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Archive for the ‘Conscious Evolution’ Category

ESG ETFs Could Be the Next Big Evolution in Investment Strategies – ETF Trends

Posted: March 26, 2020 at 12:42 am

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With the exchange traded fund industry continuing to grow and expand, money managers see strategies focused on environmental, social, and governance as part of the next evolution in the innovative ETF space.

We see ESG becoming a bigger and bigger part of investors concerns and something theyre going to be looking at very closely, Daniel Noonan, Executive Vice President, Head of ETF Sales, U.S. Global Wealth Management, PIMCO, said at the Inside ETFs conference.

For example, PIMCO recently came out with the PIMCO Enhanced Short Maturity Active ESG ETF (NYSEArca: EMNT), which aims to offer higher income than traditional cash investments, with a modest increase in risk and focuses on issuers with high quality environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices.

EMNT is based on the success of PIMCOs Enhanced Short Maturity Active Exchange-Traded Fund (MINT) and invests in high-quality money market instruments and short-term fixed income securities. The fund blends PIMCOs active fixed income management with its disciplined ESG investment framework. The framework favors issuers identified by PIMCO as best-in-class, with robust environmentally conscious practices, strong corporate governance, and industry-leading social policies.

Additionally, PIMCO rolled out the PIMCO RAFI ESG U.S. ETF (RAFE), which is benchmarked to the Research Affiliates RAFI ESG US Index and seeks to outperform market capitalization-weighted indices while investing in ESG-conscious companies.

The fund utilizes Research Affiliates time-tested Fundamental Index approach which weights stocks by economic size, rather than by market capitalization, and is built on the principles of contrarian investing and disciplined rebalancing, offering the potential for improved returns. This is paired with Research Affiliates unique approach to ESG, investing in ESG-conscious companies as well as incorporating two additional metrics linked to improved return potential financial discipline and diversity.

For more ETF-related commentary from Tom Lydon and other industry experts, visit ourvideo category

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ESG ETFs Could Be the Next Big Evolution in Investment Strategies - ETF Trends

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March 26th, 2020 at 12:42 am

You Can Help Break the Chain of Transmission – The New York Times

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HJ: I still feel really concerned about the complacency among so many people people thinking that what happened in Wuhan, China, or Italy cant possibly happen here. Its really hard to see people in the U.K. and the U.S. not taking the problem seriously, and putting themselves and others at risk.

But individuals can do so much, too, because of the exponential increase of cases in an outbreak.

BH: Its really instructive to compare what happened in Wuhan and what happened in Guangzhou. In Wuhan, they shut down when they had 495 cases in a city that is roughly the size of New York. In neighboring Guangzhou, by contrast, they took action when there were seven cases. The epidemic curve in Guangzhou was completely manageable. As we all know, in Wuhan it was absolutely

HJ: Catastrophic.

BH: It led to the crisis in the hospitals. And this is the thing that is really important: The peak demand for critical care was roughly a month after the restrictions were put in place.

Right, so here we are, all doing some degree of extreme social distancing or sheltering at home. When will the peak hit? In a month?

BH: It could be a month from now, it could be longer. I want to be wary of getting into the weeds of complicated modeling or predictions. Instead, what I want to get across is: We know that this is a virus capable of doing what it did to Wuhan, and what it is now doing in Italy and Spain and what it will almost certainly do in the U.K. Washington State is coming under severe strain. Given what we know the virus is capable of, we should be preparing for it now.

HJ: We should have been preparing months ago.

And how long are the restrictions likely to last. When does it end? The report released Monday from modelers at Imperial College London suggested that we could be in for a long haul.

HJ: Its a marathon, not a sprint. Everyone needs to come to terms psychologically with the idea that this is going to last a long time. Its going to be a long-term effort to flatten the curve. If we can successfully bring down the case numbers to a manageable level, then we can reassess the situation. By then, we will hopefully have more science to inform our decision-making, and we will have ramped up testing capacity substantially.

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You Can Help Break the Chain of Transmission - The New York Times

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March 26th, 2020 at 12:41 am

Britney Spears Might Be a Socialist & the Internet Is Happy – Showbiz Cheat Sheet

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Musicians like Bob Dylan, Pete Seeger, and Bruce Springsteen are known for taking political stances. Britney Spears was never one of those artists. Until now.

The pop princess might be known for her vast wealth. However, shes recently advocated for wealth redistribution. Heres how Spears said so much by using someone elses words.

During the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, celebrities from Jon Bon Jovi to Justin Bieber have shared positive messages to the world. Their efforts are certainly appreciated as many people could use a boost in morale. Spears March 24, 2020 message on Instagram initially appeared to be another innocuous morale-booster. However, a closer looks reveals something different.

In the post, Spears quotes the words of Instagram/Twitter personality Mimi Zhu. According to The A.V. Club, much of Zhus work is philosophical. In the quote Sears reposted, Zhu highlighted how people can help each other during the coronavirus pandemic. The quote also encourages people to redistribute wealth and go on strike.

In her caption, Spears posted a trio of rose emojis. The red rose is a well-known symbol of the Democratic Socialists of America. As such, rose emjois are often used in the Twitter handles of democratic socialists. In another context, the rose emojis Spears posted might just be pretty flowers. However, in this context, they seem to be a political statement.

This post is a bit of a surprise coming from Spears. The singer previously advocated for the Iraq War. She made a brief appearance in Michael Moores documentary Fahrenheit 9/11 saying Americans should support President George W. Bush. Aside from these statements, Spears has stayed mostly apolitical, both in her music and her public appearances.

Zhu wished Spears had credited her. Simultaneously, she was happy Spears reposted her work. Zhu tweeted at the end of the day i think this is funny and sweet and im happy my work moved her becuz she moved me a lot while i was growing up. She added comrade britney is an icon and im glad we are connected on this wavelength.

Spears comments received a warm reception online. Many support the message she shared. Even more are making jokes about how Spears is now one of the foremost economic theorists of our day.

Some are taking Zhus lead and calling Spears Comrade Britney, referencing how Soviets would call each other comrades. Its not clear at this time if Spears will become the next Che Guevara. If she does, her evolution will surely be the story of the century!

The Guardian reached out to one of Spears representatives for some insight into this situation. The representative offered no comment. Does this post signal a new, more socially conscious era for Spears? We will wait and see.

Also see: How Katy Perrys Tight, Sexy Dress Inspired a Britney Spears Hit

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Britney Spears Might Be a Socialist & the Internet Is Happy - Showbiz Cheat Sheet

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March 26th, 2020 at 12:41 am

Why the current climate is another case for a cashless future – TechHQ

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Governments around the world right now are delivering variations of the same advice to their citizens: stay away from each other and wash your hands.

This simple advice is repeatedly broadcast to the public in efforts to stem the tide of virus transmission. However, many retailers the ones that remain open, at least are also handing out their own guidelines and, interestingly, using contactless payment methods is often one of them.

The thinking behind it is that banknotes changing hands could present a vehicle for transmission of the virus, and while there is mixed evidence to suggests thats a real risk, the psychological factor is leading many customers themselves to favor cashless payment methods, according toJodie Kelley, CEO of the Electronic Transactions Association, speaking to CNBC.

Contactless payments have come up as a new option for consumers who are much more conscious of what they touch. Kelley said.

Coffee chainCosta has adopted a card-only payment policyto eliminate the possibility of contamination for this reason. High street fashion brandTed Bakerhas also switched to a cashless payment system due to increased hygiene precautions.

In the UK, a government-commissioned study predicted the nation would become a cashless society within the decade.

Due to the rapid decline in cash payments, the study published last month (before the pandemic escalated in the country) said that by 2030, just one in 10 transactions would be made with paper and coin. With businesses now actively refusing cash, that timescale could be an underestimation.

Overall, the advantages for businesses are clear. Contactless payment solutions reduce friction and wait times at outlets, improving efficiency of operations, and therefore keeping customers happier and more likely to return and spend more as a result.

Loyalty programs can also be linked to contactless payment technologies, enabling retailers to collect data for personalized marketing, as well as boosting customer retention with rewards-based offers.

