Ken Levine confirms Bioshock Infinite wont have multiplayer

first_imgEarlier this year, there were rumours that Bioshock Infinite’s multiplayer modes had been cancelled, now Ken Levine has confirmed that is indeed the case. He announced there would be no multiplayer when a fan asked about it on Twitter.Bioshock 2 was the first in the series to have a multiplayer mode and although there were many different game types, it mostly saw you as a splicer, killing and competing against other splicers. It got a luke-warm reception and obviously, Levine must have decided it wouldn’t work in Infinite.Some gamers may worry about a lack of multiplayer as it often adds to the longetivity of a game, but it’s likely that most will be relieved as bad multiplayer can also detract from a title. It also means Irrational Games‘ attention is not diverted away from the all important single-player experience and main story. Bioshock Infinite looks like an emotional, story-driven game, and fans will be playing it for the single player experience.In Infinite, you play a Pinkerton agent called Booker DeWitt and you’re on a rescue mission to save a woman called Elizabeth who’s been imprisoned since she was a child. It looks very different from the previous Bioshock games, which were dark and creepy. In comparison, it’s a very bright and colorful looking game.The first Bioshock proved multiplayer wasn’t needed to make a successful game, Infinite is better off without it. Infinite plans to launch worldwide on February 26 next year. Let’s hope it can still make that release date.via GClast_img read more

InfraredInfused Activewear Promotes Recovery

first_imgStay on target Keto Turns Your Smartphone Into Your Car KeysCovert Dock for Nintendo Switch Fits in Your Pocket Anyone who stays active—playing sports, doing yoga, going to the gym—understands the need for high-quality workout clothes.As does Spiritus, an Australian startup crowdfunding its specially engineered activewear.The athleisure line is made from an “exclusive” fabric—the result of a collaboration with tech and textile manufacturers XT2 and Celliant.Embedded infrared fibers help promote blood circulation, energy recovery, and cell regeneration, while silver material kills bacteria to prevent odors and keep clothes smelling fresh. (That doesn’t mean you don’t have to shower between barre class and work.)Activewear by Spiritus (via Kickstarter)The quick-dry fabric wicks away moisture and promises drying time up to 35 percent faster than standard polyester; it also protects wearers from harmful UV radiation.“We created Spiritus with young professionals in mind,” co-founder Kevin Dinh said in a statement. “With this active wear, anyone can transition seamlessly from the office to the gym. They will feel less sore after their workout, and Spiritus dries quickly and smells fresh—even after the most strenuous workout, whether outside or in the gym.”Collections are available now to pre-order—as individual pieces or a bundle. Keep in mind, though, that male clothes (T-shirt, tank top, compression shorts) cost about $40 less than the female set (crop top, tank, leggings)—the result of divergent production costs, Spiritus told Geek in an email.Activewear by Spiritus (via Kickstarter)This isn’t the manufacturer’s first Kickstarter rodeo: Spiritus last month launched the same campaign, which shuttered after two weeks, only to relaunch on July 11. A smart move, it seems, as the company surpassed 100 percent funding only four days later.As of press time, Spiritus activewear has collected more than $8,000 from 75 backers; interested customers have 21 more days to pledge.The Melbourne-based team includes engineer Dihn, sports-shoe entrepreneur Kent Le, fashion designer Brianna Wood, and an in-house personal trainer.Let us know what you like about Geek by taking our surveylast_img read more

