Weekend Digest: The Wizard of Oz and Renaissance auto mechanics edition

by Larry Brannan (ltbrannan@aol.com) 103 views 

TV PREVIEW
On this week’s TV edition of Talk Business & Politics with Roby Brock, which airs Sunday at 9:30 a.m. on KATV Ch. 7:

The state of the state’s economy. Randy Zook, CEO of the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce and Associated Industries of Arkansas, fresh off his annual conference and with some thoughts on where the economy is and is headed.

Michael Tilley and Wes Brown talk business. What are their picks for the biggest business stories of the week?

And we’ll talk politics with TB&P contributors Michael Cook and Rex Nelson. The U.S. Senate race, the matchups for the primaries and the fall. Can Democrats reverse their losses? Can Republicans add to their gains?

Tune in to Talk Business & Politics with Roby Brock on KATV Ch. 7, Sunday at 9:30 a.m.

BIG DATA AND TWO OF YOUR FAVORITE SOCIAL MEDIA SITES
Forbes says, “Big data is a critical cornerstone of most social media businesses and Pinterest is no exception. The underlying algorithms that make Pinterest successful and fun — the ones that suggest new pins you might like based on things you’ve liked before, for example — are an example of big data at its finest.”

And now, Pinterest is taking big data to another level. The social network has just announced a new visual search feature: a search tool that will allow users to select just a portion of an image, and then look for other similar images within the site.

“In a separate announcement, Facebook has added a new feature to its Messenger app that will look at your phone’s camera roll for any photos you may have snapped of your Facebook friends, and then prompt you to share them with those friends.”

To learn more about these new “big data” features, follow this link.

ORIGAMI JUKE
The Juke is Nissan’s “quirky” crossover. And to coincide with the Juke’s fifth year of production, Nissan commissioned an artist to do something very special to honor the car’s birthday.

It’s a WOW moment that took two hundred hours to create to life-size. Go to this link from The Verge to be amazed.

A $70,000 TEAM-BUILDING PHOTO SHOOT?
She is the president and CEO of Yahoo, and Entrepreneur reports, “If Marissa Mayer clicks her heels together three times, might she be transported to a place where Yahoo’s dismal earnings and dwindling turnaround prospects look slightly less bleak?”

Probably not. But in a rather whimsical morale-boosting initiative earlier this year uncovered by Re/code’s Kara Swisher, Mayer dreamed up a lavish affair inspired by The Wizard of Oz. At an offsite last fall north of San Francisco, Mayer cast top staffers as characters from the film for a photo shoot – bedecked in full Yellow Brick Road regalia – to be displayed as a poster at the company’s holiday party, which was themed, “There’s no place like here.”

“While Mayer cast herself as Dorothy (obviously), complete with blue-ribboned braids and a cheeky grin, other top execs fared slightly less well. Jacqueline Reses, for instance, a development chief who was cast as the Wicked Witch, departed the company last month.”

The cost of the photo shoot? A staggering $70,000, which reportedly inspired eye rolls from fellow staffers.

Entrepreneur says this isn’t the first time Mayer has staged a lavish “over-the-top” holiday party where she “cast herself as a kind of star.” Click on this link to get the scoop on the incredible site she had made in her own backyard, and how these “revelations come at an inopportune moment for Mayer.”

GOP RIVALS RELUCTANT TO ATTACK MARCO RUBIO
The Washington Post reports, “As Marco Rubio settles into his new role as a rising top-tier candidate, most of his opponents in the Republican presidential race are showing a reluctance and even an unwillingness to engage him directly on the national stage.”

For Rubio, it is a return to the lofty status he had after he burst onto the national scene five years ago. Many Republican elites are once again celebrating him as the party’s golden boy, if not its strongest general-election candidate, and fear seeing him bruised too badly during the primary season.

Is being Hispanic the key, or are there other reasons Rubio is only receiving soft jabs so far in this GOP presidential brawl?

Full story here.

POWERFUL HOUSE PANEL LIKELY TO DUMP COMMITTEE CHAIRS
POLITICO says, “Big changes are coming from Paul Ryan.”

“House Republicans are moving toward booting committee chairmen from a powerful panel that makes committee assignments, in what would be Speaker Paul Ryan’s biggest restructuring of internal GOP policy so far in his tenure, according to multiple sources involved in the talks.”

