Wednesday, 24 May 2017

RenewEconomy/Giles Parkinson: Stunning new lows in cost of large-scale solar and battery storage

Stunning new lows in cost of large-scale solar and battery storage

By Giles Parkinson on 24 May 2017

A new contract signed by a utility in Arizona has set a new low price for large-scale solar power in that country, but more importantly has also smashed expectations of the combined cost of large-scale solar and battery storage.

Tucson Electric Power (TEP) this week announced it would buy solar energy from a new 100MW solar plant at the historically low price of less than US3c/kWh – less than half of what it had agreed to pay in similar contracts over the last few years.

The project will also include 30MW/120MWh of battery storage, and the company says that the power purchase agreement for the combined output is “significantly less” than US4.5c/kWh – nearly two-thirds cheaper than the previous such contract struck in Hawaii, and well below the cost of a gas-fired peaking plant.

wind + solar

“This new local system combines cost-effective energy production with cutting edge energy storage, helping us provide sustainable, reliable and affordable service to all of our customers for decades to come,” said Carmine Tilghman, senior director of Energy Supply and Renewable Energy for TEP.

According to Utility Dive in the US, the solar and storage array – to be built by NextEra – represents a major cost reduction for combined solar and storage facilities since the signing of the last significant PPA — which was a $US0.11/kWh Hawaii contract signed only in January this year.

The development is significant because it is confirmation that dispatchable renewable energy can compete with peaking gas-fired generators on price.

This is believed to be already the case in Australia, although it is yet to be tested because no large-scale storage arrays have yet been built. Two auctions are currently underway in Victoria and South Australia.

Still, Tony Concannon, the head of Reach Solar, which is building a 220MW solar farm in South Australia, and the former head of the Hazelwood brown coal generator, says solar and storage is already cheaper than gas-fired generation and the combined cost would soon be “well below” $A100/MWh.

AGL has also agreed that renewables plus storage are cheaper than gas, meaning that gas will no longer serve as the “tradition fuel” because it is not cheap enough. A report from Reputex also said that solar and storage is now cheaper than peaking gas plants in Australia. The Victorian government also agrees, saying renewables and storage are cheaper than gas.

ITK analyst and RenewEconomy contributor David Leitch says while the exact prices for the storage component in the TEP deal in Arizona have not been provided, it appears that the underlying price for the combined solar and storage is less than $A100/MWh unsubsidised.

“It’s nice to see some transactions that confirm our underlying expectations,” Leitch says. “It also shows the advantages of a low cost of capital and the fact that the ITC is available in the USA for storage as well as the underlying energy production.”

It is the first time in the US that a solar contract has fallen below US3c/kWh, although it has already occurred in Dubai (which holds the record low of 2.54c/kWh), Chile and Mexico. The prices in those countries are unsubsidised, and the US price includes the benefit of a 30 per cent tax credit, which pushes the unsubsidised price back up to near US4c/kWh.

TEP has already added three battery storage systems to its local energy grid this year, including a 10MW NextEra facility, also owned and operated by an affiliate of NextEra Energy Resources.

It says these batteries can boost power output levels more quickly than conventional generating resources to maintain the required balance between energy demand and supply on our grid. But it says it cannot replicate all the abilities of peaking gas plants.

TEP says that the new solar and storage array, along with a planned 100MW wind farm, will provide enough power to serve the annual electricity needs of nearly one out of every three Tuscon homes.

However, TEP is likely to further raise the ire of rooftop solar advocates because it is arguing that the falling cost of utility-scale solar is a reason to slow down the uptake of rooftop solar.

It, and other utilities in Arizona have already won approval to replace “net metering” – where solar homeowners got the prevailing retail cost of electricity for any exports of excess solar power into the grid – to a new formula based around the cost of wholesale electricity and unavoidable costs.

TEP this week used the record low price of large-scale solar to justify the reduction in feed-in tariffs, and to argue that rooftop solar should only be allowed in a “responsible and equitable” manner.

“TEP’s customers currently pay nearly four times as much for most excess energy from rooftop solar power systems,” the company says. “While the cost of power from large-scale solar arrays has fallen nearly 75 percent over the last five years, the rate at which TEP compensates rooftop solar customers for excess solar energy has risen to historically high levels.”

“Focusing our resources on the development of cost-effective community scale systems allows us to provide more solar energy to more customers for less money,” Tilghman said. “The best way to help solar grow in our community is by planning and siting systems in an organized, responsible and equitable manner.”

In a recent filing, TEP proposed a solar export rate of US9.7c/kWh, compared to current rates of US11.5c, and proposed new  grid-access and demand charges and a $4 meter-reading charge for solar customers.

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Entrepreneur Magazine/Bill Shultz: 22 Habits of Successful Leaders

Business Moving Forward
22 Habits of Successful Leaders

Bill Schulz
Guest Writer

May 23, 2017

Some of these people are responsible for creating the greatest world-changing tech and innovation ever seen by humankind. Others are responsible for breaking a lot of laws (Al Capone, we're looking in your direction). But regardless of their particular area of interest, they all share one thing in common: the ability to turn an idea into an empire. How did they do it? With a lot of hard work, and in some cases, even more personal quirks. Check out some of the habits of some of the most successful and influential entrepreneurial leaders in the world.
Mark Zuckerberg wears the same outfit every day.
The Facebook founder and CEO's doesn't wear his daily uniform of a gray hoodie, T-shirt, and jeans out of style. He does it, he has explained, because he doesn't want to waste any brainpower thinking about power suits. "I'm in this really lucky position, where I get to wake up every day and help serve more than a billion people," he said in one interview. "And I feel like I'm not doing my job if I spend any of my energy on things that are silly or frivolous about my life."
Sheryl Sandberg unplugs at night.
The Facebook COO told USA Today that she also turns off her phone every night before bed, admitting that is is "painful". Her simple goal? A good night's sleep. She does check her email right before turning it off, and as soon as she wakes up.
Jack Dorsey works out his mind and body -- quickly.

The Twitter CEO deals with 18-hour workdays by meditating every day, after rising at 5 am. He follows this by running through the 7-Minute Workout. "I look to build a lot of consistent routines," said a man who puts the “character” in 140 characters. "Same thing every day."
Richard Branson kite surfs in the morning -- sometimes with a naked model on his back.

“Once, a delightful photographer [ Stephane Gautronneau] turned up on the island [of Anagarda] with an even more delightful girlfriend [Denni Parkinson] and asked if I would take her kitesurfing on my back,” explained the Virgin founder of the infamous series of photos that went viral several years ago. “I said I would, and then he asked if I minded if she didn’t have any clothes on. Silly question.” Look we’re not saying this is what made him a billionaire, but we are saying it’s one of the many perks of being a billionaire.
Anna Wintour turns being shy on and off.

The legendary editor of Vogue might be interview-shy but behind closed doors, she's more than comfortable speaking her mind. Said the shades-wearing, fashionista of not being a wallflower: “You can’t be some difficult shy person who is not able to look someone in the face. You have to know how to about your vision, your focus, and what you believe in.”
Benjamin Franklin liked to let it all hang out.

Our oddest founding father was a big believer in what he dubbed “air baths”. Indeed the Philadelphia-based freethinker would open the windows of wherever he was residing at the moment, get naked and then take in what be he believed to be the restorative nature of the resulting airflow.
Russell Simmons is into hardcore chilling out.

Maybe B-Frank was onto something. The new-agey music mogul is the latest adherent to something called “cryotherapy”, where the body is exposed to ultra-low temperatures. Said the Def Jam founder of the real answer to Andre 3000’s question of “what’s cooler than being cool?” in a Hollywood Reporter interview: “It decreases inflammation, and fatigue, and increases cell rejuvenation and metabolism. I've been doing it for over a year.”
Jeff Bezos doesn’t skimp on sleep.

This Lex Luthor look-alike has found that fatigue is his personal kryptonite. Said the Amazon admiral in a recent Wall Street Journal interview of his sleep schedule: "I just feel so much better all day long if I've had eight hours.”
Al Capone believed in safety first.

The Chicago gangster’s custom-made Cadillac was completely bulletproof. The tank-on-wheels was eventually seized by the US Treasury Department and later repurposed as Franklin Roosevelt’s personal limousine.
Jack Ma knows the power of doing favors for the right people.

Sure living under a communist flag can be a total drag, but the richest man in China found a way around it when government officials approached his company, Alibaba, to help fix it’s ticket vending system during the country’s annual spring festival. Ma’s crew solved the complicated conundrum, for free, in exchange for the government thugs leaving him alone.
Oprah Winfrey believes modesty is overrated.

The Queen of America gave a commencement speech to Georgia’s Agnes Scott College and addressed the idea of being full of herself: "I used to be afraid of that, [but now]? Yesss, I am. So full."
Steve Jobs sweated the small stuff.

The Apple icon -- and notorious crank -- was so indignant over the fact that the board of directors listed him second to co-founder Steve Wozniak, on their employee badges system, that he bitched and moaned until they finally made him “0” because it came before “one”. PS Zuckerberg stole the gruff genius’s approach to limited wardrobes.
Steve Case surrounds himself with thinkers.

"There's an African proverb I cite in my book [The Third Wave]," the AOL co-founder referenced in a recent interview. "'If you want to go quickly you can go alone; if you want to go far, you must go together.'"
Mark Twain let it go.

The author formerly known as Samuel Clemens was never a big believer in big feuds. Said the humorist: “Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.”
Elon Musk gets up on the right side of the bed.
Musk's non-stop work ethic is powered by a combination of curiosity and positivity. He told one interviewer, “If you wake up in the morning and think the future is going to be better, it is a bright day. Otherwise, it’s not.”
Warren Buffet eats whatever the heck he wants.
The Berkshire Hathaway chairman has said of his dietary staples: “I eat like a six-year-old," adding that his chemical makeup is “one-quarter Coca-Cola”. The 86-year-old Oracle Of Omaha often starts his mornings with a bowl of ice cream, followed by large amounts of Utz Potato Stix throughout the day.
P.T. Barnum used big words for big effect.

The 19th-century entertainer believed that loitering visitors to his museum were cutting into his profits, so he put up signs throughout his Manhattan-based collection of oddities that stated, "This Way to The Egress". Visitors followed the arrows straight into the streets unaware of the fact that, rather than some strange new exhibit, “egress” was just a fancy word for “exit”.
Mark Cuban consumes words like Warren Buffet eats ice cream.

