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5 Ways to Develop More Meaningful Relationships at Work

You might assume it is common knowledge that relationships in business are important and that everyone strives to create and maintain good working relationships. However, that is not always the case.

Business relationships are tricky. Sometimes they are transactional; simply interacting as a means to an end. Other times they are relational, and centered on having meaningful engagements that build and maintain the relationship. And they can even be a combination of the two.

Transactional interactions can be collaborative or competitive. When collaborative, you and your counterpart walk away feeling good about the transaction, like you were treated fairly and more likely to engage with one another in the future. On the other hand, if competitive, you might feel like you were treated unfairly, cheated or nickeled and dimed. In such cases, you probably will not want to engage with this person again.

In relational interactions, you care about the outcome, but also about your colleague. In turn, your colleague cares about you, too. This means you are paying attention to the process and quality of how you are both communicating, not just interacting as a means to an end.

Framing these engagements as a collaborative, relational process helps you build and maintain relationships. Here are five components of collaborative relationships and how you can develop yours to be more mutually beneficial.

1. Fostering open communication.

Communicating in an open and honest manner, in any relationship, is critical. You want to experience the authenticity of your counterpart and you want that person to see you for who you are.

You want to be prepared and honestly acknowledge what it is you know and do not know. Admitting you do not have an answer and saying you will look into it and get back to them establishes credibility. Being caught making things up can be considered deceptive and inauthentic.

2. Building trust.

Building trust allows you both to feel safe sharing information. Trust does not come overnight. It is time-consuming to build, but can be easily compromised.

One way of building trust is to find out what is important to your counterpart and commit to providing something for them. It can be a key data point, a book reference or an introduction to a colleague. Whatever you promise, make sure it is something you can actually deliver on and that will build your image of being reliable.

3. Managing the pace.

Relationships take time. There is a window within which you will feel comfortable about the pace to establish rapport, and build trust and confidence in each other. Signing an important contract the next day can feel rushed, while meeting for three years before closing a deal can feel like an eternity.

It is useful to determine the “what” and “when” of milestones you can use to measure the pace of building your relationship. Your short- and long-term goals will need to be taken into consideration to identify these milestones and when you would like to reach them.

4. Controlling your emotions. 

Engaging in new relationships can feel exciting, make you anxious or both. You will not know how to interpret some comments made or actions taken, nor how to communicate your own feelings because you do not know this other person well.

Identify practices you can use to feel more comfortable even in the uncomfortable moments. Try to slow down your breathing or visualize a soothing scene. This will keep you calm and buy you time to think of a suitable response to dig deeper and clarify your understanding.

5. Creating mutually-beneficial outcomes.

At the end of the day, mutual benefits are the payoff for investing time and energy into business relationships. Maybe you learn from each other. Maybe performance increases when you are around each other. Or maybe there are other tangible benefits.

Think about the aspects of the relationship you find valuable and want to retain. What are your contributions? What are theirs?

It is the mutually-beneficial relationships that prove to be most valuable in the workplace, and in life.

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Elon Musk Calms Down, and More From Tesla's Shareholder Meeting

When Elon Musk was a kid, he had so much trouble managing his time, that his younger brother Kimbal would lie to him about the bus schedule. Elon would show up a few minutes after the supposed arrival—and have just enough time to hop aboard. A few decades on, the whole world knows about Elon’s habit of blowing deadlines. And he admits it can be a problem.

“This is something I’m trying to get better at,” he said from the stage of Silicon Valley’s Computer History Museum on Tuesday afternoon, at Tesla’s annual shareholders meeting. “I’m trying to recalibrate these estimates.”

A few days after a Twitter rage fest aimed at the media, a month after refusing to answer questions about Tesla’s financial state during an investors’ call, and two months after getting in a public spat with the feds investigating a deadly crash in one of his cars, Musk’s attitude when he appeared before his fellow shareholders was conciliatory. He even seemed emotional at times. “We build our cares with love,” he said, with a slight quaver in his voice. And he noted how brutal the auto industry can be, especially to newcomers. “It’s insanely hard just staying alive.”

For an hour and a half, Musk patiently fielded questions on just about every part of Tesla’s sprawling business. He said the Model 3 production rate will hit the long-promised 5,000 cars a week rate later this month, predicted an enormous increase in battery production, announced upgrades to the Autopilot semi-autonomous system, and even appeased PETA. If you missed the meeting, here are the key takeaways.

