Breweries and distilleries around the world are producing free sanitizing products to fight the coronavirus

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anheuser-busch diageo sanitizer bottles

The world’s largest beer and spirits companies have both announced they’ll be pivoting some of their production and logistics to produce millions of bottles of hand sanitizer around the world. The moves come as many brands look at ways to mobilize their extensive resources to help battle the global spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Diageo, parent company of spirits brands ranging from Johnnie Walker to Smirnoff, today announced it will provide 2 million liters (about half a million gallons) of 96% alcoholic grain-neutral spirit to sanitizer manufacturers at no cost. That amount is enough to produce 8 million bottles of sanitizer at 250 milliliters each.

Anheuser-Busch—creator of Budweiser, Bud Light, Michelob Ultra and many other beer brands—is retooling its global manufacturing and distribution networks to create more than 1 million bottles of hand sanitizer that will be donated. Although the company doesn’t create distilled spirits, the sanitizer production was accomplished by shifting what it described as “existing technology for our non-alcohol brewing process.”

Both corporations said the sanitizer they’re producing at no charge will go to hospitals and frontline medical personnel, who have struggled worldwide to maintain adequate supplies of protective equipment as consumers stocked up on sanitizer, masks and other products.

“Healthcare workers are at the forefront of fighting this pandemic, and we are determined to do what we can to help protect them,” said Ivan Menezes, CEO of Diageo. “This is the quickest and most effective way for us to meet the surging demand for hand sanitizer around the world.”

Diageo and Anheuser-Busch aren’t the first alcohol companies to begin producing free sanitizer amid the COVID-19 outbreak, but they’re certainly the largest.

Delaware craft brewer Dogfish Head and many local breweries or distillers have been working to produce sanitizer for their communities and medical facilities. Tito’s Vodka says it’s currently testing a production change that will allow it to produce an initial run of 24 tons (about 6,500 gallons) of sanitizer in small bottles.

Here’s a breakdown of how the two massive global companies will be structuring their sanitizer production efforts:
Diageo

• U.K. and Ireland: Providing 500,000 liters of grain-neutral spirits for national healthcare systems and workers.
• Italy: Supplying 100,000 liters of grain-neutral spirits to support the healthcare system and other national needs.
• U.S.: Providing 500,000 liters for local community needs.
• Brazil: Diageo’s Ypioca plant will produce 50,000 liters of grain-neutral spirit for the local healthcare system, in conjunction with the Ceara state government.
• Kenya: Diageo’s East Africa Breweries will enable production of 135,000 liters of sanitizer, prioritizing vulnerable and at-risk groups.
• India: Providing 500,000 liters of alcohol to supply to the sanitizer industry across 25 states, for use in national healthcare systems and for consumers.
• Australia: Diageo’s Bundaberg Distilling will produce 100,000 liters of ethanol for the Queensland government, to be directed to hand sanitizer manufacturers.
• Africa: Producing disinfectant alcohol, then using extensive fleet and route network of breweries to deliver the finished product to the most remote parts of the continent.
• Europe: Producing 50,000 liters of disinfectant alcohol as well as 26,000 bottles of hand sanitizer for donation to pharmacies and frontline workers across the region.
• Central America: Producing more than 400,000 bottles of hand sanitizer gel for donation to hospitals and local governments.
• North America: Producing and distributing bottles of hand sanitizer to accommodate growing needs across the United States and Canada.
• South America: Produced 500,000 bottles of hand sanitizer for hospitals in the most impacted areas, including Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia in Brazil.

Continue on to ADWEEK to read the complete article.

Cisco commits $225 million to battle coronavirus, leading tech’s fight against the pandemic

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Cisco representative seated announcing pandemic support

Cisco plans to dedicate $225 million in cash and services to support various causes dedicated to combating the spread of the coronavirus and helping those affected.

“Cisco must, and will, do even more to help others respond to this global pandemic,” said Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins, pictured, in a blog post published Sunday evening.

The investment, which includes $8 million in cash and $210 million in products, will be dispersed to a variety of groups including the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund and the World Health Organization’s various coronavirus efforts.

“People who were already vulnerable are facing even more risks to their health, stability, housing, and well-being,” Robbins wrote. “Nonprofits are struggling to serve their populations as the number of volunteers declines due to social distancing practices and donations are at-risk due to financial concerns.”

