China travel alert: Tourist spots closed, flights cancelled amid heavy rains and storms | Travel

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Bloomberg | | Posted by Zarafshan Shiraz

Jul 23, 2024 05:58 PM IST

Extreme weather batters tourism in China: Flights cancelled, travel warnings issued amid storm threats

Heavy rains lashing China have left at least 26 people dead in the past week, flooding city streets and threatening farming and industrial activity, as two more tropical storms barrel toward the nation.

China travel alert: Tourist spots closed, flights cancelled amid heavy rains and storms (File Photo by AFP)

Tropical storm Prapiroon is expected to make landfall near the border of China and Vietnam on Tuesday. Another system, Gaemi, has already caused heavy rainfall and flight cancellations in the northern Philippines, while authorities in Taiwan issued a warning it could affect people on the island in the coming days, before moving toward China.

The northern metropolis of Zhengzhou was forced to close schools and tourist spots last week, while cars were inundated on roads and parking lots. At least 14 people in Sichuan and a dozen in Shaanxi died over the weekend due to flooding and a bridge collapse.

In addition to the human toll, the extreme weather raises risks of damage to everything from croplands and coal mines to fishing boats and offshore oil platforms, according to China’s National Mine Safety Administration.

The heavy precipitation could impact coal mining in the country’s third-largest production hub, Shaanxi, and hydropower generation, which has already seen a 21% surge in the first half of the year. Gaemi’s projected path across the Taiwan Strait is set to cross an area with dozens of offshore wind turbines.

Rainfall could also affect corn and soybean growth in the north and rice in the south, right on the heels of heat waves and drought that have already withered some crops in the country’s major agricultural areas.

China has already seen bouts of extreme weather this year that have left a trail of damaged farms and infrastructure in their wake. The country’s battles with flooding spans thousands of years, and meteorologists warn it will only get worse as climate change exacerbates extreme fluctuations in weather.

This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.

John Lennon’s son unveils what makes dad’s solo music stand out from Beatles | Music | Entertainment

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This month John Lennon’s estate has re-released 1973’s Mind Games: The Ultimate Collection as a special box set featuring new mixes.

Some have been worked on to amplify the late star’s voice, while others emphasise the instruments. Promoting the release is his younger son Sean Lennon, who he had with Yoko Ono.

Speaking with The Times, he said of his parents: “Their story is a love story. They found each other across a great divide and certainly struggled through ups and downs, but never doubted their love. It is important we remember them as an example. Even through rough patches, you can see my father thought about my mother. They were simply, irrevocably intertwined.”

Meanwhile, Sean also spoke of what made his father’s solo music stand out from his Beatles tracks.

Sean added: “One thing that distinguishes my dad’s solo career,” Sean says, “is how personal his lyrics became. It is like a diary, and it is my duty to bring attention to my father’s music. Not just my duty to him, but a duty to the world. With the world as it is now, people have forgotten so many things that I never imagined could be forgotten. I refuse to let that happen to this music — it means too much to me.”

2024 Lexus NX 250 review

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Once upon a time, hybrids accounted for a tiny slice of the sales in a given model range. Now, they’re dominating Toyota and Lexus showrooms.

In the case of the mid-sized Lexus NX SUV, buyers have flocked to the NX 350h hybrid and NX 450h plug-in hybrid, leading to long wait times.

The NX 250 sitting at the bottom of the range hasn’t seen quite the same fanfare. Although it doesn’t have the same miserly powertrain as the popular NX 350h, the NX 250 has plenty to offer on paper.

It’s close to $10,000 cheaper than the next model in the range, the NX 350h 2WD Luxury, and still comes loaded with standard equipment.

Lexus doesn’t really do stripped-out base models; although you miss out on some of the niceties on offer elsewhere in the range, even the cheapest NX is a lovely place to spend time.

Do you really need hybrid power?

How does the Lexus NX compare?

View a detailed breakdown of the Lexus NX against similarly sized vehicles.

Lexus NX cutout image

Lexus

NX

How much does the Lexus NX cost?

The NX 250 2WD is comfortably the cheapest model in its range, even with the Enhancement Pack ($3000) fitted to our tester.

Model Price before on-roads
2024 Lexus NX 250 2WD $63,400
2024 Lexus NX 350 AWD F Sport $80,060
2024 Lexus NX 350h 2WD Luxury $71,600
2024 Lexus NX 350h 2WD Sport Luxury $79,100
2024 Lexus NX 350h 2WD F Sport $79,100
2024 Lexus NX 350h AWD Luxury $76,400
2024 Lexus NX 350h AWD Sports Luxury $83,900
2024 Lexus NX 350h AWD F Sport $83,900
2024 Lexus NX 450h+ AWD F Sport $95,248

To see how the Lexus NX lines up against the competition, check out our comparison tool.