For customers, carrying contactless cards or simply using smartphone payment methods is much more convenient and secure. Lose a card, for example, and you can tell your bank to freeze it within minutes.

The benefits are such that payment technology firms and other stakeholders are exploring how new technologies can take things further.

Besides the development of biometric technologies for payments such as fingerprints, Mastercard is teaming up with transport companies to explore how we can use a personsgait to identify and verify payments.

Singapore, meanwhile, is ramping up efforts in developingfacial recognition payments, meaning pay by face could soon become a reality for its four million citizens for a range of different services.

As the innovation continues andno cash signs begin appearing on the tills of local businesses, however, concerns are emerging in the UK around the 1.5 million adults that remain unbanked.

TheFinancial Inclusion Commissionrevealed only about half of the unbanked individuals would like a bank account and around half of basic bank account holders choose to manage their budget in cash. So, as the UK and other countries continue the journey towards becoming cashless, a staggering portion of the population could be isolated due to their reliance on cash payments.


In a bid to preserve the best interest of communities relying on cash, chancellor Rishi Sunak plans to enforce banks to continue distributing it for those who rely on it a legislation similar to Swedenswhich was introduced amid a public backlash, as the countrys cash system was threatened.

Many economists and insiders are optimistic about the UKs direction towards digital transactions and overhaul of cashless payment options;digital payments are the way forward and government efforts are in place to mitigate the impact it would have on unbanked individuals.

So, while the spread of COVID-19 might be highlighting another benefit of contactless payment methods, many countries across the world were already committed to this payments evolution long before.

The current crisis may be ample reason to bring those plans forward we may well see retailers seek to continue to firm up cashless policies long after the current crisis recedes.

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Why the current climate is another case for a cashless future - TechHQ

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March 26th, 2020 at 12:41 am

Over the influence? The future of social media – just-drinks FUTURES Vol.7 – FREE TO ACCESS –

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When Mark Zuckerbergand his college friendsinvented Facebook inthe early 2000s, they changedthe way we see the world. Although social media pre-datesFacebook, the platform captured the moment. Accordingto Statista, the number of activeFacebook users broke 1bn way back in 2012, making it "the first socialnetwork ever to do so". At thesame time, the smartphonewas busy becoming not onlymore sophisticated but alsomore affordable.

The latest report from just-drinks FUTURES considers the future role of social media for food and drinks brand owners

Fast-forward to today andHootsuite's 2019 Facebookstats analysis says 88% ofFacebook users are accessingthe social network via a mobiledevice.

As new social media platformsemerge and consumer needschange, even the behemoth thatis Facebook has had to workhard to keep up, acquiring Instagram in 2012 and WhatsAppin 2014.Now, according to Hootsuite, 1bn people use Instagramevery month (500m every day)and 71% of Instagrammers areunder 35 years old.In fact, says Hootsuite, 45% ofthe total world population usessocial media. That's 3.48bn people - and 3.26bn of them usemobile devices to access socialmedia, up 10% from 2018.

In the latest edition of FUTURES, we explore what thenext generation of social media platforms might look like.We outline the trends behindchanging consumer needs andexplore our evolving relationshipwith data. As with all FUTURESreports, we finish with a look atwhat food and drinks companies can do now, to ensure theyare prepared.

The State Of Social Media

In the US, 47% of the population uses Instagram, up from 16%in 2014. In South Korea, just 7% of the population used Instagram in 2014 and use is now at 50%. Meanwhile, use in the UKhas risen from 13% in 2014 to 39% in 2019.

Use peaked in most markets in 2017 - at 82% in the US and73% in the UK. In 2019, use has dipped and is now at 73% inthe US and 69% in the UK.

In the US, just 10% of the overall population uses Twitch, in the UKit's even lower at 6%. But, among men aged 16 to 24, use jumps upsignificantly - to 32% in the US and 24% in the UK.

63% of Americans aged 16 to 24 and 66% of Britons of the same ageuse Snapchat. However, just 11% of Americans and 5% of Britons aged 45 to54 use it.


According to Jaana Jatyri, founder of trendforecasting agencyTrendstop, personalisation continues to be a huge and growingsocial media trend. Looking athow this will play out in the future, Jatyri says: "Bots will giveway to more sophisticated AItools which will allow brands tocreate personalised posts thatmake their user feel involvedand unique."

The latest digital revolution is in full swing and,according to PwC, by2020 there will be "close to seventimes the number of connecteddevices as people on the planet". Moreover, the way we seeadvertising is changing. Hootsuite suggests 50% of Generation Z and 42% of Millennialsbelieve social media is the mostrelevant ad channel.

There is now a push forunfiltered, 'real' content, says Laura Dennehy, head of content innovationat UK consumer trends company Foresight Factory. She highlights how some members ofGeneration Z have 'Finsta' accounts. "They typically have twoInstagram accounts. Their mainone, where they post glossy,perfect pictures. Then they havea Finsta account - which standsfor 'fake Instagram' - but it's actually more real and they haveclose friends following themand will post pics of themselveslooking less than perfect," Dennehy says.

She believes this behaviour willgrow over the next five years,driven by authenticity, as consumers get braver about sharing more real content.

As more consumerswake up to wider environmental concerns - including climate change andthe impact of plastic waste - both transparency and socialresponsibility will continue to gohand in hand. Citing a Draperssurvey of 2,000 UK consumers,Trendstop's Jatyri says 46% ofshoppers spend time researching ethical and sustainablebrands to buy from. "Users ofsocial media platforms want tosee authentic content that reflects their personal values ontheir feeds," she adds.

Foresight Factory'sDennehy says 'liquidskills' are a big trendbehind social media behaviours."People love learning but theyare also looking for accessible,easy-to-master and perhapseasy-to-discard skills," she explains. She gives the exampleof tutorials and 'how-to' content, although she also points out it'sdebatable how often people willactually go on and cook a recipefrom a video they've watched.

The Big Interview

In an exclusive interview, FUTURES talksto Ben Sutherland, thechief digital officer at Diageo,about the use of technologyand data in the way the drinksgiant markets its brands on social media.

FUTURES: We seem at a tipping point where social mediamarketing is moving in a different direction. Which way do yousee it heading?

Ben Sutherland: I think that'sfair to say. The past ten yearshave been more about broadcast social media. It's also beenabout how people have been using public social networks. Theshift we're really seeing at themoment is towards more personal and private social - thishas been termed 'dark social'.What's driving that is how increasingly savvy consumers arebecoming and how data-awarethey are.

To some degree, there's been abit of a lost generation, wherepeople are learning how to usetechnology and they're learningthe value of data. What we'reseeing is a flip, where consumers are very well-aware of theimpact of their public personaversus how they want to livetheir lifestyles with their friendship groups in a very separateand private way.

Both from a professional andpersonal context, people areaware that, whilst they havethat right to be forgotten, it'svery difficult to take some stuffback when you put it on socialchannels. For me, it's very muchreflecting that increasing consumer understanding of theimpact of their profile on socialplatforms.

FUTURES: Until quite recently,it's been like the Wild West formarketing on social media. Itused to be quite easy.

Ben Sutherland: If you werejust looking at a reach approachto how you're using social media, it's been quite easy to hitthe numbers. The media measurement of social media hasmeant that, increasingly, peoplehave been looking at trying todecrease their cost-per-thousands. This is contrary to theway Diageo operates.

We're looking for quality reachand we're prepared to pay morefor it. We have those conversations with our social partners.The more confidence we havethat we're talking to the rightpeople of legal purchasing age [LPA] who are interested in productslike ours, then we're prepared topay a premium for that.

Increasingly, our mantra isaround trust and respect being core to the way we operateas a business and as individual brands. What we've alwaystried to do is make sure thattrust and respect arefollowedthrough in terms of how wecommunicateand what we putin front of audiences.

The impact of GDPR from ourperspective has been very positive. You get a slight tensionbetween GDPR and wanting tospeak to people above LPA. The platforms are very aware of howthey should and shouldn't beusing personal data. You needpersonal data to make soundchoices about whether theconsumer is the right age andwhether they're the right audience.