The networking giant will also provide funding for unspecified “heads of state, government agencies, and businesses to rapidly deploy COVID-19-related technology solutions,” Robbins wrote.

According to Robbins, Cisco is helping to secure over 2.2 million people online to date, and Webex, the company’s video conference and online collaboration tool, has facilitated the virtual response meetings for the French, Canadian, German, Colombian, and other governments around the world.

Cisco, along with other unnamed companies, will also announce on Monday a multi-million-dollar financial assistance program for at-risk people, Robbins said.

“With support from Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, and Destination: Home’s CEO Jen Loving, we will be able to rapidly support low-income individuals during this time,” he wrote.

Cisco’s announcement comes after various tech companies and figures have announced their efforts to combat the spread of the virus and support overwhelmed medical professionals worldwide.

Amazon was among the earliest to respond, announcing on March 10 that it would create a $5 million grant to help small businesses in the Seattle area that were affected by the coronavirus.

A week later, Jack Ma, the CEO of Chinese e-commerce and cloud computing giant Alibaba, pledged to donate emergency supplies to various countries in Asia that have been severely impacted by the coronavirus.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella described in a LinkedIn post on Saturday several ways his company was helping others who are fighting the coronavirus. “In healthcare, our technology is being used for telemedicine, enabling user-intuitive solutions to share data and access critical information,” Nadella wrote. “St. Luke’s University Health Network in Pennsylvania is using Teams to video chat with patients most vulnerable to COVID-19.”

Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted on Saturday that his company was “donating millions of masks for health professionals in the U.S. and Europe.”

On Sunday, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg followed suit, saying his social media company has “donated our emergency reserve of 720,000 masks that we had bought in case the wildfires continued.”

The move by Cisco could be just the start of the company’s coronavirus pandemic response efforts, noted Robbins. “While our world will be different as we move into the future,” he wrote, “it is important that we stay focused on making a positive impact in every way possible.”

Continue on to Fortune for more Coronavirus coverage.

View Cisco’s Response to Committing $225 million to global COVID-19 On Their Executive Platform

 

Another Roundup of Positive Updates on the COVID Outbreaks From Around the World

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Closeup image woman holding, using and looking at smart phone feeling happy

By McKinley Corbley

Last week, we published a list of ten positive updates on the COVID-19 outbreaks from around the world. Since the article has been viewed millions of times, we thought we would go ahead and publish another round-up of optimistic occurrences to keep your spirits up.

So here is another list of reasons why the global situation is not as bad as the mainstream media might have you think.

 

 

    1. World Health Organization (WHO) Officials Say There Are Now 20 Coronavirus Vaccines in Development
    2. Although there are still a number of logistical and financial hurdles that will need to be overcome in the race to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine to the public, WHO representatives say they are working with scientists around the world to test and develop 20 different vaccines.

      “The acceleration of this process is really truly dramatic in terms of what we’re able to do, building on work that started with SARS, that started with MERS and now is being used for COVID-19 ,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for WHO’s emergencies program, said at a press conference in Geneva last week, according to CNBC.

      The collective body of research is particularly “remarkable” since the vaccines are in development just 60 days after a number of international scientists decoded the virus’s genetic sequence and shared it with the rest of the world.

      One of the vaccines—which is already being tested on a number of American volunteers in Seattle—has already illustrated the “unprecedented speed” with which the medical community is working together to develop a vaccine.

      A #USask research team and collaborating scientists from across the country have been awarded $1 million to develop animal models and test vaccine candidates for effectiveness and safety against the new #coronavirus. @VIDOInterVac t.co/SXanfcxgvs

    3. From Individuals to Countries and World Governments–Everybody is Sharing Face Masks
    4. Not only is this French fashion designer making her own face masks and giving them away for free, she is showing how other people can make their own as well. In North Carolina, a textile mill is gearing up to start making 10 million masks per week. A number of international fashion companies have also redirected their manufacturing teams to produce face masks as well.

      Multiple businesses and schools have donated their recently rediscovered face mask treasure troves to hospitals in need. Other major tech companies such as Facebook and Apple are donating millions of masks and medical supplies to US healthcare facilities. Chinese companies are passing on their own stashes of face masks to European countries newly impacted by the virus. Taiwan is reportedly donating 100,000 masks to the United States.

      Even medical TV shows have donated their medical supply props to North American hospitals in need.