What is the Lexus NX like on the inside?

The small screen, simpler instrument binnacle, and lack of a head-up display out this as a base model, but there’s still lots of luxury goodness here.

The driving position is good, offering a commanding view of the road ahead and plenty of support on long journeys.

There’s plenty of legroom, but the sunroof does eat into headroom and make for a slightly more claustrophobic space.

Given it’s not a full-length panoramic unit, it’s not necessarily a must-have.

Quality is excellent. This being a base model, you could expect a few rough edges or cheap touch points but that’s not how Lexus operates.

The faux leather trim on the seats is supple, and the steering wheel and stubby gearstick are quality items.

With no head-up display, you also get proper buttons on the steering wheel instead of the fiddly units in more expensive models.

Compared to more expensive models, you do miss out on some kit. The 8.0-inch touchscreen looks small in the large, gloss black housing on the dashboard, and the digital instrument binnacle is a simple screen flanked by analogue fuel and temperature gauges, and a rectangular trip computer.

The small touchscreen is fully featured. Wireless Apple CarPlay worked flawlessly during our week with the car, and it’s quick to respond to inputs.

Lexus has moved away from fiddly controls and frustrating menus with its latest tech, and has made its cars much easier to recommend in the process.

Lexus gets extra points for including big temperature dials, and leaving key climate control functions anchored at the base of the display regardless of what else you’re doing.

Satellite navigation wasn’t activated on our tester, but three years of cloud-based mapping is standard when you activate your Lexus Connected Services account.

Storage space up front is solid. There’s a wireless phone charger at the base of the dashboard which can be slid away to reveal a spot for wallets or keys, and a USB-A and USB-C combination port to keep your devices juiced up.

The underarm bin is deep, the cupholders are the right size for a Melbourne coffee, and the door bins have room for a large water bottle.

Rear seat space in the NX is par for the class, and represents an improvement over the last model.

Legroom is decent behind tall adults, and there’s enough headroom to accomodate full-sized adults. Although it’s grown incrementally larger, a BMW X3 still has more space and feels airier thanks to its more upright window line.

But the NX isn’t all that far behind anymore. The rear doors open nice and wide, and there’s a trio of top tether points for child seats.

Dual USB-C ports in the rear mean kids will be able to keep their iPads juiced on long road trips, and as you’d expect there’s a fold-down central armrest and rear air vents.

The boot opens nice and wide, has has a low loading lip to make sliding heavier items easier. Although it looks a bit flimsy, the luggage cover also folds in half to make storage easier.

Dimensions Lexus NX 250
Length 4660mm
Width 1865mm
Height 1660mm
Wheelbase 2690mm
Cargo capacity 520 litres (5 seat)
1141 litres (2 seat)

To see how the Lexus NX lines up against the competition, check out our comparison tool.

What’s under the bonnet?

With no turbocharger and no hybrid assistance, the 250 is the entry point to the NX range.

Specifications Lexus NX 250
Engine 2.5L 4cyl petrol
Engine outputs 153kW
Electric motor outputs 243Nm
Transmission 8-speed auto
Driven wheels FWD
Weight 1705kg (kerb)
Fuel economy (claimed) 6.9L/100km
Fuel economy (as tested) 7.5L/100km
Fuel tank capacity 67 litres
Fuel requirement 91 RON
CO2 emissions 158g/km
Emissions standard Euro 6
Braked tow capacity 1000kg

To see how the Lexus NX lines up against the competition, check out our comparison tool.

How does the Lexus NX drive?

It’s initially jarring pressing the start button and having a naturally aspirated engine buzz to life, rather than starting with the shrill beep we’ve come to expect from Lexus hybrids.

But once you’re past that fact, this is actually a pretty refined engine.

Doing the driving most mid-sized SUV owners do – the school, shopping, and Saturday sports runs – it’s very capable, slurring around at low revs without making too much noise or fuss.

The auto start-stop system takes a while to engage after you start the car, but once active it’s smooth and smart. There’s no learning curve here; no dual-clutch awkwardness or hybrid handover to think about if you’re hopping out of an older car.

This isn’t a sporty crossover. Nor should it be, given Lexus owners tend to favour comfort and refinement over outright handling prowess.

The chubby steering wheel is hooked up to a light, fluid steering setup that makes the NX easy to pilot in town, and the suspension has been set up for compliance instead of rock-solid body control.