Japans emperor abdicates in 200year first

first_imgJapan`s Emperor Akihito and Empress Michiko attend a ritual called Taiirei-Seiden-no-gi, a ceremony for the Emperor`s abdication, at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo, Japan 30 April, 2019. Photo: ReutersEmperor Akihito of Japan formally stepped down Tuesday, the first abdication for 200 years in the world’s oldest monarchy, as his son Naruhito prepared to take the Chrysanthemum Throne and usher in a new imperial era.In the “Room of Pine” in Tokyo’s Imperial Palace, the popular 85-year-old performed the abdication ritual in the presence of the imperial regalia — an ancient sword and sacred jewel that are considered to legitimise an emperor.In his final speech, Akihito offered his “deepest heartfelt gratitude to the people of Japan” and said he would “pray for the peace and happiness of all the people in Japan and around the world.”Despite near-constant rain in Tokyo, several hundred wellwishers congregated outside the Palace during the historic ceremony attended by around 300 people, including Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and around a dozen members of the royal family.”I feel overwhelmed emotionally,” said a tearful Yayoi Iwasaki, a 50-year-old bank employee, standing outside the palace.”In the past, enthronements followed the death of emperors and people weren’t sure whether they should be happy and celebrating, but with this transition, I am sure that we can celebrate while welcoming the new era,” she said.Akihito will technically remain emperor until the stroke of midnight when Naruhito takes over and the new era of “Reiwa” — meaning “beautiful harmony” — begins, lasting for as long as he reigns.Earlier Tuesday, draped in ornate golden-brown robes and wearing a towering black hat, Akihito reported his abdication to his ancestors and Shinto gods at several sanctuaries in the palace.On Wednesday, the 59-year-old Naruhito will inherit the imperial regalia in a 10-minute ceremony that is off-limits to female royals, even his wife Masako. He will shortly afterwards make his first address to the nation as its 126th emperor.Crowds were expected to gather to count down to the new era outside the palace and at the scramble crossing in Tokyo’s lively Shibuya district, although the drizzle threatened to dampen some of the enthusiasm.Security has been beefed up with extra police patrols on the streets, sniffer dogs scouring the palace grounds and even divers inspecting the moat.A more public enthronement ceremony will take place on October 22, during which Naruhito will parade through the streets of the capital and be congratulated by other world leaders and royalty.President Donald Trump sent congratulations, offering “heartfelt appreciation” to the outgoing imperial couple and stressing the “close relationship” between the US and Japan.He will become the first foreign leader to meet the new emperor on a trip in May.- ‘New royal duties’ -Born in 1933 as Japan was embarking on a militaristic sweep across Asia in the name of his father Hirohito, the 11-year-old Akihito listened in tears as his nation’s defeat in World War II was announced in an unprecedented radio address.He has broken new ground in the sensitive role, expressing regret over Japan’s wartime actions and gradually modernising the royal family and bringing it closer to the people.Akihito and his wife Michiko, whom he met at a tennis tournament in 1959, touched hearts in Japan and around the world when they knelt before survivors of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami and listened to stories of terrible suffering.”It is true the emperor is seen to be like a god, but at the same time, you felt that you were close to him,” Rikia Iwasaki, a 13-year-old schoolboy, told AFP outside the Imperial Palace.The Oxford-educated Naruhito now faces the delicate balancing act of continuing his father’s popular legacy while upholding the traditions of the Chrysanthemum Throne that stretch back centuries.He has called for “new royal duties” to fit modern times and has criticised the sometimes stifling lifestyle imposed on royals, especially as his wife Masako has struggled to adapt to palace life.- ‘Ultra-aged’ -The abdication has resulted in a 10-day holiday in Japan, although polls show many famously hard-working Japanese were opposed to such a long break.They have nonetheless taken the opportunity to travel, with bullet trains and airports overflowing and Tokyo’s usually packed commuter trains eerily empty at rush hour.Entrepreneurs have sold everything from “Reiwa” bottles of sake to $10 cans of air from the “Heisei” era of Akihito’s reign.Japan has witnessed a tumultuous change from 1989 when it last ushered in a new era.Then, Japan ruled the world economically in the middle of a technology-fuelled boom that caused soaring land prices and sparked wild cost comparisons: the Imperial Palace grounds were said to be worth more than all of Canada.Now, Japan is battling sluggish growth and chronically low inflation with a population in decline that will soon become the world’s first “ultra-aged” society, with 28 percent of people over 65.last_img

Netflix Starts Production on Its First Dutch Original Series Ares

first_img ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Popular on Variety Netflix has started production on “Ares,” its first Dutch original series, the streaming giant announced Tuesday. Filming is taking place in Amsterdam, where Netflix’s European headquarters have been based since 2015. “Ares” will launch on the platform later this year.An eight-part psychological horror, “Ares” stars Jade Olieberg, Tobias Kersloot, Lisa Smit, Robin Boissevain, and Frieda Barnhard. It is directed by Giancarlo Sanchez and Michiel ten Horn with script development run by Michael Leendertse for production company Pupkin.Plans for a then-untitled first Dutch production from Pupkin were first announced in April 2018. Erik Barmack, Netflix’s vice president of international original series, said at the time that a Dutch original had been on Netflix’s “wish list” for some time.center_img Created by Pieter Kuijpers, the series enters the world of a secret student society in the heart of Amsterdam where best friends Rosa (Olieberg) and Jacob (Kersloot) surrender to a world of wealth and power. Soon they start to realize they’ve entered a demonic place, built on secrets from the country’s past.The cast also includes Rifka Lodeizen, Roos Dickmann, Jip van den Dool, Steef de Bot, Janni Goslinga, Dennis Rudge, Minne Koole, Jennifer Welts, and Florence Vos Weeda.“Ares” is produced by Kuijpers, Iris Otten, and Sander van Meurs. It is written by Winchester McFly alongside a writing team of Leendertse, Thomas van der Ree, Joost Reijmers, Matthijs Bockting, Pieter van den Berg, and Sarah Offringa.Netflix has continued to ramp up local content production since launching its first non-English language original series in 2015 with the Spanish-language series “Club of Crows.” Most recently the streaming giant announced five new Spanish original series; an English- and Yiddish-language series, “Unorthodox,” from “Deutschland 83” creator Anna Winger; and a move into original German-language films.last_img read more

