VCE Perspectives: Gartner Catalyst 2013

first_imgVCE attended Gartner Catalyst 2013 at the end of July to connect and network with peers, customers, and analysts. Although there were many resonating facts from Gartner and presenters throughout the industry, below I’ve outlined the key trends, tracks, inspirations, and takeaways for our wider audience.TrendsVMware’s Raghu Raguram speaks with Gartner’s Chris WolfBusinesses must adapt quickly to changing environments. In response, IT must enable and facilitate the adaptation process, assimilating technology faster than ever before. Resources must be organized for optimizing agility and speed. Whether for infrastructure, apps, mobile, or the cloud, placing resources in silos often limits the value organizations can get from their IT department.Companies and IT teams must consciously be the broker, rather than the builder, to assimilate technology faster. IT has to partner with builders and establish an operational rhythm that benefits their business. Further, IT has to converge to compete better with what their company may see as another path outside of IT. In many instances, adapting businesses means that IT teams must be razor focused on execution.When the audience for the public cloud vs. private cloud debate was un-scientifically polled about trusting cloud infrastructure, it was clear that private clouds are overwhelmingly perceived as the more secure option.TracksTracks for Gartner Catalyst followed larger themes of mobile, cloud services, productivity, private cloud creation, security, and big data. Sessions provided several validations as well as insights on the challenges, triumphs, and desires of customers in the evolving landscape of IT.InspirationsSeveral companies have successfully identified applications that can exist in private and public clouds. However, the process of achieving a hybrid cloud is still a goal for most companies. Notably, the ability to offload even a drop down menu on a mobile or web application to the public cloud can generate huge customer benefits – the end user gets a faster and more responsive experience.Continuous deployment and loose coupling concepts are also on the rise. Several companies told stories of how their agile approach initially was met with rejection and objection. However, these companies ultimately won over the internal and external customers that benefitted from consistent and regular incremental improvements.Amazon Web Services (AWS) sessions were well attended. In each example, it was clear that getting data into the public cloud was as important as being able to bring data back on premise. The number of household names that have determined where to use AWS was not unlike the so-called “wisdom of crowds” concept. For other Cloud Service Providers, this means that customers realize the greatest benefits when the largest number of use cases are explored.Take Away ItemsDecision-making frameworks for cloud adoption still need additional research output. However, customers should be working on a lightweight decision making framework for cloud adoption. Therefore, the quicker the decision iteration, the easier it will be to measure what works and what does not work for cloud adoption.Gartner’s Kyle Hilgendorf recommends customers take a closer look at EMC Cloud Services (formerly Adaptivity)Gartner highlighted EMC Cloud Services (formerly Adaptivity) as having great tools for evaluating workloads for cloud. While Gartner does not endorse any specific vendors, this was meant to point out tools that customers should consider and evaluate closely.Public clouds are still viewed through a lens of what they are lacking, including security, quick recovery time, a universal use case, compatibility for all legacy apps, and regulatory considerations. However, companies cannot deny the economics of quickly and easily accessing resources, which differentiates Cloud Service Providers despite these specific gaps and concerns. In order to increase their competitive advantage, Cloud Service Providers have to prove they have adequate protections that cover security breaches, SLA notifications, and service reliability.While half of the attendees indicated that they use the public cloud, only one of five noted that they manage the public cloud with same tools as their data center and/or private cloud. It is clear that DCIM has a long way to go. Even in the comparisons of DCIM players in this space, there was a clear message that maturity is still highly subjective.Private clouds need to benefit the business in addition to benefiting central IT. Possible private cloud paths are Turnkey, DIY, and Outsource. Cloud tiering will occur based upon service level requirements.Turnkey solutions will become more commonplace and closely maps to the rise in converged infrastructure as a popular alternative to reference architectures. Further, off the shelf private cloud solutions will lower TCO of private cloud.DIY has increased costs and complexity, but less perceived lock-in and the DIY path is popular with very large global companies.Outsource lets vendors do the hard work, meaning the customer can focus concentration on providing services that can be exposed by the private cloud.Multiple hypervisors create complexity, so the fewer the hypervisors, the better equipped an IT team will be to satisfy business demands. IT teams should take a page from the service provider playbook: standardize and simplify.last_img read more



