Monday, April 2, 2012

Five Companies Working Hard to Change the World

Using the power of digital, these five companies have empowered citizens in need, rewarded innovation and created uniquely shareable tools that are key in affecting real change. Although they range in issues from education to sustainability, the one thing that all of these companies have in common is the drive and passion of those at the helm.

1.       Kaggle: hosts contests for data scientists. Companies that want problems solved post them, along with relevant data sets, on the site. Anyone can submit a solution, and each competitor ranks on a leaderboard throughout the competition.

2.      Recyclebank: gives the planet a rewards system using gamification techniques. Recyclebank rewards environmentally friendly actions with points, which are a monetary incentive to recycle. Gamification is the concept of rewarding non-game actions with points, scores or other rewards. Thanks to Foursquare, the popular geo-social network that has gamified exploration.

3.      Pencils of Promise: By adopting the pencil, both symbolically and literally, the Pencils of Promise builds schools and educates children in developing countries. It engages participants via online art auctions, killer website design and a social media strategy that dates back to the roots of Facebook.

4.      Wefunder: provides a platform that allows startups to hold fundraising with a crowd of investors. The firm drives innovation by giving startups the ability to go through formal funding series called crowdfunding.

5.      Reward Volunteers: is an app for volunteers to log time, share what they’re doing and earn rewards for themselves and the organizations they serve. Users clock in volunteer time so they can focus on doing more good and less on keeping track of hours. The more hours logged and activity shared, the greater chance both volunteers and organizations have to win cash and prizes.

THE BIG PICTURE -  "The west has lost in Afghanistan": " Five years ago the Americans were refusing to speak to the Taliban. Now the Taliban are refusing to speak to the Americans. That is a measure of how the balance of power has shifted in Afghanistan. The western intervention there has failed. As NATO prepares to withdraw from the country in 2014, it is only the scale of the defeat that remains to be determined. ... Afghanistan is quite likely to descend into civil war."

SCOOP - "The Story Behind Cheney's Heart Transplant Surgery": "Dick Cheney was sound asleep when the phone rang after midnight on Friday. It was a call from the cardiology department at Inova Fairfax Hospital; he was told to come to the hospital quickly - a donor heart was likely to become available within hours. 'His response was to say, "Sure. What time? Let's go,"' said Dr. Jon Reiner, Cheney's cardiologist ... About an hour later, Cheney was at the hospital preparing for heart transplant surgery. The surgery, which started at 10am Saturday was over by 5pm, about 17 hours after Cheney received his wake-up call from the hospital. 'The surgery went flawlessly,' Dr. Reiner told ABC News. 'It exceeded expectations.' Cheney is still in intensive care, but Dr. Reiner said his recovering has been 'dramatic' and that Cheney ... was already out of his hospital bed and sitting in a chair Monday morning. ... 'If you ask is it reasonable for a patient, like this patient, to consider [living] 10 years, yes, I think that's reasonable ... And good quality life."

UPDATE ON DICK CHENEY after heart transplant a week ago today: "The VP is doing very well. He is up and walking and spending time with his family. He has also been reading some of the thousands of cards and letters people have sent from all over the country. [On Thursday,] he surprised several of the people who sent messages by calling them personally from the hospital. He continues to be very grateful for the prayers and support and will hopefully be headed home soon. VP also watched the 'Politico Live' show at lunchtime today, and thought it was very well done."

CHINA EXPORTS TOP $100 BILLION - From the U.S. China Business Council Exports to China by State report to be released on Wednesday: "For the first time, total US exports to China have passed $100 billion with 30 states now counting China as one of their top three export markets. ... China is the third-largest US export market. As a buyer of US goods, China ranks behind only Canada and Mexico ... 48 states have registered at least triple-digit export growth to China since 2000, far outpacing growth in their exports to the rest of the world. Twenty of those states have experienced quadruple-digit growth. ... 10 states have at least doubled their exports to China since 2009, while three of these states- South Carolina, South Dakota, and Vermont-have more than tripled their exports to China in the past two years."

BIRTHDAYS THIS WEEK – Birthday wishes and thoughts this week to: Jackie Chan (58), Tony Dorsett (58), Vince Gill (55), Merle Haggard (75), Chris Meloni (51), Craig T. Nelson (68), Wayne Newton (70), Colin Powell (75), Marion Roach Smith …famous memoir writer, Billy Dee Williams (75).