It’s not busy or unyielding like some rivals with a sporty set of wheels and suspension tune, and the combination of small wheels and chubby tyres on our tester did a nice job keeping harsh city potholes at bay.

Put your foot down and you’re aware the naturally aspirated engine needs to work harder than the turbocharged 350 above it in the range, let alone the 350h.

It’s a bit coarse at higher revs, and the automatic transmission needs to kick down one, two, three gears at 80km/h when you want more performance.

Once it’s in the power band there’s enough get-up-and-go, but this isn’t effortless in the way turbocharged alternatives can be.

At a cruise it’s nicely settled, though. Ride quality remains excellent, and Lexus has some of the best sound deadening in the business on the open road.

Big crests and dips are dealt with in one swift movement, which makes the NX feel planted and controlled when you get away from the confines of town.

With the smooth, smart adaptive cruise control maintaining a gap to the car in front and the lane-keep assist nudging you back between the white lines, this is an easy car to drive long distances.

What do you get?

NX 250 and NX 350h Luxury highlights:

  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Power tailgate
  • Automatic LED headlights with auto-levelling
  • Automatic high-beam
  • 8.0-inch digital instrument cluster
  • 9.8-inch touchscreen infotainment system
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay
  • Wired Android Auto
  • Satellite navigation
  • DAB+ digital radio
  • 10-speaker sound system
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Heated front seats
  • Heated door mirrors
  • Rear spoiler
  • Roof rails
  • Keyless entry and start
  • 8-way power front seats with 2-way driver’s lumbar support
  • Interior ambient lighting
  • Rain sensing wipers
  • 10-way power driver seat adjustment
  • 8-way power passenger seat adjustment

Enhancement Pack ($3000) adds:

  • Sunroof (tilt and slide)
  • Hands-free power tailgate
  • Wireless phone charger

Is the Lexus NX safe?

The Lexus NX received a five-star ANCAP safety rating based on testing conducted by Euro NCAP.

Category Lexus NX
Adult occupant protection 91 per cent
Child occupant protection 89 per cent
Vulnerable road user protection 83 per cent
Safety assist 92 per cent

Standard safety equipment includes:

  • 10 airbags
  • Autonomous emergency braking (AEB)
    • Pedestrian detection
    • Daytime cyclist detection
    • Junction assist
  • Blind-spot monitoring
  • Rear cross-traffic assist
  • Safe exit assist
  • Lane departure alert
  • Lane Tracing Assist (lane centring)
  • Emergency Steering Assist
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Reversing camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Tyre pressure monitoring

Every new NX also comes with a three-year complimentary subscription to Lexus Connected Services.

How much does the Lexus NX cost to run?

The Lexus NX is backed by a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty like the broader Lexus range.

Running costs Lexus NX 250
Warranty 5 years, unlimited kilometres
Roadside assistance 3 years
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000 kilometres
Capped price servicing 5 years
Total capped price service cost $2475

CarExpert’s Take on the Lexus NX

The NX 250 is an example of a base model done right.

No, it’s not as efficient as the hybrid or as punchy as the turbocharged NX 350, but it’s also significantly cheaper than both.

The engine has enough pep to handle daily duties, and it’s impressively specced for the price. Some base models feel cheap and nasty; as if they’re punishing you for saving some money.

Lexus hasn’t done that, and the NX feels every bit as special as you’d hope. It’s quiet and refined on the highway, and the build quality is rock solid.

If you have the budget, the hybrid is still the better expression of what Lexus can do in the NX. But buyers who want a Lexus experience on a tighter budget aren’t missing out on much here.

Click the images for the full gallery

MORE: Buy a Lexus NX
MORE: Everything Lexus NX

With Focus on Rooftop Solar & Energy Security, Budget 2024 Sets India on Path to A Sustainable Economy

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With its focus on expanding rooftop solar, energy security, and climate-resilient agriculture, Budget 2024 has set India on the path to a sustainable economy, said experts, highlighting that it demonstrates the country’s commitment to climate action and clean energy.

“Energy transition is critical in the fight against climate change,” said finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman while presenting the Budget in Parliament on Tuesday.

The minister said the government’s renewable energy scheme, PM Surya Ghar Muft Bijli Yojana, has already received more than 1.28 crore registrations and 14 lakh applications. The scheme launched early this year aims to install rooftop solar plants over 1 crore households across the country. This also allows them to obtain free electricity for up to 300 units every month.

“The Budget reflects India’s commitment to sustainable development with significant allocations like ₹1.52 lakh crore for climate-resilient agriculture and initiatives for rooftop solar. The focus on critical minerals, a policy for pumped storage projects, and the decision to develop a policy document on energy transition pathways is laudable too. However, what remains to be seen is how the role of nuclear power in India’s energy mix takes shape,” said Aarti Khosla, Director, Climate Trends.

