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Comment: Re:So close, so far (Score 1) 403

by BarbaraHudson (#48427453) Attached to: "Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Pulled From Amazon

Barbie is in decline world-wide.

For nearly 70 years, Barbie has ruled the dollhouse. But Mattel’s star may now be a relic of the past. Mattel shares sank slightly on Thursday morning after the company announced a net loss of $11.2 million and shrinking sales – $946 million, down 5% compared last year. The company’s biggest problem was its declining Barbie sales. Worldwide gross sales for the brand were down 14%.

... and ...

The sharp decline was especially disappointing as Barbie is still Mattel’s biggest single brand, generating $1.15 billion in 2013 sales, according to Needham & Co. analyst Sean McGowan.

Barbie’s North American sales have now fallen for eight straight quarters, and worldwide sales have dropped in eight of the past 10 quarters, according to McGowan.

Barbie’s popularity slide has come at a time of shifting demographics.

"Barbie is sort of stuck with its own fame as a blond girl, which just doesn’t resonate with girls anymore," said Matthew Hudak, an analyst in toys and games at research firm Euromonitor.

Mattel has tried to address the issue with Barbies from different ethnic backgrounds, but it’s difficult to change consumer perception of the doll, he said.

"Barbie is just going to continue to be hard to relate to. It doesn’t look like it’s in for a fun ride the next few years," Hudak said.

Barbie also has been hurt by the marketing to girls of toys that were once geared only toward boys, such as Hasbro’s Nerf Rebelle, a feminine spin on the classic Nerf foam-dart shooter.

"Maybe Mattel should be more conscious of gender neutrality?" said Jamie Gutfreund, chief marketing officer at Noise and The Intelligence Group, adding the majority of young parents it surveyed are okay with boys playing with dolls.

While over a billion in sales is nothing to sneeze at, the fact that it's declining despite attempts to enlarge and diversify the market is significant. Mattel is now marketling Barbies to the parents, not the kids - kids just aren't asking for them any more. They want an iPod, an iPad, a Nerf gun, a Smartphone ...

+ - Interviews: Ask Adora Svitak About Education and Women In STEM and Politics

Submitted by samzenpus
samzenpus (5) writes "Adora Svitak is a child prodigy, author and activist. She taught her first class on writing at a local elementary school when she was 7, the same year her book, Flying Fingers was published. In 2010, Adora spoke at the TED Conference. Her speech, "What Adults Can Learn from Kids", has been viewed over 3.7 million times and has been translated into over 40 different languages. She is an advocate for literacy, youth empowerment, and for the inclusion of more women and girls in STEM and politics. 17 this year, she served as a Youth Advisor to the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC. and is a freshman at UC Berkeley. Adora has agreed to take some time from her books and answer any questions you may have. As usual, ask as many as you'd like, but please, one per post."

+ - US intelligence unit launches $50k speech recognition competition->

Submitted by coondoggie
coondoggie (973519) writes "The $50,000 challenge comes from researchers at the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), within the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The completion, known as Automatic Speech recognition in Reverberant Environments (ASpIRE), hopes to get the industry, universities or other researchers to build automatic speech recognition technology that can handle a variety of acoustic environments and recording scenarios on natural conversational speech."
Link to Original Source

+ - Millions of spiders seen in mass dispersal event using wind currents->

Submitted by Freshly Exhumed
Freshly Exhumed (105597) writes "A bizarre and oddly beautiful display of spider webs have been woven across a large field along a walking trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, Canada. "Well it's acres and acres; it's a sea of web," said Allen McCormick. Prof. Rob Bennett, an expert on spiders who works at the Royal British Columbia Museum in Victoria, BC, Canada, said tiny, sheet-web weaver spiders known as Erigoninae linyphiidae most likely left the webs. Bennett said the spiders cast a web net to catch the wind and float away in a process known as ballooning. The webs in the field are the spiders' drag lines, left behind as they climb to the top of long grass to be whisked away by the wind. Bennett said it's a mystery why these spiders take off en masse. Perhaps The Green Goblin or Doc Oc are in the vicinity?"
Link to Original Source

+ - BitTorrent Unveils Sync 2.0 And Three New Paid Products Coming In 2015

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "BitTorrent today outlined the company's plans for its file synchronization tool Sync. Next year, the company will launch Sync 2.0, finally taking the product out of beta, as well as three new paid Sync products. Ever since its debut, Sync has provided a wide variety of solutions to various problems, BitTorrent says, from distributing files across remote servers to sharing vacation photos. BitTorrent thus believes it needs to build three distinct products for each of these separate audiences, including a Pro version for $40 per year."

+ - Android botnet evolves, could pose threat to corporate networks->

Submitted by angry tapir
angry tapir (1463043) writes "An Android Trojan program that's behind one of the longest running multipurpose mobile botnets has been updated to become stealthier and more resilient. The botnet is mainly used for instant message spam and rogue ticket purchases, but it could be used to launch targeted attacks against corporate networks because the malware allows attackers to use the infected devices as proxies, according to security researchers."
Link to Original Source

Comment: Re:Or... (Score 1) 110

by BarbaraHudson (#48423653) Attached to: Blowing On Money To Tell If It Is Counterfeit

Or you could just use plastic money like we developed here in Australia. Either way.

