If you can earn $93k after taking a $300 course, then what’s the future of higher education?

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(Source: Pixabay)

This week, Google announced new professional career certificates that can be completed in six months to help Americans obtain high growth job opportunities. They also signaled to jobseekers that they would treat these certificates, which require no prior experience of undergraduate credentials, as the equivalent of four-year degrees by their hiring managers.

For the beleaguered education sector which was already experiencing dwindling enrollment, a sluggish pace in curriculum development, lack of distance learning adoption, and high costs, the move by Google and employers may be the harbinger of digital disruption that is long overdue.

Google‘s new certification programs

On July 14th, Google launched new professional certification programs in data analysis, project management, and UX design, to be hosted on Coursera. Though the platform charges a monthly $49 fee, Google will provide 100,000 needs-based scholarships to cover costs and will be awarding over $10 million in grants to certain non-profits that partner with workforce development to women, veterans, and underrepresented Americans. …

There are no ‘girl pushups’

(All of the names in this piece have been changed. Well, except my own.)

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Photo by Oscar Keys on Unsplash

I had just taken the helm as interim director of the neighborhood summer children’s swim team after an abrupt exit by the previous leader. It was late in the planning season and our swim team board had an immediate need to recruit assistant coaches; roles typically filled by high-school-aged residents in the neighborhood eager for a little extra summer cash and leadership experience to fill on eventual college applications. Time was tight. …

The manufactured annual event has stirred violent frenzies, and people willing to kill for killer deals

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Black Friday, 2013, Powhusku from Laramie, WY, USA, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Black Friday will be very different from years past, as we sit in the comfort of our homes, sifting through mobile apps and retailer websites to grab discounted goods, cozy in our fat pants while we swallow another forkful of leftover Thanksgiving pecan pie.

It will be a kinder, gentler Black Friday sale this year, rather than a mad dash to holiday shopping list must-haves in-store. With local mandates and retailer requirements for social distancing, you’re more likely to see a confrontation over a customer not wearing a mask than people duking it out over the Xbox Series X this week. …

If the “Media Doesn’t Call Elections,” How Long Before It’s Official? (Infographic)

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Estimated timeline of certified vote vote canvassing by state using data from Associated Press projected wins (Image credit: David Leibowitz)

The Associated Press (AP) called the presidential contest for Joe Biden on November 7th, but not everyone agrees. From Donald Trump’s lips to GOP leadership to supporters on Twitter, the latest arguments about the presidential outcome has been that presidential election projections by the AP or even darling Fox News are hogwash. “The media doesn’t decide elections,” said Ted Cruz. “At this point, we do not know who has prevailed.”

This posture has allowed for allegations to continue about the election’s validity and provided a long runway for Trump’s lawyers, including Rudy Giuliani, to press forward with lawsuits in critical states. …

When AI goes wrong: From confusing faces for balls to wrongful arrests

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Follow the ball. Er..head? (Source: Twitter)

Television hasn’t caused such a stir since Pokémon induced seizures during a broadcast. Recently, fans watching the live stream of Inverness Caledonian Thistle FC were in for a dizzying display too, when an automated camera system kept zooming the referee’s bald head into focus rather than the soccer ball.

The AI tracking solution uses Pixellot camera systems with ball-tracking artificial intelligence at Caledonian Stadium to stream live HD footage, then broadcast to season ticket holders. According to the teams’ website, the technology was ready for prime time after “following two successful test events.”

But during the latest match against Ayr United FC, the AI-assisted camera kept mistaking the linesman’s head for the ball in play. One goal was missed entirely by the AI camera operator. …

The paid pundit claims election fraud while hawking stogies & title insurance

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Screengrab of Rudy Giuliani podcast, YouTube

Rudy Giuliani’s YouTube podcast, Common Sense, has the look and feel of an infomercial. You know the kind — the plastic imitations of real talk shows. And under that guise, they pitch some product that promises to clear the discoloration from your teeth, toilets, and kitchen tile using the cleansing power of copper-infused detergent. It really gets the stains out!