FUTURES: Can you give us anexample of how, from a marketing perspective, Diageo canhave trust and respect for consumers when using social media?

Ben Sutherland: We're tryingto drive better behaviours within the social platforms - andsupporting that with our keycompetitors - to put pressureon the platforms to help makesure we're not advertising tominors. We take that incrediblyseriously.

We take any opportunity we getto improve our targeting andrestrict ourselves. What we'vebeen doing recently is to tablethat with the key platforms totry to drive the use of technology and data to safeguard minors and to safeguard advertisers from advertising to minors.That's a very clear and obviousway of us respecting our consumers and customers.

Ideally, we would never advertise to anyone under age andwe would never advertise to anyone who isn't interested in ourproducts. We've got no interestin advertising to them - it's justwasted money and it's not goodpractice. What we're trying todo with the platforms is makesure they understand there'smore of a feeling of joint responsibility around that. We'realso helping drive their productdevelopment to give us toolsand automated processes thatallow us to eradicate advertising to minors as much as possible.

FUTURES: Looking at the social media channels available,which are the mosteffective for Diageo to get yourmessages to the right audienceof LPA drinkers who are interested in your products?

Ben Sutherland: They all havea role to play. The ability to hitnumbers to recruit and re-recruit is incredibly importantfor us. The same is true of ourbroadcast, digital and socialmedia advertising. Facebookand Instagram are incrediblyimportant.

The messaging apps are becoming increasingly important. Youcan see from the social platforms' investment profile whenthey're looking at instant messaging, people are moving moretowards the private network.There's a huge uptick in thevolume of usage of WhatsAppwhile, in China, WeChat is justenormous.

As they look to improve the consumer journey and the consumerexperience, the social platformswill try to create an integratedecosystem within these messaging platforms.

From a more broadcast perspective, YouTube is always going to be there, delivering goodnumbers. But, we're very cautious about what we do withinYouTube. Reddit is an interesting one - it's more anonymised. I think we could see an uptick inmore privately-driven social networks. They're the ones we'relooking out for at the moment.

The other area that's really interesting is gaming. It's aworldwide audience group withits own social nuances. From asocialising perspective, it's certainly something we're lookingat quite closely. The audience isvery much skewed older as well.When you talk about gaming,you might think about a youngerage group when actually it's 20-plus. In terms of safety aroundadvertising to underage consumers, it's really quite robust.

FUTURES: How do you see'dark social' developing? Howcan companies break into private groups?

Ben Sutherland: The platformswill always seek to monetisethose from a certain perspective, so there will be opportunities. You don't necessarily engage in the conversation butyou'll have the ability to presentyour messages. Like everything,you need to be incredibly respectful of the fact that peopledon't want their journey to beinterrupted.

However, if the right behavioursare being exhibited, it might bethat you present products tothem that are appropriate fortheir journey and for their conversation. You need to be almost invited in. We're alwaysincredibly cautious, but youcan use messaging in the sameway you might use direct mail.You have to be respectful ofthe information that you have.Increasingly, you don't have alot ofinformation on which tomake those judgment calls. Youneed to make sure that your advertising is broadly relevant, andthat people can opt-in as muchas possible.

Our approach is that we wantan opt-in to any advertisingthat we put out. We're reallypro having an opt-in - it meanswe're better able to present theright advertising to the rightpeople.

FUTURES: How do you see theinfluencer role developing? Willthey blow hot and cold, like celebrity promotions?

Ben Sutherland: It's beenvery beneficial to some of ourbrands. When we talk about respect, it's important that anypaid-for partnerships are clearlynoted to consumers, so they understand there's no under-handinfluence. We're very clear onwhat the minimum levels of expectation are.

As it progresses, we'll probablylook to fewer but more meaningful partnerships. What you'llsee is the more mid-tier influencers dropping down. You'llhave the more niche and emerging influencers and then you'llhave the big volume influencerswhere it's almost a business.

Consumers are not stupid -they're the trendsetters. It veryquickly becomes obvious to consumers when you're not beingtrustworthy and respectful -that serves no purpose for usas brands. We try as much aspossible to take the minimumgovernance expectations andratchet them up to the Diageostandard. We err on the side ofbeing ultra-respectful.

FUTURES: How do you seeconsumer data evolving, from apersonalisation and privacy perspective?

Ben Sutherland: There's a tension between needing and wanting the data to make sure we'readvertising to the right peoplebut then also not being able touse the data because of GDPR.As that tension plays out, wewill err on the side of cautionwhen it comes to the usage ofconsumer data. What it is doingis forcing some good practicesinto our business around understanding why we want to collectcertain bits of data and whatwe're going to use them for.

Just because you can collect thedata doesn't mean you should,or that you're even going to useit in any meaningful way. Thequestion I ask internally is, ifwe're going to collect that data,what are consumers going tosee differently as a result? If theanswer is nothing, then let's notbother collecting it, then. It'sforcing that rigour of thinking.

One area we're looking at investing in is brand experiencesmore. That's a perfect opportunity to collect the data of incredibly engaged audiences anduse it in a really respectful wayand in a way that consumersare opted in to. They're moreengaged because they've beenpart of an amazing experience.We're very much focused onthat value exchange and howwe use data to provide a muchbetter experience of our brands.

FUTURES: What about the newconsumers coming through, andthe way they will interact withsocial media?

Ben Sutherland: You're goingto get an increasingly-savvyconsumer base who are muchmore aware of that value exchange between data and experience and data and personalisation of brands. There's anexpectation for consumers tobe involved in the product and inthe personalisation of the product. This will force businesses tothink about how they take thatconsumer interaction and inputinto how you deliver and develop products.

What it's forcing us to do isthink very differently about howwe put campaigns togetherthat are appropriate for nicheaudiences. It's a great way ofengaging with consumers andgetting them involved in ourproducts and brands. The morethat we can do that in a meaningful way, the better the performance of the business willbe.

FUTURES: How can drinkscompanies make sure they keepup to speed with the changes inthe trends in social media, in order to reach new consumers?

Ben Sutherland: We try to create the future, as much as respond to it. We try to be at theleading edge in terms of understanding and the capability ofdigital and social media, so thatwe can safeguard the reputations of our brands. More thananything, we don't want thoseto be tarnished. We feel veryprotective of those brands.

We very much think about engaging with the platforms. Howdo we help the platforms thinkaround that consumer trust aspect? These are young businesses, while we've been doing thisfor years. How do we help themthink of it as an opportunityto stay relevant to consumers?That's why we see GDPR as anopportunity to demonstrate ourrelevance as brands now and inthe future.

FUTURES: Does anyone knowwhat they're doing in this area?Is there a rulebook to follow onhow to successfully market insocial media?

Ben Sutherland: It's constantly evolving. We're working reallyclosely with The InternationalAlliance for Responsible Drinking and the platforms to helppush that as much as possible.How do we automate age gating? How do we improve thecapabilities of the industry togo about respectful marketingwithin the alcohol sector?

We've been having very progressive conversations with theplatforms. We're on a journey toeradicate advertising to minors,and they're responding verypositively. We're clearly seeinga prioritisation in this space andthey're putting both money andresources into fixing these areas, which is gratifying.

The futureof socialmedia

The trend for discoverywill continue to drivesocial media use, believes Genna Osler, industryhead for FMCG at Facebook.

"Food and drink brands that areusing the platform well havevisual storytelling and mobile attheir core," she explains. "This isespecially important for targeting food and drink fans who areincreasingly driven to buy basedon their 'digital hunger'." According to Osler, food and drinkis about feeling part of a community. "Engagement is at itshighest with content that helpsthem to explore new tastes,share experiences and get inspiration."

Osler says this trend will remainbut we will see an evolution inthe way we connect, pinpointing augmented and virtual reality. "Video is already a powerfulplatform for advertisers to connect with their customers, butas AR and VR become part ofthe norm, this will create evenmore opportunities for brandsto make people's mouths water," she says.