first_imgLast Sunday, competition was hot in the last chance to ‘warm-up’ for the big Major of the year.The Ferguson Cup, a singles stroke comp, was won By Gerard Gallagher on a fantastic score of 57 net, just one point clear of brother Patsy who took second spot,just a nose ahead of third brother Brendan who came third.It doesn’t look good for the rest of the field in this Saturday’s Captain’s Prize, when club captain Noel Kiernan welcomes all members and guests to a day of golf, a nice bite to eat, and some ceol agus craic in the wee clubhouse. Timesheet for the day is as follows; 8.45am S Gallagher D Friel Fr M Collum M Duffy. 8.55am A Friel Js Gallagher D Edwards Js Lynch. 9.05am G Hegarty Patsy Gallagher D Canning K Toland. 9.15am D Hughes M Canning S Sweeney G Hamilton. 9.25 am I Clifford N Fisher C Patton E O’Kane. 9.35 J Deeney P Murray S Duffy D Hannigan. 9.45am D Sheridan Damian Gallagher T Merritt P Lynch. 9.55am D Cullen Denis Deeney G McGivern Ml Ewings. 12 noon K Tinney J McClafferty P McMahon Dan Harvey. 12.10 G Gallagher Sid Anderson P McNulty Joe Gallagher. 12.20 B Gallagher M O’Reilly Sam Anderson A McFadden. 12.30 D Crerand A Morisson B Kyle Noel Patton. 12.40 P Kelly John Allen A Studdard S Barrett. Apologies to anyone inadvertently omitted. Would any member who does not intend to play at their alloted time please contact the clubhouse on Sat morning so that alternative arrangements can be made. Ladies are invited to play at 3.30 pm, and guests will tee off at 4.15. Good luck to Noel on the big day, and to all the participants in what should be a tight battle to claim the big prize, and an enjoyable day and night’s craic. GOLF NEWS: OTWAY CLUB NOTES was last modified: August 8th, 2012 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:OTWAY GOLF CLUB NEWSlast_img read more


Evolutionists Admit It’s About Mistakes

first_img“Evolution by Mistake” is the headline of an article about evolution on Science Daily.  Can the protagonists get mistakes to create eyes, wings, and brains?    The rest of the headline reads: “Major Driving Force Comes from How Organisms Cope With Errors at Cellular Level.”  Right off the bat, a tension seems set up between errors, which are directionless and purposeless, and how organisms cope with them, which at first glance seems a matter of design and purpose (as in a corporate security policy or anti-virus software).  But this is not an appeal to intelligent design.  “Charles Darwin based his groundbreaking theory of natural selection on the realization that genetic variation among organisms is the key to evolution,” the opening sentence declared.  The tip of the hat to Darwin means they intend to explain all of the wonders of the living world by descent with modification from bacteria to man.  Can they pull it off with “evolution by mistake”?    Like Darwin, Joanna Masel and Etienne Rajon at University of Arizona (smiling at the whiteboard in a photo), recognize the exquisite adaptation of organisms to their environment.  “But exactly how nature creates variation in the first place still poses somewhat of a puzzle to evolutionary biologists,” the article admitted.  That may appear strange to readers who thought Darwin or the neo-Darwinists had that issue wrapped up long ago.    Masel and Rajon “discovered the ways organisms deal with mistakes that occur while the genetic code in their cells is being interpreted greatly influences their ability to adapt to new environmental conditions – in other words, their ability to evolve.”  They are implying that ability to evolve will lead to innovation (wings, eyes, brains), because later, the phrase “how nature creates innovation” appears.  Can they get from errors to innovation?  If so, they need to do it without personifying evolution, so readers had best forgive this line that mixes up personified evolution with intelligent design: “Evolution needs a playground in order to try things out,” Masel said  “It’s like in competitive business: New products and ideas have to be tested to see whether they can live up to the challenge.”Overlooking that slip, they delved into the details of their idea:In nature, it turns out, many new traits that, for example, enable their bearers to conquer new habitats, start out as blunders: mistakes made by cells that result in altered proteins with changed properties or functions that are new altogether, even when there is nothing wrong with the gene itself.  Sometime later, one of these mistakes can get into the gene and become more permanent.Keep your eyes on the ball.  The reader wants to see innovation, like an eye, or a wing, or a brain, where it didn’t exist before.  So far we have blunders that alter proteins.  The gene was fine, but something happened downstream.  “Sometime later, one of these mistakes can get back into the gene,” they claimed.  Any evidence?  None in the article.    They next distinguished between global and local solutions.  The global solution, they said, is “to avoid making errors in the first place, for example by having a proofreading mechanism to spot and fix errors as they arise.”  Something “watches over the entire process,” they said, begging the question again of how an entire process that watches for errors and fixes them could itself be a product of mistakes.  Regardless, global solutions are about preserving integrity of the genome, not innovating wings, eyes, and brains.  Innovation will have to be local:The alternative is to allow errors to happen, but evolve robustness to the effects of each of them.  Masel and Rajon call this strategy a local solution, because in the absence of a global proofreading mechanism, it requires an organism to be resilient to each and every mistake that pops up.    “We discovered that extremely small populations will evolve global solutions, while very large populations will evolve local solutions,” Masel said.  “Most realistically sized populations can go either direction but will gravitate toward one or the other.  But once they do, they rarely switch, even over the course of evolutionary time.”This paragraph is full of strategy – another ostensibly purposeful concept.  If an organism has a strategy to allow some errors to creep in, but then “evolve robustness” to their effects, did that strategy itself evolve by mistake?  They didn’t say.    Next, they introduced a contrast between “regular variation, which is generally bad most of the time, since the odds of a genetic mutation leading to something useful or even better are pretty slim,” (see online book for calculation), “and what they call cryptic variation, which is less likely to be deadly, and more likely to be mostly harmless.”  Even so, a poison pill and a placebo are not likely to produce wings, eyes, and brains.  If you have an antidote to the poison pill, or a process to avoid swallowing it in the first place, it won’t kill you, but the placebo (cryptic variation), even if it is “mostly harmless,” contains no power to innovate.  You are not likely to get a third eye from it. So how does cryptic variation work and why is it so important for understanding evolution?    By allowing for a certain amount of mistakes to occur instead of quenching them with global proofreading machinery, organisms gain the advantage of allowing for what Masel calls pre-selection: It provides an opportunity for natural selection to act on sequences even before mutations occur.The critical reader of this paragraph is going to want to know not just whether their theory can produce innovation from mistakes, but how their theory itself arose from mistakes.  In other words, they talked about cryptic variation working, about importance, about understanding, about strategies of allowing some mistakes but not others – who or what decides?  They swept right past the question of how “global proofreading machinery” could ever arise from mistakes, to the grand fallacy (see Weinberg’s Corollary) of pre-selection as “an opportunity for natural selection to act”.  Is natural selection a person?  Does it have a plan?  How would natural selection have any precognition of the need for an eye, a wing, or a brain?    A mistake that leads to a misfolded protein, they admitted, could be “very toxic to the organism.”  Creationists would agree that “In this case of a misfolded protein, selection would favor mutations causing that genetic sequence to not be translated into protein or it would favor sequences in which there is a change so that even if that protein is made by accident, the altered sequence would be harmless.”  Purifying selection (eliminating mistakes) and compensating selection (tolerating mistakes) are not controversial: unless you avoid taking the poison pill, or have no antidote, you die without passing on your genes.  Having those protections still won’t give you a wing, an eye, or a brain.  But if you just had the opportunity to get them, wouldn’t you want them?“Pre-selection puts that cryptic variation in a state of readiness,” Masel said.  “One could think of local solutions as natural selection going on behind the scenes, weeding out variations that are going to be catastrophic, and enriching others that are only slightly bad or even harmless.”    “Whatever is left after this process of pre-selection has to be better,” she pointed out.  “Therefore, populations relying on this strategy have a greater capability to evolve in response to new challenges.  With too much proofreading, that pre-selection can’t happen.”Masel’s wording recalls Darwin’s personified depiction of his theory: “Natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world, the slightest variations; rejecting those that are bad, preserving and adding up all that are good; silently and insensibly working, whenever and wherever opportunity offers, at the improvement of each organic being in relation to its organic and inorganic conditions of life.”  But even Darwin might have balked at the idea of pre-selection, that natural selection would keep harmless variations in a junkyard for scrutinizing later.  Masel argued that “the organism doesn’t pay a large cost for it, but it’s still there if it needs it.”    How big a junkyard can an organism afford to keep around?  Masel and Rajon recognized the cost of error correction:Avoiding or fixing errors comes at a cost, they pointed out.  If it didn’t, organisms would have evolved nearly error-free accuracy in translating genetic information into proteins.  Instead, there is a trade-off between the cost of keeping proteins free of errors and the risk of allowing potentially deleterious mistakes.The accuracy of error correction is indeed surprisingly high, but there is also a cost of hanging onto useless junk.  All the junk has to be copied every time a cell divides, and transported in a dynamic environment where the need to eat, eliminate, defend and adapt are ever present.  It may be that some organisms carrying around huge genomes are at a disadvantage and are headed for extinction.  Maybe they still need time to sift through their junk for parts of eyes, wings, and brains.    The authors ended on a biomimetic theme.  Engineers, too, may want to imitate the practice of evolution by mistake:“We find that biology has a clever solution.  It lets lots of ideas flourish, but only in a cryptic form and even while it’s cryptic, it weeds out the worst ideas.  