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ChatGPT could be used by 'bad actors' and should be regulated, OpenAI's chief technology officer says

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 12:17pm
OpenAI CTO Mira Murati speaking at Diane Von Furstenberg's InCharge Conversations in March 2020 in New York City.
  • The chief technology officer at ChatGPT creator OpenAI said the tool could be used by "bad actors."
  • The chatbot's popularity means "it's not too early" to regulate it, Mira Murati told Time magazine. 
  • "There are questions about how you govern the use of this technology globally," she added.

The chief technology officer at ChatGPT's creator OpenAI has said that the AI tool should be regulated as it could be used by "bad actors."

Mira Murati said in an interview with Time magazine that the company didn't expect its "child" would be met with such enthusiasm when it was released.

She added ChatGPT may "make up facts," in common with other tools powered by AI based on a language model

But its popularity sparked questions over some ethical concerns, Murati said, adding that such tools "can be misused, or it can be used by bad actors," sparking questions about how to govern it globally.

She continued: "How do you govern the use of AI in a way that's aligned with human values?"

Asked whether companies like OpenAI or governments should be in charge of regulating the tool, Murati said: "It's important for OpenAI and companies like ours to bring this into the public consciousness in a way that's controlled and responsible."

She stressed, however, that the company will need all the help it can get, including from regulators, governments, and everyone else. "It's not too early" to regulate it, she added.

OpenAI didn't immediately respond to a request for comment by Insider. 

In January, ChatGPT CEO Sam Altman, said during an interview with StrictlyVC that "generative text is something we all need to adapt to."

"We adapted to calculators and changed what we tested for in math class, I imagine. This is a more extreme version of that, no doubt, but also the benefits of it are more extreme, as well," Altman added.

The AI chatbot has sparked huge interest since it became publicly available on November 30, even sparking fears it would ultimately replace many people's jobs.

One man used it, alongside another AI tool to create graphics, to write a children's book. Researchers went further and made ChatGPT pass all three parts of the United States medical licensing examination. They said it passed "comfortably."

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Koch network looking to back a new GOP presidential nominee in 2024 and 'turn the page' on Trump

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 12:08pm
Charles Koch appears at The Broadmoor Resort in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 2019.
  • The donor network created by Charles Koch seeks to boost its role in the GOP presidential primaries.
  • A newly-released Americans for Prosperity memo called for members to "turn the page on the past."
  • The message is seen as a veiled swipe at Trump, who is running for the GOP nomination in 2024.

The network of donors created by the conservative billionaire Charles Koch is ramping up efforts to get involved in the 2024 Republican presidential primaries, with a mission to "turn the page on the past" in a veiled swipe at former President Donald Trump.

The Koch network, which encompasses a wide swath of wealthy conservatives across the country, has been deeply influential in Republican circles for over a decade, and in 2020 spent roughly $500 million backing GOP candidates and right-leaning policies. However, the network has largely stayed out of presidential primaries after identifying five approved candidates in 2015, all of whom ultimately fell to Trump the next year.

In a memo to Americans for Prosperity staffers and activists, chief executive Emily Seidel doesn't specifically mention Trump by name, but the tone of the email clearly calls for new blood in the party.

"The Republican Party is nominating bad candidates who are advocating for things that go against core American principles," the memo read. "And the American people are rejecting them."

"The Democratic Party increasingly sees this as a political opportunity," the memo continued to say, "And they're responding with more and more extreme policies – policies that also go against our core American principles."

While the Koch network disagreed with Trump on his implementation of trade tariffs during his White House tenure, it did work with the administration on criminal justice reform efforts.

And although Trump has been the dominant Republican fundraiser in recent years, the message from Seidel could be the signal that some conservative donors have been waiting for as they consider alternatives to the former president in the 2024 race.

Former Gov. Nikki Haley of South Carolina is expected to enter the race on February 15, but at the moment, Trump remains the only major declared candidate seeking the GOP presidential nomination.

Americans for Prosperity in the memo emphasized that it would continue to build on its work from the 2022 midterms.

"If we want to elect better people, we need better candidates. And if we want better candidates, we've got to get involved in elections earlier and in more primaries," the memo read. "Last year, AFP and AFP Action engaged in 22 primaries at the federal level and nearly 200 more in the states. This was more than in any previous year."

Seidel then argued that the "loudest voice" in the party generally established the tone for the election, stating that "in a presidential year, that's the presidential candidate."

"To write a new chapter for our country, we need to turn the page on the past," the memo read. "So the best thing for the country would be to have a president in 2025 who represents a new chapter. The American people have shown that they're ready to move on, and so AFP will help them do that."

"AFP Action is prepared to support a candidate in the Republican presidential primary who can lead our country forward, and who can win," the memo added.

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YouTube Music contractors staged protests in Texas over a return-to-office policy

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 11:38am
Cognizant contractors, working for YouTube Music, on strike outside Google's office in Austin, Texas.
  • Staff working for YouTube Music protested on Friday in Texas over a return-to-office requirement.
  • Cognizant workers said most were hired to work remotely and a quarter were not even based in Texas.
  • "It's unfeasible for me to move back to Austin," one worker now based in Florida said.