    5. As American Cities Close Up Amidst Outbreaks, Pollution Plummets
    6. The United States is now benefiting from the same environmental silver lining to the pandemics as China and Italy: as cities encourage self-isolation, air pollution is plummeting.

      Over the course of the last few weeks, satellite imaging has revealed significant reductions in air pollution—particularly across California, Seattle, and New York City.

      According to CNN, environmental scientists are estimating that the improvement in air quality could collectively save as many as 75,000 people from dying prematurely.

    7. As Physicians Worry About Potential Ventilator Shortages, Researchers Develop Several Low-Cost Solutions
    8. In a stroke of genius, one scientist from the University of Minnesota says he went “full-on MacGyver” to build a makeshift ventilator in a matter of hours. Although his team has revised his design over the course of several prototypes with the hopes of eventually submitting it for FDA approval, he says that the inexpensive ventilator is one that he “would be comfortable with someone [using to] take care of me in an ICU or in an operating room.”

      The compassionate medical research continues in Italy as a pair of engineers have taken it upon themselves to 3D-print free respirator parts for their local hospitals. As of last week, the Isinnova startup engineers told Forbes that they had successfully printed more than 100 parts.

      Meanwhile, MIT scientists are publishing open-source instructions and research on how to build inexpensive ventilators.

      “We are releasing this material with the intent to provide those with the ability to make or manufacture ventilators, the tools needed to do so in a manner that seeks to ensure patient safety,” they wrote. “Clinicians viewing this site can provide input and expertise and report on their efforts to help their patients.”

    9. Communities and Countries Opening Up New Lanes of Free Entertainment for the Masses
    10. In addition to Italians singing songs and playing music together from their balconies, homeowners have begun projecting classic films onto building fronts for the neighbors to enjoy.

      As a means of keeping self-isolated people amused during global shutdowns, many online services have made their services free to the public as well.

      For starters, Amazon has unlocked more than 40 new children’s shows for all of their customers to watch for free, regardless of Prime membership. Audiobook platform Audible has also released a number of free audiobooks for users to stream from their devices.

      “For as long as schools are closed, we’re open. Starting today, kids everywhere can instantly stream an incredible collection of stories, including titles across six different languages, that will help them continue dreaming, learning, and just being kids,” reads the Audible website. “All stories are free to stream on your desktop, laptop, phone or tablet. Explore the collection, select a title and start listening. It’s that easy.”

      More than 2,500 art museums and galleries have also partnered with Google to offer free virtual tours and displays of their collections to art lovers around the world.

    11. More Than 100,000 People Have Already Recovered From the Virus Worldwide
    12. According to research from Johns Hopkins University, more than 100,000 COVID-19 patients have already made full recoveries from the infection—and that number may very well climb ever higher as more and more potential treatments are tested around the world.

      If that’s not enough, patients as old as 90 have managed to recover from the virus as well.

      As Chinese cities gradually reopen to the public now that they have gotten the virus under control with less than 10 new infections reported each day, other countries are expected to experience similar recoveries during the coming months.

    13. Nobel Prize Winner Who Correctly Predicted COVID-19 Trends Says ‘We’re Going To Be Fine’
    14. According to a recently-published interview with the Los Angeles Times, Nobel laureate and Stanford biophysicist Michael Levitt has been “remarkably accurate” in predicting China’s recovery from the virus since he began researching the infection rates back in January.

      Levitt, who won the 2013 prize for developing complex chemical models of calculation, says that as long as countries continue to practice safe self-isolation measures, the numbers show that they are already beginning to experience slow signs of improvement.

      “What we need is to control the panic,” he told the news outlet. “We’re going to be fine.”

    15. Celebrities and Businesses Have Contributed Millions Towards Feeding and Caring for At-Risk People
    16. From Michelin-starred Chef José Andrés to the Bill Gates Foundation—millions of dollars are being donated to novel coronavirus research and charities feeding families amidst the shutdowns.

      It’s hard to quantify just how many resources are being contributed to the cause, but suffice it to say that it’s a lot—in fact, here’s just a quick list of celebrities giving back to their communities that we published last week.

      Oakland is closing schools bc of COVID-19. We support this decision but are concerned a/b the 18,000+ kids that rely on school for 2+ meals daily. @eatlearnplay is donating to @ACCFB to ensure every child has access to the food they need. Join us & donate t.co/nDqF7OoO0Z

    17. No Matter Where You Look, People Are Being Kind to Each Other
    18. People and small businesses are delivering groceries to their elderly neighbors in self-isolation; kids are caring for the homeless; social media users are setting up “caremongering” groups to support each other and share helpful information; people are sharing their toilet paper with community members.