Elon Retains the Reins

The official business of the meeting included voting on the reelection of venture capitalist Antonio Gracias, Elon’s bus-catching brother Kimbal, and 21st Century Fox CEO James Murdoch to Tesla’s board of directors. (Only a third of the nine board members come up for election at a time—it’s like the US Senate that way.) Last month, activist investor the CtW Group urged Tesla shareholders to replace the trio with people who had automotive and manufacturing expertise. Another investor, Jing Zhao, filed a proposal to strip Musk of his position as Tesla’s chairman, which he has held since 2004 (he took the CEO job in 2008). But the shareholders stuck with Musk, reelecting the board members and nixing the leadership change by an overwhelming majority. (Tesla will file the exact vote count with the SEC in the next few days.)

The loss didn’t surprise CtW executive director Dieter Waizenegger, who argues control of Tesla is too concentrated in people tied to Musk. “This opinion is shared by a significant number of shareholders of Tesla,” he says. “We expect the final vote tally to reveal that.” Even if he’s right, Musk remains fully in charge.

More Model 3

Musk’s acknowledgement of his timeline trouble didn’t stop him from announcing that, by the end of the month, Tesla will be building 5,000 Model 3 sedans every week, which should be enough to start turning a profit on the car. The uptick is thanks to Tesla’s rebalancing of the workload between humans and robots in its factory in Fremont, California, where the company is adding a third Model 3 production line. It is also planning to open a factory in China, to go with its plants in Fremont and the Netherlands.

Meanwhile, Tesla is gradually expanding options for Model 3 owners, who so far have been limited to the version with an upgraded battery and premium interior, which starts at $56,000. By the end of this year, Musk hopes to start production of the version closer to the car’s $35,000 base price, with the smaller battery pack. Also coming soon: right hand drive.

New Products

Even as it struggles to build the Model 3, Tesla is planning on three new vehicles: the Semi truck, the revived Roadster, and the still mysterious Model Y. Musk told shareholders he’s hoping to start production of all three in the first half of 2020, though he has yet to specify where he’ll do that, or how. He’ll unveil the Model Y in March (it will be “something super special”), and expects the truck and the sports car to deliver better specs than the already very impressive numbers he announced last fall. Oh, and he’ll never build an electric motorcycle.

Autopilot Advances

Without getting into details, Musk said Tesla is making steady progress to improve its Autopilot feature, and is now working on adding the ability to change lanes and handle highway on- and off-ramps (Musk noted he was testing new software around 1 am this morning). For drivers who aren’t sure they want to spend $5,000 on the feature, Tesla will soon start offering free trials. Musk also reaffirmed his distaste for lidar, the laser shooting sensor most autonomous vehicle developers say is key to building a safe, capable robo-car.

SuperChargers

Tesla now runs nearly 10,000 Supercharger stations around the world, the stations where its drivers (and no one else) can plug in and charge a depleted battery to about 80 percent in 30 minutes. And Musk is working to keep improving charge times, saying a three- or four-fold improvement is possible. (That’s only true for relatively new cars, he added, disappointing the 2012 Model S owner who asked him about it.)

Going Vegan

Unlike many automakers, Tesla has been offering leather-free versions of its cars for years, appealing to its vegan and vegetarian fans. But it’s still using some leather in its steering wheels, and a People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) rep took the mic to press Musk on it. He explained Tesla can make leather-free steering wheels, but the work has to be done it its design studio, making it something of a pain. But he promised it’ll be easier once the Model Y comes around. Now he’s just gotta hit that 2020 goal.


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WWDC 2018: How to Watch Apple's Keynote on Monday, June 4

On Monday, June 4, Apple will lift the lid on its Worldwide Developers Conference, the annual showcase for all the shiny things being churned out in Cupertino.

The WWDC 2018 keynote address kicks off at 10 am Pacific (1 pm Eastern). We expect to hear news about macOS, iOS, watchOS, cloud services, and some new initiatives to help you curb unhealthy levels of phone use. Read our full rundown of what we think is coming.

The livestream can be found on Apple’s website. You can stream the two-hour keynote to your Mac, iPhone, or iPad, or to your Apple TV through a dedicated app. No matter which method you use, there’s usually a slight time delay in the feed. And of course, you should also follow along with our liveblog, where we’ll give you all the news in real time, plus our own commentary and analysis.