More than 40 contractors working for YouTube Music workers protested Friday outside Google's office in Austin, Texas, against a return-to-office order.

The workers were calling for management at their employer Cognizant, a major contractor for YouTube's parent company, Alphabet, to create a return-to-office policy that is "fair" and "flexible."

Cognizant workers are paid an hourly rate close to $19 an hour, according to Alphabet Workers Union-CWA, whose members say is not enough to cover the cost of relocating, commuting, and childcare that working from the office will entail.

The workers were notified in November they would have to all start working from the Austin office from February 6, Axios reported. But a majority of Cognizant's workers joined the company remotely and nearly 25% are not based in Texas, the union said.

"The upcoming return to office date threatens the livelihoods of workers who do not live in the Austin area," Alphabet Workers Union-CWA said in a statement.

Greg Mobley, a subject-matter expert at Cognizant and union member, called the mandatory notice to return to office on February 6 "abrupt," in a video shared on the union's Facebook page.

Florida-based Mobley, who joined the company two years ago, said: "It's unfeasible for me to move back to Austin, especially with the rising cost of living and no assistance from Cognizant or Google to relocate."

Neil Gossell, another YouTube Music contractor employed by Cognizant, said: "No workers should be paid so little that they cannot afford to go back to work in the office, and no worker should be forced to return to the office when it is clear we can effectively accomplish our work from home."

When asked to comment, a Cognizant spokesperson told Insider an impending return to office "has been communicated to them repeatedly since December 2021," adding it was "disappointing some of our associates have chosen to strike" over it.

The spokesperson added: "Associates working on this project accepted their employment with the understanding that they were accepting in-office positions, and that the team would work together at a physical location based in Austin."

The spokesperson added: "Cognizant also wants to make clear that individuals who want to pursue alternate jobs where they may be able to work remotely have the option to do so."

Google workers also staged protests on Wednesday and Thursday in both California and New York over pay and amid the recent layoffs after the company decided to cut 6% of its workforce, or 12,000 employees.

Approximately 50 employees protested over low wages outside a Google store on Thursday in New York, according to Bloomberg, which first reported the protests, minutes after parent company Alphabet released its fourth-quarter results. It followed a protest that took place the day before at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, California.

Some of the protesters in California, which included dozens of contractors, denounced what they called "poverty wages and no benefits," according to Bloomberg.

Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

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The stealth F-22, the top US air superiority fighter, just got its first known air-to-air kill taking out a Chinese balloon.

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 11:21am
An F-22 Raptor fighter took down the surveillance balloon with one AIM-9X Sidewinder missile.
  • The F-22 secured its first air-to-air kill by downing the Chinese surveillance balloon on Saturday.
  • The Raptor fired "one AIM-9X Sidewinder missile," bringing the balloon down off the South Carolina coast.
  • The Defense Department has begun recovery efforts for debris with the US Navy and Coast Guard. 

The F-22 got its first air-to-air kill taking out the suspected Chinese surveillance balloon, which spent the better part of the week floating above the United States and Canada at 60,000 feet. 

"This was a PRC surveillance balloon. This surveillance balloon purposely traversed the United States and Canada, and we are confident it was seeking to monitor sensitive military sites," a Department of Defense official said in a press release, noting that officials from the People's Republic of China claimed the balloon was a "weather balloon that was blown off course." 

The balloon went down over the Atlantic Ocean off the South Carolina coast Saturday afternoon after an "F-22 Raptor fighter from the 1st Fighter Wing at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia, fired one AIM-9X Sidewinder missile," per the DOD press release.

It is believed to be the F-22's first air-to-air kill, according to Defense One

—AirTrack (@aircraftrack) February 4, 2023


The F-22 fired the missile at an altitude of 58,000 feet while the surveillance balloon was between 60,000 and 65,000 feet, per the DOD. The balloon landed about six miles off the coast in 47 feet of water, and recovery efforts for debris have since begun with the assistance of the US Navy and Coast Guard. 

"F-15 Eagles flying from Barnes Air National Guard Base, Massachusetts, supported the F-22, as did tankers from multiple states," the Defense Department stated in its release. "The Navy has deployed the destroyer USS Oscar Austin, the cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the USS Carter Hall, an amphibious landing ship in support of the effort." 

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A laid-off Google engineer describes losing his 'only career' 16 years after starting as an intern

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 11:09am
Google CEO Sundar Pichai told staff he took 'full responsibility for the decisions that led us here' after announcing 12,000 layoffs.
  • An Ex-Googler described being laid off 16 years after he started as an intern.
  • "Google has been my one and only career," Joel Leitch wrote in a LinkedIn post.
  • Parent company Alphabet cut 6% of its workforce in January – or 12,000 employees. 

An ex-Google software engineer who was laid off 16 years after starting as an intern, described coming to terms with losing his "one and only career." 

"Two weeks ago, my entire team was impacted by the Google layoff," Joel Leitch, who held the role of tech lead across both the shopping and payments projects at Google, wrote in a LinkedIn post on Saturday.

"It was a complete shock to me and I am still perplexed as to why Google would let go of so many experienced, smart, talented, gritty, high-performing employees," he continued.

"It has been a slow process to come to terms with my new reality as Google has been my one and only career," Leitch said. 