Richard Branson Holding Digital Currency Summit on Private Caribbean Island

first_img Most people wouldn’t turn down a few days in the Caribbean, but the sunny locale isn’t necessarily the first place that comes to mind when you think of cryptocurrency.But this May, Virgin Group founder Richard Branson is set to hold the Blockchain Summit on Necker Island, his 74-acre private island in the British Virgin Islands, to discuss the future of Bitcoin, Blockchain and digital currency. (Blockchain is the software infrastructure that supports Bitcoin transactions — not to be confused with Blockchain.info, which is a digital wallet service.)Related: Is Bitcoin Speculative Foolery or a Financial Services Breakthrough?Branson is sharing hosting duties with Valery Vavilov, the CEO of Bitfury, a company that develops servers for “Blockchain transaction processing,” Pro kiteboarder Suzi Mai and VC Bill Tai, the co-founders of MaiTai Global and George Kikvadze, the managing director of the Georgian Co-Investment Fund.The Summit participants — who are likely to be on the receiving end of Branson’s penchant for practical jokes — hail from the worlds of venture capital, finance and technology, including Lars Rasmussen, Facebook’s former engineering director and inventor of Google Maps, futurist Marshall Thurber, James Newsome, a former chairman of the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Matthew Roszak, the founder of Tally Capital and Young Sohn, the president and CSO of Samsung Electronics.Related: Winklevoss Twins: Bitcoin Is Like a ‘Child Taking Its First Steps’ But Will One Day Win the Finance MarathonThe discussions will be moderated by The Wall Street Journal senior columnist Michael J. Casey, The Economist’s Globalization Editor Matthew Bishop and Hernando de Soto, president of the Institute for Liberty and Democracy.Branson has been a supporter of exploring Bitcoin for some time. Last fall, ahead of the first the Global Digital Currency Conversation Forum in Australia, Branson explained his rationale for investing in the cryptocurrency, writing “There’s a real desire for greater levels of control, freedom and scrutiny over what happens with our money, Bitcoin addresses these concerns and that is why so many people believe it represents the future.” Related: ‘Days Felt Like Years’: What Morgan Spurlock Found When He Tried to Survive on Bitcoin for a Week Enroll Now for Free 2 min read Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Nowcenter_img This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. April 28, 2015last_img read more

Lifes Irie onboard Carnival 20

first_imgThe days of moving through the ranks from waiter to DJ are being phased out on Carnival with the new ‘Fun Ship 2.0′ initiative. In an exclusive interview with e-Travel Blackboard, Carnival’s new Official DJ, DJ Irie, spoke of his involvement with the cruise line to bring a revamped vibe to partying onboard their fleet.Selected for the prestigious role due to his popularity and experience as the official DJ of the Miami Heat basketball team, celebrities including Jamie Foxx and extensive nightclub gigs, Irie will select DJs to go through ‘Spiniversity’ onboard several Carnival ships before deciding if they have what it takes.”We wanted to give everyone an opportunity to be a part of the program,” Irie said from Miami last week.”Just because you are already working on the ship does not guarantee that you will be successful and get into the program. We’ve had people not make it already!”I’m looking for the best, if I’m going to put my name on something and certify it, it has to be what I feel is top notch.”Current DJs onboard will be given the opportunity to enroll in ‘Spiniversity’ and, if Irie deems them successful, they will be placed back in their role as DJ.A strong knowledge and background in all aspects and styles of music is a must for Carnival DJs with Irie acknowledging the multicultural aspect onboard.”One thing we pride ourselves on is being very inclusive. People that cruise come from all walks of life, all different backgrounds, all different colours and races. If you are on a cruise, at some point you should be hearing something you can really get into. From country to pop, rock to reggae.”He encouraged DJs thinking of applying for the program to research different styles of music and think of themselves as ambassadors of atmosphere onboard at all times, not just when they’re behind the decks.”The DJ is the star of the show. They are creating the mood, vibe and energy which is done with more than just music.”Although excited to be partnering with the cruise line, DJ Irie made his disagreement of the name of the initiative very clear.”The concept around the whole new launch is just fantastic. I love the program but I disagree with the name because this is like ‘Fun Ship 8.0′. 2.0 is such an understatement! Where can they go from here?”Whilst he may have DJ’d onboard Carnival Magic’s inaugural U.S. sailing from Galveston, Texas last month, his plan is to surprise passengers moving forward with no onboard gigs being confirmed officially. Irie does share that he will be performing on one of the Carnival Breeze voyages departing from Miami when she launches in 2012 and hints that he may appear onboard a Carnival ship in the Mediterranean next northern hemisphere summer.Click here to read about DJ Irie’s favourite places to travel when he’s not working. DJ Irie has a laugh with George Lopez at the Carnival Fun Ship 2.0 announcement in NYC DJ Irie and Guy Fieri at the Carnival Fun Ship 2.0 announcement in NYCcenter_img Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.Alast_img read more

