It’s a Royal Affair…

… in Brooklyn!

Bev has decided to wear an asymmetrical fascinator to celebrate Kate and Wills’ big day, while Mary opted for a hat with a little tropical flavor.


(By the way, this wasn’t an easy photo to get:)


Danica Patrick Daniella Alonso Danneel Harris Deanna Russo Denise Richards Desiree Dymond

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N.C. Wind Farm Goes Live Despite Legislators’ Claims It’s a National Security Threat

The first utility-scale wind farm in North Carolina is now fully operational even though the state’s top politicians wanted President Donald Trump to nix the $ 400 million project because they said it’s a national security threat.

Avangrid Renewables today announced the wind farm, sporting 104 turbines that are 50-stories tall, is now generating 670 megawatt hours (MWh), enough electricity for 61,000 homes. The wind farm is located in the northern part of the state and was built out across farm lands.

North Carolina Wind farm Avangrid Renewables

One of 106 wind turbines under construction as part a 670MWh farm that will power Amazon’s Virginia data centers.

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New Two-Lensed Camera Shows What It’s Like to Ride on the Back of Whale

Researchers from Stanford’s Hopkins Marine Station have developed a two-lensed camera that sticks to the backs of filter-feeding whales with suction cups. The new device has been used to capture unprecedented footage of whales in action, and it’s offering new insights into the feeding and swimming behaviors of these aquatic beasts.

Read more…

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The Future of Work: It’s Already Here… And Not As Scary As You Think

I recently had the opportunity to speak at the Singularity University Summit in San Francisco on The Future of Work. After months of research on the topic, reading dozens of books and articles on AI, robotics, and economics, I came to a simple conclusion: the future of work is already here. And we all have to deal with it.

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Facebook is down, go do something more fun while it recovers [Update: It’s back!]

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 12.37.14 PM
Facebook is down for many users around the world, according to and reports on Twitter. It’s the second outage within a week for the social network, and many people are unable to log in and view those critical status messages, Pages and other updates. These problems don’t tend to last too long, but we’ve asked Facebook for a statement on the situation and will update here when normal service resumes. Until then, go fly a kite or something. Update: An intermittent service is coming back for some users but the site still isn’t back to normal. Some users are also still…

This story continues at The Next Web

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Twitter confirms it’s experimenting with native polls in tweets

Twitter typographic wallpaper

Twitter is looking at possibly letting users add quick polls to their tweets. A company spokesperson confirmed the move in a statement to VentureBeat saying, “We’re experimenting with a new way to poll users on Twitter.”

Right now, it looks like polls are only visible on Twitter’s mobile apps and website, but not on desktop applications like TweetDeck. There’s no indication of whether this capability will be rolled out to the rest of the 316 million monthly active users, as it’s an experiment that could wind up being shelved.

Screen Shot 2015-09-24 at 1.04.00 PM

This isn’t the first time that Twitter has rolled out polls on its communications service. Previously, companies were able to poll their followers through custom card polls. In 2014, Twitter revealed that it was testing out a feature that would enable native ads for publishers. Today’s sightings may hint that these could be rolled out to a wider audience.

From what we’ve seen, all polls have a 24-hour time limit on them.

While Twitter declined to provide more information, a quick query on the site showed that at least Twitter employees and also some verified profiles, including those in the media and in sports, have access to embed these polls.

More information:

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It’s official: North America is out of new IPv4 addresses

North America has finally run out of new addresses based on IPv4, the numbering system that got the Internet where it is today but which is running out of space for the coming era of networking.

The American Registry for Internet Numbers, the nonprofit group that distributes Internet addresses for the region, said Thursday it has assigned the last addresses in its free pool. The announcement came after years of warnings from ARIN and others that IPv4 addresses were running out and that enterprises and carriers should adopt the next protocol, IPv6.

IPv4 dates back to 1981 and only has room for 4.3 billion unique addresses. IPv6, introduced in 1999, should have enough addresses to serve Internet users for generations, according to ARIN. 

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Here’s why it’s hard to take a game from China to Europe

Patrick Streppel, head of IME, at ChinaJoy.

Disclosure: The organizers of ChinaJoy paid my way to Shanghai. Our coverage remains objective.