      There are even more stories of kindness and compassion being reported from around the world every day—so remember to keep your chin up during the weeks ahead and remind yourself that this situation might not be as terrible as your social media feed might have you believe.

      Continue on to the Good News Network to read the complete article.

This AI camera detects people who may have COVID-19

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AI camera spots people with coronavirus fever

With the U.S. lagging other countries in the distribution of coronavirus testing kits, health authorities have had to look to other means of detection, like the infrared ear thermometers used in some countries. And now one Austin-based company says its security cameras use thermal imaging and computer vision tech to detect people who have fever possibly related to the virus.

Unlike the thermometers, which work one person at a time and at close range, Athena Security‘s security camera detection system may be far better for scanning larger numbers of people in places like airports, grocery stores, hospitals, and voting locations.

The company’s thermal cameras are already in use at a coworking space in Austin, and will be deployed in some “large Fortune 500 companies” and some airports in the coming weeks, but Athena says it can’t divulge the names of those customers yet.

The cameras can detect the heat of 12 different places on the body with an accuracy of within a ½ degree, says Athena CEO Lisa Falzone. The company’s software, which works with high-grade, off-the-shelf security cameras, uses an AI model to zoom in on a subject’s inner eye, which is most reflective of the body’s actual temperature, she said.

The system uses AI to monitor numerous cameras at once, and automatically sends an alert to security personnel if it detects someone with a fever. It can do 1,000 temperature readings an hour, Falzone said. This is far faster than the current system being used in airports–the handheld temp readers–which have snarled lines at airports like Chicago’s O’Hare.

Athena originally made news in 2018 when it developed a security software to address another huge public safety issue–gun violence. The company introduced security camera technology that used computer vision to detect firearms as public fear over mass shootings hit a fever pitch. The gun detection system uses computer vision to detect firearm shapes within its view. If the firearm is concealed, the system must also compare the heat of a suspected weapon with the body surface near it, said Athena’s CTO Chris Ciabarra at the time.

When the novel coronavirus began to spread in China, Athena realized that it could use much of the same technology it developed for gun detection to detect people who might have contracted the virus. Falzone said detecting fever is actually easier than detecting guns because nothing is concealed.

The U.S. Air Force was already using Athena’s technology to detect guns within its bases and other facilities, Falzone said, but it’s now using the fever detection functionality as well.

“We see this more for places like airports, hospitals, military bases–places where you can’t go in if you have a fever because you may spread it to others,” she said.

Athena stresses that its system doesn’t record the faces of everybody who passes in front of the camera. The thermal camera doesn’t pick up on skin color. But it does record an image of the face of anyone who registers a fever. “We don’t like the word ‘surveillance,’” says Falzone.

Athena is encouraging its corporate customers to be upfront with employees that the temperature detection feature is being deployed. It’s advising its retail customers to post signs at the entrance stating that people with fever aren’t allowed in the store, and that a camera is being used to detect fever in people outside the door.

The U.S. government has reached out to the tech community for help in addressing the coronavirus outbreak. Some have speculated that Big Tech might redeem itself in the public’s eyes by lending its brain power and infrastructure to the coronavirus response.

We’ll have to see how that goes. But Athena Security, a small tech company located far from Silicon Valley, has quickly brought to market a cutting-edge technology that could play a crucial role in slowing the spread of the virus. Let’s hope we see more examples of that from tech companies big and small in the coming weeks and months.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

NASA’s now taking astronaut applications. Do you have the right stuff?

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NASA Astronaut floating outside spaceship in spacesuit

Good news for aspiring space travellers: NASA is currently accepting applications for its next astronaut class. New hires will join the Houston-based Artemis lunar exploration program, which aims to send the first woman and next man to the moon by 2024. The program will inform eventual trips to Mars.

Artemis will send astronauts to the moon aboard the Orion spacecraft using its new Space Launch System—a rocket that NASA claims is its most powerful of all time. It will propel Orion to at least 24,500 miles per hour, the minimum speed needed to exit low-Earth orbit and travel to the Moon.