These types of experiences arealready being tested and Oslerbelieves they "create even moredepth and immersion, helping tofoster deeper connections" byeffectively enabling a companyto bring its store or products directly to customers.

Foresight Factory's Dennehyalso underscores the future ofvisual search technology. Shesays Pinterest, for example, canrecognise 2.5bn objects.The knock-on effect, she explains, is social browsing becomes online browsing, because"any image you see can give youinspiration and can be feedinginto an algorithm that helps youhunt down things that look likeit".

Dennehy also believes that, inthe next five years, the distinction between social networkswill become less important because almost every platform weuse has some social elements."YouTube [and] Spotify havesome social element where youcan be following friends. Twitchis kind of gaming and kind ofsocial," she says. "Even thingslike Depop, which is a resellingplatform, you follow people, youmessage people."

As we embark on a more connected, more visual social media future, FUTURES exploressome of the key developments.

Facebook's Osler tellsFUTURES that as consumers have moved tomobile, there has also been ashift towards interacting moreusing imagery and video. "Fromvideos in Feed people on average spend five times longerlooking at video than static content - to, most recently,the huge growth of Stories, thefastest-growing format on ourplatform," she says. "Storieshave been on Instagram since 2016 but today, across our platforms, 1bn Stories arecreated every day."

According to Buffer's 2019 'Stateof Social' report, brands are "riding the organic Stories wave"with Stories ads expected to bethe 'next big thing'. (The Bufferstudy involved 1,842 marketingprofessionals in companies ofvarying sizes -from fewer thanten employees to up to 1,000).

"As the number of people usingStories has grown, so has thenumber of businesses using theformat to connect with their audiences on social media," Buffersays. Some 61% of businesses inBuffer's survey say they plan toinvest in Stories ads from Facebook-owned entities this year.

Citing US brand managementcompany Chatmeter as well asHootsuite, Trendstop's Jatyriexplains 54% of consumers saythey want to see more videocontent from brands and "one inthree social video viewers watchvideos from brands regularly".

When it comes to consumerbehaviour, Foresight Factory'sDennehy predicts by 2022, 66% of Chinese, 60% of US and42% of UK consumers will beposting live videos.

In fact, Facebook has recentlylaunched a new social viewingexperience called Watch Party,a feature that lets people connect via Facebook Groups towatch live or pre-recorded videos and chat together in realtime.

The rise of video is also influencing the growth of newer socialmedia platforms. UK PR agencyAmbitious named TikTok as thenext big social network at its 'Social Media Week' event thisyear.

TikTok is a platform for short-form mobile video and, according to Ambitious, its core demographic is mostly teens andtweens. TikTok is available in150 markets, in 75 languages.The company behind TikTok,Beijing-based Byte Dance, reported via CNN it now has 1bn users across its apps.CNN said TikTok's internationalappeal "sets it apart from otherChinese social media platformssuch as Tencent's WeChat, SinaWeibo and Alibaba's Youku".

The need to capture the bestimages possible is also influencing product developmentamong social-media companies. Later this year, Snapchat will launch Spectacles 3, the latestversion of Spectacles sunglasses with dual cameras designedto "capture the world in 3D".The glasses (recommended retail price of US$413)feature two HD cameras on either side of the frame to capture depth and dimension theway your eyes do, and "powernew augmented reality creativetools" to enhance pictures.

Earlier this year, Instagram introduced@shop. The @shopplatform is a "celebration ofsmall businesses and the creators behind them", according tothe launch statement. The contentis inspired by Instagram's community - "a real-time reflectionof our community's interestsacross top shopping categorieslike fashion, beauty, home decorand more".

From a food and drinks perspective, the service offers SquareRoot sodas by the case and anarray of cocktail equipment aswell as a whole host of differentfoods, including sausages fromThe Ginger Pig butcher. SquareRoot, for example, tells users acase of sodas costs GBP25, with alink to the company's website tocomplete the purchase.

Osler says Instagram's shopping function allows companies to "tag products directly intheir feed and in Stories, helpingthem to place their productsdirectly into the hands of theircustomers".

"This will mean brands will beable to combine high-impact,visual ads in News Feed or onStories with a function thatdrives purchases in real time,"she adds.

There is no doubt social media has becomemore private in recentyears, as users gravitate towards smaller communities andmessaging apps.

"Another trend we're seeing isthe rapid growth of messaging,"says Facebook's Osler. "Peoplenow send around 100bn messages each day using our services." She says this isn't just text,but also photos and videos using apps such as WhatApp andMessenger. "They want to sharetheir experience in real-time andin ways that aren't permanent,"Osler adds.

But, Buffer's survey suggeststhe messaging arena has notyet been exploited by brands."Seventy-one per cent do notuse messaging apps for theirmarketing," the report says. Infact, Foresight Factory's Dennehy says "these spaces aremuch harder for brands to crackinto".

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March 26th, 2020 at 12:41 am

Who Was Alexander von Humboldt? | At the Smithsonian –

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SMITHSONIANMAG.COM | March 24, 2020, 7:20 a.m.

Many of his new ideas simply became an accepted part of what we know about this planet; others were superseded by his colleagues and successors. However, between the 1820s and 1850s Alexander von Humboldt was one of the most widely admired public figures in the world.

Humboldt, who died at 89, traveled on four continents, wrote more than 36 books and 25,000 letters to a network of correspondents around the globe. He had an infectious personality and boundless curiosity, surrounded himself with some of the leading minds of his era and never stopped talking. Charismatic, annoying, exuberant, caustic, but undeniably relevant, Humboldt straddled the enlightenment penchant for wanting to know everything about everything and the establishment of modern scientific methods designed to query that accrued knowledge.

He claimed to sleep only four hours a night and called coffee concentrated sunbeams. Among his many scientific achievements, Humboldt theorized the spreading of the continental landmasses through plate tectonics, mapped the distribution of plants on three continents and charted the way air and water move to create bands of climate at different latitudes and altitudes. He tracked what became known as the Humboldt Current in the Pacific Ocean and created what he called isotherms to chart mean temperatures around the globe. He observed the relationship between deforestation and changes in local climate, located the magnetic equator and found in the geological strata fossil remains of both plants and animals that he understood to be precursors to modern life forms, acknowledging extinction before many others.

Alexander von Humboldt (17691859), one of the most influential scientists and thinkers of his age, visited the United States for six weeks in 1804, engaging in a lively exchange of ideas with such figures as Thomas Jefferson and the painter Charles Willson Peale. It was perhaps the most consequential visit by a European traveler in the young nation's history, one that helped to shape an emerging American identity grounded in the natural world.

Some of the brightest minds and prominent scientific thinkers of the era embraced Humboldts expansive thinking: inspired by Humboldts early publications, Charles Lyell drew confidence in outlining his Principles of Geology; Charles Darwin idolized Humboldt, whose encouragement contributed to Darwins developing theories regarding the evolution of species. Humboldts friend Goethe proclaimed that he learned more from an hour in Humboldts company than he did spending eight days reading other books.

For Humboldts U.S. audience, it was his travel narratives rather than his scientific monographs that ignited the imagination. Before Cosmos, Humboldt had published 34 other volumes, all sharing an evolving articulation of his underlying premise of the unity of nature. His Essay on the Geography of Plants was published in 1805, followed by Aspects of Nature in 1808. Relation historique du voyage aux regions quinoxiales du nouveau continent is an 11-volume compendium of his travels through the Americas. Its English translation became known as the seven-volume Personal Narrative of Travels to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent, during the Years 17991804 and four-volume Political Essay on the Kingdom of New Spain. In 1826 he published the Political Essay on the Island of Cuba and, after that, several books stemming from his 1829 trip across Russia. Interspersed with these travel volumes he produced separate monographs devoted to astronomy, botany, geology, mineralogy and zoology.

The fifth season of Sidedoor aired this episode, "The Last Man Who Knew It All," about how Alexander von Humboldt, through science and art, inspired a key part of America's national identity.

Over the course of his adult life he developed a revolutionary theory that all aspects of the planet, from the outer atmosphere to the bottom of the oceans, were interconnecteda theory he called the unity of nature.

