(Visited 9 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 Simon Conway Morris wins Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week for the following entry in Current Biology.1 Ostensibly he was trying to be light-hearted and funny about mass extinctions. We’ll see if anyone is laughing about whether massive impacts are a blessing or a curse:Manna from heaven. So yet more violence, with the Earth subject to cataclysmic destruction? Indeed yes, but there is a silver, or rather organic, lining. It appears that Earth’s position, relatively close to the Sun, was highly precarious. This was because the light elements, essential for life, were swept by solar radiation far beyond our planet, out to the so-called snow-line. So no oceans, and life is cancelled? Yet help was on the way, with a delivery system that via asteroids and comets resupplied Earth with both an ocean and a fertile brew of organic molecules. (Emphasis added in all quotes.)1Simon Conway Morris, “Quick Guide: Mass Extinctions,” Current Biology, Volume 15, Issue 18, 20 September 2005, pages R744-R745.The only redeeming quality in his mythoid is an offhand reference to the fact that our earth occupies an unlikely and privileged position. Let’s offer simple Simon our Comet Cocktail Blaster and see if he thinks he will remain fertile: a teaspoon of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (07/21/2005), one microgram each of L-glycine and one of D-glycine, carbonated with HCN in ammonia with water ice. Delivered inside a rock thrown at 120,000 mph.
Share Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest Thirty-six U.S. senators from across the country urged the Obama administration to strengthen biodiesel volumes in a pending Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) proposal from the EPA.“While the proposal is a positive step for biodiesel, we remain concerned that the proposed biodiesel volumes for 2016 and 2017 fail to adequately recognize the domestic biodiesel industry’s production capacity and its ability to increase production,” the senators wrote n a letter to Administrator Gina McCarthy and other administration officials. “Biodiesel is the first EPA-designated advanced biofuel under the RFS to reach commercial scale production nationwide. It is exceeding the goals that Congress envisioned when it created the RFS with bipartisan support in 2005, while creating jobs, generating tax revenues, reducing pollution, and improving energy security. We urge you to support continued growth in the domestic biodiesel industry by making reasonable and sustainable increases in the biodiesel volumes for 2016 and 2017 in the final rule.”Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), and Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) led the letter, which was signed by Democrats and Republicans from 24 states.“We want to thank Sens. Grassley, Murray, Blunt and Heitkamp for their leadership on this effort, as well as all of the senators who supported it,” said Anne Steckel, vice president of federal affairs for the National Biodiesel Board. “It’s not every day that you have Republicans and Democrats from such a diverse group of states uniting around an issue like this. We hope the EPA and the White House will listen and improve this proposal before it is finalized later this year.”Made from a diverse mix of resources such as recycled cooking oil, soybean oil and animal fats, biodiesel is a renewable, clean-burning diesel replacement used in existing diesel engines without modification. It is the first and only commercial-scale fuel produced across the U.S. to meet the EPA’s definition as an Advanced Biofuel — meaning the EPA has determined that it reduces greenhouse gas emissions by more than 50% when compared with petroleum diesel.Biodiesel falls under the Biomass-based Diesel category of the RFS, which is a subset of the overall Advanced Biofuels category. The EPA proposal, which is slated to be finalized in November, would gradually raise biodiesel volumes by about 100 million gallons per year to a standard of 1.9 billion gallons in 2017. The overall Advanced Biofuel standard would rise to 3.4 billion gallons in 2016.the National Biodiesel Board had requested more aggressive growth to a biodiesel standard of 2.7 billion gallons by 2017, along with additional growth in the overall Advanced Biofuel category. Biodiesel is produced in nearly every state in the country and is supporting more than 62,000 jobs. NBB is the U.S. biodiesel trade association. Americans used about 1.8 billion gallons of biodiesel in each of the past two years. read more
People can have differing views on business ideas. There are some that see everything as an expense. These people are enamored with ideas like cost-based accounting, looking at every item to determine what was spent, including things like meetings. Others, however tend to view things as investments, a view that looks at the return in addition to what was spent.So how do you value something like a weekly pipeline meeting. I used this calculator to discover that 8 people in a 30-minute meeting at a base pay rate of $40,000 costs $14.00 per person. What do you get for $14.00?Accountability: If you have a weekly pipeline meeting and require people to report their results in creating new opportunities and moving existing opportunities forward, the investment in this meeting is priceless. What would you pay for accountability, and what costs would it make sense to eliminate this meeting if accountability was in some way diminished?Ideas and Insights: If your weekly opportunity review meeting resulted in your team sharing ideas and insights around what is working, their strategy for winning deals, and how they are handling certain challenges, all of which were adopted by their peers and applied to their deals, what would you be willing to pay for that meeting? If a single shared opportunity resulted in an additional win at your average deal size with an average profit margin, was the meeting worthwhile.Culture: Meetings are an opportunity share purpose and meaning and values. They’re a chance to tell stories and share tribal knowledge. Meetings can also give a sense of belonging, something all human beings need, and one of the things known to create greater engagement. The value of a positive, optimistic, future-oriented, and empowered culture may be close to priceless, and meetings provide a place for values to be shared.Solving Problems: There are two kinds of problems in business. The first category of problems require a decision to be resolved. Oftentimes, that decision is made in a meeting. The second category of problems are systemic challenges that are only resolved with time, energy and real change. These too are solved in meetings, and with a lot of conversation, conversation that may not happen otherwise. The value of solving these difficult, systemic challenges produce returns far in excess of the cost of a meeting.Meetings get a bad rap. No doubt there are bad meetings, unproductive meetings, boring meetings, and meetings for the sake of having a meeting. But there more that are useful. Meetings are still how things get done, and their benefits largely outweigh their costs. Essential Reading! Get my 2nd book: The Lost Art of Closing “In The Lost Art of Closing, Anthony proves that the final commitment can actually be one of the easiest parts of the sales process—if you’ve set it up properly with other commitments that have to happen long before the close. The key is to lead customers through a series of necessary steps designed to prevent a purchase stall.” Buy Now read more
If you’ve gotten to the point where an ultimatum is necessary, you have made mistakes as a leader and allowed a problem to go unaddressed too long. Inspiration: There is a higher choice than influence. That choice is inspiration. When you lead through inspiration, you help people find and develop into the best version of themselves. You help them find meaning in their work, and you help them identify their purpose. The more you lead from this choice, the less you need to rely on any of the other lesser, yet still sometimes necessary choices. Listening: Leaders spend time listening. Listening is one of the ways that you learn. You constantly take in new ideas and new information so that you can improve your own performance, and the performance of the organization and the people you lead. Great leaders know that they don’t have a monopoly on good ideas and seek them from outside themselves. When your organization needs better execution, being a turnaround leader or a change agent will prevent you from producing the results you need. The flipside is also true: If something is actually broken, execution isn’t enough to realize the organization’s potential. The higher you climb on this spectrum, the greater your relationship will be with those you lead, the better your results, the greater and faster your growth, the more leaders you will create, and the greater your legacy will be. Think about the many top execs in recent years who have crashed and burned after a long ride at the top. Or maybe the people you have known or come in contact with who were spearheading change initiatives in their companies only to suddenly find themselves out of a job. What about you? What kinds of leadership positions have you been in? Have you ever felt like you were competing in Survival of the Fittest? Execution: There are some circumstances that require a leader who can execute and deliver results. The organization is in no danger and doesn’t need real change other than better execution of what is already in place. This choice is often overlooked by new leaders, who believe they must be a turnaround leader or a change agent. But sometimes all that is necessary for the leader to help the organization reach its full potential is to create accountability for executing on what is already in place. The execution leader has time to build consensus, build traditions, and inspire greater action. Different Leadership Approaches When you have influence, you never have to worry about whether or not the people you are leading are doing what they should be doing; they wouldn’t do otherwise. They know you care about them, and they would never dream of letting you down. Caring: No one wants to follow a leader who doesn’t care about them personally. They don’t want to follow someone who doesn’t care about something that creates meaning and purpose and mission. It’s your job to care so deeply that your passion spills over and literally creates followers. Leadership is the ability to get the people you are leading to take action to accomplish specific goals. There are choices available to a leader to motivate their team to act. Some choices are healthier and more effective than others.The steps you take along the way toward a goal are just as important as the goal itself. You want to implement the best choices in your toolkit. Here is a breakdown of some of the most important leadership choices along with the consequences they bring. Persuasion: It might surprise you to find persuasion so close to manipulation. It doesn’t carry the same baggage as “manipulation,” but the only thing separating the two is your intentions. Making a rational, reasoned argument to convince someone isn’t negative. But anything deceptive or self-oriented quickly transforms persuasion into manipulation. Persuasion, in the positive sense of the word, is a choice a leader will need available to her. Influence: Influence is better than persuasion. When you have influence, your relationship does the necessary work in helping you to achieve results through others. Your character makes it easy for people to follow your lead without your having to persuade, manipulate, or command them. First of all, it’s important to understand what type of approach your company needs based on your specific circumstances. Different circumstances ask for different leadership approaches. One of the ways to be a great leader is to know what role you need