CLIMATE FINANCE & ENERGY TRANSITION

Experts also welcomed the government’s announcement for developing a taxonomy for climate finance, which had been a long-pending demand from investors and industry. This will enhance the availability of capital for climate adaptation, as well as mitigation. However, the statement lacks timelines not only for developing taxonomy but also for carbon pricing mechanisms and strategies for mobilizing climate finance for adaptation and mitigation efforts in vulnerable communities, pointed out experts.

Sitharaman announced that the government will bring out a policy document on the appropriate energy transition pathways, and formulate a roadmap for moving the “hard to abate” industries from “energy efficiency targets” to “emission targets”. A Pumped Storage Policy is also on the anvil to promote pumped storage projects for electricity storage and smooth integration of the growing share of renewable energy in the power mix.

CLIMATE-RESILIENT AGRICULTURE, GREEN ECONOMY

The Budget also announced a comprehensive review of the agriculture research setup to bring focus on raising productivity and developing climate-resilient varieties. Sitharaman said funding will be provided in challenge mode and domain experts both from the government and outside will oversee the conduct of the research. As many as 109 new high-yielding and climate-resilient varieties of 32 field and horticulture crops will be released for cultivation by farmers, she added.

Dr Arunabha Ghosh, CEO, Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), said the Budget addresses India’s clean energy ambitions and also outlines actions on water treatment, air quality, and recovery from riverine floods. The emphasis on flood mitigation in vulnerable states like Sikkim, Assam, Bihar, Uttarakhand, and Himachal Pradesh is a welcome step, he said. “Each of these provisions—from clean energy markets, to green industry, to quality of life—can benefit from a focus on loss prevention from climate events, promoting new business models for households and small industry, a circular economy of resources, and innovative financing beyond budgetary support,” added Ghosh.

CRITICAL MINERAL MISSION

Experts also welcomed the announcement of a Critical Mineral Mission and proposed to fully exempt customs duties on 25 critical minerals and reduce Basic Customs Duty (BCD) on two of them to provide a fillip to the processing and refining of such minerals and help secure their availability for these strategic and important sectors.

“Critical minerals are building blocks for energy transition and for other strategic sectors such as electronics, defence, and telecommunications. Through this Budget announcement, India has also started to take action on its commitments for G20 last year to build reliable, diversified, sustainable, and responsible supply chains of critical minerals,” said Rishabh Jain, Senior Programme Lead, CEEW.

THUMBS-UP FROM WIND SECTOR

The Budget received a thumbs-up from the wind sector as well, whose representatives said the announcements align well with the priorities of the industry for the current fiscal year – including the creation of jobs and the growth of the manufacturing sector, in particular, MSMEs.

“The recent Budget demonstrates India’s global leadership in combating climate change by prioritizing the development of clean technologies and fostering a conducive environment for renewable energy investments. This will not only enhance India’s energy security but also expedite the energy transition with its forward-thinking approach,” said Girish Tanti, Chairman, Global Wind Energy Council, India.

Why Solana’s Latest Move Could Skyrocket It to $500!

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Hamilton Lane, a global investment firm with over $920 billion in assets under management, has taken a bold step into the world of blockchain. The firm is launching its Senior Credit Opportunities Fund (SCOPE) on the Solana blockchain through a partnership with Libre, an institutional Web3 infrastructure provider. This move marks a significant milestone in the adoption of digital assets by mainstream financial institutions.

What This Means for Solana Users

This partnership allows Solana users to access Hamilton Lane’s SCOPE fund via a feeder fund structure. Accredited, professional, and institutional investors can now directly access top-tier funds on-chain, including Brevan Howard’s Master fund and BlackRock’s ICS Money Market fund. This initiative provides greater transparency, efficiency, and accessibility for investors, aligning with Hamilton Lane’s objective to democratize access to private market investments.

Source : X.com (Formerly Twitter)

The Power of Tokenization

Victor Jung, head of digital assets at Hamilton Lane, emphasized the significance of this partnership. He highlighted that it positions Hamilton Lane as a leader in the tokenization of private market funds, leveraging Solana’s low latency and high throughput capabilities to expand access to historical strong returns and performance opportunities. The tokenization of real-world assets (RWAs) like private credit, cash, real estate, and artwork brings these assets onto the blockchain, creating greater liquidity, transparency, and accessibility.

