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Archive Monthly Archives: February 2018

Does it pay to work with a travel planner? – Kansas City Star

Kansas City Star

Does it pay to work with a travel planner?
Kansas City Star
Sites like Expedia, Travelocity or Kayak that bundle your travel plans can be very helpful and save you money, but the main difference between them is a human being. Many agents price-match those site offers, but you also have the benefit of a direct

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Three Keys to Blogging Success – Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

Three Keys to Blogging Success
Publishers Weekly
It's important for bloggers to build communities of readers that can serve as a platform for launching books and other initiatives such as workshops, speaking engagements, and related products and services. But is an email list or a bunch of followers

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Why I Hate the Internet found so many readers

Jarett Kobeks self-published diatribe against San Francisco startup culture has become a sensation, winning plaudits from the New York Times and Bret Easton Ellis

Among the poetry racks on the second floor of San Franciscos legendary City Lights bookstore, an audience member is confronting the author Jarett Kobek with a spirited defense of the revolutionary power of Twitter and Bernie Sanders. His harangue, delivered during a book reading in February, was in atavistic beatnik dialect. I do Tweet about it, Jack! he shouted, stirring an erstwhile polite audience to shout things like Sit the fuck down! and Let him talk!

Its hard to imagine a more appropriate reception for Kobeks second novel, I Hate the Internet, a savage satire of internet culture set in 2013 San Francisco.. It centers on the fallout from a surreptitious recording posted to Youtube, its narrator describing real-world events of the city rendered in the hyperbolic language that has come to represent online interactions, and diverging into off-topic invective to expose its intolerable bullshit.

More funny than obnoxious, the novel has become a sleeper sensation a more or less self-published book that landed a favorable review above the fold on the front page of the New York Times arts section (something Kobek believes is a first for a self-published book). It has dipped into the Amazon top 500, and appears set for a wider international release in six languages.

The City Lights Bookstore in North Beach, San Francisco. Photograph: Alamy

San Franciscos independent bookstores, pinched for years by online competition and soaring commercial rents pushed up by the citys tech boom, have pushed the book hard. With this cover, I think the book would have sold OK even if the pages were blank, says Kobek. Its easily spotted on the citys buses and in its parks, wielded as a talisman against the epidemic of smartphones. But the reception has exceeded his rosiest expectations.

The ironic thing, of course, is that this has all mostly happened on the internet, said Kobek, 38, of his books unlikely success. His shaved head is glinting in the afternoon light of a dingy cafe in San Franciscos North Beach. He points to a photograph of American Psycho author Bret Easton Ellis reading his book in bed, and a mention on music site Pitchfork as catalysts for the books surge in sales.

Sales on Amazon, both digital and paperback, and attention from the New York Times are laden with irony. The novel describes them respectively as an unprofitable website dedicated to the destruction of the publishing industry, and transitioning from Americas paper of record into a website that catered to the perceived whims of affluent, youthful demographics.

Over the course of the novel, its author gradually reveals an ambivalence towards the internet belied by its stark title. Early on Kobek writes: This bad novel, which is a morality tale about the internet, was written on a computer. You are suffering the moral outrage of a hypocritical writer who has profited from the spoils of slavery.

Later, during a long mountain-top soliloquy by a semi-autobiographical character, a scene which openly parodies the climax of Ayn Rands libertarian novel Atlas Shrugged, the reader learns: I know what the internet was like before people used it to make money. I am the only literary writer in America with a serious tech background! I am the only literary writer in America who ran Slackware 1.0 on his 386x!

Kobek admits that his experiences both using technology and working for tech firms have been formative . The internet is as much a part of me as anything, he says. Ive done just about every low-level, high-paying job the internet has to offer, from web design to systems admin. I was a big Unix guy at one point, in my late teens.

But my relationship with it started divorcing around the time social media started. Really the book could be called I hate four companies and social media but that is a bad title.

A street car moves past Twitter Inc headquarters in San Francisco, California. Photograph: Bloomberg/Bloomberg via Getty Images

What the book taps, says Kobek, is a visceral emotional impulse he encountered frequently on his just-concluded national book tour, its ranting tone and merciless humor attempting to offset a feeling of powerlessness commonly felt by internet users The book defines this as intellectual feudalism produced by technological innovation arriving in the disguise of culture. Kobek blazes with brutal rhetoric, but described the narrators desperate attempt to understand an impossibly complex and fluid situation.

I knew people hated the internet, he said, but I didnt realize how deeply wounded people are by it. Everyone knows someone whos had just horrible experiences. Its been exhausting, at times it has felt like group therapy, he said of his recent book tour .

