If you want flexibility, transparency, and decent health policies, it seems like working in tech pays off.
- The website Glassdoor has released their rankings of the top CEOs and companies to work for during the pandemic.
- The rankings were based on a study of reviews placed on their website by employees which mentioned COVID or CEO performance.
- The study isn't quite definitive, but offers an insight into what employees want during times of crisis.
How to succeed in business when times are very trying<p>The <a href="https://www.glassdoor.com/research/highest-rated-ceos-coronavirus/" target="_blank">survey</a> considered recently submitted reviews about working for large companies that also included assessments of their leadership. Only reviews left between March 1 and July 31 were considered, with particular attention paid to high-quality reviews that focused on leadership's actions during the pandemic. Using these reviews, a scoring system was created to rank the companies and order them.</p> <p>A quick review of the top companies shows about a third of them are in <a href="https://www.techrepublic.com/article/glassdoor-the-top-8-tech-ceos-during-covid-19/" target="_blank">tech</a>, with representatives from the world of finance, health care, and insurance also making appearances. Among the top-scoring companies was Zoom Communications and its CEO Eric Yuan, the company behind the video calling application that many people have recently turned to. The highest scoring company was Mercury Systems, an aerospace and defense technology company, and its CEO <a href="https://finance.yahoo.com/news/glassdoor-names-mercury-ceo-mark-131500203.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Mark Aslett</a>.<br><br><strong>The top ten</strong>:<br></p><ol><li>Mark Aslett — Mercury Systems </li><li>G. Brint Ryan — Ryan, LLC </li><li>Michael Weinstein — AIDS Healthcare Foundation </li><li>Eric S. Yuan — Zoom Video Communications </li><li>Stanley Middleman — Freedom Mortgage</li><li>Aaron Levie —Box </li><li>Corey Schiller & Asher Raphael — Power Home Remodeling</li><li>Ben Salzmann — Acuity Insurance</li><li>Jim Kavanaugh — World Wide Technology</li><li>Michael Schall — Essex Property Trust</li></ol><p>Few, if any, of the CEOs on the list are well known to the casual reader. The most famous is undoubtedly Mark Zuckerberg, who came in eighth on the list of UK employers. Only one woman made the list at all (BrightStar Care's Shelley Sun at number 17), perhaps reflecting the low percentage of large companies helmed by <a href="https://econlife.com/2020/02/fewer-female-ceos-2/" target="_blank">women</a>. Likewise, only a handful of non-white men were to be found either, likely for similar <a href="https://247wallst.com/investing/2020/07/07/only-11-of-sp-500-companies-have-ceos-of-color-and-it-gets-worse/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">reasons</a>. </p><p>In an interview with <a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2020-09-17/eight-tech-execs-one-woman-on-top-ceo-list-video" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Bloomberg</a>, Glassdoor's Chief Economist Andrew Chamberlain explained that the reviews suggest that many of the top-rated companies shared "clear and transparent communication with employees about what is going on during a pandemic. Second, providing flexibility: work from home, giving workers the tools they need to keep doing their jobs. And third, polices that support health and safety of employees first." <strong></strong></p><p>A glance at the reviews used to compile the study supports this view, with many explicitly praising commitments to transparency and flexibility. </p>
And now, the grains of salt<iframe width="730" height="430" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/iMM3zxVoGZc" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen></iframe><p>This survey considered only companies with more than 1,000 employees at the end of the review period, leaving out many excellently run but smaller operations. Of these larger enterprises, only those with more than 50 upper management (25 for firms based in the UK) were analyzed. Reviews made by interns were not counted towards this minimum. Companies that performed well, but with employees who didn't feel the need to write reviews of their employer on the internet, were left out of the running.</p><p>Despite these limitations, the study does offer an insight into what employees wanted from corporate leadership during the pandemic and who could provide it. Companies hoping to do better during the next public health crisis would do well to consider the choices made by these executives. Those looking for greener pastures might also consider applying to work at these places. </p>
Breakthrough technology uses multiplexing entanglement to make an ultra-secure quantum internet.
- Scientists devise the largest-ever quantum communications network.
- The technology is much cheaper than previous attempts and promises to be hacker-proof.
- The 'multiplexing' system devised by the researchers splits light particles that carry information.
Quantum network in operation.