According to his LinkedIn profile, the software engineer first worked at the tech giant as an intern in January 2005, before joining another tech company from January to June 2006, and going back to Google in July of that same year after graduating from the University of Waterloo. He was with the company until he was laid off. 

"It was an absolute honour to have had the opportunity to work there for so many years. The things that I will miss most are the people and the relationships built," Leitch wrote in the post. 

Leitch and Google didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider, made outside normal working hours. 

Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google's parent company Alphabet, sent a memo to staff on January 20 announcing the company was laying off 6% of its workforce – around 12,000 employees. 

Pichai said that he took "full responsibility for the decisions that led us here."

Leitch isn't alone in taking to LinkedIn after losing his job in the layoffs that have swept the tech industry.

A Microsoft software engineer who is on an H1-B visa said she wondered where she'd be living after losing her job, while a Google employee of 11 years wrote that he and his wife stared at each other in "disbelief" when they learned they'd both been laid off from the company.

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Some of the widest highways in the US have more than 20 lanes — but widening them won't solve traffic congestion

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 11:00am
Construction widening the I-66 in Virginia.
  • The federal government is providing states with $350 billion to spend on highways to alleviate traffic congestion.
  • The US has some of the widest highways in the world, but some states are planning on expanding them.
  • But economists have been saying the same thing since the 1960s: more roads often just leads to more traffic.

Some of the widest highways in the US have more than 20 lanes — and traffic is still getting worse.

Last year, the federal government enacted an infrastructure law, providing states with $350 billion for highways. Even though more lanes often just means more traffic, a number of states, including New York, Texas, Oregon, and Maryland, are considering highway widening projects to ease congestion.

But new highways will hurt the communities they cut through and the climate in general.

Here are some of the widest highways in America — and why widening them won't solve the problem.

Since the 1960s, highways helped define America. In 2018, there were over a million miles of highway across the country, costing the federal government $105 billion annually.Oakland Mayor Lionel Wilson opens the John Williams Freeway, Interstate 980, in California in 1985.

Source: The Guardian

At times, highways that have been built have specifically harmed minority communities. For instance, in 1967 in Nashville, officials added a bend to Interstate 40 to ensure the highway went through a predominantly Black neighborhood rather than a white one.Tennessee State Rep. Harold Love, Jr. stands on an overpass over I-40, Monday, July, 19, 2021, near the site of his family's former home on the north side of Nashville, Tennessee.

Source: Los Angeles Times

More recently, protestors have fought a $9 billion expansion of the I-35 in Austin, claiming it is discriminatory.Nighttime traffic rolls into downtown Austin along Interstate 35 in a time-exposure from the highway overpass.

Source: Texas Standard

Since the 1960s, new highways have forced out about 1 million people from their homes. The majority of these residents have been Black.The Van Wyck Expressway while under construction in New York in 1950.

Source: The Guardian

And highways are hard to ignore. In Los Angeles, one section of the I-405 is 14 lanes wide.Work continues on the 405/73 carpool connector road in Costa Mesa, CA on Tuesday, December 20, 2022.

Source: PolitiFact

In Atlanta, there are sections of the I-75 that are 15 lanes wide.Traffic flows in and out of downtown Atlanta on the Interstate 75/Interstate 85 Connector, Thursday, May 19, 2016, in Atlanta.

Source: PolitiFact

And then there's the I-10, also known as the Katy Freeway, in Houston. At certain points, the I-10 is 26 lanes wide.Traffic backs up on a freeway on September 5, 2017 in Houston, Texas.

Source: New York Times

In 2008, the Katy Freeway was extended at a cost of around $2.8 billion. But instead of helping with congestion, traffic actually increased substantially from 2011 to 2014 as more vehicles used the additional lanes.Traffic moves along Interstate 10 near downtown Houston, April 30, 2020.

Sources: Bloomberg, The Guardian

As early as the 1960s, economists were saying more roads only meant more cars — widening highways doesn't work. It's the theory of "induced demand," which basically means congestion rises to meet new capacity.Only the sign of the Colonial Manor Motel remains as crews made room for construction of the Interstate 70 expansion project on July 24, 2018 in Denver, Colorado.

Sources: New York Times, The Guardian

But new highways kept getting built. Between 1993 and 2017, roads increased by 42% in the country's largest 100 cities, while population growth was only 32%. Traffic delays still rose by 144%.Automobile traffic jams Route 93 South, Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Boston.

Source: Curbed

But sometimes states don't have a choice. For instance, in Texas, the state constitution requires funding to be used on highways before other forms of transport.A $301 million highway expansion in Irving, Texas due to be completed by the end of 2023.

Sources: Bloomberg, The Guardian

Right now, America could be at a crossroads. Last year, the federal government enacted an infrastructure law to provide states with $350 billion to be used for highways.The 405 Freeway in California during rush hour traffic.

Source: New York Times

Some environmental organizations were dismayed by the law. This was because, of the $1.3 trillion put aside for transport, only 20% was for transit while 80% went to highways.Stephanie Pollack, deputy administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, in 2019.

But President Biden's administration showed a gentle indication for its preferred spending. 

