Watch The Terrifying Moment A Wave Slams A Boat Into A California Pier

Four people survived after their sailboat smashed into a concrete pier in Redondo Beach, California, on Thursday evening.

Witnesses at King Harbor caught the moment on video as a large wave tossed a 24-foot sailing vessel into the Redondo Beach Pier, according to local news station KTLA 5. 

Lifeguards with the Los Angeles County Fire Department posted video to Instagram on Friday that showed the dramatic scene from two different angles. In the footage, at least one person can be seen falling from the boat as the wave crashes over it. A second wave throws the capsized vessel into the pier?s pillars.

All of the boat?s passengers were wearing life vests and only two people were thrown overboard, according to local lifeguards. No serious injuries were reported.

A friend of the one of the victims told KTLA 5 that the boat?s captain is an experienced sailor whose boat was pushed off course because of strong winds.

Lifeguards and harbor patrol found the victims swimming near the wrecked sailboat after 7 p.m., the Los Angeles Times reported. A spokeswoman for the lifeguard division told the newspaper that strong wind gusts contributed to the crash. 

Lifeguards used the incident to remind local boaters of the importance of utilizing lifejackets and weather reports.

?Always wear a #lifejacket, always check your local #ocean and #weather forecasts, and develop a float plan before heading out to sea,? L.A. County lifeguards wrote on Instagram.

High winds moved across Southern California on Thursday, damaging cars and power lines and causing electrical outages, according to The Associated Press.

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Billionaire Mark Cuban: Trump Too Clueless To Collude With The Russians

?Shark Tank? billionaire Mark Cuban is plowing into politics again with some interesting perspectives on Donald Trump. The owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team has tweeted a back-handed defense of the president, surmising that Trump was too clueless to pull off any collusion with Russians during his campaign. 

?No chance this is a DJT-led conspiracy,? Cuban wrote in a series of tweets on Saturday. Trump ?isn?t detail oriented, organized or big picture enough? to orchestrate it, he added.

As ?people with Russian connects came into the campaign? Trump ?had no clue that those connections were possibly being influenced by Russia,? Cuban tweeted. He ?had no idea this was happening. He was doing what he was told to do. Stick to the script and read what was written for him.?

Russians simply ?took advantage? of Trump?s greed, Cuban noted, by ?back channeling coordinated misinformation in an attempt to influence voters? that they apparently suspected Trump would exploit.

It?s hardly the first time Cuban ? who hasn?t ruled out a run for the presidency in 2020 ? as well as Trump have attacked each other?s intelligence. Cuban earlier this month slammed Trump as the ?Zoolander? president for his narcissism and intellectual challenges. Last September Cuban offered to pay $10 million to a charity of his choosing if Trump would meet him in a four-hour interview to explain his own policies. Trump snapped back that Cuban wasn?t ?smart enough to understand what?s going on.?

Beyond being unaware of the mechanisms of his campaign, Trump also stumbled into trouble because he failed to act like a politician, and opted to make choices because of business, Cuban believes.

?Russians have made him a lot of money buying condos and investing in his buildings and hosting his beauty pageant,? Cuban tweeted about his Trump theory. ?That makes them his friends. He ignored their backgrounds.? Trump praised Putin because he hoped it would shake some funds loose from the Russian money tree for Trump business deals, according to Cuban?s view.

Cuban is also convinced that Trump simply was ?thinking like a businessman? when he hired Paul Manafort as his campaign manager. Bringing on board the man with Russian links and lucrative contracts with Russian movers-and-shakers was seen by Trump as a ?win-win,? Cuban tweeted. Manafort would either help him win the election, or help him get Russian business if Trump lost, Cuban noted.

Cuban expounded his Trump theory in a 13-tweet chain. Trump has tweeted about Cuban dozens of times. Just last month, after Cuban hinted at a run for the presidency, Trump tweeted that the investor ?isn?t smart enough to run for president.?

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brooder :)

Dance is way more than entertainment for me; it is a medium to express. I love the flamboyance of Hip-Hop, the grace of Kathak and the style of Rumba. Even now when I see videos of Michael Jackson do the moonwalk I get goosebumps. Of course, there is also the fun Gangnam Style that has kind of become a dance form of its own. My favourite dance form would have to be Salsa simply because of the movements and the https:/ that is required to perform it.

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A gentleman is a man who behaves himself in an acceptable manner to other people. When in presence of a lady, a gentleman behaves in a manner that is respectful to her both as a person and as a womanthe style of the mother of the groom dress will be a combination of what the bride is wearing. Many women want to be in company of a gentleman because they love being treated with respect. Gentlemen go on to enjoy their lives because people treat them the same way that they treat others.