Credit: Siddarth K. Joshi
Artist's drawing of the quantum network, with the glowing lines showing quantum entanglement shared by 8 users.
Credit: Holly Caskie
What responsibility should government authorities and Big Tech take in policing the spread of sedition-oriented content?
- It can be hard to believe that comical images online are enough to rile people up enough that they'll actually attack.
- Originating in the darker corners of the internet, Bugaloo is now prominent on mainstream online platforms like Facebook and Instagram.
- The Network Contagion Research Institute's recent series of Contagion and Ideology Reports uses machine learning to examine how memes spread.
What’s in a meme?<p>The Network Contagion Research Institute's recent series of <a href="https://ncri.io/reports/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Contagion and Ideology Reports </a>leverages machine learning to examine how memes spread. The idea is to unearth a better understanding of the role memes play in encouraging real-world violence. </p><p>So what exactly is a meme, and how did it become a tool for weaponizing the web? Originally coined by Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins in his 1976 book "<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/science/2016/may/29/selfish-gene-40-years-richard-dawkins-do-ideas-stand-up-adam-rutherford" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Selfish Gene</a><em>," </em>the term is defined there as "a unit of cultural transmission" that spreads like a virus from host to host and conveys an idea which changes the host's worldview. </p><p>Dawkins echoes "Naked Lunch" author William Burroughs's concept of <a href="https://www.twisttheknife.com/william-s-burroughs-playback-from-eden-to-watergate/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">written language as a virus</a> that infects the reader and consequently builds realities that are brought to fruition through the act of speech. In this sense, a meme is an idea that spreads by iterative, collaborative imitation from person to person within a culture and carries symbolic meaning.</p><p>The militant alt-right's use of internet memes <a href="https://journals.openedition.org/angles/369" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">follows this pattern</a>. They are carefully designed on underground social media using codes, before attaining approval by like-minded users that disseminate these messages on mainstream platforms like Twitter or Facebook.</p><p>Sometimes these messages are lifted from innocuous sources and altered to convey hate. Take for example Pepe the Frog. Initially created by cartoonist Matt Furie as a mascot for slackers, Pepe was appropriated and altered by racists and homophobes until the Anti-Defamation League branded the frog as a <a href="https://www.adl.org/education/references/hate-symbols/pepe-the-frog" target="_blank">hate symbol</a> in 2016. This, of course, hasn't stopped public figures from sharing variations of Pepe's likeness in subversive social posts.</p>
Slenderman and the Boogaloo Bois<p>Indeed, these types of memes have a tricky way of moving from the shadows of the internet to the mainstream, picking up supporters along the way – including those who are willing to commit horrific crimes.</p><p>This phenomenon extends well beyond politics. Take, for example, the Slenderman. Created as a shadowy figure for online horror stories, Slenderman achieved mainstream popularity and a cult-like following. When two girls tried to <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2014/06/03/the-complete-terrifying-history-of-slender-man-the-internet-meme-that-compelled-two-12-year-olds-to-stab-their-friend/" target="_blank">stab their friend to death</a> to prove that Slenderman was real in 2014, the power of the meme to prompt violence became a national conversation. </p><p>Slenderman creator Victor Surge told Know Your Meme that <a href="https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/slender-man" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">he never thought</a> the character would spread beyond the fringe Something Awful forums. "An urban legend requires an audience ignorant of the origin of the legend. It needs unverifiable third and forth [sic] hand (or more) accounts to perpetuate the myth," he explained. "On the Internet, anyone is privy to its origins as evidenced by the very public Somethingawful thread. But what is funny is that despite this, it still spread. Internet memes are finicky things and by making something at the right place and time it can swell into an 'Internet Urban Legend.'"</p><p>While Slenderman is obviously a fiction, political memes walk many of the same fine lines – and have galvanized similarly obsessed followers to commit attacks in the real world.</p>
