flight, so she had time to find other accommodations for the animal. Our records indicate she was scheduled to take the 10:39 am flight on Nov. 21, but ended up taking the 7:42 pm flight that day."

The controversy follows a recent incident where a woman unsuccessfully tried to bring a peacock on a United Airlines flight after claiming it was an emotional-support animal. United and Delta Air Lines have introduced new policies that require passengers to provide additional assurances that emotional-support animals are medically certified and able to behave on an airplane.

SEE ALSO: A woman tried to bring an emotional-support peacock on a United flight, and it reveals a growing crisis for airlines

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Expect Amazon to make a surprising acquisition in 2018, says CFRA

Nvidia is surging after a record-setting earnings report (NVDA)

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 01:35 PM PST

NVIDIA autonomous driving self-driving



Nvidia reported its 2017 fourth-quarter earnings after the bell Thursday.

The company earned adjusted earnings of $1.72, easily beating the $1.29 that Wall Street was anticipating. Revenue came in at $2.91 billion compared to analyst estimates of $2.676 billion. The company said it was a record quarter in all measures.

Shares of the company are popping after the report, currently up 7.66% at $235.03 apiece. The stock slid more than 2% during regular trading as the broader market came under pressure. 

“Industries around the world are racing to incorporate AI. Virtually every internet and cloud service provider has embraced our Volta GPUs. Hundreds of transportation companies are using our NVIDIA DRIVE platform. From manufacturing and healthcare to smart cities, innovators are using our platform to invent the future,” CEO Jensen Huang said in the release.

Nineteen of the 35 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg rated the company as a buy ahead of earnings, and just two rated it as a sell.

Ahead of the report, Wall Street's enthusiasm was waning. AMD, Nvidia's chief rival in the GPU market, reported that one-third of the growth in its graphics unit came from cryptocurrency miners. Mitch Steves, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said that Nvidia will not only have to top earnings estimates, it will have to show it can grow its business without the help of volatile cryptocurrencies if it's to keep moving its stock higher.

Read about the one-two punch Nvidia just received from Wall Street here.

nvidia

SEE ALSO: Nvidia just took a one-two punch from Wall Street

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Microsoft President Brad Smith says the US shouldn't get 'too isolationist'

NBCUniversal is building a new ad team to help marketers navigate Snap, Apple News, BuzzFeed and Vox

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 01:17 PM PST

2018 Winter Olympics

  • NBCU has allied itself with a number of digital media companies, ranging from Snap to BuzzFeed to Apple.
  • Now the company is building out a specialized sale unit, NBCU Code, to help cater to advertisers looking to create unique programs via these different properties.
  • The hope is to go after ad budgets that typically go to digital platforms, and cater to advertisers looking for big audiences on mobile devices.


Over the past few years NBCUniversal has either invested in, or formally partnered with, a slew of big name digital media brands, including Snap, Apple News, Vox Media and BuzzFeed.

Now the media giant is building out a new team aimed at helping its internal sales groups, as well as advertisers, get the most out of its close relationships with these digital players.

NBCU is this month formally rolling out what it's calling NBCU Code, a group of 20-plus specialists who will focus on the company's digital partnerships. The team is being led by Executive Vice President, Digital Sales and Strategy Trevor Fellows, who joined NBCU in August from Dow Jones.

Fellows told Business Insider that as NBCU's portfolio has grown, it's become more crucial to have specialists who can help advertisers execute unique advertising campaigns that exploit the strengths of each of these platforms. While giant advertisers do come to the media company for massive, cross screen deals – like say for the upcoming Winter Olympics – that include ads on everything from linear TV to the web to social platforms, the majority do not.

So the idea with Code will be to cater to marketers looking to create custom ad campaigns with a few of NBCU's partners at a time. Besides Apple News, Vox, BuzzFeed and Snap, Code's purview includes the mobile ad company Kargo as well as NBCU and its partners' YouTube channels.

Fellows said the hope is that Code will tap into some ad budgets that might traditionally go to digital players. Advertisers are particularly looking for large audiences on mobile devices, which not many media companies outside of Facebook and Google can claim, he said.

Besides selling to the outside world, the Code team will also help NBCU's existing sales groups execute on bigger ad packages that include the likes of Snap, Apple, etc. – as each of these properties has different nuances, advertising best practices, and data capabilities.

"Some clients will need a great deal of attention and help working with these partners, and some will just need a little bit of support," he said. "We want to be nimble enough to do both. And we'll be able to create a common data thread when needed."

Fellows said that as many as 50 people inside NBCU could end up spending at least part of their time assisting on Code related deals. 