Stephanie Pollack, deputy administrator of the Federal Highway Administration, sent a memo to her staff telling them to encourage governments to first look at fixing current roads before laying new ones. 

Source: Wired

Even so, some states including Oregon, Maryland, Texas, and New York are pushing forward with the status quo. They're looking to re-widen highways, including the Brooklyn Queens Expressway.Vehicles drive along the Brooklyn Queens Expressway in 2021.

Source: New York Times

And the I-270 and I-495 in Maryland, which will cost around $11 billion.Traffic flows along interchanges that link I-495 and I-270 in Maryland.

Sources: New York Times, Washington Post

Wider highways mean more vehicles and more pollution. Across the US, transportation is already responsible for 27% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.Construction on the I-66 in Virginia in 2021.

For comparison, the agricultural industry is responsible for 11% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

Source: EPA

Some states and cities are looking at alternatives. In Los Angeles, an expansion to Interstate 710 was abandoned in 2022 after the chief planning officer noted the city didn’t see “widening as a strategy” for the city.Traffic moves along the 710 freeway in this view looking north from the Willow Street overpass.

Considering Los Angeles is known for its congested highways, this was a big deal.

The decision was made after another recently completed project in Los Angeles only temporarily eased traffic before it increased again.

Source: New York Times

In Portland, young climate activists have been fighting against a $1.2 billion plan to widen the I-5 in a section which runs through a neighbourhood called Albina, a historically Black neighborhood.Heavy traffic in Portland on the I-5.

Its air quality is already so bad local scientists have recommended that local school children don't play outside.

Source: Bloomberg

So, what's the answer? Matt Turner, an economics professor at Brown University, noted if you want more cars on the road, add more lanes. But that's not what most people want.An aerial picture taken on August 26, 2021, shows trucks, cars, and other vehicles sitting in traffic due to road construction on Interstate 5 as they transit through the Tejon Pass from the Grapevine in Kern County, California.

Sources: The Guardian, New York Times

On the contrary, Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said: "Connecting people more efficiently and affordably to where they need to go is a lot more complicated than just always having more concrete and asphalt out there."Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg.

Buttigieg has publicly backed prioritizing fixing existing highways over building new ones.

Sources: New York Times, Bloomberg

Los Angeles is looking into potentially using railways to transport freight to lower the burden on highways.Traffic on I-5 in California through the Tejon Pass in 2021

Source: New York Times

While in Colorado adopted a new transport regulation in 2021 that directs transport planners toward projects designed to lower pollution, like cycle lanes and more bus routes.A cyclist shares dangerous cycling route between West 32nd Avenue from Applewood to Golden, which has been described as a Bicyclist's Freeway because it is the primary route for cyclists from Denver to prime rides in the Golden area.Mass transport is part of the answer — and it works, too. When Seattle focused on buses and light rail from 2010 to 2017, the increased use of public transport meant traffic decreased, even as the city grew by more than 100,000 people.Contactless payment with ORCA card (One Regional Card For All), to access all public transportation, Seattle, Washington.

Source: Curbed

But despite the advantages, it also comes down to money, Ben Holland, an urban design and land use expert at clean energy non-profit RMI, told The Guardian. Right now, most roads are toll-free and are government subsidized.Traffic going eastbound on the Pennsylvania Turnpike proceeds through the electronic toll booths in Cranberry Township, Pa., on Aug. 30, 2021.

Source: The Guardian

While there's no easy answer, states and the federal government need to think creatively about how roads and public transport are paid for. One option is a congestion charge — charging people for traveling at peak times.Traffic backs up at the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge toll plaza on August 24, 2022 in Oakland, California.

The charge would aim at prompting people to travel at different times and only those who needed to travel at peak times would pay the fee meaning traffic would be eased and wider motorways wouldn't be necessary.

It's worked in London and in Stockholm.

Source: The Conversation

Other options include more express bus lanes, cycle lanes, walking bridges, and light rail. Basically, people need affordable options to get them out of cars and off the roads.A light rail station on March 12, 2020 in Seattle, Washington.

Source: New York Times

"This is a make-or-break moment," Holland told The Guardian. "How the states use those highway funds will basically determine whether we meet our transportation emissions goals."Interstate 278 passes over the New Jersey Turnpike on its way to the Goethals Bridge on October 20, 2022, in Elizabeth, New Jersey.

Source: The Guardian

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I'm a shy introvert who read 'How to Win Friends and Influence People.' Here are 3 ways it made me more likeable and a better salesperson.

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 11:00am
Jen Glantz said the book "How to Win Friends and Influence People" has helped her network better.
  • Jen Glantz recently read "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie.
  • She says the book helped her network as an entrepreneur by asking people questions about themselves.
  • She also says a main point in the book is dramatizing ideas and it improved her sales pitch.

One thing I've always felt I could improve upon is my people skills. As a one-woman show, I'm responsible for every aspect of my business, and when I look at my weekly responsibilities, more than 75% of them involve interacting with others, whether at networking events or on calls with clients.

The challenge is that deep-down, I'm incredibly introverted and shy.

A few months ago, after venting to my husband about how I wished I could be more outgoing, he handed me a book that he claims made a big impact on his life and social interactions. The book, "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie, has sold more than 30 million copies since it was released in 1936, making it one of the best-selling books of all time. 