Understanding digital indoctrination<p><a href="http://www.ncri.io/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The Network Contagion Research Institute</a> (NCRI) uses advanced data analysis to expose hate on social media. The institute's scientists work with experts at the ADL's <a href="https://www.adl.org/who-we-are/our-organization/advocacy-centers/center-on-extremism" target="_blank">Center on Extremism </a>(COE) to track hateful propaganda online and offer strategies to combat this phenomenon. By better understanding how memes spread hateful propaganda, the NCRI is helping law enforcement, social media companies and citizens get better at preventing online chatter about violence from becoming real action.</p><p>Founded by Princeton's Dr. Joel Finkelstein, the NCRI is finding that the spread of hate online can be examined using epidemiological models of how viruses spread, only applied to language and ideas, much as Burroughs imagined decades ago. </p><p>Now that the internet has obviated the need for people to meet in person or communicate directly, recruiting and deploying members of violent groups is easier than ever before.</p><p>Before social media, as <a href="https://njjewishnews.timesofisrael.com/princeton-scientist-connects-web-hate-and-the-acts-it-spawns/" target="_blank">Finkelstein reminds us</a>, organizing underground hate groups was harder. "You would have to have an interpersonal organization to train and cultivate those people," he said. "With the advance of the internet, those people can find each other; what it lacks in depth it makes up in reach. The entire phenomenon can happen by itself without a trace of anyone being groomed."</p>
Can anything be done?<p>Memes generate hysteria in part by being outrageous enough for people to share – even the mainstream media. This is a concrete strategy called <a href="https://www.technologyreview.com/2019/10/24/132228/political-war-memes-disinformation/" target="_blank">amplification</a>. The extreme alt-right manages to reach mainstream audiences with racialist and supremacist memes, even as these messages are being denounced.</p><p>Content spreads virally whether those spreading it support the embedded ideology or not, making it difficult to intervene and prevent meme-incited violence.</p><p>Some people may unwittingly amplify messaging designed to spread violence, mistaking memes like ACAB (all cops are bastards) for harmless if somewhat dark humor.</p>
NCRI<p>So what can be done about the meme wars, and what onus is on law enforcement and Big Tech?</p><p>Finkelstein recommends a three-pronged approach to combating the violent outcome of subversive memes.</p><ol><li>Push for more stringent boundaries defining civility online using technology.</li><li>Educate courts, lawmakers and civil institutions about how extreme online communities operate and create better industry standards to regulate these groups.</li><li>Bring the federal government, including the FBI and Homeland Security, up to speed on the new reality so they can intervene as necessary.</li></ol><p>But not everyone thinks Big Tech or the law have much ground to stand on in combating viral hate. Tech companies haven't gone the mile in truly enforcing stricter standards for online content, but some companies are closing down accounts associated with <a href="https://www.voanews.com/silicon-valley-technology/can-shutting-down-online-hate-sites-curb-violence" target="_blank">extremist leaders' websites</a> and their movements. </p><p>But this is largely tilting at windmills. The proliferation of memes online spreading ideology virally might be too big to combat without dramatically limiting freedom of speech online. Facebook and YouTube have <a href="https://bigthink.com/politics-current-affairs/social-media-2020-us-election?rebelltitem=4#rebelltitem4" target="_self">banned thousands of profiles</a>, but there's no way of knowing how many remain – or are being added every day. This leaves the danger of meme radicalization and weaponization lurking beneath the surface even as we head into elections. </p>
What we stand to lose<p>Boogaloo and other seditious groups have been empowered by recent crises, including the pandemic and the anti-racist protests sweeping the country. Greater numbers of these community members are showing up at anti-quarantine protests and are disrupting other gatherings, and the press they're getting – this article included – is only bringing more attention to their violent messages.</p><p>Extremist memes continue to circulate, as America heads to the polls amidst a global pandemic and widespread civil unrest. It stands to reason that more blood will be spilled. Getting a handle on Twitter handles that spread hate and shutting down groups whose sole purpose is sowing the seeds of brutality is vital – the only question that remains is how. </p>
Businesses have learned how to mend the weak spots in free trial marketing.
- Free trials are an excellent marketing tool but people can take advantage of the system by using disposable emails, jumping from one free trial to the next.
- You can use free trial marketing to great effect if you know how to protect your business against those who want to take advantage.
- Here are 3 ways to identify email addresses that will never lead to a genuine sale and remove them from your lists.