Watch on a Mac, iPhone, or iPad

Watch the keynote on any Mac or iOS device using Apple’s own Safari browser. Your Mac needs to be running macOS Sierra 10.12 or later, and iOS devices need to be running iOS 10 or later.

Watch on an Apple TV

If you have a newer Apple TV (fourth generation or later), download the free Apple Events app for Apple TV. If you have an older Apple TV, you should see the Apple Events option appear in your Apple TV’s homescreen automatically. Neat, right? Click into the app just before 10 am Pacific and you’ll see the live feed appear.

Watch a Windows PC

Use the Microsoft Edge browser, which is the only Windows browser that can display Apple’s WWDC livestream. Of course, this requires Windows 10 on the desktop. You can always try using Chrome or Firefox—we’ve gotten those browsers to work in years past, but there’s no guarantee the feed is going to show up in any browser other than Edge. Be prepared with an alternative option.


More WWDC 2018 Coverage

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Fingerprint Cards announces new cost cuts amid weak market, price pressure

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Swedish biometrics firm Fingerprint Cards on Monday announced a new round of big cost cuts on the back of weak market conditions for capacitive sensors for smartphones and heavy price pressure.

The company said it expected the new cost cuts to yield savings of 350 million crowns ($39.8 million) on an annual basis, with full effect at the end of the fourth quarter.

Fingerprint Cards said it will cut around 179 staff, and the restructuring costs are seen at 65 million crowns, which will mainly be taken in the third quarter.

“We are continuing to adapt our operations to the fundamental and rapid change in business conditions, with the objective of returning to profitable growth,” Fingerprint Cards Chief Executive Christian Fredrikson said in a statement.

“The cost reduction measures we are communicating today are important in order to strengthen our competitiveness,” he added.

The company also said it would make an inventory write-down of around 336 million Swedish crowns and a 143 million crown write-off of capitalized research and development (R&D) projects.

During the first quarter of 2018, Fingerprint Cards implemented another cost reduction program, seen generating cost savings of 360 million crowns this year.

Fingerprint Cards’ shares are down 60 percent so far in 2018 year on the back of rapidly falling sales and earnings.

Reporting by Johannes Hellstrom

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General Electric: Strong Buy

The drop in General Electric‘s (GE) share price is yet another buying opportunity in my opinion. The industrial company has seen a considerable rebound in investor sentiment after the release of better-than-expected first quarter results, and the recent sale of General Electric’s rail business to Wabtec puts the company on the right track. GE will likely continue to shred more assets in the next several years and apply a laser-sharp focus on the restructuring of its power business. I see General Electric as an appealing contrarian rebound play with up to 40 percent upside potential over the next twelve months.

Rebounding Investor Sentiment…Until The Last Week Of May

General Electric’s shares started to rebound in April and May, after falling rather consistently throughout the first three months of 2018. Concerns over weak cash flow, a struggling power unit, and uncertainty after the dividend cut in Q4-2017 have weighed on investor sentiment at the beginning of the year.

That being said, though, investor sentiment is improving after the industrial company reported better-than-expected results for Q1-2018. Most recently, however, GE’s share price has dipped again on concerns that the power restructuring will take longer than expected.

Year-to-date, General Electric’s share price has dropped ~19 percent.

Source: StockCharts

The recovery in General Electric’s share price looked fine, until May 23, 2018 when John Flannery, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of General Electric, said that he expects GE’s power division to continue to struggle in the near future. Further, the CEO cast some doubt on its dividend, which made investors ditch the stock yet again. GE’s stock, meanwhile, tumbled more than seven percent.

Investors were quickly rattled by the CEO’s remarks about the restructuring of its power division, but there were few things that were actually new. The power division, as all investors know, has been a drag on GE’s earnings and margins, including the first quarter of 2018.

Source: General Electric Q1-18 Earnings Release

General Electric is running a hard restructuring, laying off people and reducing overhead costs. The company has guided for $1 billion in segment cost reductions in 2018, and has put a set of measures in place aimed at boosting performance, including driving better execution, taking margin actions, and selling non-core assets.

Source: General Electric Investor Presentation

I think General Electric is doing the right things as far as the power restructuring is concerned, and investors should give the industrial company some time to turn the ship around.