This Shark Tanker reads for three hours, every day, whether it’s relevant to his industry or not. The Dallas Mavericks owner once said of what he calls the “knowledge advantage”: “Everything I read was public. Anyone could buy the same books and magazines. The same information was available to anyone who wanted it. Turns out most people didn’t want it.”
Harvey Weinstein looks for buried treasure.
The prolific producer’s recent Zurich Film Festival Masterclass contained a lot of excellent entertainment industry advice. Notable was the idea that pricey nows are less preferable to free thens: “If you think you have to buy the number-one bestseller, don’t. Go back in time, find a book that was written in 1940 that is great. Easier than that is that Jane Austen is in the public domain, anybody can make Emma. We made it but maybe you can make it again, make it better. Chekhov short stories, Tolstoy novels, they are there waiting for you. Get great material, the writing is so important.”
Martha Stewart doesn't use can openers.

The lifestyle maven believes eating healthy is “a good thing”. (Being pals with Snoop Dogg, notwithstanding). Martha Stewart has explained, "I don't eat a lot of artificial foods and never have; I don't open a lot of cans and bottles -- I just refuse to imbibe or eat things that I think are dangerous."
Pablo Escobar bought gifts for people when he wasn't murdering them.

The notorious Columbian kingpin was as good at giving back to the people as he was at taking the heads of his rivals. The former blow billionaire saw himself as a modern day Robin Hood and spent his ill-gotten wealth on health/education services, soccer fields and an entire neighborhood for the poor called The Barrio Pablo Escobar.
Michael Jordan remembers the misses.

The NBA's GOAT (sorry LeBron, it ain't happening) is not one to shy away from self-praise, but he also knows his success has been built on the back of bricks. In one interview, he explained the power of failure: "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed."
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Bill Schulz is the former co-host of Fox News Channel's late-night panel show "Red Eye", current New York Times columnist on local museums, and pe...
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Is The Secret To Expanding The Market For Locally Produced Poultry Products Building Poultry Processing Plants In All The 275 Districts In Ghana?

The main reason why most Ghanaians purchase imported poultry products is that they are convenient - in meal preparation terms that is.

There is no question that  the vast majority of those who purchase imported poultry products in Ghana would immediately switch to locally produced poultry products - if they were processed too: because they would be fresher and tastier than the imported ones they are currently obliged to buy as a result of the non-availability of local substitutes.

Dr. Kofi Amoah, the  tycoon affectionately called Citizen Kofi by many Ghanaians, has backed calls for a ban on imported poultry products - because he knows the job-creation potential of the poultry industry.

One can therefore understand his concerns about the impact of imported poultry products on Ghana's poultry industry, because the  industry can defintely create and spread private-sector wealth that stays in Ghana and jobs galore for young people.

Perhaps it has never struck the brilliant Citizen Kofi that what is actually needed - if our nation's  poultry industry is grow and thrive - is a mini poultry processing plant in every district in Ghana with the capacity to process between 500-2000 birds per day.

Speaking as a vegetarian who is not averse to those who love eating chicken doing so, the question is: Why does he not repeat  his Western Union remittances success in solving the problem of getting Ghanaians to buy locally produced poultry products, too?

Surely, he is capable of helping those administering the government's 1-District-1-Factory initiative to obtain funds from sources such as the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank's International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to bring companies that manufacture mini poultry processing plants, such as the Indian company RNAutomation Pty, to Ghana, to manufacture mini poultry processing plants locally?

Their locally manufactured poultry processing plants can then be included in the 1-District-1-Factory initiative  - to make possible public private partnership joint-ventures between  Ghanaian entrepreneurs and all the 275 District Assemblies in Ghana, could they not?

The secret to expanding the market for locally produced poultry products is to build mini poultry processing plants in all the 275 districts in Ghana. Food for thought.

Rimma Perelmuter: These 9 trends show the future of mobile payments and banking


These 9 trends show the future of mobile payments and banking

Rimma Perelmuter, MEF    July 12, 2015 1:00 PM

In June 2015, MEF launched its third annual Global Mobile Money report which studied 15,000 mobile users across 15 countries. Unsurprisingly, the headline statistics are that mobile banking and mobile commerce continue to grow. Sixty-nine percent of mobile media users carried out a banking activity via mobile, while 66 percent have carried out some form of transaction.

But mobile money means different things in different geographies. MEF has defined the term broadly to mean in-store payments, online payments, peer-to-peer payments, carrier billing, mobile point-of-service payments, and payments using mobile wallets.

On the whole, developed markets already have the device penetration and the infrastructure in place to support sophisticated mobile transactions between individuals, as well as between consumers and financial institutions — with NFC payments opening up the opportunity for mobile transactions in-store.

Convenience and immediacy are the key drivers for the majority of developed markets, although there is no uniformity and no one size fits all. As such, a host of mobile money propositions like carrier billing are still highly relevant to consumers with no credit cards or as a convenient way of purchasing apps in app stores and online content.

What’s also interesting with the growing NFC option is how retailers are using mobile money alongside other key retail elements like loyalty, offers, and rewards to remain relevant on the high street. A case in point is Starbucks’ proprietary payment app, which is processing in excess of eight million mobile transactions a week from 16 million users. Notably, it automatically registers loyalty points on the user’s device when each transaction is completed.

In mobile-first markets, that picture is very different. As has been commonly cited, services such as Mpesa and Fundamo have unleashed a mobile money revolution across countries in Africa and Asia. With large sections of the population unbanked yet actively using feature phones to access mobile money services and pay for physical goods, bill payments, transferring money P2P, or accessing digital goods and services continue to dominate.

Mobile money usage in mobile first countries has leapfrogged established economies and is fast becoming the norm. On top of that, the acceleration of smartphones in these countries has already created a host of additional mobile opportunities that are disrupting banking and retail. For example, mobile banking activity in Indonesia was cited by 80 percent of respondents, in Nigeria 85 percent, and in Kenya an incredible 93 percent of all respondents.

The report also shows that in-store proximity payment is still a relatively small part of the mobile money pie. With the launch of Samsung Pay and, more recently, Android Pay, and with Apple recently announcing its expansion plans for Apple Pay, this is no doubt about to change.

With so many different models and usage patterns, MEF’s 2015 report has identified nine global mobile money drivers and trends leading the way:

1. In-store payments, while negligible today, are indicative of what’s to come. Twelve percent of people have made a proximity payment in the last six months. Four percent have done so via NFC contactless, while seven percent paid using a merchant’s ”plug and play” or mobile point-of-service device. Another five percent said they paid via a mobile loyalty card scheme such as the Starbucks mobile app.

2. Consumers still don’t know why they need a mobile wallet. The research reveals public confusion and, to a degree, apathy around the mobile wallet proposition. Eighteen percent don’t know what it is, 15 percent don’t see the point, and a further 15 percent say “no one I know is using one.”

3. Social is the future of commerce. The impact on how mobile is used for social media services is significant, with 24 percent of feature phone users and 15 percent of smartphone users indicating that a social media page is already their number one destination for mobile commerce.

4. Lack of consumer trust threatens the progress of mobile money. Thirty-four percent of consumers place security at the top of their concerns. Eleven percent “don’t trust the security” of mobile money, nine percent fear giving away too much private information, eight percent say the systems are not secure, and six percent don’t trust the merchant.

5. Consumers turn to messaging apps as the new shop windows. Fifty-six percent of respondents prefer making purchases from within an app to making them on a mobile web site.

With consumers spending a huge amount of time inside messaging apps, some observers believe messaging will be the next natural home of commerce on a phone. Some of these services already double as commerce channels. Messaging apps such as Line, in the Asia Pacific region, allow users to connect their messaging accounts with a credit card. Then they can move money to friends or buy items at selected stores.

6. Second screening becomes a shopping opportunity. Nintey-four percent of respondents agree they use another form of media while browsing on their phones, with TV the most popular at 42 percent.

Fourteen percent of those second screeners said they were engaged in shopping or commerce, while 32 percent said they were looking for information relating to the same content.

7. The reinvention of the high street. Fifty-eight percent of respondents said they had ”found something they wanted to buy while surfing on a mobile and then bought it in a shop.” Interestingly, exactly the same number had engaged in showrooming, with 28 percent brazenly making a mobile purchase while in the store.

8. How banking services are being adopted. Sixty-nine percent of mobile users currently do some form of banking on the their phones. The biggest activity is still the most basic: 28 percent check their balances. But a rising number perform more sophisticated actions such as transferring funds between accounts (18 percent), sending money to someone else (16 percent), and applying for a loan (9 percent).

9. Seamless authentication and convenience matter. Thirty-two percent of consumers indicated that mobile money was ”convenient,” showing how highly people value speed and immediacy when making a purchase. Payment providers are all too aware of the requirement to make services as friction-free as possible. Perhaps fingerprints offer the solution. For many, they represent the best opportunity to reduce a purchase to one action. Apple already supports this process for iTunes transactions. And in summer 2014, it made its TouchID APIs available to third parties so that iPhone owners can log into their favorite apps with one finger press.

As yet, the function is restricted to access rather than payment (i.e. you can’t pay from within an app using TouchID). However, with the advent of Apple Pay, this next stage is perhaps inevitable.

Rimma Perelmuter is CEO of global mobile trade body MEF.

Energy Manager Today/Jennifer Hermes: Practical Steps for Energy Managers to Drive a Company’s Sustainability Goals: Advice from General Motors Execs

Energy Manager Today

Practical Steps for Energy Managers to Drive a Company’s Sustainability Goals: Advice from General Motors Execs

May 23, 2017 by Jennifer Hermes   

Often it falls to the energy manager to drive progress towards a company’s sustainability goals. When this happens, an energy manager is placed in a challenge position: energy managers need to learn the language of sustainability and methods in order to make sure their own energy management initiatives are understood within the C-suite, and the reverse, that the energy manager understands and can work within the company’s broader sustainability strategy.

But in spite of the challenges, the most successful companies are those that have energy managers playing a large and important part in designing and implementing a corporate sustainability strategy. Within the sustainability and energy management industry, best practices are being developed and are working for top companies.

Rob Threlkeld, global manager of renewable energy for General Motors, is an expert in aligning sustainability and energy management. He will be sharing his expertise at the Environmental Leader 2017 Conference and Energy Manager Summit June 5-7 in Denver. Attendees will learn best practices and strategies for things like energy procurement, demand-side management, clean energy finance, commissioning, and other tools of the energy management trade.