Limit registration to non-disposable email address users<p>Protection against freemium abuse begins upon signup. Limiting registration to only those who don't use disposable email addresses is one way to do that. You can integrate a bulk email verification API into your registration page or use a disposable email domains database like the one provided <a href="https://emailverification.whoisxmlapi.com/disposable-email-domains?mc=bigthink.com" target="_self">by WhoisXML API</a> to automatically check if the email address a subscriber provided is disposable or not. A useful bulk email validation tool would tell your administrator immediately that the address is disposable, and so it's likely you're dealing with someone who might try to abuse a free trial.</p><a href="https://emailverification.whoisxmlapi.com/disposable-email-domains?mc=bigthink.com" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzYzMjkwMy9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTY1MTUzMzE1OX0.RvfSCPLh2llBsT1ru98sLnwab0WNh-1JBqH4IhhOrw8/img.png?width=980" id="9a871" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="624ead3c30dd034e8a3e58ada443cfc6" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="Bulk email verification tool" /></a>
Make sure the email address is contactable<p>Not all freemium abusers use disposable email addresses. Some can just as easily use personal email addresses from Gmail, Yahoo, or other free services. A lot of people keep extra email addresses to direct email marketing or newsletters to. It's one way to keep their primary personal inboxes less crowded.</p><p>Since these secondary email addresses probably get tons of marketing collateral each day, they're likely full, and so messages will sooner or later bounce. That's not good for any company as it translates to a high bounce rate, which can adversely affect its email deliverability and domain reputation.</p><p>A robust <a href="https://emailverification.whoisxmlapi.com/bulk-api?mc=bigthink" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bulk email validation API</a> can instantly let you know if all the email addresses in your contact database are accessible. It tells you if every address is Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)-enabled and, therefore, able to receive messages. So, if you, for instance, have the email address firstname.lastname@example.org in your database, which has an email verification result that says it isn't SMTP-reachable, it may be best to take it off your distribution list to lower your bounce rate.</p><p>Taking the email address that's probably no longer in use off your subscription list is also advisable. That way, your chances of dealing with a freemium abuser is reduced as well.<br></p><a href="https://emailverification.whoisxmlapi.com/bulk-api?mc=bigthink" ><img type="lazy-image" data-runner-src="https://assets.rebelmouse.io/eyJhbGciOiJIUzI1NiIsInR5cCI6IkpXVCJ9.eyJpbWFnZSI6Imh0dHBzOi8vYXNzZXRzLnJibC5tcy8yMzYzMzAyMy9vcmlnaW4ucG5nIiwiZXhwaXJlc19hdCI6MTYzMzA0MDI2MH0.GGDQJnOedW6yB9cq0qmrfPwTthcnB2xpi4pRnSLMomw/img.png?width=980" id="90d00" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="edb0bfce366c8fe0e86fa9874a1acbba" data-rm-shortcode-name="rebelmouse-image" alt="bulk email validation API tool" /></a>
Keep your distribution list in tip-top shape<p>The more unreachable email addresses in your distribution list, the higher the chances of ending up in someone's blacklist. It is, after all, not uncommon for spammers or cybercriminals to use the shotgun approach in attacks. Sending messages to as many inboxes as possible, after all, increases their chances of success. Using their tactic for a legitimate business, however, is unacceptable either. Organizations are not allowed to send emails to just about anyone without their consent.</p> <p>And so companies that want to stay off blacklists should make it a point to keep their distribution lists updated at all times. But we also know that over time, contact lists can grow to a massive size, making cleanup tedious and time-consuming. The quickest way to keep email databases in tip-top condition is to use a bulk email validation solution. It lets you check up to 50,000 email addresses in one go to make sure that they won't do your domain reputation any harm and cause you to end up on a dreaded blacklist.</p> <p>Bulk Email Verification API/Lookup can confirm if each email address:</p> <ul><li>Has the correct syntax or follows established Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) standards</li><li>Is not disposable by checking its domain against those of known disposable email providers that include Mailinator, GuerrillaMail, and more than 2,000 others</li><li>Has a corresponding mail server evidenced by properly configured mail exchanger (MX) records</li><li>Points to a valid inbox that lessens your chances of dealing with suspicious users</li><li>Is not associated with a catch-all mailbox that isn't assigned to any particular user and so may not add value to your distribution list</li></ul>
More people are looking up panic and anxiety attacks in quarantine.
- A new study finds that searches for terms related to "anxiety attack" spiked after COVID reached America.
- The increase was largest around the time the U.S. surpassed China in number of cases.
- The study can't prove that anxiety rates have gone up, but other surveys suggest they have.