Rep LaFontaine announces August office hour

first_img21Aug Rep. LaFontaine announces August office hour State Rep. Andrea LaFontaine, R-Columbus Township, is hosting an office hour this month, giving residents the opportunity to meet with her locally.No appointment is necessary to speak with the representative from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 28, at Biggby Coffee, 36540 Green St., New Baltimore. All are welcome to hear legislative updates and discuss topics of interest or concern during this time.Residents who are unable to attend but would like to share feedback may contact Rep. LaFontaine’s office toll free at 866-347-8032 (866-DIST-032), via email at AndreaLaFontaine@house.mi.gov or online at RepLaFontaine.com.### Categories: Newslast_img

Rep Hauck announces recreational grant recommendation for local park

first_img Categories: Hauck News,News State Rep. Roger Hauck today announced a grant has been recommended by the Natural Resources Trust Fund Board to develop a trail and make improvements at Island Park in Mount Pleasant.Hauck, of Union Township, said the improvements at the park will increase the recreational opportunities in the area and make the park’s iconic bridge safer. Funding for the project is comprised of revenue from the lease of state land and is designated on an annual basis in partnership with local governments.“The improvements at the park will not only offer families a fun location to go outside and play, but also will give runners and walkers more opportunities to improve their fitness,” Hauck said. “The funding for this grant is a great example of how state and local governments can work together to improve a community.”The $153,000 grant will pay for development of an eight-foot-wide universally accessible path, fitness stations and a replacement for the 28-year-old pedestrian bridge between Island Park and Pickens Park. Improvement of the trail will complete the one-mile loop within Island Park, which is part of the Mid-Michigan Community Pathway.Rep. Hauck said the Legislature will consider the grant recommendations in 2018.##### 28Dec Rep. Hauck announces recreational grant recommendation for local parklast_img read more

Committee approves Brann bill to help solve missing person cases

first_img Categories: Brann News,News 20Feb Committee approves Brann bill to help solve missing person cases The House Law and Justice Committee today unanimously approved state Rep. Tommy Brann’s legislation to require Michigan law enforcement officials to share information into a national missing person database.The bill specifies all information pertaining to missing, unidentified and unclaimed persons to be uploaded to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs). NamUs is a free system, gathering information from medical examiners, law enforcement officials and general public into its three databases, which then compares cases and evidence for matches.“Use of the NamUs database will help solve cases and give families answers on the whereabouts of their loved ones,” said Brann, of Wyoming. “This is an opportunity for our law enforcement to use a tool that is focused on finding people who are missing or unidentified.”During committee testimony on Feb. 13, Brann was joined by Sgt. Det. Sarah Krebs of the Michigan State Police, who referenced several Michigan-based cases that were later solved and granted closure to the families.Current law enforcement policy has this information shared on the national Law Enforcement Information Network (LEIN), with Brann’s bill adding NamUs.“LEIN is an incredibly useful tool for law enforcement,” Brann said, “but that doesn’t have the same capability of three databases working together for missing, unidentified and unclaimed persons. Using this database will save lives and provide the necessary closure for families and loved ones.”House Bill 4633 advances to the House for its consideration.#####last_img read more

Rep Hank Vaupel Weekly Column April 23 2018

first_imgPHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Hank Vaupel (center) receives the Jean Chabut Health Policy Champion Award from the Michigan Public Health Week Partnership. 23Apr Rep. Hank Vaupel Weekly Column: April 23, 2018 PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Hank Vaupel (second from right) and State Sen. Joe Hune (left) welcome Adam Coon and his mother Dana Coon to the Capitol. Categories: Vaupel News I recently introduced a House Resolution to declare May 2018 as Mental Health Awareness Month in Michigan. While the C.A.R.E.S. mental health task force I co-chaired has submitted its findings, the work is just beginning. Eleven bills designed to help those with mental health issues have already been approved by the House of Representatives, and 23 more are currently under consideration by committees. I continue working to find solutions to mental health challenges, and public awareness of the issue is a big part of moving forward.***I was honored to help recognize local 911 emergency telecommunication dispatchers at a ceremony last Friday. These selfless men and women provide professional service and dedication while facing great stress. They deserve our appreciation for all they do. Congratulations to Dan Stevens for winning Employee of the Year, Meghan Kautman on receiving the Award of Excellence and Appreciation, and Lori Bourbeau for her 15 years of service!***It was another busy week attending events throughout the county. I was present for The Arc of Livingston’s Stepping Stones for a Successful Transition program cohosted by the Livingston Educational Service Agency. The program offers assistance for adults with developmental disabilities. Thank you to all who participated and helped with this important event and opportunity.I presented a state tribute to Clay McKenzie at his Eagle Scout Court of Honor. Eagle Scouts provide tremendous community leadership and service, and achieving the rank of Eagle Scout is a major accomplishment. Clay’s work with the Connection Youth Services is commendable, and I know he has a bright future ahead.I also had the chance to see the Fowlerville Community Players perform “Annie.” It was a great performance that highlighted some of our tremendous local talent.***On Thursday, I was pleased to welcome Adam Coon to the House floor to present him with a state tribute. Adam is a Fowlerville High School graduate and senior at the University of Michigan. He is one of the top college wrestlers in the country, and he is currently training to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in addition to maintaining his 4.0 grade point average. Adam has accomplished amazing things, and I look forward to seeing his future successes.***I was humbled to be presented the 2018 Jean Chabut Health Policy Champion Award as part of National Public Health Week. I am honored to take a leadership role in working toward a healthier and safer Michigan and am proud of what we have accomplished. I will remain committed to this important cause.***It was another successful year for the Livingston County Home Show and Taste of Livingston. Well done to the Howell Chamber of Commerce for putting together such a great event. I enjoyed seeing everyone, and I look forward to next year!***Thank you to all who attended my April office hours. I hope you’ll be able to join me again next month on Friday, May 18 at the following times and locations:2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Fowlerville Farms, 941 S. Grand Ave. in Fowlerville;4 to 5 p.m. at Biggby Coffee, 11325 W. Highland Road in Hartland; and5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at All Star Coney Island, 934 Michigan Ave. in Howell.***If you have any ideas, comments or questions for my office, please do not hesitate to call us at 517-373-8835 or send an email to HankVaupel@house.mi.gov. We are happy to hear from you!last_img read more