It is hard to overstate how radical an idea this was in its day. After spending more than 30 years amassing data and testing ideas, Humboldt delivered a series of lectures in Berlin in 1827, describing theories that electrified his audience. From these lectures, he began drafting the book that would cement his lasting significance, as he described to his close friend, Varnhagen von Ense, in 1834:

I am going to press with my work,the work of my life. The mad fancy has seized me of representing, in a single work, the whole material world,all that is known to us of the phenomena of heavenly space and terrestrial life, from the nebulae of stars to the geographical distribution of mosses on granite rocks; and this in a work in which a lively style shall at once interest and charm. Each great and important principle, wherever it appears to lurk, is to be mentioned in connection with facts....My title at present is 'Kosmos; Outlines of a description of the physical World'....I know that Kosmos is very grand, and not without a certain tinge of affectation; but the title contains a striking word, meaning both heaven and earth.

Humboldts singular text grew to fill five volumes, which were written in the last decade of his life to summarize all that he had learned in his scientific research based on his idea of the unity of nature. From the inaugural publication of the first volume in 1845, Kosmostranslated in English as Cosmos: A Sketch of the Physical Description of the Universewas an international best seller, with publishers vying for shipments of the book in at least 26 countries. Cosmos was translated almost as fast as it was published, was serialized in popular magazines and inspired a generation of naturalists, explorers, artists and authors.

When Humboldt traveled to England in 1790, he met a young chemist named James Smithson, who became another part of Humboldts expanding network and, later in his life, was the founding benefactor of what became the Smithsonian Institution. Humboldt spent five years traveling across South America, Mexico and Cuba between 1799 and 1804. Along the way Humboldt did more than gather plant specimens and artifacts; he witnessed the Transit of Mercury and discovered the location of the magnetic equator. That signature measurement allowed him to recalibrate his equipment and take the most accurate readings to that point of longitude and latitude in the Americas. Humboldts trip corrected the location of numerous cities across South America and Mexico, literally recalibrating American cartography. He constructed the most detailed map of central North America, extending north from Mexico to the Canadian border. Sharing that map with Jefferson may have been the single most significant contribution Humboldt made to American geopolitics.

One measure of Humboldts deep impact in the U.S. is the outpouring of grief when news of the eminent naturalists death spread across the globe in 1859. In the U.S., the New York Times and Harpers Weekly devoted extensive coverage to eulogize him, enumerating Humboldts achievements, extolling his significance and amplifying the emotional response to news of his death.

Ten years later, in 1869the centennial of Humboldts birththe world again gave itself over to celebrating Humboldts name and reputation and remarking on the progress others had made standing on his broad shoulders. Once again Humboldt dominated the front page of American newspapers. The New York Times devoted extensive coverage to what was being called the Humboldt celebration. In Boston, Harvard professor Louis Agassiz, perhaps the leading scientist of his generation and a Humboldt protg, delivered a heartfelt address and choreographed a program of eulogies and inspirational speeches by the leading authors and scientists of the day. It was clear, both in 1859 and in 1869, that this country owed much to Humboldts curiosity, writings, support and international networks of influential people.

Ralph Waldo Emerson, who spent more than 30 years reading Humboldt, was among the speakers at the 1869 Boston celebration. In his description, we get a sense of how even Emerson struggled to express the magnitude of Humboldts accomplishments:

Humboldt was one of those wonders of the world, like Aristotle, like Julius Caesar, like the Admirable Crichton, who appear from time to time, as if to show us the possibilities of the human mind, the force and the range of the faculties,a universal man, not only possessed of great particular talents, but they were symmetrical, his parts were well put together. As we know, a mans natural powers are often a sort of committee that slowly, one at a time, give their attention and action; but Humboldts were all united, one electric chain, so that a university, a whole French Academy, travelled in his shoes. With great propriety, he named his sketch of the results of science 'Cosmos.' There is no other such survey or surveyor.

In my work on American landscape painting, I knew that Humboldt had inspired American artist Frederic Edwin Church to travel to South America and that his influential advice to landscape painters formed a substantial component of his second volume of Cosmos, published in English in 1849.

Humboldt was a lifelong abolitionist and had supported John C. Frmonts 1856 presidential campaign. He had visited the U.S. and met with Thomas Jefferson. Those connections were myriad and complex, much like everything else in Humboldts long life. In excavating Humboldts influence in the U.S., I took a deep dive into Humboldts world to better understand how his brief time in the U.S. emboldened this country to continue adopting naturethe concept of wilderness, specificallyas an emblem of the scale and scope of our cultural ambitions. Humboldts six-week visit shaped the cultural identity of the U.S. in the image of its landscape, from majestic formations like Natural Bridge and Niagara to an appreciation of the Great Plains as a shoreless ocean rather than a great desert.

Humboldts brief 1804 stay in the U.S. established the foundation of his extensive network of friends and admirers there. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark had just embarked on their exploration of the newly acquired Louisiana Purchase, and Jefferson was in the midst of contentious international negotiations with France and Spain over the new southern and western borders of the U.S. Humboldt arrived with maps and statistics that helped Jefferson and his cabinet think strategically about those negotiations. The Prussian travelers effusive personality and unbounded curiosity about American geography, culture and politics sparked lifelong friendships with some of the key figures of American history.

Beyond politics, Humboldt inspired artist Charles Willson Peale to resume his dormant painting career to paint Humboldts portrait for his museum. In Philadelphia he was feted by the scientific community. His early publications already graced the shelves of the library of the American Philosophical Society, which made him a member. However, it was after this visit that Humboldt would become a force of nature himself. For the remaining 50 years of his life, people in the U.S. became part of Humboldts global network of friends, allies and scientific partners. Those alliances helped define the nation; Americas presence on the international stage shone brighter with Humboldts approbation, an imprimatur many in the U.S. assiduously cultivated.

Humboldts early publications appeared in the years immediately following his South American travels. His lectures and books established his reputation as a leading mind in the natural sciences. His eagerness to absorb the new information from the U.S. added another dimension to American exploration. American explorers knew their maps, measurements, statistics and expedition narratives would make their way into his hands. Updated maps and illustrated books were the lingua franca of expedition reports. Each American contribution to this international enterprise found its way into Humboldts growing library, and details from them appeared in the Prussian barons works. Further, Humboldt encouraged the addition of artists as members of those expeditions. In particular, Stephen Harriman Long and John C. Frmont conducted expeditions using Humboldts ideas and books as their inspiration. The published report from the Long Expedition later served as a foundation for literary descriptions of the American interior that would in turn become an important aspect of the Hudson River school landscape aesthetic. Frmonts narratives helped create his persona as the Pathfinder and earned him the appellation among explorers of the American Humboldt. During the 19th century, the scientific journey became an epistolary venture in which distance became a metaphor for reach.

Humboldt had always intended to return to the U.S., but each successive venture he undertook and each new volume he published delayed and ultimately defeated that goal. Thus Humboldt cultivated proxiesexplorers who traveled to the U.S. in his stead and with his support. The information assembled from these journeys flowed directly to Humboldtpopulation statistics, ethnographic information and artifacts, natural history specimens and cartographic measurements. All of this was designed to fill the gaps in his increasingly comprehensive understanding of landforms; the global distribution of plants, animals and people; and how climate operated as a force on everything.

This path to the increase and diffusion of knowledgesomething of a buzzword during the Enlightenmentwas navigated through lavishly illustrated publications. The market for these books crested with the wave of popularity experienced by Humboldt as he wrote, illustrated, and published volume after volume based on his five years in the Americasan enterprise that ruined him financially but contributed to his global fame.

Humboldts believed that the New World should not be measured using the standard of architectural wonders found in the Old World. Europeans looked to the built environmentlike cathedrals and universitiesas evidence of cultural significance. As such, they saw the Americas as continents devoid of history.