Since the 1960s, NASA has selected and trained 350 astronaut candidates—though not all have made it through the rigorous two-year preparation, which includes mastering the complex hardware and communication controls aboard International Space Station, flight readiness training, and much more.

If this sounds like your kind of thing, you’re in luck. If you meet the requirements, you could join the ranks of the 48 currently active astronauts. NASA recently posted the online application, which expires on March 31. We’ve broken down all the requirements:

In addition to US citizenship, there are some strict educational requirements. NASA asks that astronaut candidates have a master’s degree in a STEM field, including engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics. Candidates can also possess two years of work toward a PhD program in a related science, technology, engineering or math field; a completed doctor of medicine or doctor of osteopathic medicine degree; or completion (or current enrollment that will result in completion by June 2021) of a nationally recognized test pilot school program.

Plenty of flight experience is required

NASA states that candidates need professional flight test experience that’d prepare them to launch spacecraft, or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in a jet aircraft. In comparison, commercial pilots need 1,500 hours of flight time.

Physical fitness is key

In addition to years of schooling, you must also be in tip-top shape. The required NASA long-duration spaceflight physical measures bodily functions like eyesight—20/20 vision is required, whether you have it naturally or with the help of corrective lenses—and blood pressure, which can’t exceed 140/90 when taken in the normal sitting position. Astronauts must also stand between 62 and 75 inches in height, which is between 5’2” and 6’3”.

There’s also a swimming test. Selected candidates eventually receive scuba certification and military water survival training, so strong swimming skills are a must.

There’s a lot of travel involved

This isn’t exactly a work-from-home gig. Long-term International Space Station missions can span a year or longer, according to NASA. Besides the obvious space travel, astronaut candidates may relocate to train for missions with NASA’s global partners like Russia and Canada.

Knowing Russian likely helps

Once astronaut candidates get the job, they’re assigned to learn Russian during the two-year training period. It’s a necessary space skill: When visiting the International Space Station, all astronauts take a ride on Russia’s Soyuz Spacecraft. Logistically, they need to communicate in the Slavic tongue throughout this process. If you want to get a head start, just fire up Russian Duolingo.

Continue on to Popular Science to read the complete article.

The super worm moon marks the last full moon of winter

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The Super Moon as it appears over a skyline ridge

This is the final full moon of the winter.

As winter comes to a close, the final full moon of the season will light up the night sky on Monday.

The full worm moon, also known as a super worm moon, appears larger and brighter than other full moons and will reach peak fullness at 1:48 p.m. ET, according to the Farmer’s Almanac, giving astronomers a great view when it rises above the horizon Monday night.

Super moons that occur in March are nicknamed the “worm moon” because that’s the time of year when earth worms tend to emerge from the ground as it begins to thaw from the departing cold of winter.

 

Monday night’s celestial event also marks the first of three supermoons this year.

One will be in April and another in May.

#SuperMoon #SuperWormMoon #WormMoon

Continue on to ABC News to read the complete article.

How Women Can Break Into the Tech Industry

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Programmers working in a software developing company office

With how popular technology has become within many industries, jobs are always in demand for tech. Though it is true that, statistically, the field of technology is seemingly male-dominated, it doesn’t mean that you should be discouraged from giving this field a try. You don’t have to have a degree in this particular industry to get a job working with computers.

There are plenty of tools and resources at your disposal to help you gain and build technical skills you will need in these various demanding occupations.

Having the right skills is one thing, but surviving the “macho” environment that has caused so many women to leave the industry is another factor to take into consideration.

Luckily, there are ways to push back on this and keep your position.

Get the Skills

If you have zero technological skills, then give coding a try. There are a multitude of free Coding Bootcamps online you can try. They could be full-time or part-time, and some could even provide you with job opportunities. Some of them are available in person. That way, you could ask questions to a teacher and get an immediate response rather than send an email and wait for a day. There are coding bootcamps that cost money, but they are worth it for the hands-on learning that will apply to your future career.

Find Your Niche

You’ll need to stand out from the competition if you want to get hired. In this male-dominated industry, you’ll most likely get employed as a woman if you have a unique portfolio. That doesn’t mean that you need to have a very particular set of skills. You could have the same skills you learned in your coding Bootcamp but used in a relatively new and obscure way. Being able to utilize your technological knowledge for things like mobile development, cloud infrastructure, bring-your-own-device, or BYOD, management, and much more is going to increase the chances of businesses looking in your direction. You could also look for an industry that lacks but also needs technological workers.