SHANGHAI — Lots of Chinese game companies are flooding out of China into the West. Patrick Streppel, chief executive of consulting live operations firm IME helps make that happen. But he sees a ton of problems that can trip up the Chinese publishers that try to do it themselves and do it too fast.

The mobile gaming market has become tough, since it is dominated by long-term hits such as Supercell’s Clash of Clans, King’s Candy Crush Saga, and Machine Zone’s Game of War: Fire Age.

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“Too many Chinese game developers spend money on marketing, not quality,” said Cai Cai, founder of Pine Capital, as she introduced Streppel for a talk at the ChinaJoy game trade show in Shanghai.

“I agree about the importance of the quality of games, the toughness of the market now, and the carefulness of investors and companies overall,” Streppel said. “I don’t think it is possible to just publish globally from one place, like Korea, China, or the U.S.”

“To go global, you have to be local because of the state of the competition,” said Streppel, former head of Gamigo.

Hamburg, Germany-based IME partners with game publishers in regions such as Western and Eastern Europe. Started two years ago, IME acts as a co-publisher, content agency, and consulting company for global free-to-play games. The company is a business-to-business operator, so it doesn’t put its own brand on games.

This freaking big mech was in a promiment position at ChinaJoy.

Above: This freaking big mech was in a prominent position at ChinaJoy.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

The company helps secure licenses and figures out where those licenses will work. The licenses can attract users, but sometimes a game company winds up with just 20 percent of the profits in a licensing deal.

In Europe, he said, “The good old days are over where it was very easy to get money and make money. Wargaming, Riot Games, Innogames, and GoodGame are growing. But a lot of companies that hit 150 million euros in revenue are declining and restructuring.

“The companies with a lot of titles are falling behind, and those with just a few are leading,” he said.

Streppel said he encourages companies to self-publish their titles. But investing in a team and a local subsidiary in major regions takes a lot of time and money. The cost of advertising to get new users is rising. There’s very little visibility into how well that advertising works, and it costs a lot of money to build the systems to verify it and prevent fraud.

“Maybe you are advertising on the wrong platform or others are cheating on you,” he said. “It costs money to find out.” A lot of money is being pumped into ads. Chinese companies are investing a lot in user acquisition, and not in a smart way. It drives up the advertising costs for everybody.”

And some advertising channels don’t work anymore. TV ads are less effective because fewer people watch them. Most people multitask when they watch TV these days, so the ads have less impact, Streppel said.

Another thing that makes the market tough are the media companies themselves, which create a big presence on Google related to key advertising words for games. Those media companies get more search engine optimization than the games themselves. So the game companies have to advertise with those media companies.

“Your traffic is diverted because they write content to claim the traffic,” Streppel said. “Then they call the publisher to advertise on the web site. You buy your own users back for money.”

Sony showed off a Chinese-made game at the front of its PlayStation booth at ChinaJoy 2015.

Above: Sony showed off a Chinese-made game at the front of its PlayStation booth at ChinaJoy 2015.

Image Credit: Dean Takahashi

Smaller companies have to create games with good key performance indicators, or those that measure growth.

“Platforms want good KPIs if they are going to feature you, but how can you prove good KPIs without a lot of users,” Streppel said. “It’s a chicken and egg problem.”

Ad networks hold more power in Europe now, and Streppel said that ‘s a problem. There are a ton of cloned games that are heavily advertised, but  those clones destroy consumer confidence and make the market tougher. Lifetime value (LTV) calculations are key to figuring out if a game is profitable or not, and how much a publisher can spend on advertising. But LTV is declining for the games that are not in the top tier.

To win users back, publishers are discounting heavily. But users are being trained by promotions such as Steam sales to expect discounts.

The mature markets are seeing tons of new game launches still. Some companies are fleeing to less crowded territories.

Publishers can expand into markets such as India or South America, but it’s hard to generate revenue in those markets because users spend less and don’t have as much disposable income.

“A lot of companies are fleeing to mobile, but that makes the situation worse,” Streppel said. “So you have to focus on game quality.”

Streppel also said that publishers should focus on customization, a small dedicated team, and retention of existing users. And that’s what his team specializes in.

VB’s research team is studying web-personalization… Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.

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