Instead Humboldt argued, Nature herself is sublimely eloquent, applying aesthetic theory and vocabulary to descriptions of the natural monuments boasted by the New World. His embrace of nature as an impressive attribute symbolic of cultural prowess encouraged the development of a wilderness aesthetic in the U.S. As early as the 1780s the nascent United States had tentatively adopted a nature-inflected sense of identity thanks to Thomas Jeffersons Notes on the State of Virginia, which was read widely in French and English among the literary and scientific elite on two continents.

In this slim volume, Jefferson enumerated the myriad ways American geography, agriculture, commerce and people were in no way inferior to their European counterparts. His narrative and statistics refuted the statements made by the influential European naturalist George-Louis Leclerc, the Comte de Buffon, that all aspects of the New World were smaller, weaker and more degenerate than their European counterparts. The discovery of the bones of mastodonsat that time recognized as the largest terrestrial creature known on the planetin present-day Kentucky and upstate New York seemed further proof that Buffons theories were at best false and pernicious.

Jeffersons book staked out the position that Americas cultural prospects were tied to the awe-inspiring scale and uniqueness of the very things found within its borders. He further argued that features like Virginias Natural Bridge and New Yorks Niagara Falls were evidence of American geographic superiority. In doing so, he laid a foundation for erecting a cultural identity grounded in that strength. Humboldt amplified and encouraged these values in the first books he published after visiting the Americas, in which he began to articulate his concept of nature. His imprimatur contributed to the development of Americas wilderness aesthetic, which in turn gave rise to the Hudson River school. This generation of artists elevated the genre of landscape painting by presenting landmark features as emblems of Americas cultural ambitions. Humboldts keen eye, observant curiosity and scientific rigor provided the secular framework for exploration and admiration of nature; Americas belief in the ability to find God in the wilderness joined hands with data gained through exploration to blend scientific relevance with divine inspiration.

If Humboldts books were guides to the New World, he was one of the principal destinations for travelers to the Old World. Following the War of 1812, the vogue for visiting Humboldt in Europe grew. He became the center of an interconnected web of correspondents, colleagues and admirers, many of whom were Americans. From his perch in Paris, Humboldt played a central role in French scientific societies. With each publication, the world took greater notice of Humboldts ideas. By the 1820s Humboldts words and images became an integral part of the American school curriculum, and lengthy excerpts from his books appeared frequently in the leading literary and scientific journals. The litany of American luminaries who beat a path to his door is an astounding array of politicians, statesmen, authors, intellectuals, artists and scientists.

Humboldt, half an American by his own reckoning, was a man who admired and espoused American ideals. In Paris, Humboldt and the Marquis de Lafayette stood at the center of a group of liberal thinkers who supported the U.S. and welcomed American travelers. Both men saw in American democracy a template for saving Europe from monarchical and dictatorial ruin.

Humboldts liberal politics and outspoken support of America endeared him to this country while placing him at odds with the French emperor. The mutual dislike between Humboldt and Napoleon serves as a framework for understanding how and why Humboldt sought faster and more reliable networks of communication across Paris, the continent and ultimately the Atlantic Ocean. He befriended Americans who were able to enhance the establishment of those relays. Washington Irving, James Fenimore Cooper and Samuel F. B. Morse formed part of that network. Humboldts eagerness to advocate for Morses telegraph and subsequently, the laying of the transatlantic cable, spoke to his desire to be in contact with his allies and advocates instantaneously and without Napoleonic interference. For Humboldt, knowledge was intended to be shareddisseminated as widely as possible without artificial restrictions. Humboldts connections stretched like telegraph wires into American politics as well as the fine arts and the sciences.

Humboldts advocacy for the U.S. was not uncritical. He held an unequivocal stance on American slavery. An adamant believer in racial equality, Humboldt railed against colonial rule and enslavement. He associated nature with an inherent right to individual freedom for all humankind, and he believed societies and governments must protect that right. Although he sidestepped engaging directly with Jefferson on the issue, he spared little anger in his correspondence with those in his close circle. As early as 1825 he feared that the perpetuation of slavery in the U.S. would be the countrys undoing, prescient thoughts that he shared with many in his American network.

Humboldts fervent desire to see America as an exemplar of a true democracy kept him close to this countrys leading figures but simultaneously left him frustrated at his inability to gain traction on this most important issue. That engagement with American politics peaked with Humboldts vocal support for John C. Frmonts 1856 presidential campaign as the first Republican candidate, running on an abolitionist platform inspired by Humboldt. Frmont had conducted five of his own expeditions into the American West, displaying his admiration for Humboldt by naming as many landscape features for the explorer as he could. Frmont also played a role in California politics during the final push toward statehood. California unexpectedly entered the Union in 1850 as a free state, and the California landscapenotably that of Yosemitebecame the emblem for the promise of liberty in a nation soon plunged into civil war.

Before he had left the U.S., Humboldt expressed concern for the cultural well-being of Americas Native populations, quizzing Jefferson on his relationship with the various nations. Humboldts travels in South America had convinced him that the indigenous people he encountered were descendants of advanced civilizations destroyed by generations of Spanish colonial rule. Democracy, in Humboldts mind, should extend to all inhabitants of a nation, regardless of race or standing.

When Catlin took his massive Indian Gallery to Europe, he engaged a group of traveling Iowa (Bxoje) Indians to perform for the audience. Humboldt met the American artist-impresario and the 13 Iowa who accompanied him to Paris in 1845. For the first time, Humboldt had direct conversations with Native peoples from the U.S. Catlin and Humboldt established a friendship that remained strong the rest of Humboldts life. Their friendship sheds light on one of Humboldts core principlesthat he could discern the value in a relationship without dismissing someone with whom he disagreed. In a similar manner, Humboldt was able to admire Louis Agassiz for his work on glaciation and admire his data on comparative anatomy and yet vehemently disagree with his protgs conclusions on the superiority of the Caucasian race.

The publication of Cosmos made Alexander von Humboldt perhaps the best known public intellectual figure anywhere on the globe. In the U.S. Cosmos inspired Frederic Churchs enthusiastic embrace of science and art, Emersons seminal essay Nature, Henry David Thoreaus Walden, and Walt Whitmans poetic self-portrait in Leaves of Grass. During the 1850s there was a conscious effort on the part of these men to frame Humboldt as a distant mentor. Humboldts views shaped the career of landscape painter Frederic Church. Churchs debt to Humboldt is the best understood American artistic response to the naturalists vision of the unity of nature. Reading Humboldts advice to landscape painters calibrated Churchs dual interests in science and art. His two trips to South America were directly inspired by Humboldt.

Humboldts ideas inflected every aspect of Churchs artistic production, including subjects far removed from the artists South American subject matter. Church gladly embraced the opportunity to adopt a Humboldtian mantle for his artistic persona. In so doing he reaffirmed the significance of landscape painting as the genre most capable of conveying Americas cultural ambitions. In a similarly immersive manner, transcendentalist writers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau embraced Humboldt, providing a literary counterpart to Churchs expansive vision and attention to details in nature. Walt Whitman, ever his own idiom, deployed "Kosmos" as a metaphor describing his own persona. The idea that one could embody Cosmos, whether in a painterly or literary oeuvre, was a hallmark of the American fascination with Humboldt.

Alexander von Humboldts legacy foregrounds the actual and intellectual founding of the Smithsonian Institution. James Smithsons decision to leave his fortune to create an institution in Washington, D.C., for the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men was unexpected, but the roster of men charged with determining how best to live up to that lofty yet vague dictum were almost all Americans whom Humboldt had met or inspired. Humboldts name was invoked repeatedly as the proponents of the institution hammered out its parameters. With the founding of the Smithsonian in 1846, America was able to deliver back to Humboldt the benefit of its own far flung scientific investigations. By this time Humboldt had his own emissaries to the Smithsonian, and every publication bearing its name found its way to him. Humboldts imprimatur still mattered, as much as it had to Jefferson and Gallatin a half a century earlier. The desire for a national institute, a place that could absorb the collections of specimens and the accrual of knowledge from expeditions and scientific inquiries had been a tantalizing prospect as far back as the founding of Charles Willson Peales museum in Philadelphia in 1786. Now the Smithsonian was poised to adopt a Humboldtian mantle. Over the years it would become the American repository for every branch of knowledge the Prussian traveler and natural philosopher had pursued.