Another General Motors executive – Todd Williams, senior project engineer for water and wastewater treatment – will also be imparting smart tactics and best practices, in terms of water management, at the conference. He shared one example with Environmental Leader last month. “An example that’s still in implementation is our Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant. That’s where we make the Chevy Volt, Impalas, and other vehicles. We have a stormwater reuse project where we collaborated with the City of Detroit Water and Sewage Department. We were paying large fees for discharging stormwater to the city sewer system. It was based on the acreage of the site. We worked with them to say, if we put in more storage, can we go to a volume discharge fee instead? We could have enough storage to hold a 100-year rain event on site. Then we’d discharge it at a time when they can handle it to help reduce any combined sewer overflows.” More on that during his session New Strategies for Stormwater Management at the conference

There’s still time to register for the event but hotel space is limited so be sure to make your plans soon. For more agenda information and to register, visit the conference website.

Categories Education, EL Conference & Energy Manager Summit, Energy, Energy Management,

Business Sector Media, LLC - © Copyright 2017, all rights reserved.

The Ultimate Value For Money Proposition In The Akufo-Addo Era?

The Hon Simon Adjei Mensah won my admiration yesterday. He appears to be a practical and very sensible politician.

Yesterday, I listened to him outlining - whiles being interviewed on Peace FM's afternoon news programme - some of the measures he intends to take to ensure that President Akufo-Addo's insistence that Ghana gets value for money each time taxpayers' cash is spent, is what underpins all payment processes after  the execution of government projects across the Ashanti Region.

He also intends to personally keep track of government projects in the Ashanti Region with regular site visits to ensure that they are well-executed. Fantastic.

For the infornation of Hon Simon Adjei Mensah, plastic roads - made by mixing melted plastic waste with bitumen - remain pothole-free throughout their long lifespan; last three times longer than conventional roads; bear heavier loads;  and because plastic is impermeable to water, are never washed away by flash floods.

They are the perfect type of roads to build nationwide at a time of global climate change in an era in Ghana in which value for money in all government expenditure matters most to our nation's  leaders.

Consequently, this blog  humbly suggests to Hon Simon Adjei Mensah that he should encourage the road experts at the Building and Road Research Institute (BRRI), of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), to liaise with Tata's Ghanaian subsidiary, to transfer to it the simple  plastic road technology that Tata's Indian subsidiary, Jusco, uses to make plastic roads in the company's privately-owned city, Jamshedpur, which was founded by Jamshed Tata.

He should also ask the BRRI road experts to discuss the same subject with those who manage GOIL's new bitumen plant at Tema - so that it outsources to the BRRI the training of employees of road construction companies that buy bitumen from GOIL's bitumen plant, to ensure that the right quantities of melted plastic waste are always used, during the process of mixing the melted plastic waste with bitumen to build plastic roads alcrosd Ghana.

By so doing, Hon Simon Adjei Mensah would have made possible the climate-change-proofing of all newly constructed pothole-free plastic roads throughout Ghana, at very little cost to the nation. That would be the ultimate value-for-money proposition in the Akufo-Addo era, would it not?

SDG Knowledge Hub: UNFCCC Process Looks at Climate Change Adaptation, Sustainable Development and DRR Integration

SDG Knowledge Hub
A project by IISD

Alice Bisiaux, LL.M
Content Editor, Climate Change and Sustainable Energy (France/Spain)

22 May 2017

story highlights

The Adaptation Technical Expert Meeting highlighted that early action can protect the lives and livelihoods of millions of people throughout the world.

The event showcased the use by various countries of the process to formulate and implement national adaptation plans as a framework for practical integration of these three post-2015 agendas across various sectors and levels of governance.

Countries are also using joint decision-making processes, tools, metrics and strategies, and ensuring that relevant data, science and knowledge, including traditional knowledge, is generated and available to inform progress collectively.

17 May 2017: Policy makers, implementers, supporters and investors from all over the world met during the UNFCCC Bonn Climate Change Conference at the Technical Expert Meeting (TEM) on Adaptation to discuss ‘Integrating climate change adaptation with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.’

Held against the backdrop of the announcement by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) of new world records for the highest reported historical death tolls from tropical cyclones, tornadoes, lightning and hailstorms, the TEM on adaptation focused on integrating efforts to build climate resilience and develop sustainably
Participants discussed action already underway to make vital progress to increase climate resilience and advance sustainable development. They identified various opportunities for linking adaptation with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and disaster risk reduction (DRR) efforts. These opportunities included: using the process to formulate and implement national adaptation plans (NAPs) as a framework for practical integration of the three post-2015 agendas across various sectors and levels of governance; using joint decision-making processes, tools, metrics and strategies; ensuring that relevant data, science and knowledge, including traditional knowledge, are generated and made available to inform progress collectively across the agendas; working in coordination, collaboration and cooperation with all relevant stakeholders including local governments and communities to ensure that the three agendas are successfully achieved with complementarity and efficiency of efforts; and taking a systems approach to integrating efforts and looking for cross-cutting entry points such as risk management.

    Noting that “transformation is not just possible; it is already happening,” UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa explained that this is “what the TEMs are about.”

Participants learned about specific activities already making a difference to the lives of people on the ground. Presentations described: the Centre for Climate Intelligence for Agriculture that aims to promote sustainability, reduce disaster risk and help farmers in Brazil; use of data from ongoing efforts to combat land degradation – which protects ecosystems and livelihoods – as a starting point for integrated action in Egypt; the establishment by the Japanese Government of an Adaptation Information Platform that provides data sets on future climate impacts for 47 local prefectures to support local governments and the private sector to take adaptation action based on information customized for each region; and joint national action planning helping communities on the front lines of sea level rise, salt water intrusion and natural disasters to build resilience in the Pacific.

Through their rich exchange, participants took vital steps forward in taking action towards the ambition enshrined in the Paris Agreement, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sendai Framework for DRR, to collectively achieve the SDGs, the Sendai Targets and deliver on the global adaptation goal of the Paris Agreement.

Speaking at the closing of the TEM, Patricia Espinosa, UNFCCC Executive Secretary, underscored the great potential in enhancing resilience, reducing disaster risk and promoting sustainable development to lift people out of poverty, increase equity and ensure economic and social growth that does not harm other people or the planet. Noting that “transformation is not just possible; it is already happening,” she explained that this is “what the TEMs are about.” She called for “turning all commitments into action” and “transforming reality on the ground.” Espinosa will attend the Global Platform for DRR taking place from 22-26 May 2017, in Cancun, Mexico, to pass on the learning and outcomes from the adaptation TEM.

During the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21) held in Paris in 2015, UNFCCC parties decided to launch, in the period 2016-2020, a technical examination process on adaptation (TEP-A) under the leadership of the UNFCCC Adaptation Committee. The TEP-A is achieved through collaboration among parties, international organizations and non-party stakeholders to identify concrete opportunities for strengthening resilience, reducing vulnerabilities and increasing the understanding and implementation of adaptation actions. [IISD RS Coverage of the Bonn Climate Change Conference] [IISD Web Coverage of the TEM on Adaptation – 16 May] [IISD Web Coverage of the TEM on Adaptation – 17 May] [TEM on Adaptation Website] [Global Platform for DRR] [WMO Press Release]

related events

    46th Sessions of the UNFCCC Subsidiary Bodies

2. Zero Hunger13. Climate Action14. Life Below Water15. Life on Land
Islands, Desertification & Land Degradation, Agriculture & Food Security, Land, Disasters & Humanitarian Relief, Oceans & Coasts, Climate Change, Adaptation
Global Partnerships
Means of Implementation, Technology / Transfer
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Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Mobilitas-AGS inaugurates its biggest multimodal logistics platform in Africa

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, May 23, 2017/ -- The Mobilitas-AGS group’s new multimodal logistics platform in Gauteng province, South Africa ( has officially been delivered. The facility is built on a 90,000 m2 site near the O.R. Tambo International Airport, the largest on the African continent. The Gauteng logistics hub’s goal is to improve Mobilitas-AGS’ services delivered to its clients, increase its competitiveness and support the growth of its activities across Africa.

The site is as a key international platform for the operations of each Mobilitas-AGS group brand, including the Laser Transport Group, the South African leader in logistics. It comprises four warehouses devoted to archive storage and document digitisation, with 150 km of archiving capacity, fine art storage and management and a bonded warehouse.

The site is also equipped with two special areas: one storage area for wine and another for sensitive products.

The Mobilitas-AGS group has invested 260 million rand (around EUR 18 million) in the construction and outfitting of the first tranche of the logistics site. “The inauguration of the logistics complex is an important step for the continuing development of Mobilitas-AGS activities in Africa. Moreover, because of its ultra-modern design, a complex such as the one we have just inaugurated improves the competitiveness of our businesses in southern Africa”, says Alain Ta├»eb, Chairman of Mobilitas-AGS’ Supervisory Board.

Infrastructures are a major issue for private-sector actors in Africa. Businesses can see their competitiveness reduced by 40% by inadequate logistical infrastructures. This situation increases the costs of goods by 30% to 40% when they are traded in Africa. By optimising the logistics chain, Mobilitas-AGS is meeting the market's needs, which is a strategic development pillar.

The Gauteng logistics complex is in line with Mobilitas-AGS global strategy aiming at building multimodal logistics infrastructures. Similar projects have been completed over the last few years in France and Germany, and others are planned in Africa. Thus, Mobilitas-AGS continues to demonstrate its ability to implement major international projects.

Distributed by APO on behalf of Mobilitas Africa.

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Press contact:
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Bony Kamanzi
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About the Mobilitas group:
Created in Paris in 1974 under the brand AGS, the group was originally specialised in removal services for individuals and businesses in the Paris region. Today, Mobilitas is one of the leaders in international mobility (relocation, executive support) and physical and digital archiving.
The Mobilitas group has 4,325 employees in 94 countries around the world.
Although its African strategy only began in 1993, the Mobilitas group is now established in all 54 African countries and today has 2,807 employees on the continent.

Mobilitas Africa

McKinsey & Company: Debiasing business decision making has drawn board-level attention, as companies doing it are achieving marked performance improvements.

McKinsey & Company Home

The business logic in debiasing

By Tobias Baer, Sven Heiligtag, and Hamid Samandari

Debiasing business decision making has drawn board-level attention, as companies doing it are achieving marked performance improvements.

A previous McKinsey article on the future of risk management in banking highlighted six structural trends that are expected to transform the risk function’s role in the coming decade. Of these, the trends relating to regulation, costs, customer expectations, analytics, and digitization are familiar, to one degree or another, to most readers. One trend that is less familiar is debiasing, that is, using insights from the fields of psychology and behavioral economics to help organizations take bias as much as possible out of risk decisions.