A Leap Forward for Alternative Assets

Alternative asset managers have increasingly explored tokenization as a way to expand fund distribution. Hamilton Lane has been particularly active in leveraging blockchain technology to widen access to its investment funds. Recently, it participated in a $47 million funding round by Securitize, a platform focused on tokenizing real assets. The SCOPE fund is also available through Securitize, demonstrating Hamilton Lane’s commitment to innovative investment accessibility.

Expanding Investment Opportunities

Libre’s chief executive and founder, Dr. Avtar Sehra, called the launch of the Libre Gateway on Solana a significant advancement. This step enables access to wealth and treasury management tools for users on Solana and allows Libre to introduce new and innovative services. Libre plans to roll out additional services to Solana users over the coming year, reflecting a broader trend among asset managers to explore tokenization for expanding fund distribution. Solana is currently trading at $178 and experts believe funds like this will be the supporting stone to pump solana towards $500 towards the end of this year.

The Future of Fund Management

The integration of Hamilton Lane’s SCOPE fund into the Solana blockchain represents a significant step in the evolution of investment fund distribution. By leveraging blockchain technology, the company aims to provide greater transparency and efficiency in fund management while democratizing access to high-performing investment opportunities. This partnership underscores the transformative potential of blockchain in the financial sector, setting a new standard for the future of fund management.

Also Read : Top 10 Cryptos Trade in Red Zone: Will Solana (SOL) Price Reverse the Trend & Reclaim $180?

Creative People Aren’t Wicked Problems To Solve

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We’re headed down the wrong road with generative AI.

Over the last few months, I’ve been struck by the messages from major gen AI solution providers. Unfortunately, those messages feed the frenzy for implementing generative AI in creative and marketing operations.

Take, for example, this recent quote from OpenAI CTO Mira Murati in response to a question about AI replacing humans: “Some creative jobs maybe will go away, but maybe they shouldn’t have been there in the first place.”

Really?

But she’s not the only one making statements along these lines. Open AI CEO Sam Altman has claimed that AI would handle “95% of what marketers use agencies, strategists, and creative professionals for today.”

And, of course, there’s this famous quote from economist Richard Baldwin at the 2023 World Economic Forum Growth Summit: “AI won’t take your job. It’s somebody using AI that will take your job.”

Now, it’s not that these statements are entirely true or false. If you peel any of these statements apart, you’ll hear some people say, “Well, what they meant by that was….”

And that’s the problem. It’s not the accuracy of the statement — it’s the interpretation.

Tech companies make technology the hero of the story. They’re telling people to feel lucky to be worthy of such amazing tools. And they’re frothing up the argument that human creativity is a problem to be solved. 

That’s ironic when you consider how every one of these technologies used the products of human creativity to evolve.  

That way lies sophisticated mediocrity

During this gen AI gold rush, business leaders are rushing to tell investors, analysts, customers, and audiences how many roles they can replace with the technology in the name of efficiency.

But will some early adopters regret these decisions? Two researchers think so. They published an article in Harvard Business Review last year arguing that although the initial numbers might “look good, especially in cutting costs, “the company will miss the opportunity for big gains by creating substantial value — or a defensible future niche.”   

I see this happening in some companies that have replaced content creators with generative AI. Yes, they are producing more content than ever — they’ve succeeded in creating efficiency in producing content at scale.

And the content they create? It’s average. It’s neither bad enough nor good enough to be remarkable. It’s just average.

And it’s leading us into an age of sophisticated mediocrity.

Wicked problems in content and marketing

I wrote about the “wicked problems” in businesses’ content and marketing strategies a couple of years ago.

wicked problem is hard to solve because of “incomplete, contradictory, or changing requirements that can be difficult to recognize.” Information researcher Jeff Conklin described wicked problems as those “not understood until after the formulation of a solution.”

Think of the way you organize your kitchen. It might work well enough for you, so you can’t see how much better it could be until someone suggests changes that make it work much better. Only then do you realize that you did have a problem worth solving. 

Wicked problems are rampant in marketing. Your content or marketing approach might be working okay. You know it isn’t quite humming on all cylinders, but there’s nothing so dysfunctional that fixing it becomes a priority. 

But then you try to fix something minor and realize many other operational areas need improvement, too. Are the problems significant enough to warrant the disruption? Unfortunately, you won’t know until you try.    

For example, about three months ago, I worked with a fast-growing technology company to roll out a new governance model, workflow, and content lifecycle plan. The people who’d been with the company less than a year rejoiced. They loved it.

But senior leaders and some veteran marketing and content practitioners didn’t. They agreed that the new plan sounded good. But they didn’t consider the problem it would solve as important enough to spend time on.

That’s wicked.