Humboldt spent his lifetime increasing knowledge, and as that knowledge diffused, so too did the connection to his name. During the 19th century, towns, counties and streets across the U.S. bore his name; in the decade following his death, statues were erected in parks across the country. When the Nevada Territory petitioned for statehood in 1864, Humboldt was one of the options for the new states name. The celebrations in his honor continued in the U.S. until the early 20th century.

Louis Agassiz noted in 1869 that Humboldts name was invoked less and less as the years passed, though his ideas continued to circulate widely. In his centennial address he remarked that every school child in America had been taught by Humboldt without ever knowing their teachers name.

In the U.S., although Humboldts name had vanished, his ideas did not. When Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring in 1962, her argument for saving the American bald eagle by banning the use of DDT drew on the same logic of interrelated downstream consequences Humboldt had postulated regarding local human-induced climate change at Lake Valencia in Venezuela in 1800.

With the rise of the environmental and conservation movements of the 20th century, Humboldts ideas have gained renewed traction and gradually his name has become re-associated with those once radical ideas of planetary interconnectedness and the emergence of climate science in this era that some have designated as the Anthropocene. Alexander von Humboldt is experiencing a renaissance with this rise in eco-awareness, visible in contemporary fine arts practice as well as across the sciences, as befits his own broad reach.

Humboldt: Epic Explorer premiers on the Smithsonian Channel Wednesday, March 25, at 8 p.m.

Currently, to support the effort to contain the spread of COVID-19, all Smithsonian museums in Washington, D.C. and in New York City, as well as the National Zoo are temporarily closed. The exhibition Alexander von Humboldt and the United States: Art, Nature, and Culture goes on view at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in 2020. This article is adapted from the shows catalogue.

: Eleanor Jones Harvey is a senior curator at the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Her research interests include 18th-, 19th- and 20th-century American art, notably landscape painting, southwestern abstraction and Texas art.

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March 26th, 2020 at 12:41 am

A $4.5 Million Ferrari Hybrid Will Lead RM Sothebys Upcoming Online-Only Car Auction – Yahoo Lifestyle

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A limited-edition Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta is going up for auction with a $4.5 million asking price. And, appropriately for the current climate, the bidding is online-only.

Part of RM Sothebys online-only Palm Beach auction, the bright yellow supercar is one of only 210 editions of this model the Italian dream car manufacturer ever produced. Its quintessentially Ferrari aesthetic was inspired by the design heritage of the Enzo, named after company founder, Enzo Ferrari, and assumes the same footprint. However, Ferrari was able to fit both a 6.2-liter V-12 engine and a 120 kW electric motor into this particular vehicle, its hybrid nature making its carbon footprint noticeably smaller than its predecessor.

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The LaFerrari was first unveiled at the Geneva International Motor Show in 2013 where it seemed to signal a more eco-conscious development for Ferrari. Its evolution, the Aperta, was made available exclusively to clients who already owned a LaFerrari and all 210 examples were pre-sold before it made its debut at the 2016 Paris Auto Show.

The example put up for auction by Rm Sothebys originally belonged to an American client who ordered it with the optional Giallo Triplo Strato paint, and features complimentary yellow accents throughout the black interior. The pricey three layers of paint give the cars a body a subtle pearlescent sheen, which creates more visual depth than standard yellow paint.

But the add ons dont stop there. The exterior features carbon-fiber trim, yellow brake calipers, sport exhaust pipes, racing stripe, 20-inch forged black wheels, large seat cushions and the Ferrari horse logo stitched onto the headrests. A simple push of a button engages the front suspension lift to prevent the nose from scraping the grounda useful feature when navigating city streets. With only 175 miles on it, it remains more or less in new condition.

The auction, originally slated to take place at the Palm Beach International Raceway, was moved online in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Launched only last year, RM Sothebys digital platform will be showcasing over 225 automobiles curated just for this event.

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A $4.5 Million Ferrari Hybrid Will Lead RM Sothebys Upcoming Online-Only Car Auction - Yahoo Lifestyle

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March 26th, 2020 at 12:41 am

Connecting without the human touch: How to cope with the side effects of social distancing – Milwaukee Independent

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To fight the spread of coronavirus, government officials have asked Americans to swallow a hard pill: Stay away from each other.

In times of societal stress, such a demand runs counter to what evolution has hard-wired people to do: Seek out and support each other as families, friends and communities. We yearn to huddle together. The warmth of our breath and bodies, of holding hands and hugging, of talking and listening, is a primary source of soothing. These connections are pivotal for responding to and maximizing our survival in times of stress.

Priority number one is to follow the recommended social distancing guidelines to control the virus. The cure is definitely not worse than the disease experts projections of disease spread and mortality without strong intervention make this clear. But as with any pill, there are side effects. As psychological scientists at the University of Washingtons Center for the Science of Social Connection, our lab studies social connectedness, why it is important and how to maximize its benefits. Our clinical and research experiences help us understand the side effects of social distancing and suggest strategies for addressing them.

Human beings are social beings

In times of stress and illness, being deprived of social connection can create more stress and illness. People who are lonely have higher levels of the hormone cortisol, an indicator of stress; show weaker immune responses to pathogens; and are at increased risk for premature death. Isolation can lead to depression, suicidal thoughts and other clinical conditions.

For those who must be quarantined because they are infected with the virus, this research has one important implication: Depriving the sick of social connection and physical closeness unfortunately may make it harder for them to defeat infection. For example, lonely college students respond more weakly to influenza vaccinations than do non-lonely students.

There are other costs. Loneliness makes people feel more vulnerable and anxious in social interactions. An official mandate to socially distance and isolate may increase what psychologists call intergroup anxiety, the natural threat and distrust people feel when interacting with those who are different.

People may circle the wagons around themselves and those they perceive as like themselves those with whom they share a common identity while excluding everyone else. The recent travel restrictions play into these very human fears, and could exacerbate impulses to blame and stigmatize others as the source of this crisis. These fears fuel negative and inaccurate stereotypes of others, rather than cultivating connections to a larger human community that is suffering together.

Reach out and connect

While social distancing and isolation are in effect, there are things everyone can do to mitigate their downsides. Now is the time to reach out to friends and family and connect with them however you can. Let people know how much you care about them. While live human connection is best, a phone call, with a real voice, is better than text, and a videochat is better than a phone call.

We believe such social technology-facilitated connections will aid all of us in staying as healthy as possible during this time. Although research on this is not comprehensive, we think its valuable to use social technology to mitigate the effects of loneliness and isolation for those who are sick.

What you say when connecting also matters. If you are stressed and upset, talking about your feelings can help. You may or may not feel better, but you will feel less alone. If you are on the receiving end of this kind of sharing, resist the impulse to dismiss, debate or tell the other person not to worry. Your task is to listen and convey that you understand their feelings and accept them. This process one person sharing something vulnerable, and the other responding with understanding and care is the basic dance step of good, close relationships.

Human touch is also vital for well-being. If you are distancing with people who are close to you and healthy, donot forget the positive impact of a gentle hug, or holding someones hand. Safe, mutually consenting physical touch leads to the release of oxytocin. Sometimes called the love hormone, oxytocin helps regulate your fight or flight system and calms your body in times of stress.

Things you can do

Other actions can help boost the well-being of yourself and others, as you adapt to a world of social distancing.

This coronavirus crisis may not end soon. Things may get worse. As people hunker down, the negative side effects of social distancing and isolation will shift and evolve. What feels manageable today may not feel manageable tomorrow. As psychologists, we are concerned that the lack of social connections, increased stress, disruptions and losses of livelihoods and routines will tip some people toward depression. We are concerned about increased family conflict as people are forced to navigate unusual amounts of time together, many in confined spaces.

Flexibility is adaptive. Building a foundation of healthy coping, maintaining awareness of the side effects of our necessary societal changes, and staying connected to our values and to each other are imperative. Human beings have great capacity for empathy and caring in times of suffering. Maintaining social distance doesnt need to change that.