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Democratic Senator In Deep-Red State Comes Out Against Neil Gorsuch

WASHINGTON ? Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), who is up for re-election in 2018 in a state President Donald Trump won by double digits, announced Friday that she?ll vote against his Supreme Court nominee, appeals judge Neil Gorsuch.

McCaskill will join Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and a growing list of Democrats intent on denying Gorsuch the 60 votes he needs to clear a procedural hurdle before his nomination can proceed to the Senate floor.

?This is a really difficult decision for me. I am not comfortable with either choice,? McCaskill wrote on Medium, a social publishing platform.

?While I have come to the conclusion that I can?t support Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court? ? ?and will vote no on the procedural vote and his confirmation?? ?I remain very worried about our polarized politics and what the future will bring, since I?m certain we will have a Senate rule change that will usher in more extreme judges in the future,? she added.

McCaskill was struggling with her decision as recently as Thursday, when she declined to talk to reporters about which way she was leaning. She referred to Gorsuch as a ?dangerous? nominee, but used the same word to describe the ramifications of blowing up Senate rules to confirm him.

In her Friday statement, the senator wrote that Trump broke a vow to Missouri voters who elected him by outsourcing his Supreme Court choice ?to a right-wing group that fronts for large corporations and special interests? ? a likely reference to dark-money groups that have spent heavily to boost the Gorsuch nomination in key states.

?He promised he would drain the swamp of the special interests, the lobbyists, and politicians who have overlooked the working people in this country,? McCaskill wrote. ?This judicial nomination breaks those promises.?

This judicial nomination breaks those promises.
Claire McCaskill on President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch

This week, the Missouri incumbent was among four Democratic senators in states Trump carried in the 2016 election who were targeted with pro-Gorsuch ads by the National Rifle Association. She was also targeted in a separate media blitz by wealthy donors aimed at boosting Trump?s agenda.

After the Kansas City Star reported on a secret recording where McCaskill told donors her concerns about Democrats? hard-line stance on Gorsuch, she quickly brushed off suggestions that she was waffling. 

?My words speak for themselves,? McCaskill told Capitol Hill reporters on Thursday. ?Isn?t it refreshing that I say the same thing in private that I say in public??

With McCaskill and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (Conn.) joining the opposition to Gorsuch on Friday, Democrats have gathered 38 votes against the nominee ? though two of them, Sens. Patrick Leahy (Vt.) and Ben Cardin (Md.) haven?t yet said they?ll also join the filibuster.

Only two Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin (W.Va.) and Heidi Heitkamp (N.D.), have said they?ll support Gorsuch. Republicans need at least eight Democrats to break the promised Democratic filibuster. Major progressive organizations, including Credo, AllofUs and Friends of the Earth, are petitioning the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee to withhold campaign funds from any Democratic senators who break ranks and support Gorsuch.

Even if the Gorsuch nomination fails to gain enough Democratic votes to move forward, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has suggested he?s ready to change longstanding Senate rules for Supreme Court nominees and get the judge confirmed no matter what by next Friday.

Some Republicans who?d rather not go that route and prefer to try to find common ground with the other side to preserve the current rules say they?re worried what next week?s confirmation vote will mean for the Senate?s future.

?At this point, there?s been little or no progress,? Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) told The Huffington Post this week. ?It makes me very sad. I?ve been involved in past efforts. I?ve failed.?

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The 20 Funniest Tweets From Women This Week

The ladies of Twitter never fail to brighten our days with their brilliant ? but succinct ? wisdom. Each week, HuffPost Women rounds up hilarious 140-character musings. For this week?s great tweets from women, scroll through the list below. Then visit our Funniest Tweets From Women page for our past collections.

Sign up for our Funniest Tweets Of The Week newsletter here

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Dave Chappelle Explains How Comedy Central Hurt His Feelings With ‘Key

Dave Chappelle is a bit disappointed over some of the new developments at Comedy Central.

During a candid interview with ?CBS This Morning,? Chappelle talked to co-host Gayle King about an array of topics, including his 2005 exit from Comedy Central. Following two successful seasons of ?Chappelle?s Show,? the 43-year-old comedian says he walked away from a $50 million deal to relocate to South Africa and focus on fostering a closer relationship with his family.  

A few years later, in January 2012, comedians Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele launched their very own 30-minute sketch comedy series on the network titled ?Key & Peele.?

Despite being a fan of their show, Chappelle says that he noticed certain ?conventions? ? regarding the race-related skits ? that the network previously resisted during his years of creating ?Chappelle?s Show.?

?I fought the network very hard so that those conventions could come to fruition,? he said. ?So, like the first episode I do, that black white supremacist sketch. And it?s like, ?Well, that?s 10 minutes long. It should be five minutes long.? Why should it be five minutes long? Like, these types of conventions.?