Kobek lived in San Francisco from 2009 through 2014 before decamping to Los Angeles. The preparation was, unfortunately, being tortured by San Francisco for four years, says Kobek . When I come back now, I just feel overwhelmingly sad. As much as I shit on it, San Francisco has enormous charm. But its like a city with Alzheimers, it still looks the same but there is something missing.

The merit of any moment in San Francisco could be measured by a simple question: was the beauty of the city outweighing its annoying citizens? Photograph: Alamy

He writes of the city with wrath. San Francisco had two distinctions: One, it was the most beautiful city in America. Two, it was filled with the most annoying people in America. It had always been like this, from the beginning. The merit of any moment in San Francisco could be measured by a simple question: was the beauty of the city outweighing its annoying citizens?

But the success of Kobeks bleak book is a story of hope and entrepreneurial pluck. Stymied in his early attempts to get it published, he co-founded a small press in Los Angeles called We Heard You Like Books, designing the cover and writing the Kindle and Nook files himself. He even created a prequel in the form of an agitprop video game cassette for beloved British microcomputer the ZX Spectrum. The book will be released in the UK this fall by Serpents Tail, and in Germany by Fischer Verlag. His next book, which takes up with the same characters during in an earlier era in New York City, has been sold to Viking.

In I Hate the Internet, Kobek identifies with the tragic experience of comic book artist Jack Kirby, who created Captain America and many other superheroes but never financially benefitted from the business that he helped build. The internet, and the multinational conglomerates which rule it, have reduced everyone to the worst possible fate. We have become nothing more than comic book artists, churning out content for enormous monoliths that refuse to pay us the value of our work.

With this novel, Kobek seems to have found a way to make sure that doesnt happen to him As long as you have something to sell, he says, they cant really hurt you.

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Canada closes tax loophole to cool down overheated housing markets

Finance minister outlines measures to rein in foreign speculators after house prices in Vancouver and Toronto have doubled in last decade

The Canadian government has announced a handful of measures aimed at dampening demand in its red-hot housing markets, including closing a tax loophole used by some foreign speculators.

Canadian authorities are facing growing pressure to address frothy housing markets in Vancouver and Toronto, where home prices have more than doubled in the past decade. Earlier this year, Justin Trudeau, Canadas prime minister, pointed to an influx of capital from Asia as partly responsible for the soaring prices.

Overall, I believe the housing market is sound, Bill Morneau, the countrys finance minister, said in Toronto on Monday. I want to make sure that were proactive in assessing and addressing the factors that could lead to excess risk.

Currently, Canadian homeowners who sell their principal residences do not have to report the sale or pay taxes on any profit earned. Amid reports suggesting that some non-residents have been taking advantage of the same exemption, the government will now step up scrutiny of principal residences, said Morneau.

We know that there is a principal residence tax exemption and that should only be applicable to people who own their home in Canada and live in that home in Canada.

In Vancouver, where housing prices have risen 249% since 2005, a 15% tax was introduced in August on all home buyers who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents. Its introduction saw home sales in the Vancouver region drop 26% in August while the average price of detached properties fell to C$1.47m ($1.1m), a decrease of 17% from one month earlier.

With an eye on increasing housing affordability, the city of Vancouver has also vowed to launch a tax on empty homes by 2017 and is currently exploring measures to curb short-term rentals through sites such as Airbnb.

On Monday, the Canadian government said it would also introduce a stress test for insured borrowers in hopes of injecting greater stability into the countrys housing market. Starting in mid-October, the test will ensure would-be homebuyers some of whom are rushing to gain a foothold in the market amid fears of being priced out down the road would be able to afford their mortgage if interest rates were to rise, said Morneau.

Low interest rates have gradually changed the way both borrowers and lenders view debt and indebtedness in this country, said the finance minister. As these attitudes and behaviours have changed, some households began carrying high debt loads and pockets of risk have begun to emerge.

A recent report by the Swiss bank UBS looked at 18 financial centres around the world and singled out Vancouver as most at risk of a housing bubble.

Mondays announcement received a mixed reaction. Josh Gordon, a professor at Vancouvers Simon Fraser University, described the government measures as prudent.

The tax change, he said, sent a clear signal to foreign investors and others looking to speculate on real estate. I do think it will have an impact on its own, but I think the bigger point is the message, he said. Because it suggests that the federal government does believe that foreign demand is an issue and its willing to tackle that.

Others argued that the shored-up tax requirement would do little to dissuade investors, whether it was foreigners or local people who have been using the exemption to avoid payments on profits earned from selling secondary residences. Its not going to dampen the market, said Bob Aaron, a Toronto real estate lawyer. If people think they can make money on flipping real estate, they will.