He noted that Code won't be focused on just selling excess ad space across a network of partners. The idea is to focus on "content development," he said. "This is really the antithesis of just another ad network."

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Why most scientists don't care about these incredible UFO videos

I watched SpaceX's Falcon Heavy rocket launch Elon Musk's car into space — here's what it was like near the launchpad

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 01:12 PM PST

Falcon heavy launch spacex

There is nothing like seeing a rocket launch toward space in person, and the first flight of SpaceX's three-booster Falcon Heavy system was no exception.

As a space reporter, I've see a handful of space shuttles and a Mars robot leave Earth, but Falcon Heavy's maiden flight blew them all away.

SpaceX gave me access to cover its demonstration mission, which successfully launched company founder Elon Musk's red Tesla Roadster toward Mars with a spacesuit-clad "Starman" dummy and three cameras inside.

Here's what it was like to witness the spectacle of Falcon Heavy from Kennedy Space Center, including a post-launch press conference with Musk.

SEE ALSO: How used rockets just might save humanity from doom

DON'T MISS: Elon Musk spent $1 billion developing SpaceX's reusable rockets — here's how fast he might earn it all back

SpaceX gave me a press badge with bunch of stickers on it, each of which coded my access to various events. I wasn't initially told what the smiley face meant — but I had a good guess.

Falcon Heavy lifted off from the NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. NASA strictly controls access to its space centers, so you need credentials — and some prior vetting — before it will let you through its gates. (SpaceX media representatives set up a credentialing shop in a nondescript conference room at Homewood Suites.)



Falcon Heavy fever was on display as I drove toward the space center. Some people were camping out on a causeway with good visibility of the launch pad more than a day ahead.



Once through the gates, I drove past this massive building: a 750,000-square-foot factory to build reusable rockets for Blue Origin, the aerospace company founded by Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos.

Blue Origin is likely to become a major competitor of SpaceX. I asked for permission to peek inside, but Blue Origin representatives declined.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The US believes Russia's Su-57 and PAK-DA stealth planes will be nuclear strike aircraft

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 01:05 PM PST

Su-57 Putin T-50

  • The Trump administration listed Russia's Su-57 stealth fighter and Tupolev PAK-DA stealth bomber as developmental nuclear strike aircrafts in its Nuclear Posture Review.
  • The Su-57 has yet to be mass produced, and the PAK-DA has not even been built yet.
  • The two stealth planes could be nuclear aircrafts, but not anytime soon.


The Trump administration believes Russia's Su-57 stealth fighter and Tupolev PAK-DA stealth bomber will be developmental nuclear strike aircrafts.

The administration listed the two aircrafts as developmental nuclear strike aircrafts in its Nuclear Posture Review, a 100-page report released last week laying out the US' nuclear policies.

The report took a harsh stance against Russia, saying that it "will pose insurmountable difficulties to any Russian strategy of aggression against the United States, its allies, or partners and ensure the credible prospect of unacceptably dire costs to the Russian leadership if it were to choose aggression."

The Su-57 first flew in 2010, but has yet to be mass produced.

Moscow announced on Wednesday that it would purchase about a dozen Su-57s this year, and receive two of those in 2019, according to TASS.

Nuclear Posture review nuclear strike delivery systems"We are taking the Su-57 for experimental and combat operation, and the state tests for the first stage are over," Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Yury Borisov told reporters on Wednesday, according to RIA Novosti.

The first batch of 12 will only be equipped with Saturn AL-41F1 engines — the same engines on the Su-35 — and not the new Izdelie-30 engines, which have only recently begun testing.

Russia's newly upgraded long-range bomber, the Tu-160M2, first flew last month, but the PAK-DA stealth bomber has yet to be built.

As such, Russia's main nuclear strike aircraft is currently the Su-34 Fullback, according to The National Interest.

"[Russia] has nuclear bombs for tactical aircraft and air launched tactical nuclear missiles as well. And there are ALCMs [air-launched cruise missiles] under development that will be used by tactical aircraft," Vasily Kashin, a fellow at Moscow's Higher School of Economics, told The National Interest.

"But I do not remember Su-57 being specifically mentioned," Kashin said, adding that it's possible that X-50 cruise missiles could fit into the Su-57's weapons bays. Russia, he said, has not confirmed anything.

Russia Tu 160M2

The status of the PAK-DA is even more up in the air.

Assuming Moscow builds the PAK-DA, it won't enter Russian service until the 2030s at the earliest, The National Interest reported.

The PAK-DA will probably be able to drop nuclear gravity bombs, according to The National Interest's David Majumdar. The aircraft will likely be primarly used as a strategic missile carrier — much like the upgraded Tu-160M2

The Pentagon did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.