Rep Slagh attends annual State of the State address

first_imgPHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Bradley Slagh, of Zeeland, attends the Governor’s annual State of the State address with Nancy DeBoer, Mayor of Holland (left), and Sarah Leach, Editor-in-Chief of the Holland Sentinel (right).### Categories: Slagh News 12Feb Rep. Slagh attends annual State of the State addresslast_img

Michigan House passes its 20192020 state budget plan

first_img Categories: Chatfield News Highlights of the budget plan include the following:A new plan to ensure every dollar paid in taxes at the pump actually goes to fix the roads instead of to other spending projects. This change alone will increase road funding by more than $800 million annually once fully phased in.Almost a billion dollars this year in new funding for state and local road and bridge repair projects.Additional funding for K-12 school districts, giving them the most state support in history. Lower-funded districts in rural and northern Michigan will see additional increases.New funding for local governments, including cities, townships, villages, and counties in northern Michigan, to fund public safety and recreation programs.Hundreds of millions of dollars in savings found by eliminating old state programs that were not working and identifying money from previous budgets left unused by state departments.The House-passed budget does not include the governor’s proposed $2.5 billion tax hike. Schools and road repairs will see increases without tax hikes under this plan. “Michigan families deserve a real plan that protects their household budgets,” said Chatfield. “And they deserve representatives who take their time to do it right and build a long-term plan that prioritizes funding for critical programs without resorting to a massive tax hike. The budget we passed today is that plan, and I am proud of this team for taking the time to do it right.” “This is the right plan to increase funding for our top priorities without raising taxes on hard-working Michigan families. Everyone at the state capitol has been talking about new taxes and massive new spending, but I know the people of this community could use a break. That is why we went through the budget line by line to find and eliminate costly programs that were not delivering results. We reformed broken systems to put an end to expensive shell games and made common-sense changes to simplify the state budget. We spent the time to do it right and build a real, responsible plan that will help the people of northern Michigan and build a stronger foundation for us all for years to come.” The Michigan House of Representatives today approved its budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2019-2020.  Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield, of Levering, voted in favor of the plan.center_img 13Jun Michigan House passes its 2019-2020 state budget plan The budget plan this year focused on increasing funding for several key priorities, including roads, schools and local community services. House Republicans were able to make those investments without raising taxes by spending months looking through the budget to find savings, identify unspent funds and increase government efficiency, eventually spending $1.3 billion less than the governor did in her original budget proposal from earlier in the year. The House and the Senate have now both passed their proposed budget plans. The two chambers will begin meeting with each other and Gov. Whitmer soon to negotiate a final version.last_img read more