Biases are predispositions of a psychological, sociological, or even physiological nature that can influence our decision making. They often operate subconsciously and by definition are outside the logical process on which decisions are purportedly based. While we may readily acknowledge their existence, we often believe that we ourselves are not prone to bias. (This is actually a form of bias in itself, called overconfidence.)

The business world is scarcely immune, as executives have long suspected. In a survey of nearly 800 board members and chairpersons, McKinsey found that respondents ranked “reducing decision biases” as their number-one aspiration for improving performance.1 As a consequence, we have seen increasing numbers of companies provide training in unconscious biases and how they affect management actions, such as gender bias in personnel decisions.

Bias is costly. Take the effect of one kind of bias, stability bias, in one dimension of business, capital allocation, as an example. McKinsey research has shown that companies that allocate capital dynamically—rebalancing regularly according to performance—return between 1.5 and 3.9 percent more to shareholders than companies with more static and routinized budgeting. The study suggests that companies with dynamic capital allocation could grow twice as fast as those without it. Yet in a classic example of stability bias, we found a 90 percent correlation in budget allocation year after year, for a 20-year period.2 The latest McKinsey research only underscores the relevance of these findings. A 2016 survey of nearly 1,300 executives worldwide revealed that higher-performing companies more tightly link reallocation to performance and value creation, using rigorous bias-reducing principles.3

Sometimes companies question least the decisions affecting their core business, such as underwriting in banks and insurance companies. These decisions and their governing processes can be so deeply embedded in the institutional culture that they might not appear to be open to question—or even recognized as decisions. The failure to take debiasing actions in these areas means that most of the potential bottom-line impact from debiasing remains unaddressed. Yet companies can shape practical, targeted debiasing interventions and achieve tangible business benefits. These can be substantial. When debiasing high-frequency decisions such as those in credit or insurance underwriting, we have seen losses reduced by more than 25 percent.
Diverse biases and business priorities
An overview of business-relevant biases

Business-relevant biases have been explored in the field of behavioral economics—the study of psychological and social influence on business decisions. It draws on the relationship defined in behavioral psychology between heuristics and cognitive biases. The former term describes obvious, practical methods of solving problems that yield expected results often enough for us to rely on them almost automatically. Heuristic methods are based on experience and tradition, and can lead to unwarranted biases, which are unsuitable or even damaging in complex, dynamic environments.

Dozens of biases have been identified in behavioral economics. For our purposes, it will be useful to discuss five groups of biases encountered in a business context.1

    Action-oriented biases prompt us to take action with less thought than is logically necessary (and prudent). These biases include excessive optimism about outcomes and the tendency to underestimate the likelihood of negative results, overconfidence in our own or the group’s ability to affect the future, and competitor neglect—the tendency to disregard or underestimate the response of our competitors.
    Interest biases arise where incentives within an organization or project come in conflict—such as misaligned individual incentives, unwarranted emotional attachments to elements of the business (such as legacy products), or differing perceptions of corporate goals, such as misaligned weights assigned to different objectives.
    Pattern-recognition biases cause us to see nonexistent patterns in information. This set of biases includes confirmation bias, in which evidence in support of a favored belief is overvalued while evidence to the contrary is discounted; management by example (more accurately, subjective experience), is the tendency to overly rely on one’s own recent or memorable experiences when making decisions; and false analogies, which are a form of faulty thinking based on incorrect perceptions and the mistaken treatment of dissimilar things as similar.
    Stability biases are the tendency toward inertia in an uncertain environment. These biases include anchoring without sufficient adjustment, which is the tying of actions to an initial value and failure to adjust to take new information into account; loss aversion, the familiar fear that makes us more risk averse than logic would dictate; the sunk-cost fallacy, which allows the unrecoverable costs of the past to determine future courses of action; and status-quo bias, which is the preference for keeping things as they are in the absence of immediate pressure to change.
    Social biases arise from our preferences for harmony over conflict or even constructive challenging and questioning. These biases include “groupthink,” in which the desire for consensus disables a realistic appraisal of alternative courses of action, as well as “sunflower management”—the tendency for group members to align with the views of their leaders.

Biases affect how we process information, make decisions, and construct strategies (see sidebar “An overview of business-relevant biases”). They do not, however, always work in the same direction nor are they equally distorting in all situations. Companies have so far tapped only a small part of the potential of debiasing in business contexts. One reason is that no ready formulas exist that address the many different biases and business contexts. But corporate efforts to diagnose biases and take debiasing actions can be very effective, especially when prioritized by business need. Prioritization involves zooming in on the handful of decisions with the greatest business impact and then, decision by decision, identifying the actions that will reduce or eliminate the biases that may be present.

No summary account can reveal the full complexity of biases, which originate in diverse human cultures, complex social interactions, and the depths of the human psyche. Biases can be predominantly psychological or social in origin. The social dimension of biases includes all cultural and organizational behavior. McKinsey research has highlighted “continuous improvement” as an important aspect of corporate culture at successful companies. Yet this advantage, which fosters internal competitiveness and rewards entrepreneurial creativity, can trigger action biases that can lead to unneeded or even harmful actions. Product launches, for example, are often the upshot of action biases. Yet three out of four launches fail to meet revenue expectations and many result in significant losses to the company.4
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Group psychological behavior produces some of the most powerful biases in business settings. Group dynamics can cause managers to sacrifice reasonable dissent to enhance their associations, maintain the favorable perceptions of others, and keep competitors at bay. They may recognize but choose to ignore flaws in the analyses and proposals of their allies, so these kinds of biases are not cognitive in nature—they do not relate, in other words, to the acquisition and assimilation of knowledge. Rather, they are generated by the group setting itself, in which managers almost consciously relinquish good logic as they compare and evaluate options for action.
Approaching debiasing systematically

Many good executives are aware of individual and organizational biases—yet awareness alone cannot overcome some biases, which can be embedded deep in our thought processes, almost like a childhood memory. Many would welcome a more systematic approach to debiasing business decisions, given prevailing levels of business and organizational complexity.

Executives concerned with improving the quality of decision making in key areas often turn to training. Training is helpful to create demand for debiasing, but by itself cannot solve the problem. The biases are often too strong to be overcome through training exercises alone. The solution lies in designing an alternate decision process and selecting an effective debiasing strategy. The most effective strategy may not be the most obvious candidate, however, or the easiest to implement.

The choice of debiasing approaches will differ based on the type and frequency of the decisions that are being debiased. Analytical tools can be very efficient in debiasing high-frequency decisions such as those involved in credit underwriting. Analytics play an important but different role in low-frequency decision processes, providing, for example, an objective fact base for committees making quarterly decisions on recalibrating credit-rating models. Finally, for some important but infrequent decisions—such as those relating to infrastructure spending, technology transformations, or M&A—there may be a lack of sufficient data for analytical tools to be applied. Here, debiasing can be conducted by imposing specific, structured elements in group discussions and group-based decisions (such as those in board committees) to detect and counter emerging biases.

A systematic approach also requires a cultural change within the organization—one that creates demand for debiasing measures and adherence to them. Part of the cultural change involves bringing informal decision-making processes into the open by appropriately formalizing them, so that they may be subject to debiasing through explicit procedural changes.
Debiasing high-frequency decisions

In many business sectors, high-frequency decisions are often governed by formal processes. One of the most powerful techniques for debiasing process-based decision-making are statistical decision systems. These are advanced models designed to discover patterns and probabilities in large data sets. For many process-based activities, decisions can be largely automated using statistical algorithms such as regression analysis, decision trees, and more advanced machine-learning algorithms. These can generate valuable insights—discovering attractive customer subsegments within otherwise less promising segments and geographies, for example.

Models are often designed to manage high-frequency process-based decisions. The decisions around calibrating the models, however, are low-frequency decisions and are not process based. Debiasing low-frequency decisions is discussed below, but it is important to remember that the development of algorithmic models entails many potentially idiosyncratic, bias-prone assumptions and decisions. Even well-constructed algorithms, when deployed on data sets full of biased observations and outcomes, can propagate and systematize biases. Designers and managers must therefore actively prevent their algorithmic models from becoming black boxes with baked-in biases. The models should be validated by an independent team and challenged in dialogue and discussions similar to those companies have when considering new policies. Their operation must be periodically observed and the output reviewed for bias: without such intervention, machine learning could perpetuate the biases we are trying to avoid or create new and unexpected distortions.5

Fortunately, analytics can also help diagnose the presence of biases. The presence of such biases as mental fatigue (sometimes called “ego depletion”) or anchoring can be tested statistically and the effectiveness of counterbalancing interventions validated. Simulation tools even allow this kind of debiasing to be conducted without experimenting with the “live object”—that is, without interfering with a company’s actual risk decisions. In commercial lending, for example, such tools allow risk officers and relationship managers to participate in simulations of specific risk decisions and base real improvements on outcomes.
The Qualitative Criteria Assessment

The Qualitative Criteria Assessment aims at debiasing subjective assessments, such as judgment-based credit underwriting, commercial insurance underwriting, and case prioritization by tax investigators. It replaces broad, fuzzy concepts with carefully chosen sets of specific, focused proxies from which more objective assessments can be developed. The approach uses statistical validation techniques optimized for the small sample sizes typically associated with manual data collection during the modeling stage. These techniques, which can derive generally valid results from limited data sets, were developed in scholarly disciplines such as the social sciences and have long been used in model validation.

Explicit psychological guardrails are deployed to debias qualitative assessment processes. One effective guardrail is to construct a detailed timeline for pertinent data points to help assessors reconstruct the past more accurately. In assessing a builder, for example, an insurance company might want the full list of the general contractors the company has used, along with their tenures of service. By requesting the information be provided in the form of a timeline, the insurer eliminates availability or selection bias and can be more confident of the reliability of the builder’s response. Likewise, a potentially significant marker for credit risk for a small or medium-size company is the number of chief financial officers (CFOs) it has had in the past several years. If asked informally, assessors might fail to recall one or two past CFOs, thus underreporting the number of CFO changes; if a timeline is provided, gaps in tenure become immediately apparent. The Qualitative Criteria Assessment is thus a means to support deeper insights and better risk assessment, through the more complete recovery of past performance.