SEE ALSO: 8 photos of the Tu-160M2, the new long-range super bomber that Russia just unveiled

DON'T MISS: We asked an F-22 Raptor fighter-wing commander if he's worried about Russia's Su-57 stealth fighter

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: What happens to your body when you start exercising regularly

We went to Best Buy after it reportedly decided to pull CDs from stores — and it's never been more clear why Amazon is winning (BBY, AMZN)

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 01:03 PM PST

best buy cds 2007

  • According to a Billboard report, Best Buy recently told music suppliers that it plans to pull CDs from its stores by July 1. 
  • Even though CD sales are dropping and physical format music is being pushed out by streaming services, many were upset with Best Buy's reported decision to pull CDs from  stores.
  • I went to a Best Buy store myself to see why it may have made this decision, and what Best Buy is doing to keep up with the rise of online retailers like Amazon.

 

Digital music streaming sites have been growing rapidly, all the while making CDs less and less relevant. 

Billboard recently reported that Best Buy plans to pull CDs from all of its stores by July 1. Even though CD sales have been dropping rapidly for years, people were shocked and upset with Best Buy's decision to move forward and pull them from its shelves. Best Buy declined to comment on the Billboard report.

One reason for the ongoing decrease in sales is the rise in music streaming and digital media. With products like CDs becoming obsolete and other products being sold for lower prices online, Best Buy is fighting to stay relevant in an increasingly digital marketplace. 

Removing CDs isn't the only thing Best Buy has done in recent years to keep its product offerings fresh and relevant.

I went to a Best Buy store in New York City to see what's happening, and I noticed why Best Buy is having to make major changes to keep up with Amazon:

SEE ALSO: Best Buy is pulling CDs from its stores — and people are freaking out

The Best Buy I went to had three floors. Throughout the store, there were areas that mimicked Apple stores, Microsoft stores, and Samsung stores, with huge selections of products from each brand.



It also had two Amazon displays: one on the top floor by the mini-Apple store ...



... and another on the ground floor by home security.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs triggered devastating underwater eruptions — which changes how we understand their extinction

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 12:53 PM PST

earth comets asteroid impacts water illustration shutterstock_155504771

  • Scientists have long known that an asteroid slammed in Earth and created the Chicxulub Crater, which contributed to the dinosaurs' extinction 66 million years ago.
  • Scientists have struggled to determine whether the volcanic activity or the global cooling that resulted from the asteroid impact were more responsible for the extinction event.
  • Now a study has revealed that the crash also triggered massive volcanic activity in the world's oceans, further changing the picture of how the dinosaurs went extinct.


When an asteroid hit Earth some 66 million years ago, it triggered devastation around the world.

There were at least three nearly simultaneous events involved in the global catastrophe that ended what we now call the Mesozoic era. An asteroid between 10 and 15 kilometers in diameter slammed into Earth, creating the Chicxulub Crater near Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. The Deccan Traps, a massive volcanic province in what's now India, erupted, spewing lava and smoke that filled the skies. And 75% of Earth's plant and animal life went extinct, which scientists have linked to those other disasters that filled the skies with soot and smoke and transformed the world's climate.

But when it comes to world-shaking devastation, that wasn't all that was going on at the time, scientists report in a study recently published in the journal Science Advances.

The asteroid also appears to have sent ripples through Earth's tectonic plates, which spread out through the oceans and caused tens of thousands of miles of underwater volcanic ridges to spew magma. The authors describe those eruptions as "on par with the largest eruptive events in Earth’s 4.5-billion-year history, including the Deccan Traps."

montana dueling dinosaurs

Looking for past volcanic activity

Part of the debate about what really killed the dinosaurs has to do with the interplay between the asteroid impact and the Deccan Traps eruptions. The most up-to-date understanding suggests the Deccan Traps eruptions began before the Chicxulub impact. But they also seem to have gotten much more active in the time after the asteroid hit.

Yet if the asteroid was able to influence volcanic activity on the other side of the globe, it should have affected volcanoes elsewhere, too. That's why the authors of this study decided to trace what was happening in the oceans.

To uncover evidence of underwater volcanic activity, the researchers used existing data to examine how the seafloor's structure changed over the past 100 million years.

They were able to find evidence of massive transformations in the amount of rock on the seafloor, a change caused by volcanic activity. Eruptions left 650-foot-high piles of rock in the Indian and Pacific oceans, the study authors write in The Conversation. They dated those eruptions to within a million years of the impact, close enough to link the events.

Dinosaurs

A better picture of the dinosaur apocalypse

These new findings give us a better timeline of what happened to trigger the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event.