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Connecting without the human touch: How to cope with the side effects of social distancing - Milwaukee Independent

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March 26th, 2020 at 12:41 am


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Are you living and creating in the Futures Past?

Every person and business on earth at some point in the very near future will have to ask and answer this one big question. The answer could determine the survival of civilization as we know it. During the coming era of punctuated evolution, a period of time when rapid earth changes exceed our ability to evolve, individuals and businesses will need to transform themselves as never before. If we choose not to evolve our individual lives and that of our shared culture, extinction of the species could result. Devolution of the human race, however real, could drive us to take actions that only propound the situation. What practical actions should we take to address this crisis?

There are many great challenges facing humanity, the climate crisis being one. However, the elephant in the living room is not extreme climate change; its the mindset that lives in the present according to the norms of the past.

In 2003, I was in the midst of the most successful year in business ever. My real estate business was exploding, my bank account was ballooning, and my lifestyle was extravagant. However, with each new Armani suit, my waistline grew larger, and my ego followed suit. I was fat and not so happy. I achieved the American dream and built the big house in Malibu, yet it felt empty. The outer world of my business and lifestyle were expanding, yet my inner world of peace and happiness was shrinking.

I went from moments of fleeting happiness to a nagging undercurrent of anger. Eventually it caught up with me and I was one of the lucky ones. I often did not feel well and had to drink myself to sleep. Soon, I began to break down. What I needed was a miracle breakthrough, and fast. As I was driving to work at sunrise on the Pacific Coast Highway, I made the biggest and best decision of my 58 years: I got on the path. As soon as I did, confusion became clarity, fear became love, and anxiety became peace.

The conscious evolutionary path requires that we, both individually and collectively, personally and professionally, embrace radical change with a new ingenious mindset.

This mindset perceives the world very differently than the egos mindset that lives in the futures past. It emphasizes imagination over intellectualization. The genius mind lives and creates in the futures present. It creates and innovates according to where you and/or your business are heading in service to the greater good and not from a place where it has been in the past. To create from the past causes a repetition of old patterns and this is the very mindset that got us in this mess in the first place.

In order to make the shift happen, I needed to take immediate action to save my life. I stepped on the path that led me into the great mystery of the inner unknown. In turn, I needed to do the same with the outer world of my business. As with all great and lasting change, its an inside-out job. The path is not about junking your life and business, its about consciously evolving them to fulfill your souls truest intent and unlocking your limitless potential. Here are some of the key findings and how you might apply them in your life and business:


1) Let go of distorted perceptions. Periods of great transition are often punctuated with confusion. Fear not because this is merely a call to action, to let go of a distorted frame of reference about how your life and business work. If you are not willing to let great change, change you but are consciously willing to create great change, you are well on the way to reinventing your life and business. The former creates a life of fate and misery where circumstances dictate the results. The later creates a life of destiny and joy where you become a co-creator with the Universe. This single action unleashes the genius mind, and people can receive you and your gifts from a place of shared interest and abundant outcomes.

2) There is no such thing as bad conditions, only bad preparation. The evolutionary path requires that we prepare our business and ourselves for hyper periods of change. Whether its climate change, technological advancement, or radical supply and demand-side disruptions, you must be prepared. The path teaches us two key things: a. To practice radical mindfulness, and b. To be in right relationship with people and the environment. This activates deep intuition.

3) Collaboration is the new Competition. The path reflects the power and grace of nature. Natural Law can best be understood in the symbiosis of all things. When we give up the survival mindset of the egos need to compete, collaboration simply happens. This fosters peace and abundance.

4) Genius Solutions are found in the mystery, which can be discovered on the path of joy. Aldous Huxley once said,

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm.

The path can be fun and full of adventure. The magic and innocence of childhood remain in all of us.As Oliver Wendell Homes said,

Our mind, stretched to new ideas, never returns to its original dimensions.

The evolutionary path offers each of us an extraordinary opportunity to meet the challenges of these times. Whatever your path or that of your business may be, the fact remains that when you embrace the mystery of the evolutionary journey with the spirit of transformation, positive outcomes become viable. Your unique Genius Mind will not only save you, but it will also serve you, and just may save the world.

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March 26th, 2020 at 12:41 am

The Continued Evolution of Plant-Based Products and the Ones We’re Not Hearing About – Sustainable Brands

Posted: March 22, 2020 at 9:52 pm

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We must look at all categories where we can offer plant-based and sustainably sourced choices for intentional consumers. There has never been a time where we need to be more collectively conscious of the products we consume, and acknowledge their impacts on our long-term health.

As a seasoned executive in the consumer packaged goods market for more than twenty years, Ive had the opportunity to watch first-hand the remarkable evolution of major consumer trends tied to healthier lifestyles.

Consumers have transformed the retail landscape at large, as almost every category in your favorite grocery store now has a beautiful organic section carved out for those with natural preferences.

Our Gen Z children, the future buyers of this country, are eager to uncover where and how the products they consume are sourced, asking for Meatless Mondays, and making conscious choices about what goes in and on their bodies.

More celebrities are jumping on the vegetarian or flexitarian bandwagon I challenge you to open Instagram and not see a post about plant-based products or the plastic waste produced by traditional alternatives.

This growing trend is great news for our health, for the environment, and for the emerging businesses that are launching innovative new products daily to improve our well-being.

The question I ask is this: What about the less buzzy, but arguably most significant market categories such as feminine care? I said it; stay with me. Even if you are a male reading this, you have a Mother, Sister, Aunt, Wife or Daughter ... and we all share the same planet.

My cousin and I founded TOP the organic project (TOP) because, when we went looking for organic and eco-friendly feminine hygiene products for our daughters, we realized there were few options.

For decades, the feminine care category has operated with a complete lack of transparency as companies are not required to list their ingredients nor test their impact on womens health.

There have also been significant (and largely ignored) environmental and social impact issues that have gone completely unaddressed by the masses.

Every year, more than 20 billion period products end up in landfills, in the United States alone. Mainly composed of plastic materials and by-products, period product waste has a measurably negative impact on the environment, derailing global sustainability efforts, as each plastic tampon and pad takes thousands of years to decompose.

As a mom-owned social impact company on a mission to make sustainable, organic period products accessible for all, we recently launched a plant-based applicator tampon, the PLANTICATOR a high-performing alternative to the traditional, plastic-based tampons that dominate 90 percent of the market today.

Image credit: TOP the organic project

Benefits include a reduction in the use of fossil fuel resources, faster decomposition and an overall decrease in toxins; as well as eliminating BPA a hormone disruptor with documented health risks for women and girls altogether.

With the bioplastics market predicted to skyrocket from $6B to $19B+ by 2026, TOP aims to transform the period landscape with options that are better for you and the planet, similar to the evolution we're seeing with plant-based food and drink.

We recently visited the flagship store of one of the country's largest retailers, near their corporate office. It was a beautiful store with every aisle curated to meet all of your mainstream grocery needs with plenty of natural and organic alternatives. The store had both a sports bar and a wine bar we have indeed come a long way since the grocers of our past.

We were in awe of this modern shopping experience until we reached the feminine care cove at the back of the store. It looked like an aisle from the late 1980s, at best. When we asked the buyer why it looked so dated versus the rest of the store, he simply shrugged his shoulders and said, There just hasnt been much innovation in that category.

Our primary mission is to give every woman a choice to be proud of in the feminine care space, through innovation and a long overdue makeover for the feminine care aisles at grocery stores nationwide. Its our responsibility as global citizens to look at all categories where we can offer plant-based and sustainably sourced choices for intentional consumers who are paving the way for a brighter future. There has never been a time where we need to be more collectively conscious of the products we consume, and acknowledge their impacts on our long-term health.

Published Mar 17, 2020 8am EDT / 5am PDT / 12pm GMT / 1pm CET

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The Continued Evolution of Plant-Based Products and the Ones We're Not Hearing About - Sustainable Brands

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March 22nd, 2020 at 9:52 pm

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