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Can Your Blog Make Money? Here's How to Predict Your Chances for Income. – Entrepreneur


Can Your Blog Make Money? Here's How to Predict Your Chances for Income.
What's your plan to make money from the blog? You have many options, depending on your audience, intent and other ventures. 2. Traffic. No matter what monetization angle you choose, you'll need ample traffic to support it. Your blog's ability to

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Report: DeMarcus Lawrence wants average of $17 million a year for long-term contract – Blogging The Boys (blog)

Blogging The Boys (blog)

Report: DeMarcus Lawrence wants average of $17 million a year for long-term contract
Blogging The Boys (blog)
You might be hearing the name Olivier Vernon a lot this offseason when the subject comes up of a long-term contract for DeMarcus Lawrence. Tom Pelissero notes that Lawrence's agent is the same as Vernon's, and they're going to be asking for roughly the

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Where are all of Vine’s biggest viral stars going?


Multiple reports have surfaced recently stating that topVinestars are defecting from the microvideo platform in favor of competing services likeYouTube,Facebook,Instagram, andSnapchat. That’s apparently because those viral stars arein search of larger audiences and more substantial opportunities to make money.

In addition to top creators, brands have also been looking to create sponsored Vines less frequently (the company does not currently have an advertising model in place) during the past six months, Viral Nation CEO Joe GagliesetoldDigiday. Gagliese has been pushing his clients to post on Facebook, he says, where analytics are better, the team is constantly innovating new video features, and monetization seems imminent.

Research by marketing companyMarkerlydetermined that roughly half of the 9,725 Vine stars with more than 15,000 followersincluding prominent creators likeZach Kinghave left the platform since the beginning of this year, according toDigiday. Another study by marketing tech companyAmobeenotes that user engagement on Vine has fallen by 12 percent during the last seven months.

The average number of loops (or views) on the top 10 Vine accounts are down 29 percent in the past last year,reportsThe Wall Street Journal. And while Vine counts 200 million monthly viewers and 1.5 billion loops every day, theJournalreports the app has plummeted from being a top 50 app in theiTunesstore a year ago to falling somewhere around No. 200 in the rankings currently.

TheJournalalso notes thatdiscussionsin which creators were asking to be compensated for their workbetween top Viners and the platforms owner,Twitter,have largely stalled.

Some users are happy with the platform, however. Representatives from social marketing agencyNiche, which is owned by Twitter, told theJournalthat it has conducted hundreds of brand deals for its 31,000 creators so far this year.

We thrive on creators doing awesome things on Vine,Periscope, and Twitter, Twitter spokespersonWill Stickneytold theJournal. Its one of our top priorities this year to give those creators even better tools across all those products, including Vine, which continues to be a place where creative trends start and explode across the web.

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Trump Makes The Biggest Day in Womens Golf All About Him

On Sunday, the U.S. Women’s Open Golf Tournament at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, nearly made history.

With little left to play, 17-year-old amateur Hye-Jin Choi tied the leaders. If she’d pulled ahead, she would have been the first amateur to win the tournament since 1967. If she’d held on, perhaps this year’s U.S. Women’s Open Championship would be remembered for something besides the time a man who has said he hates women’s faces, blood, and voices hosted the most prestigious women’s golf event in the world.

President Donald Trump didn’t seem bothered by the awkwardness of the setup. It meant the world was paying attention to his property, to him. And an amateur nearly upset a field rich with professionals. This excited the Donald Trump, for obvious reasons.

As the tournament wound down, the president tweeted, “I am at the @USGA  #USWomensOpen. An amateur player is co-leading for the first time in many decades – very exciting!”

Alas, Choi couldn’t hold on. Tour rookie Sung Hyun Park pulled it out in the end, dashing the possibility that Trump would have a new ham-fisted anecdote he’d be able to trot out in stories that were ultimately about himself. An amateur beating all the pros her first time out! Think of it!

If Trump had thought harder, he could have made a self-referential metaphor of the story of Park, who first rose to fame in her native South Korea as a member of the Olympic archery team before giving golf a try. But perhaps that’s too subtle.

President Trump is a lot of things, but subtle is not one of them. Like a Kakapo parrot at a kitten day care, he cannot help being the loudest noise wherever he goes.

In the tournament pro shop, golf fans scraped plastic hangers of Trump-branded shirts along metal racks. The Trump name got larger and more prominent on the clothing the farther shoppers proceeded from the entrance. In the front of the store, the Trump Bedminster logo was tasteful and small, where a Lacoste alligator might normally reside.