?Key & Peele? has earned multiple Emmy nominations and a 2016 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety Sketch Series. Chappelle says that he ?fought very hard? to help create the pair?s show format.

He added: ?When I watch ?Key & Peele? and I see they?re doing a format that I created, and at the end of the show, it says, ?Created by Key & Peele,? that hurts my feelings.?

Watch more of Dave Chappelle?s ?CBS This Morning? interview in the clip above.

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Most Americans Don’t Think The Media Is Honest

Over half of Americans say that most members of the news media are not honest, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Monday. Only 39 percent think most media personnel are honest.

The numbers play well into President Donald Trump’s attempts to sow mistrust in the media among the American people. In fact, 86 percent of Republicans and 6 in 10 independents think the media is dishonest, while nearly two-thirds of Democrats think most members of the news media are honest.

A recent HuffPost/YouGov poll found very similar results. When asked if they had trust and confidence in the media to state the facts fully, accurately and fairly, over half of respondents said they had “not very much” trust or “none at all.” A majority also don’t trust Trump’s administration to be truthful, but most Republicans trust Trump to be honest.

In the Quinnipiac poll, young people are more likely to think the media is dishonest than any other group except Republicans. Seventy percent of those age 18-34 think most members of the news media are dishonest. That’s compared to 53 percent of 35- to 49-year-olds, 57 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds and only 45 percent of those over age 65 who share that view. The HuffPost/YouGov poll did not show significant differences by age, however. In that poll, a majority of all age groups reported little or no trust in the media.

Although it’s not clear that the low levels of trust in the media are a result of the current political climate, there is evidence that Trump’s assault on the press could be successfully moving the bar on public opinion.

Gallup reported in September that Americans’ trust in the media was at an all-time low since it began asking the question in 1972. That drop ― from 40 percent with a great deal or fair amount of trust in the media in 2015 to 32 percent in 2016 ― was mostly caused by an 18 percentage point downturn in media trust among Republicans since 2015. That’s the largest single-year drop Gallup has ever measured on the question.

The situation for the media isn’t likely to improve among Republicans and Trump supporters. The president has continued his strong criticism of the press in his first days in office, and both Trump and adviser Steve Bannon have referred to the media as the “opposition party.” White House press secretary Sean Spicer has regularly berated the media during daily press briefings for what he perceives as biased coverage. And Trump frequently refers to various news outlets, such as The New York Times and CNN, as “fake news.”

These attempts to discredit the press by the current administration shouldn’t be dismissed as simply the ravings of a president who can’t handle criticism. Polling data consistently tell us that a majority of Americans don’t trust the media. Trump’s rhetoric has a friendly audience on this issue.

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I’m a doctor just back from Sudan, where hospitality from Muslims greeted me everywhere

By Richard Gunderman, Indiana University

The author, in blue suit, center, and friends who welcomed him warmly in Sudan.
(Author provided)

Many Americans have never visited a predominantly Muslim country and may know relatively little about the faith of Islam. This is relevant in light of the Trump administration’s recent executive order attempting to reduce terrorist threats to the U.S. by halting the issuance of visas to travelers from seven predominantly Muslim countries.

Having returned this month from Sudan, one of the countries affected by the ban, I wish to share my own firsthand experience of Islam – not Islamic extremists or Islamic terrorists, but Islamic hosts. As I have learned, hospitality and generosity are traits that receive considerable attention in both Islamic culture and the holy book of Islam, the Quran.

My visit to Sudan had several purposes. As a physician and radiologist, I was there to help them improve Sudanese doctors’ use of medical imaging in the care of patients. As a university faculty member, I intended to offer insights into how to improve medical education and higher education. And my visit also aimed to help raise funds for the care of the needy, a purpose to which I will return later.

Hospitality in Islam

Many Americans might be surprised to learn that one of the figures mentioned most frequently (69 times) in the Quran is Abraham, the Old Testament patriarch. Only Jesus and Moses are mentioned more frequently. And one of Islamic culture’s most often repeated stories about Abraham is how graciously he received the strangers who visited him, to whom he offered the very best he had.

Of course, it is after Abraham extends the hand of hospitality to his visitors that he and his wife Sarah learn that they are to have a child, despite the fact that both are far beyond the age of childbearing. This powerful scriptural testimony to the generativity of hospitality is relished by all three of the world’s Abrahamic faiths: Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Elsewhere, Al-Ghazali says of the prophet Muhammad, “He used to honor his guests; he even spread his garment for a non-relative to sit on it. He used to offer his guest his own cushion. No one came to him as a guest but thought that he was the most generous of people.” Scholar Mona Siddiqui has recently written a whole book on the importance of hospitality in the Islamic tradition.