I often hear CEOs and CFOs ask, “What’s the benefit of fixing this problem?” The answer is, “We don’t know yet.”

Why gen AI isn’t a wicked problem (probably)

Unfortunately, those hyperbolic statements about gen AI replacing people or teams have created what appears to be a wicked problem in creative and marketing.

Business leaders hear about gen AI developments and think, “This is such a cool innovation. We must have a problem it can solve — we just don’t know what it is.” 

Then, because of the hyperbolic promises about gen AI replacing agencies and creatives, the sentiment shifts to, “Some of our creative jobs probably are redundant and outdated. Maybe that’s the problem generative AI can solve for us.”

I’m not saying there aren’t some organizations that employ more people than needed or that could improve efficiency or productivity. And those are wicked problems.

But implementing gen AI as a (theoretically) cost-effective replacement for humans who interact with customers or create content usually isn’t a way to solve a wicked problem.

It’s solutionism.

Resisting the solutionism message

Solutionism, a term popularized by tech critic Evgeny Morozov, describes the belief that every problem can be solved with a technological solution.

And solutionism is at the heart of all these statements made by generative AI solution providers.

When Mira Murati says that some creative roles “shouldn’t have been there in the first place,” she’s feeding into the notion that the need for creative roles is a problem that can be solved with technology. 

When Sam Altman says “95% of what marketers use agencies, strategists, and creative professionals for today” will be handled by AI, he’s suggesting that inefficiency in the art of creative marketing needs to be corrected. 

And the bumper sticker warning “AI won’t take your job, but someone using AI will” suggests that generative AI is the hero we should demonstrate our worthiness to.

Buying into these statements pushes us into the era of sophisticated mediocrity. It means we accept the trade of diversity of human thought for a sophisticated solution to a nonexistent problem.

No CEO wakes up and says, “We have too many people with too many creative ideas. Let’s save some money and get rid of them.” But when CEOs tell their teams to figure out how many (or which) resources they could jettison by implementing gen AI, they’re forcing that calculus.   

There are things we can do to avoid this trap. The biggest is to take one all-important first step: Understand and document the opportunity to which you plan to apply AI. That may sound like a no-brainer, but I see more and more companies fail to do it with generative AI.

Just last week, it was reported that 20,000 energy giant Chevron employees are testing Microsoft’s Copilot, a suite of AI-powered chatbots and other tools in Microsoft’s Office 365 apps that can answer questions and generate email drafts.  The problem?  According to Bill Braun, the company’s CIO: “We’re a little dissatisfied with our ability to know how [well] it’s working”.

My take is they will continue to be. You can’t give 20,000 people a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist and expect them to report back accurate value.

With any productive rollout of an enterprise-wide innovation, you have to first understand what value you want to assess. And to do that, you must understand the existing process that merits assessment. It will be impossible for Chevron to truly get an overall value until it understands what it’s trying to solve.    

I’m not arguing against using generative AI. I’m warning against using specific arguments to advance the technology. There are plenty of wicked problems to uncover in content and marketing. And many activities we do every day might be improved with technology like generative AI.

The key is understanding the difference between solving a real problem and forcing technology solutions to problems that don’t exist.

And that’s how you avoid sophisticated mediocrity.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

SC declines pleas to cancel NEET-UG 2024

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The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to cancel the undergraduate National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET-UG) 2024 held on May 5. The Supreme Court stated that there is no material on record “at the present stage” to prove that a systemic leak of question papers has destroyed the sanctity of the exams held annually for medical admissions across the country.

“At the present stage, there is an absence of material to show that the result of the exam stands vitiated… Data produced city-wise, centre-wise and comparison of results in 2022, 2023 and 2024 do not show a systemic leak of question paper which indicates a destruction of the sanctity of the exam,” Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, heading a three-judge Bench comprising Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra, reasoned.

The judgment seemed to agree with the arguments of the government and the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), both represented by Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, that the leaks “so far” looked “localised” to Hazaribagh and Patna in Bihar. The ongoing CBI probe has led to several arrests.

Seeking re-test

However, the lead counsel for the petitioners seeking a re-test, senior advocate Narendar Hooda, countered that the main accused of the gang behind the paper leak was yet to be arrested. Mobile phones used to relay the leaked question papers had not been recovered. He said the government’s confidence that the leak was limited to Patna and Hazaribagh was unfounded. The sanctity of the exam remains questionable unless the Court is convinced that all the tainted persons have been identified.