The book provides 30 different principles around how to make people like you more, influence their way of thinking, and be a better leader. After finishing the book, I spent two months implementing a few of the main points in my personal life and business interactions. Here's what I saw happen. 

Listening rather than talking about myself made people like me more

When I'm having a conversation with someone, I often fear that I'll run out of things to say or sound boring. In the past, I've spent hours preparing for networking events and friend's parties by writing down interesting stories I could tell and rehearsing them out loud in front of the mirror.

But one of Carnegie's principles in the book made me realize that my approach to conversations is all wrong: Rather than fish for things to talk about, he says, it's best to try to get the other person to talk about themselves.

He argues that if you ask people questions about what's going on in their lives, they usually walk away feeling like they had a positive interaction with you. That's because, Carnegie claims, people are more interested in themselves, their wants, and their problems more than anything else. 

So recently, I wrote out a list of questions that I thought people would be excited to answer. For one networking event with people in creative industries, I thought about questions that would get them to comfortably share new projects they were working on without feeling like they were bragging, such as,"What's something you're excited to work on next week?" That got some people to open up about a side hustle they were about to start that they hadn't shared with anyone else yet. Rather than provide feedback or even share my own journey as an entrepreneur, I listened and responded with follow-up questions.

The hardest part of following this principle was silencing my thoughts and anxiety that if I didn't jump in and share something about myself, the conversation would eventually fade or become too one-sided. But not only did this technique make the conversation flow more naturally, I ended up having to speak about myself less, while still leaving a good impression on the other person. After that one networking event, two of the three people I did this with emailed me to share how much they enjoyed chatting and asked to meet in the upcoming weeks to talk about potentially working together on future projects. 

Dramatizing my ideas got people's attention

When I'm trying to land a new client, I'll get on a sales call with them and show a short PowerPoint presentation that details my credibility and services.

However, one thing I tend to forget is that most of these potential clients are meeting with a handful of other competitors who might be presenting their offerings in the exact same way. Because I worry about making sure I get all of my details across to them, I suppress a lot of the natural creativity, passion, or even personality that makes me stand out. 

That's why Carnegie suggests in his book that we dramatize our ideas. In addition to sharing the truth, he recommends making it vivid, interesting, dramatic, and colorful — that way, you can make what you have to say more memorable.

I've started spending less time reading my slide bullet points and more time showing my services and offerings in action — whether through client-testimonial videos, bold photographs, and even props. Recently when I tried this, I noticed more engagement and more targeted questions from potential clients, and even had one comment from someone saying it was the best presentation they'd heard all week.

I used this technique in my personal life, too. For months, I'd unsuccessfully been able to convince my husband to stick to a spending budget. So rather than make him look over a spreadsheet of our finances, I got a pack of fake money in the exact amount of what I wanted to convince him to start saving. I then took each of the fake $100 bills and dropped them, one by one, on the floor to show how much money we were wasting. Once he was able to see how our mindless spending was adding up, he agreed to try to stick to the budget for the month of November — and for the first time all year, he was successful. 

Encouragement can be incredibly motivating

One service I offer is coaching packages for people who want to start their own side hustle. Usually during my first session with a coaching client they'll share a big idea that they want to accomplish. In an effort to be honest and transparent, sometimes I'll let them know that the path to those milestones might take a few years and a few setbacks. 

Carnegie says in his book that when you want to motivate someone to achieve their goals, rather than tell them that's going to be hard and that the odds aren't in their favor, we can instead do the opposite, which is encourage them to take precise steps forward and then celebrate them along the way. 

I recently had a coaching client who wanted to go from zero Instagram followers to 15,000 by the end of the month. Instead of saying that likely wouldn't happen. I strategized with her how to achieve this by using content-creation tools, audience feedback, and engaging topics. While it took six weeks to reach that goal instead of four, she was able to see what it takes to grow a social-media audience and not give up on her dream. Every time she hit a milestone, we had a virtual champagne toast. 

I've also adopted this mindset with my own business. If I have a big monthly goal I want to hit, such as making a certain amount of money, I'll set smaller weekly goals — every time I hit a milestone, I celebrated with something I enjoy, like getting my nails done or even just taking an afternoon off. 

As a solopreneur who didn't get a business degree or go to business school, I'm constantly having to find ways to grow my skills and expand my knowledge. After reading this book, I feel like I completed a course in how to update my social and leadership skills that will greatly benefit me in both my business and personal life. 

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Why Silicon Valleys massive layoffs haven't hit Detroit automakers

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 10:56am
Automakers like Ford and GM have yet to announce anything close to the layoffs that have left thousands of tech workers out of a job this year.
  • Tech companies are shedding jobs after years of growth.
  • But car companies are still desperate for new tech talent.
  • The auto industry could benefit from tech layoffs.

Tens of thousands of tech workers have been laid off in the first month of the year, but the financial woes of tech giants like Google, Amazon, Microsoft and others haven't made their way to the auto industry. 

Mainstays like Ford and GM have yet to announce anything close to the sweeping layoffs that have left more than 55,000 tech workers out of a job so far this year. 