to play to best serve your organization. Force: It’s tempting to think that force doesn’t belong in a leader’s toolkit, that it shouldn’t be in the range of choices available to a leader. But a leader may, from time to time, need to rely on force in emergency situations. If the threat is great and doesn’t allow for time, doling out orders and requiring people to respond might be the right choice. You may need to make people do what is necessary under extreme circumstances. Manipulation sits in the middle only because it is something less than force and to remind you that it is a choice you may unknowingly make . . . read on. You will need to make reasoned, rational arguments to persuade others as a leader. But there are better choices that will limit the amount of persuading necessary. Leadership Choices and Consequences The Threat of Force: The threat of force, demanding something or else threatening consequences will be forthcoming, shouldn’t be a go-to choice – and never take it lightly. The price to relationships is too high and the effectiveness too low. Ultimatums are a horrible way to produce results, and long term, they destroy the team you lead. This is the choice of last resort, and good leaders should rarely exercise it. Turnaround: When an organization is in trouble, it needs leaders who will take charge. Difficult circumstances or an existential threat require that people take action now, without having the time to debate the choices of action, without a chance to build consensus around the approach, and without concern for tradition. The turnaround leader can break things on their way to making things better, and they can create ill will along the way. But when survival is at stake, this approach is necessary. Deciding: Leaders make decisions. You can’t afford to wait passively as events unfold around you, paralyzed by fear, and failing to act. You will get some big decisions wrong. You will only get some of the big decisions right. You will always have to make adjustments. Come what may, you have to make decisions. Thinking: Leaders spend time thinking. They literally make time to think. Even if it means they have to unplug and go offsite to have the time they need to do nothing other than engaging in an internal dialogue with themselves, asking themselves questions and pondering the answers. Thinking is some of the most difficult work a leader will ever do. The fact is that to lead is to live dangerously. While leadership can be exciting and glamorous, it’s also possible to get knocked off course or out of the action. This survival guide to leadership offers advice to help protect you so you can complete your initiatives. Manipulation: Manipulation is another extremely negative choice. Unlike force, there is never a reason to use manipulation to produce results. It does tremendous damage to your relationships, and it demonstrates to your team that you want what you want, and you’ll make whatever Machiavellian moves necessary to get your result. Manipulation is the choice of the sociopath. Shaping Values: Shaping values is what allows the leader to share what is important, what matters, and what is necessary for the people and the organization they lead to live its purpose. Find and tell stories to bring your values to life. Find a way to catch people doing things right and shine a light on them so that they can serve as an example to others. And protect the positive culture you build from anything that might damage or destroy it. You should only use this choice in the rarest of circumstances, and always take great care to ensure that it isn’t needed. The military needs this choice. So do the police and fire fighters. Business people almost never do. Envisioning: A leader must provide a vision of the future. You have to know where you are taking those that follow you, and where your organization is going. That future needs to be bigger, better, and brighter. It has to provide meaning and purpose. Your vision has to compel others to act and inspire them to do whatever is necessary to bring it to life. Reading: Leaders read. Leaders read about the type of organizations they run. They read about leading and about other leaders. They read the news, nonfiction, and fiction. They synthesize all they read, finding connections and themes that they can use to become better, more effective leaders. You need to surround yourself with a stack of books, magazines, and papers. When you inspire people, not only would they never let you down, more importantly, they wouldn’t let themselves down. Here are 9 responsibilities of a leader. Change Agent: A turnaround is a shift of 180 degrees; the organization is moving in the wrong direction. A change agent needs to adjust the organization’s direction by degrees, more than 1 degree and less than 180. The strategy isn’t quite right and needs to be significantly adjusted. The business model isn’t producing the expected results, and the go-to-market strategy need to be significantly modified. There isn’t all the time in the world to debate the choices and build consensus, but there is some time to enlist the support of other leaders to help make change. When things aren’t working, a leader has to make change. Helping Others Grow: Leaders help others grow. You help others find something inside themselves that they didn’t know was there. Great leaders help guide the people they lead to their best performance, and they challenge them to stretch beyond anything they believed possible. You have to see something inside the people you lead and help them become that. Persuading: You get results by persuading others to change, to do things differently, to grow. Good leaders know that they can’t make anyone do anything. They know that the most powerful tool for change isn’t demanding it but persuading people to make the necessary changes. Your formal authority is nothing compared to your moral authority and your ability to persuade others. Responsibilities of a Leader As exciting as it can be to lead your team through good times and bad, leadership also comes with a lot of tough stuff. To lead through change and turmoil, or even in the best of situations, you have to be sure you have all the tools and skills you need to survive. read more