This is an extremely powerful and successful strategy.  I think companies, governments, economics in general can learn a lot on how to foster innovation from understanding how biological innovation works.Most entrepreneurs, while admitting the value of brainstorming, trial and error, and even “evolutionary algorithms” (10/04/2005, 04/18/2009) will recognize that what they do has purpose and intent.  The same cannot be said of mistakes in yeast cells that Masel and Rajon studied.It might be said in the authors’ defense that the popular press had to oversimplify and personify their ideas for the lay public; the original paper in PNAS is where the goods are.1  A look at the abstract, though, shows a strong requirement: “The local solution requires powerful selection acting on every cryptic site and so evolves only in large populations.”  Yet the local solution is the only one pregnant with innovating potential, because “Strongly deleterious effects can be avoided globally by avoiding making errors (e.g., via proofreading machinery) or locally by ensuring that each error has a relatively benign effect.”  If large populations with mistakes of “relatively benign effect” is the best one can hope for, will wings, eyes, and brains follow?    In the body of the paper, the words innovate or innovation are nowhere to be found.  The stem improve is only found in reference to “improved proofreading machinery,” which they assume already existed.  There are equations about fitness, but with apparently no linkage to innovation: “components of fitness associated, respectively, with the expression of cryptic sequences, with deleterious sequences becoming permanently expressed through new mutations and with the cost of proofreading during protein synthesis.”  But cryptic sequences, remember, are only variations that do not kill the organism.  They are mistakes that are tolerated and kept in store.  Other mentions of fitness concern deleterious mutations, loss of function, and null fitness, except where additive fitness is offered hopefully: “Fitness in the additive scenario depends on the total concentration of all deleterious products within the cell and on their toxicity.”  It sounds more like a bomb shelter than a lab for innovation.  The authors use fitness primarily as a measure of mutations that assimilate in a population without getting edited out.  The last paragraph sums it up:Our core result is that a solution acting at many sites at once evolves in small populations, and local solutions at each independent site evolve in large populations, whereas either outcome is possible in populations of intermediate size.  Local solutions, associated with large populations, have both higher mean fitness and greater evolvability.Again, though, the authors never linked “higher mean fitness” with anything better than assimilation of harmless mutations.  In fact, what they present as a “positive feedback loop” is merely a loophole for mutations to escape the scrutiny of the editing machines: “This positive feedback loop between accuracy and the proportion of cryptic sequences that are strongly deleterious would ultimately lead to the evolution of an infinitely small error rate if avoiding errors did not come at a cost, resulting in a trade-off between the cost of expressing deleterious sequences and the cost of accuracy.”  Tolerance for harmless mutations was never linked to the innovation of wings, eyes, or brains, or anything even simply adding a new function to a cell – no matter how small – except for one vague reference in a table to “subfunctionalization” (split of functions between copies)2 or “neofunctionalization” (no examples provided; cf. 10/24/2003).    Apparently, then, all the authors hope for is the opportunity for evolution to work its magic (see 01/23/2011): “The local solution facilitates the genetic assimilation of cryptic genetic variation and therefore substantially increases evolvability” – i.e., the opportunity to innovate.  But they cannot assume that evolvability entails the ability to innovate new organs of extreme perfection without begging the very question Darwin’s original idea proposed 150 years ago.3  They lead the reader to hope that evolution may “tinker” with the assimilated junk: “cryptic sequences that are not strongly deleterious may tinker with rather than destroy function and so contribute to adaptation.”1.  Etienne Rajon and Joanna Masel, “Evolution of molecular error rates and the consequences for evolvability,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, published online before print January 3, 2011, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1012918108 PNAS January 3, 2011.2.  On subfunctionalization, see 06/20/2005, 07/26/2006, 10/17/2007, and 01/03/2011.  Note that the word neofunctionalization begs the question whether natural selection is capable of producing new function. 3.  For previous attempts to explain “evolvability,” see 08/04/2004, 10/04/2005, 10/16/2006 bullet 3, 02/05/2007, 10/17/2007 bullet 4, 03/20/2008 commentary, 02/18/2009, and 01/05/2010.It may seem like this long entry was like a cruel cat playing with its captive mouse, or the hangman letting the victim draw his own rope, but it was necessary to give them all the space they wanted before showing there is no escape.  They chose to bounce on the cat’s paws; they built their own gallows.  We wanted them to have the space to make their case and try to escape, but they should have known it was doomed from the start.  Can you get wings, eyes, and brains by mistake?  