Enterprise Community Partners Makes Room for Rental Housing Crisis

first_imgShare27TweetShare12Email39 SharesJuly 28, 2015; Star-Ledger (Newark, NJ)This important op-ed in the Star-Ledger from former HUD assistant secretary Raphael Bostic takes on a housing crisis few politicians are willing to address: the terrible shortage of affordable rental housing.Bostic, now a public policy professor at the University of Southern California, introduces readers to the Make Room campaign of the national nonprofit intermediary, Enterprise Community Partners. (Full disclosure: This author was a vice president of the organization a quarter century ago when it was known as the Enterprise Foundation.) The Make Room campaign links Enterprise with partners such as the MacArthur Foundation and the Ford Foundation to generate greater national awareness of the nation’s rental housing crisis, wherein 11 million renter families pay at least half of their monthly income in rent. Compare that to the official benchmark of affordability, which says families should be paying no more than 30 percent of their incomes for housing, and note that half of all renter households pay more than that. By this measure, the least affordable states for renters are New York, New Jersey, and California—and surprisingly, Florida, Louisiana, and Michigan.The Make Room strategy incorporates convenings and concerts that highlight the stories of cost-burdened renter families. This July concert by Timothy Bloom, for example, reveals the challenges faced by Joquann Montgomery and LaRae Mayfield and their three children living in Paterson, New Jersey. Part of the Montgomerys telling their housing story includes Make Room’s creation of a crowdfunding campaign on Crowdrise aimed at helping the family raise $10,000 to pay overdue bills and buy a used car.Ultimately, however, the solution recommended by the Make Room partners is policy change, including rethinking and reallocating the $200 billion in homeownership subsidies (primarily through the home mortgage interest deduction) that dwarf the nation’s owner-housing commitments—even though half of those subsidies go to families with incomes above $100,000. Unusual for a housing-oriented campaign, Make Room takes note of the wage stagnation that has impacted lower income households and calls for paying renters “fair salaries.”Increases in rental costs are outstripping rising consumer prices in food and fuel, jumping 3.5 percent in the last 12 months, exacerbated by a rental vacancy rate that has fallen to the lowest point since 1985. As a result, the Make Room campaign won’t be running short of stories anytime soon. Make Room has released another concert video attached to the story of a cost-burdened renter. This story highlights Marlene Sigar, a single mother working as an adjunct professor in Nashville; like the Montgomery family, she pays at least 75 percent of her income toward housing.Perhaps what makes this strategy effective comes from Enterprise presenting individual stories like these to politicians on the stump with demands that they address the issues involved. State-specific data and stories, like Sigar’s from Tennessee, could be used by nonprofit housing activists to press each state’s politicians for answers as well as turning to the gaggle of presidential candidates. “According to a recent poll by the MacArthur Foundation, eight in 10 Americans believe housing affordability is a problem,” Bostic writes. “Nearly half say that it should be a priority for our nation’s policymakers. To truly tackle the rental housing crisis, we must rethink our priorities as a country.” Somehow, that hasn’t translated into pressure on politicians to actually do something about housing, much less affordable rental housing.It may be that the Make Room campaign’s stories and data will elevate rental housing as a national issue. Bostic points out that the rental-housing crisis isn’t just a big city issue; it’s visible in suburban communities, as well. Moreover, the problem doesn’t just face people without jobs. Working people like Joquann Montgomery and Marlene Sigar bring home paychecks that are simply unable to keep pace with their rents.Reaching from cities to suburbs and affecting low-income families as well as working families, the rental housing crisis described by Enterprise’s Make Room campaign has the potential to connect and unite constituencies that might not have previously viewed themselves as allies. So when nonprofits buttonhole the politicians at rallies, hoping to get them to utter “I [heart] nonprofits” sentiments, at least a few might add a question about what they are going to do specifically to address the nation’s rental housing crisis.—Rick CohenShare27TweetShare12Email39 Shareslast_img read more