“The situation is still evolving… NEET-UG 2024 is a patient who has suffered a multiple organ failure,” Mr. Hooda argued. He urged the Court to hold true to its principle that the sanctity of an exam was lost even if one student had benefitted from an illegality. The Chief Justice responded that an entire exam cannot be cancelled, putting the future of over 23 lakh students who appeared for NEET-UG across 571 cities in peril, on the mere hypothesis of the petitioners that the leak was not confined to Hazaribagh and Patna. “Today, we do not have anything before us to show that the leak spread to other parts of the country,” Chief Justice addressed Mr. Hooda.

The Bench acknowledged the government’s viewpoint that cancellation of the exam would have serious consequences on the 23 lakh students, including disruption of the admission schedule of the medical courses, cascading effects on the course of medical education, prejudicial impact on the availability of qualified medical professionals in future besides being a source of serious disadvantage to marginalised students who would have to bear the expenses and logistics of a re-test.

However, the Court made it clear that students identified in future as beneficiaries of the paper leak in the ongoing CBI investigation should not profit from the illegality and be barred from admission.

Change in scores

With the court declining the re-test, the counselling process, which was set to begin on July 24 as informed by the government in court, may commence. However, the rank tally may undergo a change with the apex court endorsing a report from the Indian Institute of Technology (Delhi) that an “ambiguous” Physics question had only one correct answer and not two “possible answers”. The IIT(Delhi) panel had concluded that the two answers mutually excluded each other.

Over 4.20 lakh candidates who opted for the wrong one of the two “possible answers” may now lose the grace marks awarded to them. The previous hearing in court on Monday on the issue revealed that 44 students had achieved the perfect score of 720/720 solely owing to this grace mark. In its order, the court did not follow up on its oral suggestion, made during the hearing, to forego the negative mark for the wrong answer to the question. A negative mark would mean that students who chose the wrong option for that “tricky” Physics question stand to lose a total of five marks.

Further, the court did not intervene on a re-test held for 1,563 candidates who were given extra marks for the time they had lost after mistakenly being given the wrong question paper at their exam centres.

During the hearing, Mr. Mehta informed that only 813 out of 1563 had appeared for the re-test on June 23. “The rest would have decided to not appear for the re-test in June as the court had given them a choice to either attempt the re-test or retain their original results minus the compensatory marks,” he explained.

Overwatch 2 Season 11: Pick Up the First-Ever Mythic Weapon Today

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This is a big season for Rein mains. Shortly after getting an Optimus Prime skin, the tank hero is getting the game’s first mythic weapon, which adds special effects to every attack and elimination.

Overwatch 2 season 11 started June 20, following the Mirrorwatch theme of season 10 with an action-packed Sentai-inspired battle pass theme. As usual with Blizzard’s multiplayer online shooter, we’ve got a new battle pass, a new balance patch and a new season of ranked play to start grinding. There’s no new hero this season, but we did get another Push map, which brings the total up to four.

Season 11 also brings new hero mastery courses, a new mythic skin and a new Kiriko shop skin. Here’s what to know about the latest Overwatch 2 season.

New mythic weapons

Now you can spend your mythic prisms on an all-new type of item: mythic weapons. Everyone’s favorite Crusader is getting the first mythic weapon, called Bound Demon — an ax-like hammer that glows like lava and has special fiery effects for earning final blows. The base mythic skin costs 50 prisms, which you can unlock in the premium battle pass or purchase in the shop. Reinhardt is also getting a mythic weapon bundle in the shop, which unlocks the base weapon skin and tosses in 2,000 coins and 20-tier skips in the battle pass. This is the first mythic weapon skin, but Blizzard has said to expect new ones every season.

Transformers event

Overwatch, roll out? The game added several Autobots and one Decepticon to the game in the form of skins for Reinhardt (Optimus Prime), Bastion (Bumblebee), Illari (Arcee) and Ramattra (Megatron). The new skins were available in the shop, and other cosmetics were available as rewards. 

Screenshot of Transformers skins in Overwatch

We couldn’t have a Transformers event without a skin for Bastion.

Blizzard

Overwatch season 11 battle pass

If you saw the Super Sentai Genji skin and wished everyone could get that treatment, season 11 was made just for you. The new season is themed around Ultrawatch — the game’s colorful take on Power Rangers — with Genji, Cassidy, Sojourn, Ana and Wrecking Ball getting themed skins. There’s also a lifeguard theme in the battle pass, including skins for Junkrat and Lucio, and other skins available in the shop.

Screenshot of Ultrawatch Sojourn

Sojourn is ready to face off against the forces of evil in her Ultrawatch form.