Intuitively, none of us could ever believe that.  Yet academia presents that weird idea as unquestionable scientific truth.    OK, give it your best shot.  Here you had it – one of the most optimistic explications of evolutionary innovation you could ever find, by trained Darwin Party sophists, letting us all know why our intuitions are misguided.  And all they could do was tell us the old “If you build it, they will come” theory of evolution (03/29/2007, 10/31/2010, 11/29/2010 commentaries).  Merely give Tinker Bell the tools (08/30/2006, 11/29/2010), and wings, eyes, and brains are sure to follow.  Impressed by the song and dance?    This series of remakes about evolvability is like American Idol with never a star.  It didn’t help change the judges’ decision when they tiptoed offstage with a little biomimetics flower toss.  Entrepreneurs, before taking their business advice, realize that this weird science show would probably never have been produced without your tax money from the National Institutes of Health.  The government always has your business interest in mind.(Visited 18 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more


SA’s education system ‘in transition’

first_imgReleased earlier this week, the report was a result of a request by Education Minister Naledi Pandor for the OECD to undertake a peer review of South Africa’s education policies in 2006. A report by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development into education in South Africa has found that while the education system has achieved a number of positive results in the past 14 years, it is still in a process of transition, and is suffering from a lack of resources and infrastructure. The department should develop a precise, reliable and consistent data gathering system on special educational needs students and on South African school’s ability to meet the needs of these learners, the OECD recommended. According to the report, pilot schemes should be introduced for the induction of new teachers. “Mechanisms should be established to make the demand in the labour market more dynamic and flexible and better linked to the vocational education training provision and real, on the job training should be provided by companies as part of the training curriculum,” Corradini said. “Achievements are noted and now the real move in the ground is to address challenges made in the report and come with solutions, which is not going to happen overnight, it needs to be progressively realised through a phased approached,” she said. “The post-apartheid government inherited an education system beset by a host of problems, a fundamental issue of which was the structured inequality that was embedded in the system,” noted the report, entitled A Review of the South African Education System. National Professional Teachers Organisation of South Africa President Dave Balt complimented Pandor and the department for taking the bold step to commission the report. Commenting on the report, Pandor said policy review was a crucial element of the work of any government. Early childhood development and adult basic education and training have tended to be marginalised in South African education despite some admirable policy documents, said the OECD, adding that due to the racially discriminatory policy of the past, many adults lost out on educational opportunities. Presenting a report on vocational educational training, European Training Foundation expert Milena Corradini, who was part of the review team, said better partnerships between the business community and the education sector should be established and links between schools and the world of work should be more systematic. Special needs and inclusivity The review included an examination of key aspects of the education system, governance and financing of the education system, curriculum, learning materials and assessment, early childhood education and adult education, vocational education training and human resource development, inclusive education and equity in South African education, the teaching and teacher education as well as higher education. Building capacity These debates would also surround the OECD’s many useful recommendations following the report’s findings in educating the nation’s children. Policy review ‘crucial’ The team therefore suggested that more attention should be paid to the management of the change process in terms of detailed planning, budgeting and monitoring of change with change resistance and a formal training in the pedagogy of higher education, which should be made available to academic staff, particularly junior lecturers. Professional teacher development The report team also noted that the teaching career did not enjoy a good public image, and therefore did not attract high quality candidates. Center for Education and Policy Development analyst Mary Metcalf welcomed the report, telling BuaNews that the review would add value by stimulating vibrant debate where key stakeholders would find common ground for urgent action.center_img On the issue of equity in the education system, the review team was impressed with the emphasis given in South African policy to inclusivity. It also acknowledged that this had a broader implication than providing persons with disabilities access to schooling. The report therefore recommended that additional investment in early childhood development should focus on supporting parents as early educators through multimedia, multilingual programmes. It also noted that all Grade R teachers should have access to the same professional development and support resources. 