Apply for Jobs Where Women are in Upper Management No matter how skilled you are, you may still face discrimination in the workplace. Many work environments of technology companies tend to have a fraternity-like atmosphere. That means that not only can you face situations ranging from uncomfortable to sexual harassment, but upper management and human resources probably wouldn’t do much about it. If you get a job where there are women in upper management, then they’ll be more likely to fight for you. As a whole, they could help foster a healthier work environment where female employees wouldn’t have to face discrimination every day.

Soft Skills Play a Role in this Industry

Being great at specific tasks in the job is just half of what you need to work successfully. Cooperating with others and proper communication is just the beginning of having excellent soft skills. You must be someone who can both take and give constructive criticism. Know how to read the room, and determine whether someone wouldn’t mind interaction or would prefer to be left alone. Also, don’t forget to be yourself. Even if you’re the only woman at your job, there’s no need to compete with your coworkers for the sake of proving yourself.

Start a Passion Project

For many women, technology is their passion. If you’re in this group of women, then use that passion for creating websites or working on a video game. Technology itself may not be your passion, but you can use technology to follow the passions you do have. If you like playing the piano, then you could develop an app and corresponding device that can help people learn the piano through playing games. A passion project driven by technology is a great way to get your foot in the door of the industry. It will help build your skills and experience as well as keep your knowledge sharp.

The technological industry still has a long way to go in terms of making their occupations more welcome to women. There will be a lot of things out of your control if you get a technological job, but don’t let that discourage you. More and more occupations are becoming available in this industry, and it’s becoming easier for everyone, including women, to get the skills needed to qualify. Technology can be a lot of fun as well as rewarding. There are many success stories of women who have made a significant impact on the technological industry, and you could be one of them. So find a coding bootcamp and start your career path to technology today.

How to Bridge the Skills Gap in the Age of AI

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puzzles connecting that say bridge the gap

AI and intelligent automation are rapidly changing the face of our workforce. Over the next three years, as many as 120 million workers may need to be retrained or re-skilled as a result of AI, according to a new IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) study.

In addition, only 41 percent of CEOs surveyed say that they have the people, skills and resources required to execute their business strategies according to the study, which includes input from more than 5,000 global executives in 48 countries.

It takes time to close a skills gap, although training has increased by more than 10 times, according to the research. For example, in 2014 it took three days on average—in 2018, it took 36 days. And while new skills requirements are rapidly emerging, other skills are becoming obsolete.

“Organizations are facing mounting concerns over the widening skills gap and tightened labor markets,” said Amy Wright, managing partner, IBM Talent & Transformation. “Yet while executives recognize the severity of the problem, half of those surveyed admit that they do not have any skills development strategies in place to address their largest gaps.”

Wright says new strategies are emerging to help companies re-skill their people and build a culture of continuous learning that’s required to succeed in the era of AI.

In 2016, executives ranked technical core capabilities for STEM, basic computer and software/application skills, as the top two most critical skills for employees. In 2018, the top two skills sought were behavioral skills—willingness to be flexible, agile, and adaptable to change–as well as time management skills and the ability to prioritize.

In contrast, ethics and integrity was the skill named most critical in a survey of consumers in U.S. cities including Atlanta, Austin, Baton Rouge, Boston, Chicago, Raleigh, and San Francisco, according to an IBM poll conducted by Morning Consult.

The recommendation to closing the skills gap focuses on re-skilling our workforce through development that’s personalized to the individual and built on data. This means creating educational journeys for employees that are personalized to their current experience level, skills, job role and career aspirations.

To fuel those journeys, companies should take advantage of partners to expand their access to content, leverage innovative learning technologies, and even share skilled talent across organizational boundaries.

For example, the IBM Garage helps companies digitally reinvent, while creating cultures of open collaboration and continuous learning. In environments designed to be a break from the everyday, traditional silos and barriers are eliminated — employees are encouraged to learn by doing, fail fast and iterate often, inspiring organizational change and buy-in.

True culture change is now driven by new skills and expertise in business created by the advent of intelligent workflows demanding new ways of working in every industry. Business leaders must create dynamic and flexible organizations and teams to enable the ongoing reinvention of work and skills.