Shortly after winning the speakership, the Wisconsin Republican promised he would rework the House Republican Steering Committee before Thanksgiving, and he impaneled eight lawmakers to hash out changes. This week, the lawmakers have discussed a two-part overhaul to the committee that would drastically change its membership.

How so? Complete details at this link.

KOCH BROTHERS EFFORTS TO RESHAPE GOP MORE AMBITIOUS
POLITICO reports, “Joni Ernst was surprised to receive an invitation in the summer of 2013 that she later credited with starting her meteoric rise to the U.S. Senate.”

“Ernst was then a little-known Iowa state senator and lieutenant colonel in the National Guard who was considering a long-shot campaign for the GOP nomination for U.S. Senate. Polls showed more than 90 percent of her state’s voters had no opinion of her.”

But Ernst was being watched closely by allies of the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, who saw in her an advocate for their brand of free-market, libertarian-infused conservatism. Operatives affiliated with the Kochs’ political network invited Ernst to the network’s August 2013 gathering of wealthy conservative donors at a posh resort in Albuquerque’s Santa Ana Pueblo.

Ernst later told POLITICO she had no idea “how my name came through those channels.” But her appearance at the event impressed donors and was followed by an infusion of support that helped Ernst win the GOP nomination and, eventually, a Senate seat.

“It also represented a new phase in the rapid expansion of the Koch-backed political network ― its willingness to become involved in primary fights among GOP candidates — potentially putting it on a collision course with the official Republican Party.”

POLITICO details for the first time, “the network’s financial support for Ernst”, where before “little has been known about the secretive role played by the Kochs’ donors and operatives in boosting Ernst.”

Read the full story at this link.

NETANYAHU VISIT SPARKS INTERNAL BACKLASH AT D.C. THINK TANK
FP reports, “A simmering internal disagreement at the Center for American Progress over the think tank’s decision to host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week escalated into open dissent and infighting during an intense but civil all-staff meeting on Friday, according to two people with direct knowledge of the exchange.”

The powerful liberal think tank — known in Washington simply as CAP — will host Netanyahu on Tuesday as part of the Israeli leader’s closely watched visit to the United States aimed at repairing ties between Jerusalem and Washington following the bruising debate over the Iran nuclear deal. Netanyahu met with President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday morning and will finish the day at an award dinner at the conservative American Enterprise Institute.

“Since the announcement of the event at CAP last month, the progressive group has come under fire from former CAP officials and peace activists who argue that hosting the Israeli leader inadvertently gives his right-wing policies a bipartisan stamp of approval. In an effort to quell concerns internally, Winnie Stachelberg, CAP’s executive vice president for external affairs, and Brian Katulis, a senior fellow, explained and defended the decision to host Netanyahu in an all-staff meeting on the 10th floor of CAP on Friday.”

Learn more about what happened next, by connecting here.

AUTO MECHANICS AND RENAISSANCE PAINTINGS
“How’s that go again?” you may ask. Well here’s the deal.

Photographer Freddy Fabris spent years wanting to pay homage to the legendary artworks of great Renaissance master painters, but figuring out how to do so with his camera was a challenge. Recently, he finally came up with an idea that blends the style of old with ideas that are new.

Take a look at what he created by clicking this link from PetaPixel.

HACKERS AND ‘HACKER HIGH’
Ever seen the cult film, “Hacker High”? It was filmed at a high school and in a post for Fast Company the writer spills on ‘What It Was Like To Attend “Hacker High” When They Filmed “Hackers” At My High School.’

The author was a freshman at Stuyvesant in 1995. Then Angelina Jolie, Jonny Lee Miller, and the cult film’s crew showed up.

Have a fun read by connecting here.

COULD VACCINES BE THE CURE FOR CANCER?
Everyday Health asks, “Vaccines are already a public health miracle. Are they ready to take on cancer?”

“A year ago, Sergei German got terrible news: He had cancer, and it was incurable. Today, he is cancer-free. The tumors throughout his body literally melted away after treatment with an experimental vaccine.”

It’s called immunotherapy: harnessing the immune system to attack cancer. The idea has been around for a long time, but now — for the first time — researchers are making it work.

Go to this link to find out how.

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