As a visitor from a far-off land and an adherent of another faith, my own experiences in Sudan attested to the importance of hospitality in the Islamic tradition. Even people who were clearly in need went out of their way to make me as their guest feel comfortable, providing their best food and drink and offering their home as a place to stay.

I had the sense that my Muslim hosts saw hospitality not as a duty they were required to comply with but as an opportunity to shine at something that they cared deeply about. Hearing that a guest would soon arrive, a disabled, older woman promptly began sweeping the dirt floors of her dwelling, roused to vigor by the prospect of hosting a guest.

I had many occasions to offer words of encouragement and praise to the Sudanese people I met, but none brought a broader smile to their faces than my words of thanks for their adeptness at making a visitor feeling welcome. When I expressed surprise at their satisfaction in this, one of my hosts said, “There is nothing you can say that would mean more to Muslims than praise for their hospitality.”

Generosity in Islam

The faith of Islam is full of stories of generosity. Sadaqa, an Arabic word that could be translated as generosity, also means truthfulness, as in fidelity to the creator. The notion that we should give freely of what we have received from God is central to the Islamic faith. In addition to gifts of money and food, sadaqa can take the form of a simple act of appreciation or encouragement.

It is said that the wife of the prophet Muhammad was once approached by a poor woman with two daughters, who asked for some alms. The wife of the prophet had nothing but a single date. Instead of telling the woman that she had nothing to give her, she instead gave her the date, which the woman in turn divided between her two daughters.

I saw this demonstrated firsthand while I was in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan. One day during a visit to the hospital of the University of Khartoum, I was stunned to discover that the hospital had only one 15-year-old CT scanner, which had been inoperable for the past 18 months. For a U.S. physician, it is nearly impossible to imagine operating a hospital without a CT scanner. When we need to know if a patient has a pulmonary embolism, one of the most common preventable causes of in-hospital death, we perform a CT scan. When we need to know if a patient is suffering from appendicitis, the most common cause of emergency abdominal surgery, we do a CT scan.

It turned out that funds to repair the machine were simply unavailable. In fact, the room that housed the CT scanner was being used to perform ultrasound scans, so that at least the space would not go to waste. Back in the States, if the CT scanner at my hospital in Indianapolis went down for just 18 hours, it would be regarded as a crisis.

So we resolved to take action. On the last night of my visit to Sudan, a fundraising event – the first of its kind, I am told – was held for the radiology department at the university hospital. In attendance were some of the most powerful and wealthy individuals in Sudanese society. The purpose was to raise money to buy a new CT scanner.

As the keynote speaker, I had the opportunity to describe how CT was invented by the British engineer Godfrey Hounsfield, who worked at EMI, the company that held the Beatles’ recording contract, and thus could afford to bankroll Hounsfield’s foray into medical imaging. I shared with them that CT scanning is the most important medical innovation in the past 50 years. Hounsfield shared the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine with Allan Cormack in 1979 for their invention to the CT scan.

To understand what happened next, it is important to know that the per capita GDP of Sudan averages 14 percent of the world average or US$1,800, a figure that for the U.S. stands at $53,000. Yet within 24 hours of the fundraising event, a total of $350,000 had been raised, a huge outpouring of generosity that will make it possible to restore CT scanning to the patients at the university hospital.

The lessons of Sudan

My experiences in Sudan led me to think that hospitality and generosity are far more characteristic of the Islamic faith than extremism and terrorism. It also evokes in me a deep longing for traits that many consider the best of America’s – the very same virtues of making a guest feel welcome and giving to those in need that have earned the U.S. respect and affection around the world.

I do not know much about worldwide terrorist threats and I have no access to government intelligence on same. I do know, however, what real hospitality and generosity look like, and I am very grateful to have received a refresher course through the graciousness of my Sudanese hosts.The Conversation

Richard Gunderman, Chancellor’s Professor of Medicine, Liberal Arts, and Philanthropy, Indiana University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Ariana Grande And John Legend’s ‘Beauty And The Beast’ Duet Makes It Debut In New Trailer

When it was confirmed that Ariana Grande and John Legend would be singing the “Beauty and the Beast” theme song, we couldn’t wait to hear it. 

Well, it’s finally here. 

On Monday, Disney released the final trailer for its live-action remake of the classic tale as old as time, giving us a taste of Grande and Legend’s duet. As we expected, the two sound great together (just as good as ― or dare we say, better than ― Celine Dion and Peabo Bryson). We got goosebumps. 

“Beauty and the Beast” hits theaters on March 17. 