Certainly, there have been some hits: Ford is planning 3,200 job cuts in Europe. Jeep-maker Stellantis stopping operations at a plant in February will result in 1,350 workers out of a job. 

But the auto industry doesn't need to undergo massive cuts — mostly because they already have over the past few years.

"Legacy automakers have spent the last three years figuring out how they're going to go after electrification, autonomous driving — or increasing ADAS rather than full autonomy — and their connected car strategy," Richard Surridge, founder of recruiting firm AVANT Future Mobility, told Insider. 

Tech companies, meanwhile, had enjoyed a decade of unmitigated growth thanks to low interest rates and a flood of new investor money. As these companies enter a new phase and a different economy, the tech industry is experiencing its first real belt-tightening.

"All of the tech companies are a bit bloated," Surridge said, noting that the automotive industry has the opposite problem when it comes to staffing.  "Legacy auto is underpopulated in order to fully go after the future of mobility — primarily, electrification, batteries, and software."

The auto industry's downsizing phase started years ago

In preparation of the massive EV transition and the introduction of other industry-changing shifts, automakers already used the time before the pandemic, and during it, to make adjustments to their workforce. 

Ford, for example, cut 7,000 jobs in 2019. GM, too, slashed tens of thousands of jobs and closed factories that year in the face of an extended union strike. Both companies made these cuts as they prepared to redesign their business for an electric future.

"We've become used to seeing the automotive industry adapting and resizing for many years now," Martin French, managing director at the consultancy Berylls, told Insider. He noted that the entire automotive industry learned a lot of tough lessons from the 2009 bankruptcies of GM and Chrysler, leaving many to make defensive decisions rather than reacting to tough times when they hit. 

The auto industry could benefit from tech layoffs

While tech sheds thousands of jobs, automakers are desperate for workers. Some legacy brands may take advantage of recruiting opportunities amid the layoffs, experts and executives have said. 

Even within the industry, layoffs at tech-centric auto companies like Arrival, Rivian and Britishvolt, or the shuttered Argo AI, could benefit legacy car companies still looking to beef up their tech talent in newly formed electric vehicle divisions.

Earlier this week, Rivian made its second round of layoffs in six months, cutting 6% of salaried staff.  These employees, with both tech and auto-related experience, are especially ripe targets for legacy car companies.

Companies like Ford and GM would be smart to scoop up this talent, Stephen Beck, founder and managing partner of consultancy cg42, told Insider. 

"The need for talent relative to electrification, modern manufacturing, connectivity, et cetera, is very, very high," Beck said. "The war for talent in the automotive industry is still raging and the talent pool is still relatively small."

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A Swedish-made fighter jet could tip the scales against Russia in Ukraine, but it might not get there any time soon

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 10:47am
A Swedish JAS 39 Gripen E over the Baltic Sea in May 2022.
  • Ukraine's air force remains in the fight almost a year after Russia's shambolic invasion.
  • Sweden's JAS 39 Gripen-C fighter, designed for rugged environments, could help Ukraine stay in the fight.
  • But there aren't many Gripens available, and training Ukrainian pilots on them will take time.

Meet the JAS-39 Gripen: Contrary to all expectations, Ukraine's air force remains in the fight almost a year after Putin launched his shambolic invasion.

Yet feats of force preservation and adaptation mustn't obscure that the Air Force's Soviet-vintage MiG-29 and Su-27 fighters remain badly outranged by the radars and weapons of modernized Russian Su-30SM and Su-35S fighters and MiG-31BM interceptors. And while transfers of Soviet aircraft and aircraft parts have helped replace Ukrainian losses, those are a rapidly exhausting resource.

Sooner or later, Ukraine must induct new jet fighters into service — and they sure aren't buying them from Russia.

Arguably, the two cost-efficient aircraft seen as most viable for Ukraine are the ubiquitous US F-16 Fighting Falcon and Sweden's unique Saab JAS 39 Gripen-C ("Griffin") single-engine tactical fighter tailor-made to operate at low cost and operated in cold climates from rugged satellite bases, with limited maintenance, against Russia's air force.

After all, Ukraine has limited resources and must disperse aircraft basing due to risks of Russian missile attacks — and a report by a British think tank calls out the Gripen as "by far the most suitable candidate in terms of operational requirements."

Indeed, in December Kyiv specifically requested Gripen-Cs from Stockholm, only to be politely rebuffed.

But for practical reasons, the rival F-16 is far more likely to form the future core of the Ukrainian Air Force — though we can't count out the Gripen's involvement entirely.

This article looks at the background and capabilities of the JAS-39 Gripen-C/D, its advantages and downsides compared to the F-16, and the difficulties of supplying Ukraine with the Swedish fighter designed for guerilla air warfare against Russia.

JAS-39 Gripen: background and capabilitiesA Swedish JAS 39 Gripen at Bobo, Norway in October 2018.

Quite remarkably for a country with a population of 10.4 million today, Sweden has sustained the design and production of advanced jet fighters since the 1940s.