Although the Deccan Traps were probably erupting for 250,000 years before the Chicxulub asteroid slammed into the planet, the impact transformed the world. The atmosphere filled with soot, causing global cooling that was strong and sudden enough to have played a strong role in the end of the dinosaurs.

At the same time, the asteroid shook the world and led to earthquakes that released even more magma. The already flowing Deccan Traps erupted in a whole new way, essentially covering the Indian subcontinent with lava and further filling the skies with particles that reflected the sun's heat back into space and cooled the planet. An eruption that was equally strong occurred underwater.

Small mammals and flying dinosaurs — which we now know as birds — survived, but the majority of plant and animal life did not.

We still don't know exactly which components of these global catastrophes were most responsible for the extinctions, or whether other volcanic systems elsewhere in the world were triggered, too.

"What is clear is that this new research points to global-scale connections between catastrophes, a good reminder that events happening on the other side of the planet can have effects felt everywhere," the study authors write.

What is very clear is that this was an unpleasant time to be anywhere on Earth.

SEE ALSO: The asteroid that wiped out the dinosaurs might not have killed them all if it had hit somewhere else

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Scientists uncovered a bloody, feathered dinosaur tail that got stuck in tree sap 99 million years ago

Joaquin Phoenix is reportedly in talks to star in the Joker standalone movie from the director of 'The Hangover'

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 12:49 PM PST

joaquin phoenix

  • Joaquin Phoenix is in talks to star in a Joker standalone movie, according to Variety.
  • Todd Phillips, director of "The Hangover," will direct the film.

 

As if a "Venom" movie without Spider-Man weren't weird enough, DC and Warner Bros. are gearing up for a Joker standalone movie — and Joaquin Phoenix is reportedly in talks to star as the Clown Prince of Crime.

That's right, Joaquin Phoenix — from such acclaimed films as "Her" and "The Master;" who is known for ignoring studio blockbusters; who pretended to retire from acting for a film that followed his fake retirement from acting —might be donning the pale face and green hair of Batman's most famous enemy.

Variety reports that the actor was director Todd Phillips' ("The Hangover") first choice and that he has agreed to the role.

Last year, it was announced that Warner Bros. and DC were developing a Joker origin film with Phillips directing, Martin Scorsese producing, and Scott Silver ("8 Mile") writing the screenplay. Leonardo DiCaprio, a frequent collaborator with Scorsese, was originally rumored to be eyed for the role. (In 2016, Jared Leto took on the role of the Joker in "Suicide Squad" to less-than-stellar reviews.)

In the wake of a troubling roll-out for their extended universe, including the poorly received "Justice League" and "Suicide Squad," and the massive success of "Wonder Woman," Vulture reported last year that DC and Warner Bros. were rethinking their approach to the films.

The Joker origin movie would be the first movie under a new DC film series that focuses on solo projects rather than an interconnected universe. Meanwhile, Matt Reeves ("War for the Planet of the Apes") is still on board to direct a Batman solo movie that is involved in the larger DC extended universe.

A release date for the Joker movie has not been announced. 

SEE ALSO: The first teaser for the Spider-Man villain movie 'Venom' is making fans really angry

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Here's what might happen if North Korea launched a nuclear weapon

Investors love Twitter again — but their excitement could scare off any potential buyers (TWTR)

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 12:37 PM PST

Jack Dorsey

  • Investors bid up shares of Twitter on Thursday after the company posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results.
  • The stock's surge came despite the fact that it had already risen 40% in the last year, and despite Twitter posting an actual sales decline for the year.
  • For many investors, the best hope is that Twitter will be acquired, but the stock's jump could make the company less attractive to potential suitors.


For Twitter, all of the recent good news may end up having some unintended negative consequences.

The social networking company on Thursday announced much-better-than-expected fourth quarter results. The report was cheered by investors, who sent the company's stock up as much as 30% in intraday trading, before it settled back down to being up around 15%.

But Wall Street's enthusiasm could rebound on the company longer term. One of investors' best long-term hopes for Twitter is that it will eventually be acquired. After a 40% run-up in its stock over the last year, it was already looking pricey. The stock's latest jump is likely to give potential acquirers even more reason to shy away.

Brian Weiser, a financial analyst who covers Twitter for Pivotal Research Group, cut his rating on Twitter from a "hold" to a "sell" Thursday, pointing to the stock's surge.

"The stock’s reaction to these results were out of proportion in our view," Weiser said in a research note. He continued: "While we think that there is value in Twitter as an acquisition target – and a pathway to a resumption of growth de-risks Twitter to potential buyers – we don’t think any transaction is likely to occur any time soon, if ever."