In the back, all design caution had been thrown to the wind, and the clothing said, simply, TRUMP. One design featured the Trump family crest, the one that is perhaps lifted from another family crest, inside the U of TRUMP like a branding version of standing between two mirrors. Perhaps the was an even tinier TRUMP inside the second TRUMP, and it just went on and on forever.

The president’s team announced today that next week will be Made In America week, but apparently that announcement didn’t reach the pro shop. Like Ivanka’s line of clothing and much of Donald Sr.’s eponymous supply chain, clothing at the tournament was made in Bangladesh, India, Vietnam, and China. Made in America? Weak.

Out of the air conditioning and into the oven-hot air, Trump was everywhere, even when he was out of sight.

He lorded over crucial moments in the tournament from an odd temporary viewing tent, like a pontiff in a popemobile that had been stripped of parts at a stoplight, a red “Make America Great Again hat plopped on his head. His wheelless Trumpmobile sat conveniently close to the clubhouse where VIPs and corporate sponsors and acolytes congregated in the air conditioning. He announced Friday he’d be popping into his property, Saturday night, he went over to say hello to some of the guests.

“Just got to the #USWomensOpen in Bedminster, New Jersey. People are really happy with record high stock market – up over 17% since election!” he tweeted Saturday.

Outside of the clubhouse of stock market winners, golf fans were not discussing the stock market. They congregated beneath sparse trees to watch the best women in the world crown a champion. They fought over folding chairs in the air conditioned Trophy Club near the 18th green, trying their best to keep their polo shirts free of juice from the Ruth’s Chris steak sandwiches available for purchase at the concession stand. They muttered about protesters, spoke about their children’s out-of-college jobs at Deloitte.

One woman, perhaps unaware of how loudly she was speaking, announced to her two companions that Barron Trump does not like golf as much as his father wishes he did. A man in a white Make America Great Again zoomed down a path on a Rascal scooter. A man with a deeply tanned face smuggled his pale and clearly underaged son an IPA and the young man repressed a grimace as he drank it.

“That’s nice,” said one man to another as a professional golfer with a thick blonde rope of a braid bent over to retrieve a ball. His companion laughed appreciatively. It was, indeed, a human butt.

Turns out, an 800-pound gorilla can dominate both a room and a golf course. The USGA awarded Trump National the U.S. Women’s Open back in 2012, before Trump’s pervasive sexism was a matter of national concern. Still, women’s groups encouraged the organization to drop Bedminster during Trump’s presidential run, citing his misogyny.

Protesters, undaunted, showed up to Trump National to wage their discontent this weekend, spelling out messages with T-shirts and emphatic signs and pink umbrellas.

In order to get anywhere near the action, protesters would have needed to pay. Single-day tickets that didn’t come with access to the air-conditioned Trophy Club cost $25 and $45 for each day of the opening and championship rounds, respectively. To circumvent paying a fee to convey that they believe that somebody does not deserve to make money from an event, protesters demonstrated outside of the grounds on Sunday.

That morning, a new poll showed that President Trump’s approval rating had dipped to a harrowing 36 percent. It’s the lowest approval rating of a president six months into his tenure in 70 years.

Rather than feeling chastened, Trump followed his ego. Like heated gas, it expanded to fill its container, it rolled across the fairways and greens, it colored everything he saw.

“Thank you to all of the supporters, who far out-numbered the protesters, yesterday at the Women’s U.S. Open. Very cool!” Trump tweeted. It apparently did not occur to him that most of the people at the U.S. Women’s Open tournament weren’t there to specifically support him, but rather to watch women play golf.

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YouTuber who tried to cure cancer with veganism has died – New Zealand Herald


YouTuber who tried to cure cancer with veganism has died
New Zealand Herald
"My aunt chose to make that change on her own, which had nothing to do with her juicing but everything to do with her faith," Liz said. "People have sent me many emails about positive changes after juicing, and some have told me that they chose to do
YouTube star who claimed a vegan diet 'cured' her cancer, diesClickLancashire

all 18 news articles »

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Will Dez Bryant take a pay cut after all? It's all about “respect” says one source – Blogging The Boys (blog)

Blogging The Boys (blog)

Will Dez Bryant take a pay cut after all? It's all about “respect” says one source
Blogging The Boys (blog)
Blogging The Boys Blogging The Boys, a Dallas Cowboys fan community. Log In or Sign Up · Log In · Sign Up · Fanposts · Fanshots · Sections; Library; Cowboys · Odds · About · Masthead · Community Guidelines · StubHub; More. All 319 blogs on · Fanposts

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