Bill Gates Plan for Public Schools

first_imgShare74TweetShare1Email75 Shares October 7, 2015; Education Week For 15 years, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been a driving force behind efforts to improve our nation’s public education system. It has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in programs that have tried to change how America teaches its children and to ensure a high quality of education for every child. It is worth noting that some of these investments have, by Bill Gates’s own admission, been failures, specifically the Small Schools Initiative and InBloom, an initiative that would have collected information about school children in a national database that proved very unpopular with parents.But Mr. Gates spelled his new vision out in a recent speech he gave at his foundation’s headquarters. All of the major elements of school reform that have become the matters of great debate (school choice, high stakes testing, teacher evaluation and the Common Core curriculum) are included in his vision of improved education.Every student deserves high standards. Every student deserves an effective teacher. Every teacher deserves the tools and support to be phenomenal. And all students deserve the opportunity to learn in a way that is tailored to their needs, skills, and interests. This is the combination of advances we are backing that we believe will transform America’s schools—and at the center of it all is an effective teacher.In a wide-ranging presentation, Gates saw the strengths of this approach, recognized a few of the problems that have been encountered, and strongly committed to continuing forward along this path.Gates developed much of his understanding in the Foundation’s early research, which studied schools that were showing improved performance as measured by rising test scores. He believes they found a set of common practices that are the basis for their effort to improve schools.It turns out that they excel at supporting teachers. They use multiple measures of effectiveness that are backed by evidence. They train and certify classroom observers. They provide teachers with instructional tools aligned to the Common Core standards. And—this is crucial—they focus their feedback and evaluations on activities that help the teacher get better in the classroom.Gates sees helping teachers become more effective is a key element, and that a new approach to managing teacher performance is necessary. The Foundation’s Measures of Effective Teaching project, which launched in 2009, identified what he called “the elements of great teaching…. Today, many states are using this research to develop a shared definition of excellent teaching and help spread it.”From this research, a framework using trained observers and coaches to provide feedback to teachers was developed, an approach that Gates recognized has not gotten universal acceptance:Some teachers welcome this step. Others are reluctant to have outsiders assess their work. But we’ve found that when they see the point is to help them improve their practice, most teachers crave the feedback. One of Colorado’s top coaches said it doesn’t matter if teachers have taught for two years or 25 years—they always say: “This is the most meaningful professional development I’ve ever had.”In addition to implementing this this new approach to teacher supervision, Gates believes student test scores are an important part of rating teacher effectiveness.The Measures of Effective Teaching project looked at another factor in teacher evaluations, and that is the growth in students’ test scores. The study found that growth in test scores tells you something about a teacher’s effectiveness—but far from everything. It has to be balanced by other factors, like classroom observations and student surveys.He recognizes that this has become a hot-button issue for many educators but strongly argues for keeping them as part of the mix:Unfortunately, listening to the debate over this subject, you might think that we’re forced to choose between two extremes: either using test scores exclusively to determine a teacher’s evaluation, or not using them at all. That’s a false choice…. In my view, test scores should be one part of the mix. But we also need to make sure that every evaluation system is transparent, makes sense to teachers, and is embraced by teachers.The development of a standardized curriculum, the Common Core, which sets high standards is a third major part of the Gates Foundation’s investment in educational reform. And despite the controversy it has raised, Gates still supports it strongly, even while he recognizes that it is being challenged:There’s one other pivotal step in the movement for strong feedback and improvement systems, and that is the adoption of high, consistent academic standards throughout the country…. Unfortunately, when it comes to the Common Core, the attacks have drowned out the facts—and the fact is, the standards are starting to work for students and teachers. […] If we want to achieve excellence, we have to define excellence. And you can’t define it based on politics or individual preferences. You have to define excellence by anchoring it in something real—like getting a good job, or getting a higher ed degree that means something in the workplace. That’s what these standards do: They ensure that students are gaining the skills and knowledge they need to get a good job or succeed in college.Gates sees the controversy that has grown around the Common Core as one of execution, and not a flaw in the basic approach.I believe much of the difficulty with the Common Core standards came because the advocates—and I include our foundation in this category—didn’t do enough to explain them early and clearly. Once states adopted the standards, parents needed to hear from principals and teachers and superintendents about the reason for the changes, how they would help their kids, and how things would be bumpy for a number of years as teachers adjusted to the new standards. But I also understand why this step was missed. Principals and teachers and their supporters were busy working urgently to figure out how to make the standards real in classrooms.Gates sees success coming, and thus there’s no reason to change course:The progress we have seen so far is fragile. In places where feedback and improvement systems are well designed, they’re generating excitement, and teachers are embracing them. But in places where the systems hold teachers accountable without giving them the support they need to improve—those systems are provoking resentment and distrust. Teachers are rejecting them, and students are losing out on the opportunity to make big gains in achievement. Will the districts and states with the most effective systems keep those systems in place? Will their best practices be adopted throughout the country? Or will we retreat from these reforms, and go back to a time when all teachers are forced to make their way up the learning line on their own? The future of our students hangs on the answer. And the answer depends on all of us.And he has suggestions for educational and political leaders on how to keep their efforts on track:The progress we have seen so far is fragile. In places where feedback and improvement systems are well designed, they’re generating excitement, and teachers are embracing them. But in places where the systems hold teachers accountable without giving them the support they need to improve—those systems are provoking resentment and distrust. Teachers are rejecting them, and students are losing out on the opportunity to make big gains in achievement. Will the districts and states with the most effective systems keep those systems in place? Will their best practices be adopted throughout the country? Or will we retreat from these reforms, and go back to a time when all teachers are forced to make their way up the learning line on their own? The future of our students hangs on the answer. And the answer depends on all of us.Some concerns that Mr. Gates did not address are important to note as well, for they define many issues that are very much a part of the national debate about the future of public education. Apparently, Mr. Gates gives no credence to the volume of research showing that student performance is heavily determined by family wealth and race. He continues to advocate for and invest in a program that ignores the need to address and fix our nation’s growing economic divide, and that ignores the continued impact of race on the lives of our children.Implementing many of the programs supported by Gates is expensive and requires ongoing funding. But ensuring that schools have the funding necessary for effective education does not seem to be on the Gates agenda. And finding ways to support the added costs of new programs, like the type of teacher observation and feedback systems that Gates sees as critical, has already been seen to be problematic.Putting together the points addressed by Mr. Gates and those he did not call out, we have a rationale for operating schools and setting educational policy in a radically different manner. Parents and local communities do not seem to have a major role or stake any longer. It encourages privately managed and minimally accountable schools that operate more like businesses than as elements of local government. It allows private funders like the Gates Foundation to intervene in public education in direct and unaccountable ways. In truth, it represents a radical break from our traditional approach to public education, and if this really is part of the reform plan, it deserves public debate before it becomes reality.—Martin LevineShare74TweetShare1Email75 Shareslast_img read more