Twitter results were better-than-expected — but that doesn't make them great

Twitter's results were impressive, at least if you grade on a curve. It beat Wall Street's expectations on both the top and bottom line. Its revenues increased for the first time in four quarters and it posted its first-ever profit.

But the bar for Twitter was set fairly low. While investors were surely happy to see that its revenue didn't shrink again, it only grew by 2% from the same quarter a year earlier and its sales in the US — its biggest market — actually fell 8%.

It’s not every day we see this much enthusiasm for a tech company becoming a high flyer by managing not to shrink, but here we are

And the company's gains seem to be coming from getting more of its users to come back to its service more often, rather than by substantially increasing its total number of users, said James Cakmak, a financial analyst with Monness, Crespi, Hardt, in a research note. The number of daily active users of Twitter increased 12% from the fourth quarter a year earlier, while its number of monthly active users (MAUs) rose just 4% from the same period.

Compared with the third quarter, Twitter's overall number of MAUs were flat. And in the United States, the number actually declined by more than 1%.

Pointing to such numbers, Cakmak questioned whether Twitter's rebound is sustainable and reiterated his neutral rating on the company's shares.

"It’s not every day we see this much enthusiasm for a tech company becoming a high flyer by managing not to shrink, but here we are," he said in his note.

There are plenty of reasons for potential suitors not to buy Twitter

Twitter faces multiple challenges. Facebook and Google are gobbling up nearly all of the growth in online advertising. Facebook has more than six times the number of users Twitter has and has continued to grow at a much faster clip. Not only does Twitter look like a niche site by comparison — it's struggled, unlike its bigger rivals, to figure out how to make itself appealing to advertisers.

At least in the eyes of some investors and analysts, the company's best hope is that another company will recognize its underlying value and snap it up. Its 330 million users doesn't put it in Facebook's league, but that total is nothing to sniff at. It also has an internationally recognized brand and user base.

Twitter Anthony NotoAnd the fact that it's returned to growth could make it more attractive to potential acquirers, Weiser said in his note.

Just not at its current share price.

On an adjusted basis — which excludes stock-based compensation and other charges — Twitter would have earned 44 cents a share last year. At its current stock price, that gives it a price-to-earning ratio of more than 70. That's a pretty steep valuation for a company whose sales actually slipped for the full year last year and whose adjusted earnings grew by around 19%.

It's particularly pricey for a company that still hasn't completely figured out its business model. And one that has all sorts of other questions and potential risks hanging over it, such as how it will replace Anthony Noto, its outgoing chief operating officer, and the danger of potential regulation to address the use of its service to spread propaganda.

"There’s not enough here to get constructive," said Cakmak, explaining his decision to reiterate his rating on Twitter's shares.

The danger for Twitter investors is that potential acquirers will feel the same way.

SEE ALSO: TWITTER EARNINGS PREVIEW: Here's why Wall Street is so hot for a company with shrinking revenue

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An American CEO ordered his employees to start vacationing more like the French — and productivity skyrocketed

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 12:28 PM PST

couple on vacation

At management services firm Humanyze, employees follow a synchronized vacation schedule.

• Managers assign employees their time off during the summer to maximize productivity.

• Even though employees do not have to take off during their assigned times, most still do.


In the summer of 2016, Ben Waber began noticing something interesting.

As the president and CEO of management services firm Humanyze, he saw communications with French clients slow to a trickle as the summer went on. In France, companies strive to curb a lag in summer productivity by giving everyone the entire month of August off. 

"It's always been annoying from my perspective because you're trying to get a deal done or your trying to schedule something and then it gets pushed out by two months," he told Business Insider.

Despite his initial frustration, Waber realized that every week between June and August, many of his own Humanzye employees would be out of the office. This led to decreased productivity within his own company as well.

"If you need to get four people together for a meeting, for example, it could take a month to schedule," Waber wrote in a blog post for Quartz at Work.

Waber began to think that it might be time for a change. He decided to create a synchronized vacation policy of his own, where managers assign employees their time off during the summer to maximize productivity. He hoped to decrease employee absence and enhance workplace productivity during the summer months.

At first, "people were actually a little concerned about it," Waber said. No one knew what to expect from the brand new approach.

Despite the hesitation, Waber went through with his new vacation model.

Ben Waber

In January 2017, Humanyze employees voted to determine the specific weeks in the summer that they would like to take off.

"After tallying the votes, we picked the two most popular weeks and assigned half the company one week and half the other week, with priority given to people who had a preference," Waber wrote in his Quartz post.

As an extra incentive, "if you took off the vacation week you were assigned, it only counted as three vacation days," he said.