But Common Sense is not really a podcast. Rather, it’s a title insurance and cigar commercial, masquerading as a podcast, laced with irrelevant ramblings and baseless accusations of election conspiracy theories.

Rudy’s is a polished video where he makes explosive allegations about the “ELECTION THEFT of the Century” — the first two words are in all caps, so you know it’s legit. What else exploded? The marker from SharpieGate, apparently, because his right hand is completely covered in ink. …

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How a meme became reality

When Microsoft released the first images of its soon to be released Xbox Series X, some trolled on the internet and said it looked more like a refrigerator than a serious gaming console. The company’s response? They went all-in on the joke and made an actual fridge.

The Xbox Series X Fridge was unveiled to the world just before Halloween. It’s fully functioning at 400 pounds, over six feet tall, and a 1:1 scale replica of the soon to be released Xbox Series X console. On the outside, the familiar Xbox logo shines white to lead you to munchies. The space reserved for DVDs has been converted to a convenient hand-hold on the refrigerator door. …

Letting Trump beat Trump was the right move

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Muhammad Ali fights Brian London on August 6, 1966 (PA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

In the 1974 Rumble in the Jungle, Muhammad Ali matched up against world heavyweight champion George Foreman. Foreman was favored due to his punching power, and observers thought Ali was finished when he was pushed back on the ropes. But that fell right into Ali’s hands. Ali held onto the ropes, allowing the force of the blows he received from Foreman to be absorbed by the ropes’ elasticity rather than his body.

Such was the hallmark of the rope-a-dope: instead of moving around the ring, a boxer instead makes his opponent lose all steam as they unload non-injuring punches, or make them miss entirely. …

The past few days show the stark contrast

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Photo by Brett Sayles from Pexels

From the last few days to the previous few hours, the two candidates’ differences could not be more apparent. This is what they’ve been saying, in their own words, on the same topics.

On ballot counting

Today, Donald Trump convened a press conference and led with, “If you count the legal votes, I easily win.” This was just hours after tweeting, “STOP THE COUNT”

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Source: Twitter screenshot Nov 5, 2020

Joe Biden, speaking from Delaware earlier in the day urged calm and trust in the process. We have no doubt that when the count is finished, Senator Harris and I will be declared the winners,” he said.

Yesterday, Trump filed a lawsuit in Pennsylvania to stop vote counting. At the time, he was clearly in the lead, but vote counting had not yet been counted. In Georgia, where he was also tracking ahead, a similar lawsuit was filed. The suit in Georgia alleged that a witness had said that late-arriving ballots had not been properly stored and may have been mixed in with timely ballots. Judges have dismissed the cases. …

Biden spawns on Fortnite and Animal Crossing, AOC pwns Twitch

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Biden HQ on Animal Crossing (via Twitter screenshot)

The next time you respawn in Fortnite, you might choose to drop in on “No Malarkey Station” — situated in an exclusive Joe Biden map. In a politics meets gaming tie-up, the presidential hopeful launched custom content in advance of Election Day to appeal to young gaming voters. The map, called ‘Build Back Better’ has several custom tasks, as reported in Mashable. Among them: Visit Joe’s Ice Cream Shop, Complete Kamala’s Sneaker Run, or Help Make Major’s Auto Factory Run Clean.

This type of digital outreach isn’t isolated. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Ilhan Omar were live streaming last week on Twitch their “Among Us” gameplay. While it was mostly good fun, Ocasio-Cortez did have a message: she repeatedly asked viewers to register to vote. And the viewership Ocasio-Cortez received on her inaugural stream would put most other streaming gamers to shame. She scored 1.7 million views and racked up 714,000 followers in less than a month. …


David Leibowitz

Breaker of treadmills. Contributions in XBOX Mag, Forbes, CNN, OneZero & industry rags. @ retail, CPG, health/wellness, education, culture & tech.

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