During the Cold War, Sweden was officially neutral but perceived as Western-leaning and thus potentially a target of the Soviet military. Having observed the success of Israeli jets destroying Arab air forces on the ground during 1967's Six Day War, Stockholm in the 1970s sought to implement a doctrine called Bas 90 in which its air force could disperse across a network of 200 satellite airbases and even stretches of highway. That would prevent their destruction on the ground by Soviet missiles and bombers, allowing sustained aerial resistance. Bas 90 is of interest to US Pacific strategists who fear Chinese missiles could devastate US aircraft on the ground in Japan and Guam.

To support Bas 90, Stockholm wanted a new Mach 2 fighter capable of performing air superiority, ground attack, and reconnaissance missions staging from short, crude runways. Funding the JAS 39's development was politically divisive, but Sweden's parliament narrowly approved the project in 1982-1983. Four years later, a Gripen prototype made its first flight.

The resulting single-engine lightweight fighter conceptually shared much in common with the US F-16 fighter, matching a maneuverable but unstable airframe with a computerized fly-by-wire flight control system to stabilize it.

But as for the F-16, it took many iterations and the crash of two prototypes in 1989 and 1993 before that system was tweaked to full reliability. The JAS-39 only officially entered operational service in 1997, by which time the Soviet threat no longer existed.

A Hungarian Air Force JAS-39 Gripen in August 2010.

Due to extensive use of composite materials, the Gripen weighed three-quarters the weight of an F-16 and had a smaller radar cross-section. It also differed in that it featured canards — a second pair of small wings near the cockpit — improving maneuverability and lift at the expense of speed.

Tilting the canards sharply allows their use as an airbrake, which combined with skid-resistant landing gears, permits a JAS-39 to land on 600-meter-long runways or highways (see video), fulfilling Bas-90 requirements.

For propulsion, the Gripen used a Volvo RM-12 engine based on the F404 turbofan used on the US Navy's Hornet jets, with redesigned fan blades to minimize radar reflectivity and birdstrike risks, and restructuring to ease disassembly for maintenance.

Furthermore, it included a built-in auxiliary power unit and onboard digital self-diagnostic system that made it easier for a handful of technicians to maintain them in remote areas. A six-person ground crew, including just one specialist, could rearm and refuel a Gripen in 10 minutes for another sortie.

For armament, the JAS-39 had a 27 mm Mauser revolver cannon in the fuselage and the ability to mount six large missiles underwing and fuselage — with one slot usually hefting an electronic-warfare pod — and two short-range missiles on its wingtips.

A JAS-39 Gripen at a base near Prague in April 2005.

Its PS-05/A doppler multi-mode radar could track air and surface targets while resisting jamming and guiding up to four AIM-120 missiles onto targets simultaneously. Other avionics included a ring-laser inertial navigation system, a radar-warning receiver, and support for a towed decoy to divert attacks.

The Swedish Air Force initially ordered 204 single-seat JAS-39As and two-seat JAS-39Bs, which lack the cannon and some fuel storage, but eventually downsized the order to 100. However, the Czech Republic and Hungary each also operate 14 Gripens under lease. Other operators include Brazil (planned 26), South Africa (26) and Thailand (12, but one lost in a crash).

By 1997, the improved JAS 39C and two-seat JAS-39D models were ordered for a third production batch. These notably added in-flight refueling capability, GPS navigation, color multi-function displays compatible with night-vision goggles, full digital engine controls, and the CDL39 datalink interoperable with NATO systems. The Gripen's computing power was expanded 66%, and an EWS-30 electronic-warfare suite was added including an automated self-defense jammer.

At present, the Swedish Air Force is supplementing 84 operational Gripen-C/Ds with 60 heavily modernized Gripen-Es featuring a powerful AESA radar, reduced radar cross-section, extended range, and the more powerful F414 turbofan, allows supersonic cruising.

To cooperate better with Gripen-Es, the C/Ds are being upgraded to the MS20 standard integrating a laser-targeter, a new infrared reconnaissance pod, enhanced Link-16 datalinks to exchange data with friendly forces, and a ground-collision avoidance system reducing accident risks.

A Czech JAS-39 Gripen in June 2018.Weaponry integrated to day on JAS-39 Gripens includes US, European, Israeli, and Swedish weapons:
  • Sidewinder, Darter, IRIS-T, ASRAAM, and Python 4 short-range air-to-air missiles
  • Meteor, MICA, Skyflash and AIM-120 medium/long-range radar-guided air-to-air missiles
  • RBS-15F anti-ship and Maverick air-to-surface missiles
  • Paveway and Small Diameter laser- and GPS-guided bombs and BK90 Mjolnir gliding cluster-bomblet dispensers
  • KEPD-350 Taurus cruise missiles (range 310 miles)
  • Litening and Vicon 70 reconnaissance pods
Long-range bane of China's Flanker fighters?A Swedish Saab Gripen in flight.

A total of six Gripens have been lost in accidents, resulting in one fatality. The type's only combat deployment saw Sicily-based Gripens fly reconnaissance missions over Libya in 2011.

However, in a seven-day exercise in 2015 with China's air force, Thai Gripen-C/Ds reportedly defeated visiting Chinese J-11 fighters based on Russia's powerful Su-27 twin-engine fighter in beyond-visual range (BVR) combat, downing 41 J-11s for 9 losses — an outcome confirmed by Chinese sources.