The 1976 Montreal Olympics are best known for Nadia Comaneci’s ‘perfect 10’ scores in seven gymnastics events. No female gymnast before her had scored the maximum even once at the Olympics. What is less known is that it took Montreal 30 years to repay the debts incurred hosting the Games. The Olympic stadium, initially called ‘The Big O’ because of its name and doughnut shape, came to be known as ‘The Big Owe’ because of the debt associated with it. Montreal is not alone in carrying a financial burden after the games; 21 of the 22 venues built for the Sydney Olympics are lying unused. A year after the 2004 Athens Olympics, the Greek government had to spend $124 million to maintain the idle facilities.These are just the sort of disasters the organisers of the 2012 London Olympics hope to avoid. Rather than a series of white elephants, the organisers want the Games to have a lasting legacy. For starters, they hope the event will transform London’s East End, a neglected area notorious for its poverty and crime since the days of the Industrial Revolution. The organisers also want to use the Games to help British companies go global as well as to attract more foreign investment into the UK.READ FULL STORY HERE read more
Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has given instructions for measures to be put in place to strengthen the oversight powers and governance control of public bodies, in light of the operational weaknesses at the State-run oil refinery, Petrojam. Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, has given instructions for measures to be put in place to strengthen the oversight powers and governance control of public bodies, in light of the operational weaknesses at the State-run oil refinery, Petrojam.Addressing the House of Representatives on July 10, Mr. Holness explained that in the matter of Petrojam, assertions have been made that seem to assume that Permanent Secretaries have significant authority over operations.“Those of us in the past, or who currently hold ministerial responsibilities, should be fully aware of the limits to the potential for Permanent Secretaries to intervene in the operations of entities such as self-financing statutory bodies,” he said.In this regard, the Prime Minister said consideration has been given to this situation and that directions have been given to the Minister of Finance and the Public Service to bring to Cabinet, proposals for amendment to the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act, in order to bring clarity to the accountability architecture.He said it is clear from interviewing the Acting Permanent Secretary and the officers of the Energy Division that the central Ministry was not aware, or was made aware after the fact, of most of the instances of maladministration at Petrojam.Mr. Holness pointed out that Petrojam is a self-financing public body, in the form of a limited liability company jointly owned by PDV Caribe of Venezuela and the Petroleum Corporation of Jamaica, a statutory body owned by the Government of Jamaica.“Petrojam has a Board that is responsible for the good governance and management of the operations in keeping with the Public Bodies Management and Accountability Act, and is required to conform with all policy guidelines as may be set by the Government from time to time,” the Prime Minister noted.Mr. Holness explained that the Board reports directly to the Minister, not the Permanent Secretary, and takes policy directions from the Minister.“The Cabinet is satisfied that there are indications where the previous Board may have departed from policy and where certain actions, such as personally making travel arrangements, would be in breach of policy guidelines,” he added.He noted that, to this end, the Cabinet has acted to reconstitute the Board with the appointment of former Chairman of Supreme Ventures Limited, Paul Hoo, as its new Chairman; and two former Vice-Presidents of major banks in Jamaica, Rosie Pilner and Wayne Powell, as Directors.Prime Minister Holness pointed out that the new Board has had its orientation with the Petrojam staff, and has started to give oversight and direction to governance and management of the company.He also stated that the Board has been given directions to settle the staff industrial relations environment at the company, ensure that the management is efficient and effective, and return the refinery to full operation in the shortest possible time, as a matter of urgency.Mr. Holness said the refinery is now in a routine maintenance mode, almost two weeks beyond the projected timeline, which has created some supply disruption, mainly in bitumen for asphalt.The new Board of the refinery has also been directed to examine the management systems, including accounting, administrative, procurement and human resource management, for weakness and make the necessary changes, both in systems and personnel, to ensure effective operation in the short term.Mr. Holness said the Cabinet’s review of the Permanent Secretary’s report and interview of senior personnel in the Ministry’s Energy Division and Petrojam, revealed that the process of approval by Board members needed greater oversight.It was also noted that Cabinet has refined the procedures for travel to mandate that all Board travel, whether it be from Jamaica to attend a conference, or from elsewhere to attend a Board meeting in Jamaica, must have the approval of the Minister, through the Permanent Secretary, and then the Cabinet Secretary. Story Highlights Addressing the House of Representatives on July 10, Mr. Holness explained that in the matter of Petrojam, assertions have been made that seem to assume that Permanent Secretaries have significant authority over operations. “Those of us in the past, or who currently hold ministerial responsibilities, should be fully aware of the limits to the potential for Permanent Secretaries to intervene in the operations of entities such as self-financing statutory bodies,” he said. read more