Not all high-frequency decisions can or should be automated by algorithms, however. To continue with the commercial-lending example, for larger commercial loans, a carefully debiased manual review of applications will add more value than a statistical algorithm. Algorithms cannot create an informed view on investment plans based on customer interviews or an analysis of regulatory changes pending in the legislature. The sidebar “The Qualitative Criteria Assessment” describes one approach to debiasing judgment in high-frequency decisions.
Debiasing low-frequency decisions

Low-frequency decisions, such as those governing large investments, M&A, or organizational and business transformations, are prone to many of the same biases as process-based high-frequency decisions. The debiasing of these high-stakes decisions proceeds along different lines, however.

The techniques employed must first of all take place in an environment where decision makers readily recognize their own as well as others’ biases. Often enough, senior executives are prone to overconfidence when it comes to their own biases—they can see the bias in the actions of others but not in their own. Executives who learn to accept the signals of their own biases and correct for them make better and more effective decisions.

On an organization-wide level, the very data that underlie a decision process can be flawed. Without conscious, systematic probing, data selection is prone to confirmation bias—the selection of information that would tend to confirm our own expectations and business goals. Data that contradict our intentions is prone to rejection as faulty. To understand the importance of selecting bias-free data—and indeed, of debiasing generally—we need only recall the failure of value-at-risk models in the financial crisis. Damage assessments often revealed that the assumptions and inputs for these models served to disguise rather than reveal portfolio risk. The rare model that—presciently—assigned hefty capital requirements to mortgage exposures was rejected as faulty.
Pragmatic solutions

The good news is that pragmatic solutions exist. Carefully chosen interventions can achieve a real difference in decision making. The use of a neutral fact base, for example, can anchor decisions in objective reference points. Mental processes can be reset to a bias-free state, using such techniques as destressing exercises and initial anonymous voting to reveal concerns without the impediment of groupthink effects. Another powerful approach is the premortem analysis: for important business decisions, alternative scenarios are thereby fully explored to reveal potential implications. (French law schools were pioneers of this technique, having for decades required students to write full briefs of equal length on both sides of a case.)
A case study in combating bias A case study in combating bias
Read the article

Another debiasing technique is the formal challenger role, by which a devil’s advocate or independent observer confronts biasing behavior actively and explicitly. In some institutions, a formal devil’s advocate role is played by a team designated to challenge the main findings competitively. The effectiveness of this approach is however dependent on the alertness and competence of the chosen advocates. Confidential voting—often with the aid of commercially available tools—is a way to empower every participant to challenge the group free of any social pressure.

Textual analysis can be a more systematic approach. It involves the review and often scoring of all evaluations pertinent to the topic and has been used in a variety of settings, including to evaluate gender bias. Many companies have introduced this (along with other debiasing procedures) into personnel decision making.

Benchmarks are another means to promote neutral evaluations. For financial analysis of proposals, for example, a requirement that financial ratios be presented with peer comparisons can foster unbiased perspectives. As discussed in the sidebar on the Qualitative Criteria Assessment, suitably complete historical data can be an effective debiasing requirement for overcoming availability bias—the tendency to base judgments on only the most memorable or available details.

In decision-making processes, several conflicting biases may arise. It will be important, therefore, to take the time to diagnose bias profiles and prioritize debiasing measures for implementation. A large utility company seeking to debias a megainvestment decision recently encountered competing biases that acted on each other, amplifying the distorting effects of each bias. Investment proposals often reflected action-oriented biases, while social and stability biases limited the degree to which the proposals were challenged in meetings. The company addressed the action bias with a vigorous premortem analysis as a mandatory element of investment proposals, while establishing a formal devil’s advocate role in committee discussions to counteract groupthink.6
Debiasing in action

A typical debiasing process is a learning exercise for an organization. It can take many shapes and forms but has the following actions in common:

    Diagnose. The actual biases affecting business decisions are discovered by analyzing recent and past individual or group decisions, especially those that have been criticized in hindsight as biased. A decision-conduct survey is taken to discover how decisions have been made: concerned individuals are interviewed by experts in behavioral science, who match the evidence with markers of specific biases.
    Design. In the design phase, the key biases are matched with the best debiasing strategies in light of the organizational and process context. Many interventions are available for every kind of bias and bias combination. The selection of specific measures and how they should be tailored to fit the particular decision-making context can be worked out in an off-site event with executives, committee members, and experts. The special setting also helps build awareness for cultural change. In solution design, simplicity will be an important factor for success. Better decisions emerge from a small number of carefully targeted interventions against the most critical biases, rather than a grab-bag of “nice to have” best practices.
    Implement. This phase involves pilots and other mechanisms that are designed to maintain debiasing momentum. Change champions can be established, possibly on a permanent basis, to lead this work across the organization and to develop the approach to measuring and monitoring outcomes and impact.

In such areas as gender bias and hiring, many major organizations have already seen impact from debiasing. In certain settings, companies have begun to address the distorting effects of biases in business. In the financial sector, for example, regulatory concerns have inspired systematic debiasing, resulting in the three-lines-of-defense principle, model-validation exercises, and new accounting standards.

Above all, debiasing has a compelling business logic. For some high-frequency decisions, its bottom-line impact is substantial and easily measured. In financial services, for example, 25 to 35 percent credit-loss reductions have been achieved. The effects of debiasing on low-frequency decisions are not as easily measured, but executives in every sector should be aware of the value in more deeply probing such actions as M&A decisions and large investments. Ultimately, the best measure of debiasing’s effectiveness may be the greater confidence leadership develops in rejecting, modifying, or endorsing the company’s most important strategic choices. In a world of increasing volatility, where nimble decision making under uncertainty will increasingly become the main determinant of success, the value of such confidence is hard to overestimate.
About the author(s)
Tobias Baer is a partner in McKinsey’s Taipei office, Sven Heiligtag is a partner in the Hamburg office, and Hamid Samandari is a senior partner in the New York office.

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Digiday/Jessica Davies:Confessions of an ex-brand global media chief: ‘It’s all one massive arbitrage system’


The Confessions

Confessions of an ex-brand global media chief: ‘It’s all one massive arbitrage system’

May 23, 2017 by Jessica Davies

Talent shortages are an ongoing problem in digital media, but for brands the issue is becoming more acute. Major scandals like the Association of National Advertisers’ media transparency findings in the U.S. and ongoing arbitrage in programmatic trading are spotlighting the uncomfortable fact that brands haven’t invested in the right media skills.

That’s the view of a former global media head of a multinational brand, who spoke as part of Digiday’s Confessions series, in which we grant anonymity in exchange for candor. This exec, who managed multibillion-dollar budgets during their career and spent time on the media owner and agency side, believes clients have shot themselves in the foot by not bothering to understand media.

Excerpts have been lightly edited for clarity.

What’s the biggest problem on the brand side?
The media structure. Clients are totally disconnected from media owners. Agencies have evolved into procurement businesses, which has been driven by clients prioritizing the road of cheap. Profitability fell out the window for agencies, so they found different ways to make profits with digital, which led to hiding costs. And there’s been zero skills at the client end to deal with it.

Zero, why?
There’s no career path for media people client-side. They’re tied against marketing salaries, which are lower than media’s. Because the salaries aren’t good, you don’t get the best. It’s only at the top that people pay money to get the skill sets. So you have agencies getting more smart and acute, and clients are left behind.

Left behind on digital?
Everything. They rely on agencies. They think all they need to do is beat up their agencies a bit as that’s what they’re paid to do. And the agency just goes, “OK, I’ll take a beating because I’m actually ripping you off.” Clients don’t even recognize media as a function. It’s either bolted on to procurement or marketing.

Hence being procurement-driven.
Yes. And that’s a punch-up between the agencies trying to make a living and nicking bits around the edges, and making sure the promises of savings are delivered. There’s no real comms planning. It’s just: If you paid £10 ($13), have you delivered £10? If not, I’ll kill your fee. I’ve sat in pitches where the comms-planning document is put in the corner to hold the door open, and the conversation is driven around what and who is cheapest.

That was shown up with the YouTube boycott.
That was a big problem. Agencies claim they have control of quality and content, but the average guy who buys impressions doesn’t. And where does it leave the client? If you have agencies on this full time, a few guys at the client supposedly running media, there’s no chance. And if the margins are so massive from the agencies, what’s the incentive for them to stop it? None.

Some agencies claim clients don’t want to pay extra for content-verification software.
It depends what margin you want to put on it. The biggest issue in programmatic is still arbitrage. A major agency gives you three or four buying options: Totally transparent, which shows the price it was bought from the DSP and what the client paid, is the same. They’ll take a 25-30 percent fee for that full transparency. You then go to non-transparent, which brings it to 14-15 percent. But it’s all bullshit; there’s no difference. They’re just covering off the loss from the arbitrage by charging the extra fee for the transparency.

You said media owners are disconnected from clients?
I know major media owners who are under massive pressure from the multinational agencies for free volume, volume trading, extra discounts — then you have one massive arbitrage system. Media owners need to understand how clients work and how client-agency contracts work.

How so?
Most media owner presentations are naive. They don’t understand who is pulling the strings; they don’t understand the marketing structure or who the budget holders are. They also fail to understand the marketer and flog in a media way. I call agency pitches the dance of prostitutes. The pimps at the back dictating the pitch are the agency-buying houses, and their individual agencies are the girls in the shop window. Because clients are driving the pricing process, the agency guarantees the client a fixed price based on using certain media partners. They’ll win the pitch, so that’s then locked in. So if a major broadcaster starts running a new show and a client wants to be involved in it, the agency won’t necessarily go for it because of how their bonus is set up. Unless clients really grow up and understand they need skilled media people and pay them outside the marketing payment structures, they’ll continue to struggle.

Will that happen?
No. What annoys me is clients piss and moan about this. They act shocked and appalled about the ANA report findings, but what’s actually happening? Nothing. They understand the awesomeness of the cool, shiny new things, and what film stars have signed. But they’re not looking under the water. There is a beautiful swan on top but dirt and corruption underneath.

Like what?
There are cases in the U.S. where some will say, for example, they only buy visible impressions. That’s very honorable. But what about the other 126 countries? Oh look, you’ve just shifted your profit base to Asia, where they don’t guarantee anything.

They make back margins overseas?
Absolutely. Because digital is exploding in Asia. So the situation is: The game is up in America — let’s try this process in Asia, in China. There is a real naivete in clients. They need to start employing senior media people in a standalone media function and respect the role — not as an afterthought chucked in to the back of procurement or marketing.

Have you tried to force change?
I have. It’s all in the contracts. There is a lot of good work being done by the advertising trade bodies about contracts, but unless you understand the contracts, it can be ignored. You can have the best contracts in the world, but unless you have people who know how to manage it, it’s irrelevant because the agency can turn it upside down.