Waber said that the idea was founded upon "the hypothesis that many people are flexible about when they take a summer vacation."

Although employees were strongly encouraged to take off on their assigned weeks, the policy was by no means mandatory. Employees still had the freedom to take vacation whenever they chose, but everyone took off during their assigned weeks.

"Everybody is on vacation at the same time," Waber told Business Insider. "Using a different model can simplify things."

According to Waber, the policy led to a drastic decrease in employee absence throughout the season. Only 46% of other weeks in the summer had partial employee coverage. That's compared to 100% the previous year.

"Even if you're a company looking from a cold, hard economic standpoint, people are going to be more productive," Waber said when discussing his approach. 

He said his conclusion was corroborated by the massive amounts of data the company collects regarding employee attendance. "We are a people analytics company," Waber said. "We have more data about ourselves internally than any other company has ever had, because of what we do."

According to Market Watch, a typical US employee with paid vacation only takes about half of their days. 

Humanyze's approach might be a valid solution for employees to take more time off while increasing their overall productivity for their respective companies. 

"Some say that in the next five years everyone's gonna copy our model," Waber said. "But I will say as more companies use data about how their people work to manage their business, you are gonna see more companies doing stuff like this."

SEE ALSO: Here's why managers should stop pushing their employees to achieve work-life balance

SEE ALSO: What employees love about working at the 15 best companies in America

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Microsoft's next big event is happening at the same time as Google's big conference (MSFT, GOOG, GOOGL)

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 12:07 PM PST

microsoft ceo satya nadella

  • Microsoft will hold its Build conference in Seattle from May 7th to 9th.
  • Build is Microsoft's biggest developer event of the year.
  • Google is holding its I/O conference the same week — from May 8th to May 10th.
  • These events are booked weeks or months in advance so there's no way to tell who had it first.


Microsoft announced this week that Build, its biggest developer event of the year, will be held in Seattle from May 7th - May 9th

The problem: Those dates go right up against the Google I/O conference, which will be held right near the Googleplex in Mountain View, California from May 8th to May 10th. 

Both of these events are very big deals, especially for software developers.

Microsoft uses Build to preview what's next for its product lines, especially the Windows operating system and its Azure cloud computing platform. Highlights from last year's event included a new design sensibility for Windows 10 and news that Apple would bring iTunes to the Windows Store (which has yet to actually happen).

Google's is largely focused on the Android operating system. At last year's Google I/O, the search giant announced a new camera technology called Google Lens, and added more smarts to its Google Home speaker.

Unlike Microsoft, Google focuses its I/O conference on consumer tech — it holds a separate event called Google Cloud Next, for its cloud and enterprise businesses. This year, Google Cloud Next will be held in San Francisco in July.

Regardless, the two conferences are going to be competing both for attendees and mass market attention: There are a lot of developers with investments in both Microsoft and Google technologies. 

Still, this clash of tech titans was probably unintentional. These events get booked months or even years in advance, and there's no way to tell that far out if you're going to have a conflict of this magnitude. 

And it could always be worse. Microsoft held Build in San Francisco for many years, before moving it closer to its Washington State home in 2017. If Microsoft had stayed the course, the entire San Francisco Bay Area would have been overrun with developers and execs from two mega companies, not just one.

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Good USB-C headphones are still hard to find — here are 6 of the best currently available

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 12:00 PM PST

Razer Hammerhead USB-C headphones

  • More and more smartphones are adopting USB-C, a rising cable standard — but there aren't yet many quality USB-C headphones available. 
  • Some device makers are now releasing their own branded USB-C headphones to sell alongside their USB-C smartphones. 
  • Many USB-C headphones are on the pricier side and may have limited smartphone compatibility. 

Many smartphones are now shifting away from their existing charging ports, and towards the newer USB-C standard. Most major 2017 flagship phones support USB-C, and so to will this year's crop.

And yet, there's a big problem: The market for USB-C headphones has been slow to catch up, leaving audiophiles who want a wired headset with few places to go. That's especially important as more and more phone manufacturers follow Apple's lead in ditching the headphone jack. 

Even so, there are a few USB-C audio options available that users can consider. Prospective buyers be warned, though, that USB-C headphones are pricey, and may not work with all models of phone. 

Here are some of the best USB-C headphones to buy:

 

 

 

SEE ALSO: Wireless audio tech was the underrated hero of CES 2018 — here are the wireless headphones and earbuds that were announced

Libratone Q-Adapt in-ear USB-C headphones

These "Made for Google" USB-C headphones sell for $150 and work best with the Google Pixel 2 smartphone, but can be used with other USB-C devices. 