Are There Risks To The Dividend?

General Electric slashed its quarterly dividend payout 50 percent from $0.24/share to $0.12/share in November 2017, which was the second time since the financial crisis that the company slashed its dividend.

Is the dividend sustainable?

Frankly, that depends to a large degree on whether General Electric can engineer a cash flow turnaround.

Here’s GE’s industrial cash flow from 2012-2017.

Source: Achilles Research

Asset sales, however, could play a major role in boosting GE’s cash flow, at least over the short haul. General Electric recently sold its 111-year old rail transportation unit to Wabtec in an $11.1 billion deal. The industrial company will receive a $2.9 billion cash payment associated with the deal.

What To Expect Over The Next 12 Months

Obviously, General Electric will be tempted to sell more assets and raise its cash levels. I don’t think that management will want to cut the dividend again unless cash flow unexpectedly and significantly deteriorates.

Further, General Electric is strongly focused on driving the power restructuring home, but it may take a couple of quarters for investors to see meaningful results. That being said, GE’s laser focus on improving margins in the power business through cost controls and asset sales will likely lead to an incremental improvement in cash flow throughout the year. GE certainly deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Valuation

General Electric’s shares are cheap, selling for less than 14x next year’s estimated profits while investor sentiment is probably still near multi-year lows.

I am still positive on General Electric’s ability to turn things around in the power business in 2018/9. Hence, I reaffirm my $20 price target on GE, implying ~40 percent upside.

Chart

GE data by YCharts

Your Takeaway

General Electric’s share price slumped after Flannery’s comments at an industry conference last month, and the drop is a promising opportunity to consider a speculative long position in my opinion. General Electric will likely sell more non-core assets in 2018 and drive a hard, cost-centered restructuring in the power business. GE’s shares are relatively cheap on a forward P/E-basis, and there is room for improvement in investor sentiment, especially if the restructuring yields cash flow gains. Strong speculative Buy.

If you like to read more of my articles, and like to be kept up to date with the companies I cover, I kindly ask you that you scroll to the top of this page and click ‘follow‘. I am largely investing in dividend paying stocks, but also venture out occasionally and cover special situations that offer appealing reward-to-risk ratios and have potential for significant capital appreciation. Above all, my immediate investment goal is to achieve financial independence.

Disclosure: I am/we are long GE.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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Hulu Exec Joel Stillerman Departs in Management Shakeup

A year ago, Hulu announced that it had hired Joel Stillerman away from AMC to expand the streaming platform’s slate of original programming.

On Friday, Hulu announced that the chief content officer was leaving the company.

The departure of Stillerman, who worked on The Walking Dead and Better Call Saul while at AMC, was part of a broader reorganization at the Santa Monica company. There has been some tumult in the upper ranks at Hulu, which saw its chief executive, Mike Hopkins, depart in October to become the head of Sony’s television division. Randy Freer, the former COO of Fox Networks Group, replaced Hopkins—who had hired Stillerman—and recent reports suggest that Freer and Stillerman didn’t get along.

Following Stillerman’s departure from Hulu, the company’s chief content officer role will disappear. Craig Erwich, Hulu’s senior vice president of content, will oversee original programming. Tim Connolly, Hulu’s SVP of partnerships and distribution, and Ben Smith, SVP of experience, will also depart the company. Additionally, CMO Kelly Campbell will assume more responsibility, Jaya Kolhatkar will become Chief Data Officer, and Dan Phillips will become CTO.

Hulu is co-owned by Comcast, Time Warner, Disney, and 21st Century Fox, which itself agreed to be acquired by Disney earlier this year. (If Disney prevails, it would become Hulu’s majority owner.) That complicated ownership structure, rather unlike rival Netflix, has been characterized as a drag on the company’s ability to make decisions.

Hulu now reaches more than 20 million subscribers, and its service has expanded to include live television, more original programming (e.g. The Handmaid’s Tale), and deeper reserves of popular TV shows including 30 Rock and E.R. But Hulu remains unprofitable—almost $1 billion in the red last year—as it battles Netflix, Amazon, Google, and Time Warner-owned HBO for market share.

“Hulu has an enormous opportunity to lead the media and advertising industries into the future,” Freer said in a statement.