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Digiday/Max Williams: How bro publisher the Chive is making content and commerce work


Content & Commerce

How bro publisher the Chive is making content and commerce work

May 23, 2017 by Max Willens

Publishers have newfound interest in commerce as a revenue stream, but young-men’s sites are old hands at this.

Take the Chive. It started selling T-shirts back in 2011. Now, Chive owner Resignation Media, which also owns the Berry, has two standalone e-commerce storefronts, The Chivery and Buy Me Brunch, driving a $20 million commerce business that accounts for one-third of its revenue (with the rest coming from advertising).

T-shirts are still a big piece of that business. But today, the 155-person company also earns money from affiliate revenue, a subscription box service and selling everything from whiskey stones to wallets that it buys in bulk from wholesalers before selling them itself. For example, the Chive began hawking a breathalyzer key chain recently. It has sold over 6,000 of them for over $200,000 in revenue.

Last month, Resignation even launched a separate commerce brand, William Murray Golf, a more upscale apparel line that features $80 button-down shirts. The company’s co-founders, brothers Leo and John Resig, say William Murray Golf is already profitable and actively taking meetings with prospective investors.

“A lot of digital media companies are trying to flirt with [commerce], but we started with it,” Resignation president John Resig said.

Thrillist’s struggle to make content and commerce work with JackThreads was seen as a cautionary tale for any publisher that wanted to marry the two. But young-men’s sites have long used commerce as a revenue stream. CollegeHumor, for instance, owned BustedTees, a T-shirt line. It would use extra ad inventory to hawk the shirts, a good backstop. More recently, Barstool Sports has grown a catchphrase from one of its bloggers — “Saturdays are for the boys” — into a full-blown line of products that includes golf towels, frisbees and T-shirts.

Those companies are, in essence, copying Resignation’s playbook. The biggest source of commerce revenue for Resignation comes from Chive-branded merchandise. Resignation has done more than $250 million in revenue on commerce alone since the company started, but $100 million of it has come from variations on two different themes: KCCO (as in “Keep Calm and Chive On”) and BFM (as in “Bill Fucking Murray”). The success with those Bill Murray shirts, which led to the Resigs meeting Murray in person several years ago, ultimately spurred the launch of William Murray Golf.

In addition to the T-shirts, Resignation now makes plenty of money from affiliate linking. A site like the Berry, for example, will regularly publish posts like “13 Products Only Anxiety-Ridden People Can Appreciate,” which feature products gathered from retail sites like Amazon and Etsy. But it will also embed affiliate links in its gallery pages, roundups of GIFs and tweets on topics that range from “The Godfather” and multiplayer video games you can play on the couch with your friends.

“We’re not whoring ourselves out constantly,” Leo Resig said. “If that product is cool or not, we’re going to hear from our readers.”

The Chive makes a couple million dollars per year from those affiliate links, the brothers said. But the real reason the Resigs like them is because they send a clear signal about their audience’s purchase intentions, which they use to sell goods themselves. If an affiliate link for a whiskey stone is converting briskly, Resignation will approach the manufacturer for a direct relationship. Resignation will buy the products wholesale to sell directly, taking profit margins from 10 percent to 60 percent, according to John Reisg.

“Affiliate is the hot new shit right now, but let’s be realistic: It’s not the silver bullet that ad-supported media is looking for,” Leo Resig said. “What it allows us to do is, it’s the real engine that allows us to decide what to sell directly.”

The company has changed its T-shirt strategy, too. Rather than ordering batches to be made in advance, today all of the shirts Resignation makes are printed on demand, an approach several publishers — including BuzzFeed — have seized on with great success.

Because a shirt can go from an idea to sitting in a box on a customer’s doorstep in 10 days, most of the shirts Resignation sells are designed to resonate with viral things on the internet or elsewhere in popular culture. A full 25 percent of the company’s commerce revenue, the brothers said, comes from pop culture products.

“One of our designers will mock up a ‘Stranger Things’ shirt. He can put it on my desk at 10 a.m., we can seed it on our photo galleries two hours later, and it can drive $100,000 in revenue before the first one’s even been printed,” John Resig said.

As good as the Chive is at serving its audience, the Resigs are not under any assumption that they will be able to build another. “You can’t build anything from scratch unless you have the deepest pockets in the world,” Leo Resig said. “The cement has kind of hardened at the moment.”

Instead, the Resigs hope they can take what they believe is a thorough playbook to other publishers that have well-defined audiences, then partner with them on developing e-commerce operations together. If the economics are right, John Resig said, they would buy a different site outright. “We’ve been heads down for a long time,” he said. “Now that we have our heads up, and that’s turned us to thinking about acquisitions.”


UANews/La Monica Everett-Haynes: Humanizing, Harmonizing Effects of Music Aren't a Myth


Humanizing, Harmonizing Effects of Music Aren't a Myth

UA professor Jake Harwood and his collaborators have found that listening to music from other cultures furthers one's pro-diversity beliefs.

By La Monica Everett-Haynes

University Communications
May 22, 2017

With piano lessons that began when he was 8, Jake Harwood has been a musical hobbyist who has performed rock and jazz, sometimes in public.

Eventually, Harwood turned his lifelong hobby into a scholarly question: Could the sharing of music help ease interpersonal relations between people from different backgrounds, such as Americans and Arabs?

To explore the issue, and building on his years of research on intergroup communication, Harwood began collaborating two to three years ago with his graduate students and other researchers on a number of studies, finding that music is not merely a universal language. It appears to produce a humanizing effect for members of groups experiencing social and political opposition.

"I have played music most of my life and realized that there were these connections between how we respond to music, why we play music and even why music exists in our culture," said Harwood, a professor in the University of Arizona Department of Communication.

"Music would not have developed in our civilizations if it did not do very important things to us," Harwood said. "Music allows us to communicate common humanity to each other. It models the value of diversity in ways you don’t readily see in other parts of our lives."

Harwood is presenting his team's research during the International Communication Association's 67th annual conference, to be held May 25-29 in San Diego.

In one study, Harwood worked with UA graduate researchers Farah Qadar and Chien-Yu Chen to record a mock news story featuring an Arab and an American actor playing music together. The researchers showed the video clip to U.S. participants who were not Arab. The team found that when viewing the two cultures collaborating on music, individuals in the study were prone to report more positive perceptions — less of a prejudiced view — of Arabs.

"The act of merging music is a metaphor for what we are trying to do: Merging two perspectives in music, you can see an emotional connection, and its effect is universal," said Qadar, who graduated from the UA in 2016 with a master's degree in communication.

The team published those findings in an article, "Harmonious Contact: Stories About Intergroup Musical Collaboration Improve Intergroup Attitudes." The article appeared in a fall issue of the peer-reviewed Journal of Communication.

'An Identity of Purpose'

"When people perform music together, they are temporally bound in multiple ways. They are not just 'spending time' together, they are sharing time in a very specific, synchronized and coordinated manner," Harwood, Qadar and Chen wrote in their paper. "Their physical movements are highly correlated, and they share an identity of purpose that is coordinated at the level of milliseconds."

Another major finding: The benefits were notable, even when individuals did not play musical instruments themselves. Merely listening to music produced by outgroup members helped reduce negative feelings about outgroup members, Harwood said.

"It's not just about playing Arab music. But if you see an Arab person playing music that merges the boundary between mainstream U.S. and Arab, then you start connecting the two groups," Harwood said.

Qadar has her own personal connection to the research and its findings.

In the years after graduating with a degree in international relations from Harvard University, she began working in Philadelphia in 2012 at a language and culture communication training center. There, she developed a friendship with a co-worker, who originally was from Syria and had fled the country with his brothers during the civil war.

Qadar appreciated that, despite their drastically different backgrounds, they were able to create a strong bond. She also reflected on her colleague's assertion that despite the sharp division in his home country, and while he was "strongly against the government," he could not see himself harming another Syrian, she said.

"He told me, 'There is so much polarization in this war and so much hatred for the other, but there is still this element of humanity.' But I felt like so much of that was not translating. So much communication that happens on a micro level that never enters the larger level — it doesn’t translate into what is happening in world policy," said Qadar, who later began graduate studies in communication at the UA.

"Yet, these small conversations we have with people unlike us can affect us, change our perspectives and influence discussion," Qadar said. The team’s research, she said, is another way of illustrating how people can connect with one another, and their humanity, in positive ways.

As part of his ongoing research in a different study, which he will present during the International Communication Association conference, Harwood and Stefania Paolini, a senior lecturer at the University of Newcastle's School of Psychology, measured people's appreciation for diversity, gauging how they felt about members of other groups. After doing so, the team asked people to listen to music from other cultures and then report how much they enjoyed the music and what they perceived of the people the music represented.

Diversity Vs. Homogeneity

The team found that people who value diversity are more likely to enjoy listening to music from other cultures, and that act of listening furthers one's pro-diversity beliefs.

"It has this sort of spiral effect. If you value diversity, you are going to listen to more music from other cultures," Harwood said, noting that that research is continuing. "If all you are doing is listening to the same type of music all the time, there is homogeneity that is not doing a lot to help people to increase their value for diversity."

For Harwood and his collaborators, these findings are affirming given the decades-old world music explosion and more recent examples of performers around the world who regularly sample and cross-reference outgroup musical traditions and elements.   

Harwood pointed to Paul Simon's "Graceland" album as an early and notable example. Released in 1986, the album drew influence from South African instrumentation and rhythms.

"It was the start of the world music phenomena," Harwood said. "Suddenly, everyone wanted to listen to African music. Then Indonesian, then Algerian music. Then you see this modeling of new music with different musical cultures and different people collaborating with each other."

Harwood also said artists such as Eminem and Rihanna are among those who are experimenting with music that crosses cultural boundaries. "This whole new type of music is emerging that would not exist if you did not have that kind of cross-collaboration."

Harwood also said his team's findings build on earlier research and emergent models of intergroup dialogue that encourage direct contact and conversation to help build cross-cultural understanding and cohesion.

"We must think about music as a human, social activity rather than a sort of beautiful, aesthetic hobby and appreciate how fundamental it is to us all," he said. "We can then begin to see people from other groups as more human and begin to recategorize one another as members as the same group."