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Black Lives Matter Art Show Organizer Wants To ‘Wake People Up To Injustice’

When it comes to her Black Lives Matter art show, artist and organizer Carla Cubit has one goal: “Get people to wake up.” 

For years, Cubit has orchestrated exhibitions and performances around social justice themes ― themes she believes are often overlooked by the mainstream art world. Her first undertaking, “Occupy Art,” took place in 2011 during Occupy Wall Street at the Lower East Side’s Theater for the New City. Cubit, who herself crafts mixed-media assemblage sculptures using found and discarded objects, invited poets and performers to participate in the pop-up political event. 

More recently, Cubit’s shows have revolved around Black Lives Matter, addressing issues related to police brutality and the private prison industry while providing a safe space for thoughtful discussion, expression and community. 

“The political climate has changed but I’m still interested in the same social justice themes,” Cubit told The Huffington Post. “Open the discussion, get people aware of what’s going on in the world around them. Wake people up to injustice.”

Much of Cubit’s programming for the pop-up exhibition is interactive, meaning the show won’t fully take shape until viewers show up and participate. In the past, the artist hung banners on the gallery walls with statements including, “Your Thoughts on Black Lives Matter,” inviting visitors to share their perspectives with their community. Responses included, “Focus on the progress ― not hate: otherwise, they win” and “Love your blackness,” with some comments sparking full conversations that blossomed on the gallery walls. 

Cubit’s upcoming show will feature a talk from Monica Octavia of the Museum of Impact, billed as the world’s first social justice museum, as well as a jam session featuring Welf Dorr of Underground Horns, Ras Moshe Burnett and Kenny Wollesen. Cubit will also open the stage to other poets and performers interested in participating in the evening’s events; all they need to do is show up. 

The event is free for all attendees, but the artist will be selling handmade jewelry with messages like “Black Lives Matter” and “Not My President” for $1 each. Posters from the Stop Mass Incarceration Network will also be available at no cost. 

For many, the time to support local organizations advocating for racial justice and artistic expression is now. As Cubit put it, the show offers a chance for viewers “to see things other than pretty flowers and trees in the contemporary art world. Something that makes a statement.”

“Black Lives Matter Art Show” will take place Tuesday, Jan. 31, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Living Gallery in Brooklyn.

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Academics: How plugging into well-connected colleagues can help research fly


Michael E. Rose, University of Cape Town and Co-Pierre Georg, University of Cape Town

Informal intellectual collaboration is crucial for good social science research. This includes interactions with colleagues to improve a paper before it is sent to a journal.

Our new research explored the value of informal intellectual collaboration. It highlights the importance of social networks in academia.

What we uncovered suggests the scientific impact of a research paper increases with every additional commenter who provides feedback. This impact is measured by the number of citations over a paper’s lifespan. The same holds when we look at the probability of publishing a paper in top journals.

But here’s the true novelty of our paper: it found that the feedback of more central or connected people is more valuable than less central, less connected ones when it comes to impact. And no, it’s not as simple as just asking your most senior colleague for their input. Seniority isn’t what matters. It’s all about how well connected an academic or researcher is.

This is important information. Our results should encourage university management to actively encourage collaboration among scientists, across departments, and across universities – and to make networking and seeking feedback part of PhD training.

Connectedness is key

So how do you define “well connected” in this case?

A researcher is well connected in a social network because they are connected to other well-connected researchers. We used what might sound like a tautological idea in our research: the so-called eigenvector centrality, which posits that if you know important people you are probably important in that field, too. It is the same idea that allows Google’s search algorithm to identify relevant websites.

But, as we’ve already pointed out, our findings weren’t about “importance”, or status. These eigenvector central academics are not necessarily the most well known or most senior. And they aren’t always affiliated to the most prestigious universities. Yet in the social network they occupy influential positions. It’s about connections. Think of them as opinion leaders.

Feedback from eigenvector central academics has a much larger impact on a paper’s publication success than feedback from isolated loners. Highly connected commenters may point authors to emerging new topics or the most rewarding avenues for future research.

To reach these conclusions, we built the first and most comprehensive view of the social network structure among financial economists. It connects authors and acknowledged commenters from published papers. This is a novel approach because it captures all those that have contributed to a paper, not only authors.

Our innovative approach was to use acknowledgements as a primary source of data. In financial economics, authors often acknowledge from which colleagues they have received helpful feedback. We collected more than 5,800 research papers from six major financial economics journals. About 90% of these acknowledge helpful input by colleagues.

After consolidation we create the network. Two researchers are connected when they have co-authored a paper or one acknowledges the other. This network connects about 7,500 researchers and indicates information flows between them. Then we computed the network positions and ranked individuals according to their eigenvector centrality.