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Driving The Digital Agenda Through Outcome-Based Models

, I have covered the oil and gas sectors for more than 20 years. Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Shutterstock

Technology has the potential to create enormous opportunity, but also presents several challenges. Digital disruption in the oil and gas space is no different. As many sectors worldwide have embarked on their own digital journeys, the energy sector has also started to explore the promise of digital enablement and Big Data.

One of the companies leading the march into digital future is Baker Hughes, a GE company (BHGE); merging the oil and gas expertise that Baker Hughes has developed over its many years in the sector with GE’s digital expertise from manufacturing, aerospace and healthcare amongst many other sectors. I recently sat down with Dean Arnison, global product leader-subsea production systems and services, at BHGE to explore what he felt digitization meant to the oil and gas sector.

Arnison believes that there are two main areas for improvement that will continue to dominate. One, in driving up productivity and two, in driving down cost, with new business models, strong partnerships and integrated service models central to these efforts. “We have seen some movement towards operators and suppliers working in a more unified manner, sharing data across the value chain, and this is something we expect to continue,” he said. “When you consider the levels of trust required for this type of integration and data sharing, however, there are undoubtedly significant barriers.”

Through the downcycle we have seen companies talk about the need to make oil and gas developments profitable at break-evens of as low as $35 per barrel. Regardless of whether it’s onshore or offshore, the industry needs new technology solutions that can help lower non-productive time, reduce cost per barrel and increase recovery rates. “So long as the industry makes sure its digital efforts are aligned with stakeholder interests, I believe we will see value created,” Arnison added. “An example from within our own business is in outcome-based business models, as opposed to transactional relationships. While still in its infancy, this approach, enabled by digital tools, is something we anticipate will become increasingly mainstream.”

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Galaxy S10 Leak Reveals Samsung's Radical Breakthrough

, Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

While the upcoming Galaxy Note9 phablet is not expected to be anything more than an iterative update on the existing hardware, the real leap forward according to all reports is going to come with the Galaxy S10. The latest reports out of South Korea suggest one of the advanced technologies is now finally ready for widespread consumer adoption.

That technology is the oft-discussed under-the-screen fingerprint reader. While a number of small-run handsets have demonstrated this biometric ability, Samsung has been seen to shy away from putting it in its handsets which have much larger production runs and demand far higher yield rates at scale. As SamMobile reports, the go/no-go point has been reached, and all the indications are that the South Korean company has decided to make the call:

The impression we get from recent reports is that the company has made a final decision on the matter.

The latest report claims that Samsung has “confirmed” to its industry partners that it has decided to adopt the in-display fingerprint sensor for the Galaxy S10. The display panel will be supplied by Samsung Display whereas Qualcomm is said to be supplying the ultrasonic fingerprint sensor.

Samsung president of mobile communications business DJ Koh presents the new Samsung Galaxy S9 mobile phone during the Samsung Galaxy S9 Unpacked event (Photo:Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images)

The inclusion of the technology in the tenth major Galaxy S handset would be a strong statement of intent that the Galaxy brand is still one that can have an impact in the smartphone world. The Galaxy S9 (and arguably the S8 family before it) have been iterative builds, improving the specifications and techniques used in previous flagships without breaking any genuine new ground.

While Chinese manufacturer Vivo might scoff, Samsung would be seen as the first to bring this to the mainstream. And there;s every chance that the launch of the Galaxy S10 will be one of the big smartphone firsts of 2019 if  Samsung brings the reveal forwards to CES in January. The early display of the S10 would see the company anointed as one of change, and leave Mobile World Congress open for the foldable Galaxy X to confirm that role.

Now read more about Samsung’s accelerated launch schedule for the Note9, S10, and Galaxy X…

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Climate Change Made Zombie Ants Even More Cunning

Raquel Loreto is a zombie hunter, and a good one. But traipsing through dried leaves in a hot forest in Sanda, at the southern end of Japan, she needed a guide. Just a few months before, she’d been on the internet and come across the work of artist Shigeo Ootak, whose fantastical images depict humans with curious protrusions erupting from their heads. She got in touch, and he invited her to Japan for a hike to find his inspiration.