8 October 2008 “The OECD review team registered surprise at what we had achieved in 14 years rather than surprise at what we still have to achieve”, Pandor said. “Anywhere in the developing world, a minister of education would be overjoyed at receiving a positive if qualified audit from an international organisation like the OECD.” “Before promulgating new policy measures for schools, feasibility studies at the level of average or below average schools should be conducted with more attention paid to effective communication of policy,” the OECD recommended, saying that focused training programmes were needed for staff capacity building at provincial and district level. Stimulating vibrant debate The OECD recommended that emphasis on curriculum policy should be placed on the implementation of the current curriculum emphasising the provision of learning materials, professional development of teachers, development of appropriate assessment tools and early diagnosis and remediation of learning problems. An emphasis should be placed on system deficiencies rather than learner’s difficulties, the report said, adding that all schools should also be accountable through annual reports on their physical and accessibility strategies. The report further found that there was a need for the department to produce a policy position paper setting out a comprehensive action plan and highlighting policy initiatives which were being introduced regarding the teaching career accompanied by a communication plan. The OECD provides a setting where governments can compare policy experiences, seek answers to common problems, identify good practice and coordinate domestic and international policies. ‘Invest in early childhood development’ “We have to ask ourselves whether the policy interventions we have put in place since 1994 have been instrumental in ensuring that we reach our goals of access, equity, redress, quality, relevance and efficiency,” Pandor told BuaNews this week. Financial and Fiscal Commission representative Nomonde Madubula told BuaNews that the report highlighted in detail all the facets of the education system in South Africa and how it had come so far despite historical legacy. “Added to these weaknesses are major infrastructural deficits, inadequate financing, lack of democratic procedures, imbalanced curricular policy, poor teacher education and very unsatisfactory provision of teaching of teaching materials.” “We are happy with the recommendations,” Balt told BuaNews. “We need professional development of teachers and qualified teachers on the early childhood development and we are very happy about the endorsement of quality learning and teaching campaign as a matter of urgency.” She said she had anticipated a condemning review of the education system, however, the report had instead noted a number of achievements. The straightforward recommendations centre on several themes: the governance and financing of the education system; the curriculum and learning materials; early childhood education and adult education; vocational educational training and human resource development; equity in South African education and teacher training and higher education. Source: BuaNewslast_img read more


The Hidden Dangers of Free WordPress Themes

first_imgA Web Developer’s New Best Friend is the AI Wai… In fact, of the top 10 sites that she looked at based on a Google search for “free WordPress themes,” only one was safe – WordPress.org. One she deemed “iffy.” But the other 8 all contained themes with some sort of potential exploit or malicious code.Ambrose lists several “trusted sites,” including Smashing Magazine and Theme Shaper, where you can find free themes. She also points to sites like Woo Themes that offer premium themes, as well as some free options. But her suggestion is to avoid the search phrase “free WordPress themes” altogether, and to use exploit decoders to help double-check the safety of any suspcious themes. Why Tech Companies Need Simpler Terms of Servic… Tags:#biz#tips Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting audrey watters I have this terrible (or awesome, I suppose) tendency to create new blogs. In fact, just today I bought a new domain (another terribly awesome tendency) and will soon begin the process of setting up “just another WordPress blog.” That means searching for a new WordPress theme. And those who’ve done this before know how difficult it can be to find a good theme in what is arguably the underbelly of the SEO beast: the search string “WordPress themes.”As if finding a good WordPress theme isn’t challenging enough, Siobhan Ambrose points out the dangers and security issues when you’re searching for – or rather, installing, “free WordPress themes.”Ambrose makes the argument in a blog post aptly titled “Why You Should Never Search for Free WordPress Themes in Google or Anywhere Else.” And it isn’t simply because the search is frustrating or spammy.She takes themes from the top ten websites that are returned for such a search and finds that many of the themes there are out-of-date and won’t work with the latest version of WordPress. Many generated errors upon installation.But more troubling, many of these sites contain themes with security exploits. Most common in Ambrose’s findings was Base64, which can be used to hide malicious code. In one example, Base64 stripped out the footer she wanted – her name and copyright information at the base of the blog – and replaced it with a link to a free Antivirus site. 8 Best WordPress Hosting Solutions on the Marketlast_img read more