A visualisation of the largest connected component of the network of intellectual collaboration in financial economics using publications from 2009 to 20011. Red links connect researchers when they have co-authored a paper, blue links indicate that one acknowledged the other, and purple links indicate the both happened. The darker the node the more important the researcher is in terms of eigenvector centrality.

Such an analysis helps uncover patterns and structures that remain hidden when looking at individual researchers only.

We then used a quasi-natural experiment – the assignment of discussants at top conferences – to show our main argument: getting feedback from a colleague increases the scientific impact of a paper more if the colleague is more eigenvector central in the social network of their profession.

On our website, we have developed an interactive tool where financial economists can find themselves on our database.

In a companion paper we explore the determinants of the most eigenvector central financial economists. That is, we contrasted their eigenvector centrality rank with their individual characteristics. We found that traditional author metrics such as citation counts or their number of published papers cannot explain which researchers are eigenvector central.

One part of the answer is certainly that citation counts have many problems and poorly capture true academic strength. Another one is that is generally difficult to identify the opinion leaders unless you know all the network.

New insights in the sociology of economics

Our analysis is not exhaustive and research is ongoing. But it is clear that understanding knowledge flows helps in understanding productivity differentials among scientists.

Hopefully these results will inspire university managers to actively encourage collaboration among scientists, across department and across universities.

Our results also support calls to measure scientific impact broader, and not just based on citations.

Finally, our findings highlight the importance of sufficient travel funding for academics, given the crucial role of academic conferences as a networking opportunity.

Authors’ note: This article is based on a post written for the London School of Economics’ blog.

The Conversation

Michael E. Rose, PhD Candidate in Economics, University of Cape Town and Co-Pierre Georg, Senior Lecturer, African Institute for Financial Markets and Risk Management, University of Cape Town

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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“I Have A Seasoned Sales Team”

To aim is not enough; you must hit.”–German Proverb

“I have a seasoned team.” I’ve heard this numerous times, especially when companies do not want to invest dollars in training their team. These same organizations tend to have high attrition rates because many times they have a sink-or-swim mentality.

Remember, there are three ways to get the skills needed for effective contributors to a team.

1. Don’t train your people; just throw them in the field and let them learn through osmosis what works and what doesn’t. If they lose enough times, you hope they will begin to be aware enough to take corrective action to start winning.
2. Provide a road map or sales process along with training and enablement tools. This is your organization’s best practice. This is not just about training but learning actual strategy and tactics to apply to the sales process. Too many times organizations buy a sales methodology and experience great methodology but no execution–thus no return on investment.
3. Lastly, buy the “seasoned” talent on the open market. Usually from my experience, companies are recycling moderate performers because they have “industry experience.” What is really happening is the manager feels it will be less painful to bring someone on board who knows the industry. The manager prefers quick up-time with the hope of good performance. The result: shorter time to production but average performance (unless you have actively recruited a top performer/a known entity).

What these executives and companies don’t understand is that they are making some type of investment–regardless of the approach they take. Not training your people is called opportunity cost of lost deals. This is hoping salespeople will learn what is or is not working by losing deals. The impact of this approach is that the prospect will not take future meetings based on poor past experiences with your company.

In the long run, a company might be better off just providing a road map/sales process and the tools to enable success.

The point is, all methods have a cost or investment. The question is what works the best?
Let’s take a look at making a training investment in your sales team.

Part of the problem is actual business results. Too many times there is no quantifiable data that show someone has improved based on the investment in training. Too many times all the anecdotal information comes from the people who are already performing at a high level.

Philosophically speaking, I do not believe all training is created equal. I believe there is a lot of wasted dollars and no real behavioral change taking place (numerous studies support this). How often has your training partner stepped up and put some of his or her dollars at risk based on performance improvement? Most trainers will say we don’t control hiring, product, service, or pricing. However, they will talk a big game about improvement across the board.

If the training you invest in is good and provides both strategy and tactics, most likely top performers will get better from my experience. The reason is they want to get better already (it is in their best interests). They usually have the right attributes such as attitude, motivation, and accountability and will take the ball and run with it. They also have the ability to try strategies in the field because they tend to be more risk takers.

I hope you noticed that I said “top” performers and not “seasoned” performers. See the previous section on seasoned performers. Very little return on investment.

So should you make an investment in your “seasoned” team? Absolutely. But there are some key points to consider.