To underscore the critical role human resources plays in this journey, IBM is collaborating with the Josh Bersin Academy, the world’s first global development academy for human resources and talent professionals looking to create new strategic agendas in business. The Academy will soon launch its newest program, HR in the Age of AI, which was created with input from IBM subject matter experts. The program focuses on how HR teams can use AI to transform the way they work. According to Josh Bersin, global independent analyst and founder of the Josh Bersin Academy, “AI is hands down the biggest challenge facing HR leaders today.”

Source: IBM

What is malware and why should I be concerned?

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Young people watching a live streaming on social media

In the era of Social media, our privacy and online safety becomes increasingly important. We’re sharing our lives online; however, we should also know how much is too much and how to save our private data from unwanted intrusion.

The point is, our private information is valuable to cybercriminals who use it to deprive us of our hard-earned money and even ruin our reputation by stealing our identity. Leaving our data “up for grabs” means we might have a difficult time applying for a home loan or even get a passport.

With this being said, it’s essential to know what kinds of dangers lurk around, being able to recognize it and protect ourselves from cyber-attacks.

That’s why we decided to explain thoroughly what is malware, what types of it exist, and how to ensure our data, privacy, and devices are safe.

What is Malware, and why is it so important?

“Malware” refers to malicious software, used to describe any software (or code for that matter) made to inflict damage on mobile and desktop devices by exploiting those devices or data they carry, without the consent of their owners. Malware is usually made to achieve some financial gain – whether it’s about seeking victim’s financial data, holding a computer for ransom, or taking it over in order to rent it out for malicious purposes to others. Without exception, every type of Malware involves some form of payment to the cybercriminal.

There are plenty of ways we can “adopt” Malware on our computers or mobile devices. Some of them include opening the attachment of the “infected” person, clicking on the link which automatically downloads a virus, or even clicking on an ad banner on a website.

He loves me; he loves me NOT.

It’s hard to talk about Malware without mentioning the ILOVEYOU virus, which caused immense damage in 2009. Considered as the most destructive virus of all time, the ILOVEYOU virus used to rename all files in the affected device with “Iloveyou” until the system crashed. Fast-forward to the present day; there’s an increased number of hackers using destructive Malware (Between 2017 and 2018, there was a total increase of 25 percent only) for malicious acts.

Is there a reason to be afraid?

For the ones wondering if they should be afraid of Malware, the answer is a loud: YES! Technology advanced so much that we’re basically carrying small computers in our pockets – in fact, more and more cyber attacks are connected to mobile devices. What’s more, it’s so easy to lose all our important data: text messages, apps we download and failing to update our OS is all the ways we become prone to cyber-attacks. It’s scary and devastating to know someone could ruin our reputation and finances with one single click.

Knowledge is the key.

Now when we have a clear picture of what Malware is, we should get familiar with different types of it. Then, armed with knowledge, we will be able to protect ourselves and our data from malicious cyber intruders. There are six types of malware: spyware, adware, scareware, ransomware, worms, and trojans. Now, we’re going to go through them and offer you a complete overview.

Spyware is not here to harm our computers but follow our every move instead. It attaches itself to executable files and once it is downloaded it completely takes over the control. It can track anything from passwords to financial data.

Adware presents itself in a form of pop-ads or unclosable windows. Luckily, adware doesn’t steal our data, but it tries to make us click on fraudulent ads. Furthermore, it can slow down our computer severely by taking our bandwidth.

Scareware looks and feels like adware, but its main goal is to make us buy software we don’t need by scaring us. Usually, scareware ads tell us our computer has a virus and we need to buy software to get rid of it.

Ransomware resembles hacker moves we’re used to seeing in the movies. Once is on our computer it encrypts our files and holds our information hostage until we pay them a fee to decrypt it.

Worms resemble viruses, however, they don’t need human intervention to get transmitted to another computer. Instead, they use security flaws to do it.

Trojans are designed to allow hackers to take over our computers. Usually, they are downloaded from rogue websites.

We should learn how to protect ourselves.

Now when we know what are the types of malware out there, we will know how to recognize it and protect our precious data and valuable info from cybercriminals. To avoid malware, we should make sure we’re not downloading and running any program from popup windows. Furthermore, we should check our OS is updated and be careful not to open any email attachments from unknown people. Other ways include avoiding the use of public WiFi networks, sharing data while connected on public WiFi and avoid opening emails and attachments from untrusted sources.