Ootak knew precisely where to look: six feet off the ground. And there in a sparse forest, that’s where they found it: the zombie ant, an entrancing species with two long hooks coming out of its back. By now you may have heard its famous tale. A parasitic fungus, known as Ophiocordyceps, invades an ant’s body, growing through its tissues and soaking up nutrients. Then it somehow orders its host to march out of the nest and up a tree above the colony’s trails. The fungus commands the ant to bite onto the vein of a leaf, then kills the thing and grows as a stalk out of the back of its head, turning it into a showerhead raining spores onto victims down below.

That’s how it all goes down in South American forests, where Loreto had already spent plenty of time. But the zombie she found on her hike in Japan was different. First of all, the fungus had driven it higher up a tree. And two, it hadn’t bitten onto a leaf, but had wrapped itself around a twig, hanging upside down.

See, in the tropics, leaves stay on trees all year—but in Japan, they wither and fall. Same goes for zombie ants in the southern United States. By ordering the ant to lock onto a twig, the fungus helps ensure it can stay perched long enough to mature and rain death on more ants. In a study out today in the journal Evolution, Loreto and her colleagues show that divergence between leaf-biting and twig-biting seems to have been a consequence of ancient climate change. So who knows, modern climate change may also do interesting things to the evolution of the parasite.

Come back in time with me 47 million years to an unrecognizable Germany. It’s much hotter and wetter. As such, evergreen forests grow not only up through Europe, but all the way up to the arctic circle. One day, a zombie ant wanders up a tree and bites onto the vein of a leaf, which conveniently enough gets fossilized. Time goes on. The climate cools, and Germany’s wet forests turn temperate.

Almost a decade ago, Penn State entomologist David Hughes looked at that fossil leaf and noticed the tell-tale bite marks of a zombie ant. “Given the fossil evidence in Germany, we know leaf biting occurred then,” say Hughes, a coauthor on the paper. “We suspect that it was also present in North America, and as those populations responded to climate change and the cooling temperature, we see a shift from biting leaves to dying on twigs.”

David Hughes

As vegetation changed from evergreen to deciduous, the fungus found itself in a pickle. But evolution loves a pickle. Ophio adapted independently in Japan and North America to order the ant to seek out twigs, which provided a more reliable, longer-term perch. The fungus grows much slower.

Loreto and Hughes know this thanks to the work of Kim Fleming, a citizen scientist who discovered zombie ant graveyards on her property in South Carolina. She’s been collecting meticulous data for the researchers, scouring the forest for the zombies and marking them with colored tape. “I made a map for myself so I wouldn’t get lost and leave some out,” says Fleming. (For her efforts, she’s now got a species of her very own: Ophiocordyceps kimflemingiae.)

What Fleming helped discover is that while in the tropics the fungus reaches full maturity in one or two months, in temperate climes like hers, the fungus sets up its zombie ant on a twig in June, but doesn’t reach maturity until the next year. In fact, the fungi may actually freeze over the winter. If it were attached to a leaf, it’d tumble to the ground in the fall.

“So it’s almost as if they’ve decided that nothing is going to happen this year, I’m just going to have to sit around because I don’t have time to mature and get spores out,” says Hughes. Plus, the ants hibernate in the winter anyway. Even if the fungus shot spores, there’d be no ants to infect—they’ll all chilling underground in their nest.

Opting for twigs does come with a downside, though: It’s really tough to get good purchase. Until, that is, the fungus initiates a second behavior, ordering the ant to wrap its limbs around the twig, sometimes crossing the legs on the other side of the twig for extra strength. “The hyphae of the fungus growing out of the legs works as glue on the twig as well,” says Loreto. “Sometimes they would even slide down the twig, but they wouldn’t fall.”

It’s hard to imagine how a fungus with no brain could figure this all out, but that’s the power of evolution. And it goes further: In June in temperate climes, the forest is still full of both twigs and leaves, yet the fungus directs zombie ants to lock onto twigs exclusively. And in the Amazon, where it’s lush all year round, they only ever lock onto leaves. “How in the name of … whoever … does the fungus inside the body know what the difference between the leaf and the twig is?” Hughes asks. It always has both options, yet only ever “chooses” one—the best strategy for its particular surroundings.

And so a parasitic manipulation that already defied human credulity grows ever more incredible, far beyond any work of zombie fiction. Your move, Hollywood.