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GE joins Women in Global Health Movement to celebrate exemplary women leaders in global healthcare

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 23, 2017/ -- The Women in Global Health (WGH) Movement honored Kenya’s Mercy Owuor of Lwala Community Alliance alongside 12 other women at the movement’s “Heroines of Health” gala event that took place last evening in the Swiss Capital Geneva, on the margins of the ongoing World Health Assembly.

WGH is a movement that strives for greater gender equality in global health, and is dedicated to empowering female leaders of today and improving the global health of tomorrow [1]. It is recognizing Mercy for her role in the “help a child reach their 5th birthday” initiative that is championed by the Lwala Community Alliance initiative. This initiative strives to extend clinical services and community outreach efforts to children under the age of 5 in order to reduce under-5 mortality in the community by 64% [2].

Mercy Owuor is the community programs director for Lwala Community Alliance in Migori, Kenya, where she oversees the Kenya program team, leads and directs the execution of the annual program plan. Lwala Community Alliance is a community-led innovator, tackling the multidimensional drivers of poor health. It works with primary care facilities and the communities to drastically reduce maternal and child mortality in western Kenya, by tackling the key drivers of deaths – unplanned pregnancies, mother-to-child transmission of HIV, poor prenatal care, unskilled deliveries, poor clinical practices, lack of emergency transport, and delayed treatment of childhood illnesses [3].

In 2016, the Alliance was selected as one of the 17 Social Enterprises ( that took part in the Healthymagination Mother and Child Program, an accelerator initiative of GE Healthymagination ( and the Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship ( Designed to equip the participating social enterprises to scale up their businesses and attract additional investment, the program involves a three-day, in-person workshop, followed by a six-month online accelerator program that included weekly, in-depth mentoring from Silicon Valley-based executives who themselves have undergone rigorous selection and training as social entrepreneur mentors at the Miller Center, as well as GE business leaders. Participating social entrepreneurs get to acquire business fundamentals, improve their strategic thought processes, and articulate a business plan that demonstrates impact, growth and long-term financial sustainability.

“We are thrilled for Mercy and for the Lwala Community Alliance for this well-deserved recognition” said Robert Wells, Executive Director, GE Healthymagination. “We believe that social enterprises such as these are a key part of the formula that is required to innovatively and sustainably bring quality care to communities in otherwise underserved areas. It is for this reason that we launched the healthymagination Mother and Child programme to equip amazing individuals such as Mercy that are striving to increase the quality, access and affordability of maternal and child health in sub-Saharan Africa”

As one of the key partners of the WGH movement, GE Healthcare actively supports its’ vision to elevate and support the role of women in healthcare, whilst creating gender responsive leaders in global health.

“Mercy, together with her colleagues at Lwala, has dedicated her life to work within her community to bring accessible and innovative healthcare delivery solutions that not only address care, but also prevention and healthy behavior. She is indeed a great ambassador for the many women leaders in Africa and the world over, that are striving to serve the 5.8 billion people with little to no access to quality healthcare,” said Terri Bresenham, President and CEO, Sustainable Healthcare Solutions, GE Healthcare. “At GE, we are very proud to be associated with the Women in Global Health Campaign and its’ amazing honorees, and look forward to continuing to partner with them for a healthier world.”

[1] Women in Global Heath. Available from Last accessed May 2017.
[2] Lwala Community Alliance, Programs. Available from Last accessed May 2017.
[3] Lwala Community Alliance, Impact Report: Maternal and Child Health, 2016. Available from Last accessed May 2017.

Distributed by APO on behalf of GE.

Media contact:
Annette Mutuku
Culture Communication Leader, Africa
GE Global Growth Organization
T: +254204215109

About GE’s Healthymagination:
GE is challenging the status quo of global healthcare quality, access and affordability to bring better health to more people. Healthymagination is an innovation catalyst for global health challenges. It means healthy people, healthy communities, healthy employees and innovative tools for better healthcare. We draw on our people, technical expertise and global scale to address the world’s biggest health challenges. We continuously develop and invest in innovations that deliver high-quality, more affordable healthcare to more people around the world. For more information about GE Healthymagination, visit

About GE Healthcare:
GE Healthcare provides transformational medical technologies and services to meet the demand for increased access, enhanced quality and more affordable healthcare around the world.  GE (NYSE: GE) works on things that matter - great people and technologies taking on tough challenges. From medical imaging, software & IT, patient monitoring and diagnostics to drug discovery, biopharmaceutical manufacturing technologies and performance improvement solutions, GE Healthcare helps medical professionals deliver great healthcare to their patients. For more information about GE Healthcare, visit our website at

About Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship:
Founded in 1997, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University in California. Miller Center accelerates global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to humanity. Its strategic focus is on poverty eradication through its three areas of work: The Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI), Impact Capital, and Education and Action Research. To learn more about Miller Center or any of its social entrepreneurship programs, visit


The People Of Ghana Stand With Patriotic Brits And Great Britian

Yesterday the evil cowards who use terrorist attacks  to murder innocent people globally struck yet again.

This time their victims were part of the young audience attending a pop concert by the American  singer Ariana Grande (aka Ariana Grande-Butera) at the Manchester Arena in the British city of the same name.

Twenty-two people are reported  to have been killed including the suicide bomber. Fity-nine people were apparently injured too.

Words fail one in describing the sadness normal people eveywhere feel when incidents of such unspeakable and unpardonable acts of violence against innocent people occur anywhere in the world.

Having lived in the UK for decades, speaking personally, one feels particularly sad because one's children and grandchildren live in the UK.

And, above all, one is an ardent supporter of England's cricket and rugby teams.

One can therefore imagine the trauma, emotional turmoil and heartache the families  of the twenty-two  or so young people who so tragically lost their lives,  as well as the injured and hospitalised fifty-nine victims must be going through, even as we speak.

Naturally, one's thoughts and prayers are focused on the victims, both dead and surviving; and their families and friends in particular, at this painful and tragic moment.

Many in Ghana undoubtedly also share the pain and sadness felt by the valiant British people at this point in time.

Brits are a people from a friendly nation that is a  longstanding ally of Ghana's whose unyielding and unbending will has always made them an unconquerable nation.

As a people, because of their indomitable collective spirit, they will never be conquered by evil and cowardly terror groups. Ever. Life will definitely go on as usual in Britain - as it should in all such instances.

Regardless of the mayhem they cause around the globe, humankind will never be cowed into submission by the unhinged cowards who plant bombs and murder innocents indiscriminately, around the world. Never.

We in Ghana stand with all patriotic Brits and Great Britain herself at this tragic and painful moment in UK's modern history.

Dr. Joseph Mercola: How Cellphones Can Cause Brain Tumors and Trigger Chronic Disease

Visit the Mercola  Video Library

Story at-a-glance -

    Exposure to cellphone radiation may or may not increase your risk of brain tumor formation, but this is a minor risk compared to damage done by free radicals from peroxynitrites that radically impair mitochondrial function
    Science has linked exposure to peroxynitrites from low-frequency microwave radiation emitted from cellphones and Wi-Fi networks with chronic diseases such as heart disease, obesity and inflammatory bowel disease
    You can reduce your exposure by shutting off your Wi-Fi at night, keeping cellphones in airplane mode unless using them, using the speaker phone and using a selfie stick when talking on it

By Dr. Mercola

As I discuss in this video, the debate over whether cellphone exposure causes brain tumors may be counterproductive. Think about the number of people you know who carry and use cellphones daily. According to the United Nations more people worldwide have cellphones than have access to toilets.1

While nearly everyone you know carries a cellphone, and probably has for a decade or more, it’s likely you don’t know anyone who has a brain tumor. Every year approximately 80,000 U.S. men, women and children are diagnosed with a brain tumor.2 In comparison, 787,000 people die each year from heart disease.3

The relative rarity of brain cancer may lead you to believe that your cellphone is safe. After all, when 91 percent of the adult population of the U.S. carries a cellphone4 and less than 0.02 percent5 develop a brain tumor, it may appear that using a cellphone is benign.

However, the primary pathology behind cellphone damage is not related specifically to brain tumors, or even to cancer. Instead, the real danger lies in damage from the reactive nitrogen species peroxynitrites. Increased peroxynitrites from cellphone exposure will damage your mitochondria.
The Debate Over Brain Tumors and Cellphone Exposure Continues

An Italian court recently weighed in on the debate over cellphone use and the development of brain tumors when they found in favor of a longtime telecommunication employee, Roberto Romeo, who claimed a benign brain tumor resulted in hearing loss in one ear.6 Interestingly, both Romeo7 and his attorney made reference to inappropriate use of a cellphone that led to the development of the tumor. Romeo reportedly used his cellphone for three hours a day over 15 years while doing his job for the mobile phone company.

This is not the first time the Italian court found in favor of a plaintiff claiming cellphone use triggered a brain tumor.8 In 2012, the Italian Supreme Court upheld a ruling linking an executive’s cellphone use to a tumor on the same side of his head he held his cellphone five to six hours a day for over 12 years.9

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has long held to the safety of cellphone use, as has the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute of Environmental Health Science and the National Cancer Institute.10 The consensus appears to be:11

    “The majority of studies published have failed to show an association between exposure to radiofrequency (RF) from a cellphone and health problems.”

SAR Rating Has Little to Do With Safety

Cellphone companies, on the other hand, appear to believe there is some danger, warning users to keep the phone at least 1 inch from your body, and to minimize the amount of time you spend with the phone up to your ear. The warning is usually found in tiny print in the manual or deep inside the legal section of your phone.12

The biologic reality, however, is far worse. Keeping the phone 1 inch away from your skull will have a relatively modest reduction in exposure. You need to move it 2 TO 3 FEET (around 1 meter) away from your head to reduce the exposure by over 90 percent, as I show in the above video.

The FCC13 developed specific absorption rates (SAR) that set “safe” exposure limits for the radiation emitted from cellphones. The maximum, determined by lab testing 20 years ago based on a 200-pound man, was determined to be 1.6 watts per kilogram.14

SAR information is published on the cellphone manufacturer’s website or, using the FCC ID number of the phone, on the FCC database.15 The American Academy of Pediatrics warns these standards do not account for the unique use pattern and development fragility of children and should be revised.16

Please understand that the SAR information is virtually useless, as it seeks to measure thermal (heat) damage, and that is not the source of the pathology. It is the damage to your mitochondria from peroxynitrite and other factors that is the problem.

Physicians from Yale and Harvard also warn pregnant women to limit their exposure to cellphones to reduce the impact RF radiation may have on their child’s developing neurological system.17 The CTIA, the association representing U.S. wireless communications industry, has a different view, saying:18

    “CTIA and the wireless industry defer to the scientific community when it comes to cellphones and health effects. The peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk for adults or children.”