... and Canada ...

As long as you use paper instead of polymer, anyone with a printer will try to make fakes. Plus the plastic bills last longer, saving money in the long run.

Of course, we replaced the $1 and $2 bills with coins ages ago, and will probably replace the $5 bill as well at some point ...

+ - Emergency imposed in Missouri, United States->

Submitted by News Fly
News Fly (3914293) writes "In the Missouri, United States, a young black boy who killed by a police official few days ago, emergency has been imposed before announcing the result of this case. States’ Governor Jay Nixon’s office issued a statement, according the court verdict, has been alerted to states’ police as well national guards for expected violence in the result of this declaration.

Nixon penned in his report, “I further direct the Missouri State Highway Patrol together with the St. Louis County Police Department and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to operate as a Unified Command to protect civil rights and ensure public safety in the City of Ferguson and the St. Louis region.”"

Link to Original Source

+ - Wells Fargo refuses to honor 30-year old CD because they can't find it->

Submitted by BUL2294
BUL2294 (1081735) writes "The Consumerist and KPHO-TV Phoenix are reporting the story of a widow who attempted to cash a Certificate of Deposit (CD) at Wells Fargo that had been issued to her late husband for just over $18,000 in 1984. She has been battling with them since 2009, after finding the CD among other paperwork, and a decision in the court case is expected in January. The CD was issued by First Interstate bank, which merged with Norwest, which was bought by Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo has no record of the CD, but the physical document itself mentions that it has to be surrendered to receive payment, or could have been paid out by signing an indemnity form--which they also do not have. In addition, there's a fight over whether the CD is worth $60,000 or $400,000, as the CD was self-renewing and was issued when interest rates were 10.9%.

Ultimately, this is a case of data getting lost within 30-years worth of mergers and system changes. Both the existence of this instrument and its terms are probably on some long-lost tape that may no longer be readable, or paper copies were shredded years ago. That being said, we entrust that our banks and regulators can dig up such historical information... So what happens when they can't? As was evidenced during the US mortgage crisis, banks are terrible at appropriate document retention, so how could they prove what was paid out and when? More importantly, how much of banks' historical / legacy accounts are complete guesses?"

Link to Original Source

+ - Possible orphan black hole lies just 90 million light-years from Earth->

Submitted by sciencehabit
sciencehabit (1205606) writes "An unusual object about 90 million light-years from Earth might be a supermassive black hole kicked out of its home galaxy during a collision with another galaxy, a new study suggests. If so, it’s the first evictee to be confirmed as such by astronomers. The object, dubbed SDSS1133, lies about 2600 light-years from the center of a dwarf galaxy known as Markarian 177 (both of which lie within the bowl of the Big Dipper, a familiar star pattern in the constellation Ursa Major). SDSS1133 has brightened substantially over the past 2 years but has been spotted in images taken by various instruments during the past 63 years, hinting that the object—whose brightest features measure less than 40 light-years across—probably isn’t a recently exploded supernova. Recent observations of Markarian 177 reveal specific areas of intense star formation, possible signs of a recent galactic collision that expelled SDSS1133 from the parent galaxy where it once resided."
Link to Original Source

+ - Blow On Money to Tell If It Is Counterfeit

Submitted by (3830033) writes "Scientific American reports that simply breathing on money could soon reveal if it's the real deal or counterfeit thanks to a photonic crystal ink developed by Ling Bai and Zhongze Gu and colleagues at Southeast University in Nanjing, China that can produce unique color changing patterns on surfaces with an inkjet printer system which would be extremely hard for fraudsters to reproduce. The ink mimics the way Tmesisternus isabellae – a species of longhorn beetle – reversibly switches its color from gold to red according to the humidity in its environment. The color shift is caused by the adsorption of water vapor in their hardened front wings, which alters the thickness and average refractive index of their multilayered scales. To emulate this, the team made their photonic crystal ink using mesoporous silica nanoparticles, which have a large surface area and strong vapor adsorption capabilities that can be precisely controlled. The complicated and reversible multicolor shifts of mesoporous CPC patterns are favorable for immediate recognition by naked eyes but hard to copy. "We think the ink's multiple security features may be useful for antifraud applications," says Bai, "however we think the technology could be more useful for fabricating multiple functional sensor arrays, which we are now working towards.""

Comment: Re:Bing indeed (Score 4, Informative) 359

The problem is that the Google deal was coming up for renewal, and Google has the absolute lion's share in mobile, as well as people being so used to using it that they no longer need to pay Firefox to be the preferred search engine (never heard anyone say "Just Yahoo It!").

So either Firefox continues to make it dead easy to change the default search engine to Google, or people will dump Firefox.

The rich get rich, and the poor get poorer. The haves get more, the have-nots die.