Nonprofit Museum Speaks Out Against New AntiLGBT Law—But Is That Its Mission

first_imgShareTweet2ShareEmail2 SharesNeuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York / Lee CannonApril 5, 2016; HyperallergicWith businesses and government speaking out about the recent rash of attempts to pass laws that discriminate against LGBTQ people, there is still plenty of room for nonprofits to be heard on the subject, even those with missions that are not focused in that way. Here is one example.Although the Neuberger Museum of Art lent the pieces to be displayed to the Mississippi Museum of Art in “When Modern Was Contemporary,” an exhibit due to open on April 9th, its director, Dr. Tracy Fitzpatrick, and the president of Purchase State College in New York, Thomas J. Schwarz, will sit out the opening in response to Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant’s signing of the Religious Liberty Accommodations Act into law. Mississippi is the third state after Kansas and North Carolina to recently pass an explicitly anti-LGBTQ bill.There are 52 artists featured in the exhibit, including Jackson Pollock, Marsden Hartley, Jacob Lawrence, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Mark Rothko.Here is a statement from Fitzpatrick:At the Neuberger Museum of Art, we are delighted that the residents of Mississippi will be afforded the extraordinary opportunity to view works by some of America’s most important 20th century artists from our collection in “When Modern Was Contemporary: Selections from the Roy R. Neuberger Collection.” This exhibition reflects the ways in which our founding patron, Roy R. Neuberger, supported living artists irrespective of their backgrounds and beliefs, and valued open dialogue through a mix of ideas—even those that were controversial and unpopular, an approach that is in opposition to Mississippi’s new, sweeping, discriminatory anti-gay and transgender legislation.As an academic art museum our role is to educate diverse audiences in and through the visual arts by presenting a variety of media and cultural perspectives, and works by artists from diverse backgrounds and convictions. While I hope that the presence of the works by such a diverse group of artists in “When Modern Was Contemporary” will help create dialogue around these issues, in view of Mississippi’s new discriminatory law it is with great regret that I must decline the Mississippi Museum of Art’s kind invitation to celebrate with them on the occasion of the opening of the Neuberger exhibition.In keeping with its values, the Neuberger Museum hopes that its newly opened exhibition, “Louise Fishman: A Retrospective,” will also contribute to this dialogue in a meaningful way. The exhibition is the first career survey of this important American artist who has long fought for the meaningful recognition that we believe has eluded her and many women artists because of sexism and anti-gay bias. Hopefully, both the Louise Fishman exhibition and When Modern Was Contemporary will stimulate comment and thoughtful dialogue as many in the nation struggle to achieve a greater climate of acceptance and equality. Many of the programs associated with the Louise Fishman exhibition will focus on LGBTQ issues.Let that be a model for you and yours.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweet2ShareEmail2 Shareslast_img read more

Russias prime minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed

first_imgRussia’s prime minister Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree to establish a public broadcasting service. The decree sets the framework for the new non-profit broadcasting organisation.The organisation, OTR, is headed by Anatoly Lysenko as director-general. Igor Naigovzin has reportedly been appointed as technical director, while programming will reportedly be the responsibility of Stanislav Arkhipov, a former RTR executive and one of the founders of TV Center.The first meeting of the OTR board is set to take place on October 4.  It is not yet clear how the new service will be financed and distributed. The original plan called for the Russian defence ministry to relinquish frequencies used for its Star broadcast service. However, minister of communications Nikolai Nikiforov said last month that it may not be necessary for the public broadcaster to acquire analogue frequencies.The public broadcasting service, a pet project of Medvedev during the last few months of his presidency, was originally scheduled to begin operating at the beginning of next year. However, little work has been done to date and Lysenko has reportedly said that the launch of operations may now happen in May.last_img read more

Portuguese IPTV service Optimus Clix has added two

first_imgPortuguese IPTV service Optimus Clix has added two HD channels from Sony to its line-up.Male-skewed AXN Black HD and AXN White HD are available in the Best of HD, HD XL, HD XXL and Total TV packages.AXN White offers comedy series and movies, while AXN Black airs dramas and science fiction programming.last_img

Russian telco ERTelecoms Domru service is to la

first_imgRussian telco ER-Telecom’s Dom.ru service is to launch HDTV in four new cities.The HDTV Dom.ru Home Entertainment Centre will now be available in the cities of Barnaul, Voronezh, Kirov and Novoaltaysk, taking the service, which was launched in July last year, to 29 cities. The company said the HD service would be available in all cities in which Dom.ru is available by the end of the spring.Dom.ru TV provides 33 HD channel including leading channels Pervy HD and Rossiya HD, as well as over 80 standard-definition channels. It also offers a range of premium sports, movies and adult channels, video-on-demand, music-on-demand and integration with social networks Vkontakte and Instagram. Dom.ru TV delivers its services via a hybrid technology, using coaxial cable to deliver linear TV and twisted-pair copper to provide IP services.last_img read more