Not All Radiation Is Created Equally

There are two general categories of EMF radiation — native (natural) and non-native (artificial). Native radiation comes from natural sources of energy, such as the sun, and is actually is healthy for you. Artificial or non-native EMF can be broken down into four different categories, one of which is important to cellphone users.

The first is magnetic, involving the interaction of a charge with a magnetic field.19 The second is electromagnetic interference (EMI, commonly referred to in layman’s terms as “dirty electricity”).20 It appears EMI has the ability to increase mitochondrial free radical damage and contribute to mitochondrial dysfunction. The third is artificial light, such as LED or fluorescent lighting that contributes to a decrease in melatonin at night, affecting your sleep and mitochondria.

The type of EMF your cellphone, microwave and Wi-Fi emit is in the microwave megahertz to less than 10 gigahertz range. Your microwave oven is not a significant factor as your exposure is typically intermittent and not usually close to your body. Other devices, however, consistently emit microwave radiation at levels that damage your mitochondria.

Devices include your portable phone, cellphone, cellphone towers and Wi-Fi router and modem. Radiation is categorized across a spectrum from high-frequency to low-frequency.21 X-rays or gamma rays fall into the category of high-frequency, also called ionizing radiation.

This means they have enough non-native energy to cause the production of reactive nitrogen species like peroxynitrite that remove an electron and damage the DNA inside your mitochondria and the nucleus of your cells. Increased peroxynitrite generation has also been associated with increased levels of systemic inflammation by triggering cytokine storms, autonomic hormonal dysfunction and, of course most importantly, mitochondrial dysfunction.

Remember, microwave radiation exposure does not directly break covalent bonds and damage your DNA in the way that ionizing radiation from X or gamma rays do. Please reread the previous three paragraphs a few times as virtually no health professional understands or is teaching this. I can assure you this is vital leading-edge information that if properly applied will have enormous beneficial impacts on your health.

Failure to integrate this into your health program will seriously impair your body’s ability to remove toxins and significantly impair your immune response to address the large variety of pathogenic infectious assaults you regularly encounter, especially parasites.
Recent Study Finds Association Between Radiofrequency and Cell Damage

In a recent $30 million study undertaken by the U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP),22 David McCormick, Ph.D., from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, used an animal model to evaluate the effects of prolonged RF radiation exposure in mammals.23 He discusses the results in the video.

After exposure for nine hours a day for two years, the researchers found a statistically significant increase in the number of health problems and brain tumors in the rats.24 While you may think the number of hours of exposure is high, it approximates the number of hours Americans are using their phones.

According to the Pew Research Center, 90 percent of adults say their phone is frequently with them and rarely turned off.25 Americans are so attached to their smartphones and social networks that they check Facebook and Twitter an astounding 17 times each day on average, increasing exposure with data or Wi-Fi enabled.26 Please, do NOT fall into this trap. Keep your phone in airplane mode unless you are using it.

Airplane mode will not eliminate your exposure but will radically reduce it. I carry my phone with me on my beach walks and in addition to being in airplane mode I put it in a faraday bag that stops virtually all radiation. McCormick commented on the results of the study, in which they found cellphone radiation in the laboratory caused cancer in mice and rats:27

    "What we are saying here is that based on the animal studies, there is a possible risk cellphone RF is potentially carcinogenic in humans. These are uncommon lesions in rodents, so it is our conclusion that they are exposure related."

Who Is Using Cellphones?

McCormick believes the result of damage from cellphone radiation may not be fully realized for another 10 or 15 years as a major portion of the population has been using this technology for only about 15 years. While that may seem like a long time, it may take even more years before damage is acknowledged.

The largest danger to the population exists with children who use their phones more frequently and for longer periods of time each day than adults, starting from the time they’re very young. The average age a child receives their first smartphone is just over 10 years,28 and half of children under 10 already have a smartphone.29

Children in the U.K. spend four hours or more each day on their mobile phones, with that number increasing over school breaks by up to two hours a day.30 American students spend close to double that time, with teens using media nine hours a day31 and college students up to 10 hours each day.32

Dr. Jonathan Samet, a pulmonary physician and epidemiologist at the University of Southern California, supervised the report from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) International Agency for Research on Cancer that classified cellphones as possibly carcinogenic to humans (class 2B).33 He comments:34

    “Pretty soon, the whole world’s population will be exposed to radiation from devices from an early age. It’s something that should be taken very seriously, and we should be doing our best to understand if there’s any risk.”

A group of 255 scientists from across the world, including Columbia University, Harvard and the University of Southern California, wrote a letter to WHO about their concerns regarding the pervasive exposure to electromagnetic fields and the organizations response, writing:35

    “By not taking action, the WHO is failing to fulfill its role as the pre-eminent international public health agency. The various agencies setting safety standards have failed to impose sufficient guidelines to protect the general public, particularly children who are more vulnerable to the effects of (electromagnetic fields).”

MASSIVE Increase in Your Exposure to This Non-Native EMF

According the WHO, the average background radiation worldwide in 2000 was less than 1 microwatt per centimeter squared. I realize most of you are not familiar with this measurement but it is the standard energy measurement for microwave radiation in the U.S. The important point is that it was LESS THAN 1 microwatt per centimeter squared literally 17 years ago. As I show in the video above, it can go to well over 100 times that. I have done many measurements since I shot this video to find it rise well over 500 times higher.

This is why it is so important to keep your phone in airplane mode when you aren’t using it. But it is not only your phone; it is also your Wi-Fi router that can easily push levels over 500 to 1,000 microwatts per centimeter squared. So, ideally, you will want to keep your Wi-Fi off whenever possible, and certainly at night. The concern about this massive and relatively recent increase in this EMF exposure is largely related to its ability to generate peroxynitrite, which I discuss in more detail in the next section.
Peroxynitrite at the Heart of Cellphone Damage

Peroxynitrite is an unstable structural ion produced in your body after nitric oxide is exposed to superoxide. This complex chemical process begins with exposure to low-frequency microwave radiation from your cellphone, Wi-Fi and cellphone towers.

The process begins when low-frequency microwave radiation activates voltage-gated calcium channels (VGCC), producing calcium inside your cells and mitochondria.36 Nitic oxide is dependent on the presence of calcium to activate. With additional calcium present, nitric oxide is then activated in the cells.37

Nitric oxide is a substance present in all vertebrates, and helps to control blood flow, neural activity and clotting.38 While it has many health benefits, it can become destructive when superoxide molecules, an ionized oxygen molecule, is released during pathological change, such as a stroke or muscle injury.39

This reaction between nitric oxide and superoxide produces peroxynitrites, believed to be one root cause for many of today’s chronic diseases.40 Nitric oxide is the only molecule in your body produced at high enough concentrations to outcompete other molecules for superoxide and is a precursor for peroxynitrite.41
Peroxynitrite in Your Body

Once formed, peroxynitrite reacts relatively slowly with biological molecules, making it a selective oxidant. Inside your body, peroxynitrites modify tyrosine molecules in proteins to create a new substance, nitrotyrosine and nitration of a structural protein.42

These changes from nitration are visible in human biopsies of atherosclerosis, myocardial ischemia, inflammatory bowel disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and septic lung disease.43 Significant oxidative stress from peroxynitrites may also result in single-strand breaks of DNA.44

This pathway of oxidative destruction triggered by low-frequency radiation emitted from mobile devices may partially explain the unprecedented growth rate of chronic disease since 1990.45 This, truly, is a FAR greater concern than brain tumors, when it comes to the hazards of cellphones.

Information from the scientific literature reveals a dramatic acceleration in a single generation in the prevalence of a long list of diseases. Once you understand that cellphones can contribute to these chronic diseases — not just brain tumors — you may be more apt to take a few precautions to limit your exposure.

Although the major health threats continue to be cardiovascular disease, cancer and infections, it should be noted that the following list of conditions often create significant challenges in the lives of those who suffer. Some of these diseases were not even public knowledge prior to 1980.46

Chronic fatigue syndrome

11027 percent

Bipolar disease in youth

10833 percent


7727 percent


2094 percent

Celiac disease

1111 percent


819 percent


787 percent


702 percent


449 percent

Sleep Apnea

430 percent


305 percent

Alzheimer’s disease

299 percent


280 percent
Protect Yourself and Your Family From Long-Term Health Damage

While cellphone use is ubiquitous, and there’s no turning back now, there are strategies you can use to protect yourself from RF radiation emitted from these devices. Remember, your cellphone, portable phone, Wi-Fi router and modem are the primary devices in your home emitting microwave radiation consistently.

To protect yourself and your family, get in the habit of using these strategies regularly. Cell damage builds over time. It may feel safe to use your devices as you always have since you don’t experience the health effects immediately, but it definitely is not.

• Keep the phone away from your head

Consider moving your cellphone away from your head when it’s turned on or the Wi-Fi, data or Bluetooth are enabled. You may do this by using a selfie-stick, speaking on the speaker phone or using a headset. Short conversations and texting more than talking also reduce your exposure.

• Increase your distance from RF-emitting devices

The closer the device, the more radiation you absorb. Find a way to transport your phone other than you pants pocket or bra, and avoid keeping your phone and tablets in your bedroom while you’re sleeping.

• Turn off your Wi-Fi routers

When they aren’t in use, such as at night, turn your Wi-Fi, modem and cellphone off. Many routers can be linked with an inexpensive remote, making the process simple and easy.

• Spices may reduce damage

Researchers have discovered certain spices may help prevent or repair damage from peroxynitrites.47,48 Spices rich in phenolics, specifically cloves, rosemary, turmeric, cinnamon and ginger root exhibited some protective capacity against peroxynitrite-induced damage.

However, while this is good news, it is not a reason to ignore strategies that reduce your exposure to electromagnetic radiation, since your home is not the only place you are at risk. Any public venue that hosts Wi-Fi or has a cellular tower nearby increases your exposure to microwave radiation.

Some of the most important steps I cannot report on yet as I am in the process of evaluating shielding EMF remediation strategies, such as Faraday canopies for beds and EMF-shielding paint. Once I complete my analysis I will report on it. One thing I am certain of, though, is that the hundreds, or more likely thousands, of devices that you can attach to your phone do nothing to reduce this radiation exposure. They fail miserably in blocking this energy.

They may have some biological benefit in mediating the way this energy interacts with your body, but I would not delude myself into believing this is sufficient and fail to adopt the proactive protective measures described above.
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