Women and Money: Part 2

first_imgReferences:Allington, A. (2016). Women more likely than men to face poverty during retirement.Clydesdale, R. (2016). How parents can help their daughters avoid the financial gender gap.David Lerner Associates. (2014). Women and Wealth Management: Is There a Gender Gap?Long, H. (2017). Fresh evidence women are better investors than men.Mosbergen, D. (2016). The Gender Gap That No One’s Talking About.Nowak, J. (2017). Closing the Gender Gap: Financial Life Planning for Women.Parker, K. (2015). Women more than men adjust their careers for family life.Theodos, B., et al. (2014). Do Financial Knowledge, Behavior, and Well-Being Differ by Gender?United States Census Bureau. (2011). Divorce Rates Highest in the South, Lowest in the Northeast, Census Bureau Reports. By Carol ChurchDo you think you understand the differences between men and women when it comes to personal finance? Are you confident that the women in your own family are saving and investing adequately for the future? In Part 1 of this series, we went over some surprising facts about women and financial knowledge, debt, and investments. In Part 2, we’ll learn some facts about women and earnings, work, and retirement that may really make you think.Part 2: Facts about Women and Earnings, Work, and RetirementWomen earn less money, on average.Though the reasons for the wage gap are complex and involve more than simply paying women less for the same work as men, there is no doubt that it exists. On average, in the United States, women earn 83 cents to men’s every dollar. This basic fact disadvantages women on average as far as earnings.(By the way, this is an area where the military comes out ahead. Unlike in the private sector, military earnings are transparent and fair—everyone doing the same job earns the same salary, regardless of gender, race, etc.)Women are more likely to take a break from the workforce.The world is full of people who need care, from young children to ill spouses to aging parents. The people who take time off to care for these people are much more likely to be female. On the whole, Pew Research Center recently found, 42% of women with children are likely to reduce their work hours to care for a family member at some point, and 40% are likely to take a significant amount of time off work to do so. Women are also much more likely to quit a job entirely to care for children.Women in the military have somewhat better than average options here, with 12 weeks of paid maternity leave. While this may not sound like a lot, it is far better than what is available to many women in the private sector, who may only get 12 weeks’ unpaid leave, a protection that does not even apply to everyone.Women are harder hit financially by divorce.Divorce is tough on both genders, but it hits women harder. Divorced women have lower average incomes than divorced men and are more likely to live in poverty and to need public assistance. Their post-divorce incomes also fall much more dramatically than men’s.Women are just as likely to be saving for retirement as men…but they have far less in their accounts.Both genders face problematic shortfalls, but the situation is far worse for women, even young ones. This is due to the wage gap and “time off from work” problems discussed above.This is another area where women in the military may have significant “leg up” on the civilian women, due to pay parity and the excellent TSP options available.Women live longer than men and are more likely to die single.The lifespan of the average American woman is 81 years, while the average American man lives to be 76. (Lifespans are likely to continue to lengthen—but with this increase will come more medical costs.) This simple fact means that women need to plan for more years of life and save more money. This is why I told my daughter that the impact of compound interest may matter even more to her.Women rely more on Social Security—but they have less to draw on.Due to their less extensive work histories, women are less likely to be able to draw a pension and have less significant retirement funds, so they rely more on Social Security in older age. According to a recent poll, 50 percent of retired women say SS is their main source of income, while only 38% of retired men say the same. However, the problem of having shorter work histories comes into play here yet again.And the clincher: Women are far more likely to live in poverty in their elder years.All of these facts about women’s lower earnings, lower retirement savings, the impact of divorce, reduced time in the workforce, and reduced stock market participation snowball into one very problematic fact: women are much more likely to experience poverty in retirement than men. They are 80% more likely to live in poverty at age 65, and three times more likely at ages 75 to 79. These facts are hard to acknowledge, but they are important to look at.What Should We Do with All This Information?If you’ve read this far, and these facts concern you, you may be wondering what the solutions are. While the answers are complex, experts do have some suggestions, from basic to not-so basic. They include:More and better financial education for both genders, early in lifeIncreasing women’s financial and investment confidencePaying closer attention to women’s retirement situation (for instance, military wives should be sure to fund their own retirement)Working to close the wage gapFinding ways to ensure that caregiving responsibilities do not torpedo women’s careerslast_img read more