JBL Reflect Aware C earphones

These earbuds were the first-ever noise-cancelling USB-C headphones. They vary in price but sell for about $120 on Amazon.

 

 



HTC USonic adaptive audio earphones

The Sound Guys count these headphones as some of the best on the market. However, they only work with HTC devices and the Huawei Mate 10. They sell for $40.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Advertising agencies are set to bounce back in 2018 as brand marketing is poised to make a comeback

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 11:54 AM PST

Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO at WPP, delivers a keynote speech at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain February 24, 2016. REUTERS/Albert Gea

  • 2017 was a trying time for ad agencies, but the prospects look a lot brighter in 2018, according to new research issued by UBS.
  • The investment bank surveyed 350 global marketing executives and 500 US CFOs.
  • It has predicted that ad agencies will bounce back in 2018, buoyed by a growth of 4-5% in global advertising spend.
  • Surprisingly, one of the factors behind this growth will be increasing brand media spend, which runs counter to the trend of advertisers doubling down on direct advertising in recent years.


2017 was a trying time for ad agencies, with issues ranging from transparency and brand safety concerns to the looming threat of consulting firms coming to a head last year. 

But the prospects for the advertising industry look a lot brighter in 2018, according to new research issued by UBS.

The investment bank surveyed 350 global marketing executives and 500 US CFOs and has predicted that ad agencies will bounce back in 2018, buoyed by a growth of 4-5% in global advertising spend.

The recovery in 2018 will be driven by a number of factors, UBS analysts said, including large advertisers increasing the scope of work with creative agencies and big sporting and political events driving increasing spend on brand media.

This is particularly interesting, as it runs counter to the trend of advertisers doubling down on direct advertising in recent years, where they have prioritized marketing strategies that drive measurable results.

Screen Shot 2018 02 08 at 12.41.02 PM

Specifically, UBS's research found that:

  •  76% of all respondents said that brand advertising still works, and 55% of respondents at large companies said that they would increase brand media spend in 2018 versus 50% in 2017.
  • 56% of large companies said that they were planning to increase brand media spend over the next 5 years, with only 21% saying they would spend less.
  • Respondents, however said that they would increase investments in other areas of marketing including customer retention, public relations and social media marketing faster than brand media.
  • Consumer, finance and retail brands are likely to be the drivers of growth in brand media spend over next five years.

UBS's Evidence Lab CMO survey also found that ad agencies will continue to play a central role despite ongoing challenges to the ad agency model. Nearly 90% of large advertisers said that they believe that creative and media agencies add value, while 67% will increase the amount of work they require of creative agencies in 2018 and 63% for media agencies versus 56% for brand media in total. 

This seems to be in line with what agency holding companies are expecting as well.

Publicis only posted organic growth of 0.8% last year, for instance, but Publicis Media CEO Steve King remained optimistic on the holding company's earnings call. He said that the company expected a number of clients to conduct media reviews in search for efficiencies, but that Publicis is "much more optimistic" about its prospects than last time this happened in 2015.

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Chinese tech giant Tencent is making a killing on its Snap investment

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 11:44 AM PST

Snap stock price

  • Chinese tech giant Tencent is Snap's largest shareholder, owning 17%. 
  • The firm has likely seen a hefty gain thanks to Snap's stock, which on Wednesday climbed above its initial public offering price for the first time since July.
  • You can track Snap's stock price in real-time here>>


Tencent’s bet on Snap seems to be working out.

The Chinese tech giant, which has a market cap of more than $518 billion, snapped up 146 million shares of Snap in November, public filings show. The prices at which Tencent made its purchases are unclear, but Snap shares have surged 25% since then, thanks to the social-media company’s recent earnings beat.

When Tencent's investment was announced, shares were trading at roughly $13. With Snap's 45% rise this week following a blockbuster earnings that investment is now worth more than $2 billion. 

Combined with its $2 billion pre-IPO investments in Snap, Tencent is currently the largest shareholder, with a 17.5% stake, according to Bloomberg data. That could make for a hefty profit if the firm decides to exit its Snap investment anytime soon.

Snap CEO Evan Spiegel is also seeing green this week. The 27-year-old founder owns just over 10% of the company, and has seen his net worth swell to $4.3 billion, up about $1.3 billion following the report.  

Tencent might be bullish, but Wall Street remains skeptical of Snap’s future.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg have an average price target of $15.82 for the stock — 20% below where shares were trading Thursday afternoon. 