1) Awareness: You will never get someone to improve unless you can help them understand they need to improve. You need to show them past performance and help them identify areas of development (sales productivity or sales effectiveness). If you are to lose weight, you must step on the scale first.
2) Accountability: Set goals for improvement. Have isolated development plans and business goals tied to development. Make sure you have the past performance documented to ensure progress against goals.
3) Development of attributes (motivation, attitude, accountability): This is the missing link in most development strategies. Engaged employees apply training!
4) Field training and execution: Have the training take place on “live” deals. Training should happen in the field, not the classroom.
5) Sales managers: Provide them with the tools and skills to effectively diagnose under-performance and identify what corrective action is to be taken. Have a coaching strategy tool already in place to enable effective coaching (symptoms, barriers, and coaching strategy).

Lastly, everyone needs training in some form or another. Think of sports teams that spend most of their time in training (practice and preparing to win) vs. playing the game. Training implemented correctly creates a common language and allows for individual team members to step back and reassess their approach and sharpen their skills.

Question: Can your team get better business results? If so, what is the best way to achieve those results?

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#FredinChina: Is Didi to blame for a disruptive ride-hailing market?

em>I’m Fred Raillard, Creative CEO, Co-founder and Creative Chief Officer with Farid Mokart of FRED & FARID, an independent creative boutique network based in New York, Shanghai and Paris. #FredinChina is an essential social media podcast to know and understand the world’s largest economy.

I fell in love with China, and live in Shanghai with my wife and three sons since September 2012. With my teams at the FRED & FARID Shanghai agency we monitor, analyze and decrypt this ultra-connected China with nearly 800 million netizens by sharing what we see, hear and read on Weibo, WeChat, Huaban, Youku. I prepare this column with Zhuomin Qin from FRED & FARID Shanghai.

Thanks to Zhuomin Qin, Feng Huang, Jalila Levesque, Jules Chaffiotte, Radouane Guissi, Yi Zhang, Ying Zhang, Aliou Maro, Tina Liu, Louis Caudevilla, Dushan Karageorgevitch, Jing Qian, Jonathan Roy, Maxime Aubanel and Antoine Robin for their participation to this chronic.

Click here to listen to all the podcasts.

Is Didi to blame for a disruptive ride-hailing market?

The ride-hailing market is becoming increasingly complicated in China. Uber left China last August and sold his shares to local rival Didi, who was already the leader in China and therefore found itself in a situation of complete monopoly. They could therefore lower their prices, offering regular promotions and even decreased their margins so that their drivers could be happier!

Since January 2017 Chinese users have been complaining that it is more difficult now to order a cab in T1 / T2 cities. The first month of the year coincides with the Chinese New Year and therefore the Chinese traditionally leave the cities to return home, much like Westerners do during Christmas. This is nothing new, but this year the phenomenon is more important than in the past. Recently, an angry Didi user wrote an article that became viral on social networks. He accuses Didi of disrupting the market and bringing about this difficult situation in Chinese T1 / T2 cities.

He goes on to accuse the Chinese giant for 2 reasons:

1 / The algorithm of supply and demand is a disaster and the clients endure a surge in prices even when the supply is greater than the demand.

2 / Because the drivers can now choose their trips, they are now waiting for clients to add a tip on the application. The article has reached the ceiling of 100,000 views on WeChat, and was shared a great deal. The netizens attacked Didi and some even regret the departure of Uber, which allowed for a more balanced market. Others find that the situation deteriorates Shanghai’s image, while drivers were extremely courteous until now.


Macho lyrics in the song for the movie ‘Duckweed’ enrage Millennials

The HotTopic this week is a film called Duckweed, directed by Han Han: one of China’s most famous directors. On January 21, Han Han presented the official song of his film on Weibo. generating a lot of discussions on social networks in light of the lyrics.

The lyrics refer to a young married man addressing his wife, and his expectations. For example, he asks her to assume the full responsibility of the family (to earn more money than him, to get up earlier and go to bed later, take care of the housework, take care of the children etc.), and that in return he will not cheat on her with another woman.

Naturally, this is all very macho, and refers to an archaic vision of the couple that Chinese Millennials have dismissed, and who want to detach themselves from this old-fashioned Chinese vision of the family. Moreover, netizens know that it is not a cynical song because Han Han is known in China for his disrespectful views on women. Young people are boycotting the film.

The communication team around the film received tons of complaints, and announced that the song was only a translation and adaptation of an old Japanese song of the 70s. The team even announced that a second song would soon come out, expressing the post-marriage life of the man, where he takes on more responsibility. But Han Han never apologized for the choice of the song.


The good old days of the CNY

The HotPost this week is a video that generated 26 million views. It shows how the Chinese celebrated the Chinese New Year in the past. These ancient traditions reminded netizens of some of their childhood memories. We read some comments like, “This video reminds me of how we celebrated the CNY in my childhood. It was better before…”. Other millennials or young people of the Generation Z expressed their jealousy about how the CNY was celebrated in the past. This is a very successful video blowing a wind of nostalgia across China.