APTN National NewsCrown prosecutors in British Columbia have recommended no charges be laid against an RCMP officer in the beating of a 47 year-old man.This is despite recommendations from an internal police investigation.APTN National News reporter Tina House has this story.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Problem Solvers with Jason Feifer September 5, 2017 The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the talk of the business town, at least over here in my native U.K. If you somehow managed to escape this, the abbreviation refers to the major new European Union legislation due to come into effect less than nine months from now.Related: The New EU General Data Protection Regulation: Big Data Protection Gets PersonalFrom May 25, 2018, any organization that controls or processes personally identifiable information about EU citizens must have stringent organizational and technical measures in place (or “privacy by design,” as it’s been dubbed), to comply with the GDPR.The new rules are outlined at the regulation website, but include requirements like mandatory breach notification and the right of data subjects to receive confirmation as to whether their personal data is being processed, and for what purpose. Why should U.S. businesses care? In fact, those that have customers in Europe or even those looking to expand across the Pond should be deep into their planning and implementation phases to get ready for when the regulation becomes law next May. Yet, research by the analyst firm Gartner has already shown that over 50 percent of companies affected by the GDPR will not be in full compliance with its requirements by the end of the looming deadline.Related: Beyond the Privacy Fine Print: Making Privacy More TransparentThis is despite the fact that 92 percent of U.S. companies affected by GDPR cited compliance with it — in a PwC survey of US-based multinationals.– as a top data-protection priority.This is hardly a surprise, given that whenever a new unifying law or big piece of legislation like this is proposed, organizations tend to take a “wait and see” approach, to observe how rules are enforced, before they make critical decisions on how far to go with their response.This stance may prove difficult with the GDPR, however, as fines may range as high as €20 million (almost U.S.$24 million) or 4 per cent of global annual turnover — whichever is greater. My advice to companies, then, is not to be tempted to “wait and see” whether the GDPR rules are enforced, or enforced differently in some countries than others.Indeed, with this unifying data law just around the corner, a passive approach is a poor plan of attack. Companies need to be ready from the start — and here are three key reasons why.1. Customer data must be safeguarded.There is evidence that suggests that privacy sells. Over the last couple of years, the use of ad blocks has increased significantly globally. A recent report by analytics company PageFair showed that ad blocker usage surged 30 percent last year. There were 615 million devices blocking ads worldwide by the end of 2016, with the key reason for downloading software being security.There is also a rising awareness from the consumer side on the abuse of personally identifiable information (PII). This is of great importance to consumers: Their data must be safe, so the onus is on organizations to do this going forward because, first and foremost, it’s the right thing to do and the ethical way to do business — no matter the headache it causes at the start.2. GDPR rules aren’t luxuries, they’re solid best practices.The GDPR is the biggest shake-up to data privacy in a generation, but organizations must remember the overriding principle of these new regulations: to unify data laws across the European continent in order to shift the burden of proof from individuals to organizations. That means that the new rules act as best-practices guidelines for companies to follow. In fact, companies should already have the majority of these in place and now is the best time to start.A “wait and see” approach makes sense only if the potential risks are outweighed by the efforts required to prevent them. GDPR may require coordination and effort in the beginning, but in most cases, it’s just enforcing best practices for data handling and management, so these are steps that companies should be taking as a matter of course.3. GDPR will ultimately help you win more business in Europe Where once citizens needed to show that they were the victims of data misuse or security breaches, organizations must now demonstrate they’ve taken the right pre-emptive actions to protect personal data appropriately. If your company takes the initiative from the start, this will boost your company’s customer base across Europe. Ultimately, proper GDPR compliance will lead to more business wins in the continent.Beyond the final implications of the GDPR, which are great, the impact on reputation and brand loyalty can lead to greater financial impact in the long run.With a new piece of legislation, coverage of the first breaches and fines is likely to be major for the companies involved. I urge companies to spend the time now securing their customer data, and not to run the risk of a headline-grabbing fine and the damage to their brand’s reputation by being a test case.Related: Will Artificial Intelligence Be Illegal in Europe Next Year?A good starting point is to work with partners that understand the complexities of the European market and regulations, who will help simplify the GDPR compliance process by enabling the security, portability and encryption efforts for your customer data. Hear from business owners and CEOs who went through a crippling business problem and came out the other side bigger and stronger. Listen Now 5 min read read more