Christina Koch returns to Earth after a record 328 days in space

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Chrsitina Koch touches down on earth wearing her spacesuit and smiling while two men help her balance

After 328 days in space, NASA astronaut Christina Koch is back on Earth. She returns holding the record for the longest stay in space by a woman, and she has earned bragging rights for another major milestone: she and fellow NASA astronaut Jessica Meir completed the first all-female spacewalk during Koch’s extended stay aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

Koch, along with European astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov, left ISS at 12:50AM ET. Around 4AM ET, their Soyuz MS-13 spacecraft touched down in Kazakhstan, and they were taken to a nearby medical tent to restore their balance in gravity.

Koch’s record-breaking stay was her first journey to space. In the 11 months that she was aboard the ISS, she orbited Earth 5,248 times, traveling 139 million miles, roughly the equivalent of 291 trips to the Moon and back. She conducted and supported more than 210 investigations, and perhaps most importantly, participated as a research subject. NASA will study Koch to help determine the long-term effects of spaceflight on the human body. Those findings could be vital for NASA’s return to the Moon and eventually Mars.

Prior to Koch’s extended flight, Peggy Whitson held the record for longest female spaceflight for her 288-day mission from 2016-2017. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly still holds the US record for staying in space 340 consecutive days, and Russia’s Valeri Polyakov spent 437 days in orbit.

Continue on to Engadget to read the complete article.

TransparentBusiness Offers Emergency Preparedness Solution to Countries and Corporations Which Act on World Health Organization’s Recommendation

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woman on a laptop working remotely

With the outbreak of coronavirus crippling the Chinese economy and potentially triggering economic fears globally, more companies are striving to heed the World Health Organizations (WHO) advice to focus on preparedness, rather than panic.

TransparentBusiness, a company offering a solution to help companies allow their employees to work remotely, announces its decision to provide a 75% discount on its software to national and state governments for the duration of WHO-declared Public Health Emergency.

Remote work, which TransparentBusiness facilitates, used to be a matter of convenience and financial savings. In China, it has become a matter of containing the epidemic, making it a matter of life and death. Tens of millions of Chinese residents who can work from home using TransparentBusiness are instead required to commute to offices and congregate there for a large part of the day, which unnecessarily increases the speed of the virus spreading in commuter trains and buses and in offices. Conversely, reducing the number of commuters and office workers slows down the rate of the spread of the virus, which matters greatly given the exponential nature of virus propagation. For example, 2^10 = 1024, whereas 3^10 = 59,049, 57 times more.

TransparentBusiness is even more needed in the cities where all transportation is banned. China has imposed a transport ban around the epicenter of a deadly virus, restricting the movement of some 41 million people in 13 cities as authorities scramble to control the disease. Shutting down productive work in the city for an indefinite period of time is devastating to the national economy, businesses, and individuals. For businesses in such cities, TransparentBusiness would be the way to coordinate the efficient work of home-based professionals.

Around the world, many businesses are looking for a way to continue their productivity, and yet reduce the threat of their employees becoming infected and TransparentBusiness offers free consultations to corporate Emergency Preparedness executives.

TransparentBusiness, provides the solution that will allow a business to remain productive and profitable, while protecting their employees from the virus risks.

“We have developed the perfect solution that companies need in order to minimize the damage inflicted by coronavirus and similar health emergencies,” explains Alex Konanykhin, co-founder and chief executive officer of TransparentBusiness. “The goal is for companies to be able to allow their employees to work remotely in a productive fashion.”

In addition to reducing the risks of spreading viruses, there are additional benefits to allowing employees to work remotely. These include improving employee retention rates, saving commute time, offering a better work-life balance, increased productivity, lower costs, and having access to a large pool of talent. Working remotely allows more flexibility, as well as prevents people from unnecessary distractions in the workplace. While many companies are aware of some of the benefits of allowing their employees to work remotely, they are hesitant to allow it because they feel there is no accountability. That’s where TransparentBusiness comes in, providing the solution to that problem by making remote work easy to monitor and coordinate.

About TransparentBusiness
Designated by Citigroup as the Top People Management Solution, TransparentBusiness offers full transparency and real-time coordination, boosts productivity, and eliminates overbilling. For more information about the software, visit the site: transparentbusiness.com/.

Source:
XINHUANNet. WHO praises China’s effective control measures, calls for world preparedness, not panic WHO praises China’s effective control measures, calls for world preparedness, not panic.