Blizzard

New mythic skin

The heroes of Ultrawatch aren’t just fighting against any old villain — they’re facing off against Mythic Calamity Empress Ashe. The leader of the Deadlock Gang trades in her cowgirl hat for a very Rita Repulsa headdress and some dark magic. As a reminder, mythic skins have been taken off the battle pass and now exist exclusively in shops where you can spend mythic prisms, which you can earn in the premium battle pass or buy directly from the shop.

Screenshot of the new Ashe mythic skin

Ashe is my main damage character, so I’ve got high expectations for her mythic skin.

Blizzard

New map: Runasapi

We got a fourth Push map this season, and this one shows off Illari’s home in Peru. The season 11 blog post says we’ll get to see the Inti Warrior Historical Museum and Monument, which pays tribute to the group that trained Illari before she became the sole survivor. 

Screenshot of new Runsapi push map

This Runasapi area shows off a tragic piece of Illari lore.

Blizzard

The Pink Mercy skin supports cancer research

One of the most coveted skins in Overwatch has been the Pink Mercy skin — a limited-time cosmetic from 2018 that supported breast cancer research. After years of fans begging Blizzard to bring back the skin, the cosmetic finally returned in season 11, although it left the shop after July 7.

Screenshot of new rose gold Mercy skin

The new Rose Gold Mercy skin gives the hero a shiny, strawberry-blonde look.

Blizzard

Other new stuff

There are a few other changes happening in season 11:

  • The game added new hero mastery courses for Kiriko and Soldier:76.
  • Our cries have finally been heard: The glass is gone from Colosseo.
  • Weekly challenges are easier, and you can catch up if you miss a week.
  • The devs adjusted matchmaking to better handle narrow and wide groups.

Screenshot of Kiriko's Lifeguard skin from the shop

Fine, take my money.

Blizzard

For more game coverage, check out how to get started with Valorant’s console beta and find the best online games to play with friends.

Listeria infection linked to deli meats kills 2, infects 28 across US, CDC warns

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Two people have died so far due to a listeria outbreak in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) alerted on Friday.

Listeria is the third-leading cause of death from foodborne illness in the country, according to the health agency.

Twenty-eight people across 12 states have reported illness from listeria infection — with New York and Maryland reporting the highest number of cases.

LISTERIA OUTBREAK KILLS THREE ADULTS IN WASHINGTON STATE, HEALTH DEPARTMENT CONFIRMS

The first illness was reported on May 29, and the most recent was on July 5, per CDC data.

The two deaths occurred in Illinois and New Jersey.

Two people have died so far due to a listeria outbreak in the U.S., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention alerted on Friday. (iStock)

In many cases, the bacterial outbreak has been linked to people eating sliced meats purchased at deli counters, the CDC stated.

The bacteria is known to spread easily in delis and in environments where food is prepared.

No specific brands have been identified as of yet — and the CDC noted that officials are investigating.

Symptoms of listeria

The most common symptoms of infection include fever, fatigue and muscle aches. 

Some people also experience stiff neck, headache, balance problems, seizures or disorientation, according to the CDC.

HOW TO PREVENT AND TREAT ILLNESSES THAT ARE MOST COMMON DURING THE SUMMER MONTHS

These symptoms are typically reported within two weeks of consuming contaminated food, but could appear before or after that time frame.

Who is at highest risk?

Those who are pregnant, are 65 years of age or older or have a weakened immune system are most vulnerable to listeria, the CDC warned. 

“This is because listeria is more likely to spread beyond their gut to other parts of their body, resulting in a severe condition known as invasive listeriosis,” the agency stated in the alert.

Pregnant nauseous woman

Pregnant women infected with listeria could potentially experience premature birth, miscarriage or stillbirth, the CDC warned. (iStock)

Pregnant women infected with listeria could potentially experience premature birth, miscarriage or stillbirth.

It is also possible for the infection to be passed along to the baby, which can be life-threatening.

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“Other people with invasive illness – most commonly adults 65 years and older and people with weakened immune systems – usually have infection of the bloodstream (sepsis) or brain (meningitis or encephalitis),” the CDC states.

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For most people outside these high-risk groups, the infection is not likely to cause serious illness.

Deli counter

In many cases, the bacterial outbreak has been linked to people eating sliced meats purchased at deli counters, the CDC stated. (iStock)

For those at higher risk, the CDC recommends avoiding eating sliced deli meats unless they are reheated to an internal temperature of 165°F, then cooled before eating.

Refrigeration does not kill the bacteria, the agency noted.

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The CDC also recommends cleaning all containers and surfaces that may have come into contact with sliced deli meats.

Anyone who experiences listeria symptoms should contact a health care provider immediately, health officials advise. Most people recover with no treatment, but antibiotics may be given for serious cases.

Fox News Digital has reached out to medical experts for comment.