“Snap reported good 4Q17 results vs. expectations, with revenues above forecasts,” Pivotal analyst Brian Weiser said in a note. “However, we did not hear any commentary nor observe any data which causes us to meaningfully alter longer-term variables in our model. Our price target remains $10 per share on a YE2018 basis, which continues to lead us to rate the stock Sell."

Jeffries analyst Brent Thill echoed Weiser’s concerns: “A good quarter doesn't change our fundamental view that Snap has its work cut out to continue to deserve a premium multiple,” he said.

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Why Canada's handsome, feminist Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is hanging out with tech billionaire Marc Benioff (CRM)

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 11:05 AM PST

Marc Benioff, Justin Trudeau

  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is hanging with Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff in San Francisco on Thursday.
  • Salesforce has committed to spend $2 billion in Canada over the next few years, creating thousands of jobs.
  • But the two are also gathering other business people together to discuss a more political agenda.


Fresh from his stirring speech on women's rights at the Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is touring the US.

On Thursday, his trip took him to San Francisco to meet with various tech industry bigwigs, including Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff at the company's new headquarters.

The overt reason for the meeting was to celebrate Salesforce's commitment to invest $2 billion in Canada over the next five years, building out its data centers and adding to its workforce there. Salesforce currently employs 1,300 people in Canada. While the company didn't publicly commit to a specific number of new jobs, it quoted market research that calculated that its expansion in the country will lead to 28,000 new jobs and $17 billion in new revenue in Canada by 2022, when calculating all things like contracts with Salesforce partners and tech bought by Salesforce customers.

But the underlying reason for the visit is a bit more subtle. Benioff is hosting a roundtable with Trudeau and other business leaders to discuss a topic that he has been vocally championing: the importance of diversity and equality, the company said in a statement.

A couple of years ago, Benioff famously went to bat against several state laws that would allow business to refuse service to people based on sexual orientation under the umbrella of religious freedom. That included a showdown in Indiana over such a law, back when Vice President Mike Pence was that state's governor.

And Benioff has been leading a charge on equal pay for women, ensuring that Salesforce pays women the same as men and advocating other companies discuss the situation and make similar vows.

Trudeau is also known for being outspoken on women's rights. His speech at the World Economic Forum last month discussed new Canadian legislation that mandated equal pay for women and advocated for "equal treatment" of women in the workplace. 

Trudeau also penned an essay for Marie Claire magazine called "Why I'm Raising My Kids to Be Feminists." In it, he wrote,"I want my sons to escape the pressure to be a particular kind of masculine that is so damaging to men and to the people around them."

So the meeting is clearly a combination of business commitments and politics, with Benioff tweeting, 

"I am thrilled to welcome Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to Salesforce & San Francisco on Thursday! Thank you for your fight for the equality every human being. Thank you for fighting the preservation of our global environment and the oceans. And Thank you for Neil Young."

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TECH ANALYST: Twitter is 'on the road to recovery' — but it's not going to be easy (TWTR)

Posted: 08 Feb 2018 11:02 AM PST

Dorsey

  • Twitter is on the "road to recovery," according to Jefferies analyst Brent Thill.
  • Daily active user and revenue growth are encouraging signs. 
  • Thill remains cautious, however, as Twitter's cost-cutting campaign is over.
  • Watch Twitter's stock move in real-time here


Twitter is showing signs of growth, but several key risks loom, Jefferies analyst Brent Thill said in a note sent out to clients Thursday. 

The company announced mixed fourth-quarter results and a 12% year-over-year jump in daily active users, which sent shares up as much as 17% Thursday to more than $31 apiece. Twitter's revenue came in at $731.6 million, beating estimates, but its earnings of $0.12 a share missed the $0.14 that was expected. 

Still, Thill thinks Twitter is "on the road to recovery." The fourth-quarter marked the fifth straight quarter of double digit DAU growth, which "points to better engagement from its core user base," Thill wrote. "Advertisers are starting to see greater ROI {return on investment} for their ad spend on Twitter on top of greater engagement with the ad metrics."

But don't bet the farm on Twitter, though, Thill says. The company slashed costs, helping it achieve a fourth-quarter profit margin of 40%. But Thill thinks those initiatives are "largely complete and any margin improvement will be much tougher to come by in '18." He added that "any expansion will need to be driven by continued execution on the top line and advertisers increasing budgets to the platform." 

And the company's 4% monthly active user growth rate for the year is putting that expansion in jeopardy. The stagnating MAU "hints at difficulty attracting new users and dormant users back to the platform," Thill wrote. 

The stock's near 30% gain year-to-date is another concern for Thill, who said that he finds it "tough to continue to find above market return without exceptional execution." 

Thill rates Twitter a "hold," and has a price target of $22 a share. 

Twitter Stock YTD

 

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