More podcasts on #FredinChina website
Follow Fred on Twitter: @FredFarid or FRED & FARID: @FredFaridGroup
FRED & FARID website:

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How a gene test can solve side effects linked to ARV drugs in Africa


Collen Masimirembwa, University of Cape Town

Antiretrovirals have significantly improved the lives of people living with HIV. Today there are more than 17 million people on treatment and the number of deaths from the disease has been drastically reduced.

But many people who take the treatment regimens daily experience severe side effects. Adverse drug reactions result in people not sticking to the treatment regime. This in turn leads to poor treatment outcomes and the risk of resistance developing.

One particular antiretroviral – efavirenz – presents a challenge.

It is considered one of the most cost effective antiretroviral treatments available and is recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as a firstline treatment against HIV. By 2014 just less than half of all the people on antiretrovirals in low and middle income countries – that’s 8 million – were on the drug regime.

But up to 50% of patients taking it have to change treatment within a year. And the World Health Organisation has it on its list of drugs with the harshest side effects. People taking the drug can experience serious neuropsychiatric drug reactions including depression, nightmares, headaches and suicidal tendencies.

But there may be a solution.

Studies have shown that people who react particularly badly to efavirenz have a particular gene variant that messes with an enzyme responsible for processing the drug in their bodies.

We set out to find a way for patients to continue using the drug without the side effects. As part of our study we developed a mechanism to test whether people have this gene. Those that test positive for the genetic variant can be put on reduced doses of the drug. It remains effective but is less toxic.

This is an important step because it addresses three problems: it makes it possible for people to stick to continuous treatment cycles; this in turn reduces the risk of resistance developing; and it means that a cost effective antiretroviral treatment can be administered better.

Finding the problematic gene

At the current dose of 600 mg daily patients who have variations of a specific gene – CYP2B6 – have a higher chance of developing side effects because of toxic blood levels. We did a continent wide population genotyping study with 11 major African populations groups to establish how prevalent this genetic variant was.

The population groups were the Yoruba, Ibo, Hausa tribes in Nigeria, the Kikuyu, Luo, Masaai in Kenya, mixed groups of Tanzania, the Venda in South Africa and the Shona, Ndebele and San in Zimbabwe.

We found there was a 30% to 60% likelihood of the genetic variant being found in African populations. This is compared to a 15% to 20% likelihood in white and Asian people.

Using this information we were able to derive a dosing algorithm that could be used to tailor drug doses in patients with the gene variant.

The algorithm indicates that patients who have two low activity variants should be given 200 mg of the drug instead of the standard 600 mg. Those who have one normal activity and one low activity variant should be given 400 mg per day.

Our studies were done in our laboratory in Zimbabwe and then replicated in South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia by independent research groups.

This algorithm is now being developed into a test kit – GeneDose-EFV test kit – which can be used in clinics.

A quicker and cheaper solution

It is not the first time that antiretrovirals have caused serious side effects in patients. But it took up to five years to physically remove the drug with side effects due to the number of places that it had been distributed to across the continent.

The widespread use of efavirenz on the continent, and the fact that it’s inexpensive, means there is an urgent need to address the burden of its adverse effects without dropping it as a treatment option.

There are several benefits from the test. Patients can stay on the drug by being given a dose they can tolerate. This, in turn, will result in increased treatment compliance among patients and therefore less of a risk for HIV drug resistance.

And for governments, it means they will still be able to administer cost effective antiretroviral treatment at a public health level and keep more patients on sustained antiretroviral treatment at a cheaper cost.

The Conversation

Collen Masimirembwa, Honorary Prof. of Clinical Pharmacology,, University of Cape Town

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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‘This Will Be The End For Me': Peter Capaldi Is Leaving ‘Doctor Who’

Just who will be the next Doctor Who?

Scottish actor Peter Capaldi revealed on Monday that he was stepping down from the iconic sci-fi series’ titular role.

It will be my last,” Capaldi told BBC Radio 2 host Jo Whiley while talking about the upcoming season, which premieres in April. “This will be the end for me.”

Capaldi, 58, said he felt “sad” at leaving the “fantastic program” which had been “a privilege” to work on. 

“But I’ve always been somebody that did a lot of different things,” he said. “I’ve never done one job for three years, I feel it’s sort of time for me to move on to different challenges.”

Capaldi became the 12th actor to play the Doctor when he replaced Matt Smith in 2013. His character’s regeneration will take place during the Christmas 2017 special.

According to bookmakers Ladbrokes, British actors Ben Whishaw, Richard Ayoade, Rory Kinnear and David Harewood are all in the running to take over the role.

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— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

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