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Microsoft Monday: GDPR Applying Globally, Xbox 360 System Update Launches, June Xbox One Update

Microsoft logo on a building in Issy-les-Moulineaux, France.  (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

“Microsoft Monday” is a weekly column that focuses on all things Microsoft. This week “Microsoft Monday” features news about the GDPR compliance, the June Xbox One Update, an Xbox 360 system update being released and more!

GDPR Compliance

On May 25th, the European Union rolled out new regulations known as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). GDPR requires that users need to have better access to the personal data that technology companies store and better controls for erasing it.

“We’ve been advocating for national privacy legislation in the United States since 2005. We’re encouraged that some other tech companies are starting to endorse the need to address this issue as well. While debate about how to protect data privacy continues in the U.S., we’re committed to moving forward now to take concrete steps to help strengthen people’s privacy protection,” said Microsoft in a blog post. “That’s why today we are announcing that we will extend the rights that are at the heart of GDPR to all of our consumer customers worldwide. Known as Data Subject Rights, they include the right to know what data we collect about you, to correct that data, to delete it and even to take it somewhere else. Our privacy dashboard gives users the tools they need to take control of their data.”

To further adhere to the GDPR regulations, Microsoft announced the general availability of several compliance tools. The tools include “the Azure GDPR Data Subject Request (DSR) portal, Azure Policy, Compliance Manager for GDPR, Data Log Export, and the Azure Security and Compliance Blueprint for GDPR.”

The Azure Data Subject Request (DSR) enables businesses to manage personal data in the cloud. And Azure will enable customers to access system-generated logs as part of Azure services.

The Azure Policy is a tool for defining and enforcing policies that help your cloud environment become compliant with internal policies and external regulations as well. The Azure Policy is integrated into the Azure Resource Manager and applies across resources in Azure.

The Compliance Manager for Azure is a free Microsoft cloud services solution that was created to help users manage complex compliance obligations. And it helps users assess and manage GDPR compliance.

June Xbox One Update To Save Multiple Wi-Fi Passwords

In a blog post, Microsoft announced the new preview Alpha 1806 System Update, which is being rolled out to members of the Xbox One Preview Alpha Ring. Some of the features in this build will be available immediately, but others will be added over time in system update 1806 (June Update).

The new features include the ability to group your games and apps, improved search functionality and the ability to save multiple Wi-Fi passwords. Other notable features include the ability to hit Y anywhere on the dashboard to pull up search and there are five new languages for the Narrator.

Xbox 360 System Update Released

Microsoft has just released an Xbox 360 system update, which comes two years since the last update for the older generation console. The delay was largely due to Microsoft focusing more on releasing updates for newer consoles like the Xbox One and Xbox One X.

OS version 2.0.17526.0 for the Xbox 360 was released on May 22, 2018, according to OnMSFT. The previous Xbox 360 system update was on March 29, 2016. The system update included several minor bug fixes and performance improvements.

If you have an Xbox 360, you can download the system update by going to the Settings hub and tapping on the System icon. Then go to Console Settings and then System Info.

Remote Assist And Layout Mixed Reality Apps Now Available In Limited Preview

At the Build 2018 event, Microsoft unveiled mixed reality apps designed with first-line workers in mind called Remote Assist and Layout. In a blog post, Microsoft’s Lorraine Bardeen revealed that the apps are now available in a “limited-time” preview download.

With the HoloLens, the Remote Assist app can be used for “hands-free video calling, image sharing and mixed reality annotations.” And people wearing the HoloLens can share what they see with users through the mixed reality headset.

The Layout app was designed to help people use HoloLens to “bring space designs from concept to completion much more quickly by viewing their designs at real-world size and scale.” Users can use the Layout app to design physical spaces by importing 3D models and collaborating with others to manage it.

Paul Allen Donates $1 Million For Gun Control In Washington State

According to Geekwire, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen is donating $1 million for an initiative intended to implement tougher restrictions for the sale of semiautomatic weapons in the state of Washington. Allen partnered with venture capitalist Nick Hanauer to raise nearly $3 million.

The Alliance for Gun Responsibility said that voters in Washington will be able to vote on Initiative 1639 in November. This initiative would increase the minimum age for purchasing semiautomatic rifles to 21 and set up enhanced background checks. This would be a similar process for what is involved in purchasing handguns. And Initiative 1639 would require people to go through firearm safety training and requires a waiting period of up to 10 days to purchase the weapon.

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