Words of the Month:

chichi \SHEE-shee\, adjective:

Affectedly trendy.
From the French word that literally means "curl of false hair"; used figuratively in the phrases faire des chichis, "to have affected manners, to make a fuss"; and gens à chichis, "affected, snobbish people." Sometimes spelled "chi-chi."
disimular, verb
to hide, to conceal; to pretend
Sometimes you may want to hide your feelings. If so, disimular is the verb you need in Spanish.
“Has sido tú, no disimules.”
It was you, don’t pretend it wasn’t

SPORTS BLINK – It’s Showtime for the L.A. Dodgers, "A group led by Lakers legend Magic Johnson emerged Tuesday night as the new owners of the Dodgers, ending months of uncertainty for the storied but troubled baseball franchise. Johnson, who guided the Lakers to five NBA championships during the 'Showtime' era of the 1980s, is a partner in the group along with longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten and movie executive Peter Guber. The controlling owner would be Mark Walter, chief executive officer of Guggenheim Partners, a Chicago-based financial services company. Walter and McCourt met privately in New York on Tuesday, coming to an agreement only hours after Major League Baseball owners approved three final bidders. The winning group paid $2 billion for the team -- a record for a sports franchise -- according to an announcement issued jointly with previous owner Frank McCourt."

BROKEN WASHINGTON: BUDGET COMPROMISE GOES DOWN HARD - Simpson-Bowles-style compromise pushed by Reps. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) and Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio) went down 382-38. The measure would have instructed lawmakers to cut $4 trillion in debt through spending cuts and tax increases ... President Obama's 2013 budget proposal went down 414-0. ... This paves the way for passage of the Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) budget which will get quickly crushed in the Senate. All this means any serious effort at deficit and debt reduction will wait until at least after the 2012 election and perhaps will not be possible even then. This in turn means... well, nothing good. In the long run it means ... Greece.

CURRENT U.S. DEBT: $15.6 trillion
CURRENT U.S. DEFICIT: $1.3 trillion

NFL release: "The Super Bowl champion New York Giants will host the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium in the 2012 season-opening NFL Kickoff game on Wednesday, September 5 (NBC, 8:30 PM ET) ... NBC will televise the game at 8:30 PM ET and NFL Kickoff 2012 at 7:30 PM ET. Continuing a tradition that started in 2004, the previous year's Super Bowl winner hosts the NFL Kickoff game to open the following season."

Final Four-Championship Matchup: Calipari (and Kentucky) get Kansas again for title ," by AP National Writer Nancy Armour, in New Orleans: "John Calipari and his Kentucky juggernaut will face Kansas for the national championship on Monday night. That would be the same school that beat Memphis in overtime for the NCAA title in 2008, back when Calipari was coaching the Tigers. It also would be the same Kansas team that the Wildcats beat back in November. ... Top-seeded Kentucky (37-2) is back in the title game [after beating Louisville, 69-61] for the first time since 1998, when it won its seventh NCAA championship. Down 13 in the first half, resilient Kansas (32-6) needed a furious comeback against Ohio State [64-62] to reach the championship game, where it will play for its fourth NCAA title."

LOTTO UPDATE - "Lottery ticket-holders in Illinois, Kansas and Maryland each selected the winning numbers for the world record-breaking $640 million Mega Millions jackpot ... Illinois' winning ticket was sold in the small town of Red Bud, near St. Louis, and the winner used a quick pick to select the numbers ... The Maryland Lottery said it sold a winning ticket ... in Baltimore County. A winning ticket also was purchased in northeast Kansas ... Each winning ticket was expected to be worth more than $213 million before taxes, Lang said. The winning numbers in Friday night's drawing were 02-04-23-38-46, and the Mega Ball 23."

Quarter Deux - It’s a new month and a new quarter on Wall Street, with the market’s first quarter gains signaling a bullish remainder of 2012: Since 1950, the S&P 500 has risen for the year after every first quarter gain of 8% or more.  The S&P’s first quarter advance of 12% was its best quarter since the third quarter of 2009, and the best start to a year since 1998.

DRIVING THE WEEK - President Obama hosts Canadian and Mexican leaders today and holds a joint presser at 1:15 p.m. ... Wisconsin votes Tuesday and a strong Romney win would further cement his lock on the GOP nomination even though Rick Santorum has pledged to stay in till Romney officially hits 1,144 delegates. This could take awhile as May sets up better for Santorum with contests in Texas and other southern, more deeply red states. Romney should win easily in Maryland and DC on Tuesday ...

Top data this week including ISM manufacturing today, ISM non-manufacturing and ADP private employment on Wednesday and BLS employment and consumer credit on Friday. It will be a somewhat odd jobs day as U.S. markets, closed for Good Friday, will have to wait until Monday to react. ... On Tuesday, automakers report North American sales on and the FOMC releases minutes of its March 13 meeting.

Next week, Jackass of the Month and a restaurant review.

Until Next Monday, Adios.

Claremont, CA
April 2, 2012

#II-49, 102

No comments:

Post a Comment