The Gripen's BVR advantage reportedly came down to superior situational awareness. The J-11 had a radar cross-section of 12 square meters and the Gripen 1.5 square meters; the JAS-39's radar reportedly detected J-11s from 100 miles away, the J-11's spotted Gripens at 75 miles.

Furthermore, the RTAF's AIM-120 missiles outranged the R-77-type missile used by China—and multiples could be fired in succession.

However, the Thai Gripens were minced in within-visual-range combat 25:1, due to lacking thrust compared to the J-11, and (likely more importantly) using outdated AIM-9L short-range missiles.

While Thai Gripens later sparred with more modern Chinese J-10 fighters in later exercises, reliable information on the outcome hasn't been made public.

Gripens for Ukraine?Swedish JAS 39 Gripens taxiing at Bodö airport in November 2018.

While Gripen-C/D isn't cutting-edge, it could still help level the playing field in the predominantly beyond-visual-range aerial warfare taking place over Ukraine thanks to its better radar and compatibility with the AIM-120 and Meteor long-range missile, all of which have substantially greater reach than radars and missiles on Ukrainian jets.

Furthermore, the Gripen's optimization for operation from dispersed bases and short runways, easy maintainability, and low operating costs make it seemingly tailor-made for Ukraine's underdog air force.

Unfortunately, there's a big obstacle to giving Ukraine Gripen-Cs: There aren't that many up for grabs. Sweden would have to give away some of its 84 Gripen-Cs in operational service for Ukraine to operate them in useful numbers.

While those fighters could be replaced if Stockholm purchases more Gripen-Es, it would still leave a gap requiring years to fill at a time of high tensions.

A Swedish pilot in a JAS-39C Gripen at Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada in January 2013.

Admittedly, some countries have proven willing to donate large chunks of their active military assets to Ukraine — notably Slovakia is offering to donate all 11 of its combat aircraft to Ukraine. But Sweden is not yet part of the NATO alliance.

A Gripen donation still isn't entirely unthinkable. Sweden is currently donating from its active military some of its most advanced equipment in the form of Archer self-propelled artillery and CV9040C infantry fighting vehicles comparable to US Bradleys but with a bigger 40 mm gun and advanced active protection system.

The Czech Republic might conceivably relinquish its lease on Gripens early for Ukraine's benefit if given Swedish permission — but those are the Czech Air Force's only fighters until it receives F-35s. Other Gripen operators are neutral or pro-Russian.

Stockholm could yet have a change of heart, procuring additional Gripen-Es and passing on Gripen-Cs to Ukraine, especially given security guarantees from the US or its allies, particularly if Turkey stops blocking Sweden's NATO membership process. Donating Gripens could also be good for business in the long-run if it persuaded Kyiv to eventually procure new Gripen-Es — presumably with foreign financing.

JAS-39 Gripen vs. F-16A US Air Force F-16 takes off from Aviano Air Base in Italy in June 2020.

Despite the Gripen's substantial appeal, the easier solution is clear: to give Kyiv US-built F-16s. Compared to approaching 300 Gripens built by 2023, over 4,600 F-16s have been manufactured over the last four-and-a-half decades and served in 25 countries.

Even discounting obsolete F-16A/Bs, that leaves an abundance of airframes, capacity to train F-16 pilots, and repair depots and spare parts inventories distributed across many countries. F-16s are also low-cost aircraft, though still pricier than the Gripen.

These factors make it far less complicated to transfer F-16C/Ds to Kyiv and sustain them, as the Netherlands is reportedly considering doing. But F-16Cs also boast some non-trivial performance advantages:

  • higher thrust-to-weight ratio, giving it superior acceleration and maneuverability
  • greater maximum payload of 8 tons of weapons on 9 hard points
  • compatible with a wider range of US ground-attack weapons
US F-16s with Swedish JAS 39 Gripens over the Baltic Sea during an exercise in June 2018.

Should Kyiv receive the latest F-16 Block 70/72s, these would also have markedly superior APG-83 AESA radars, advanced avionics and conformal fuel tanks that could give them an edge over most Russian fighters.

F-16s could also pair nicely with a buy of low-cost South Korean Golden Eagle trainer/light fighter soon entering service in Poland, which share many common systems.

Disadvantages of the F-16C/D compared to the Gripen remain:

  • Incompatibility with European weapons, especially the superb Meteor long-range air-to-air missile
  • Slightly larger radar cross-section
  • Allegedly, the Gripen's electronic-warfare suite is "optimized specifically for countering Russian fighter and SAM radars"; less optimized for rugged operations
  • 50% higher operating costs per flight hour according to a 2012 study

It remains to be seen when and how Ukraine's allies will help it acquire Western-built fighters. Realistically, it might require a half-year or longer from that decision to see aircraft operational in Ukraine, so it will not have any near-term impact on the war.

However, this transition must take place eventually — and the sooner it's set in motion, the more unfavorable dragging out the war becomes for Putin.

Sébastien Roblin writes on the technical, historical and political aspects of international security and conflict for publications including The National Interest, NBC News,, War is Boring and 19FortyFive, where he is defense-in-depth editor. He holds a master's degree from Georgetown University and served with the Peace Corps in China. You can follow his articles on Twitter.

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A Texas 'Dreamer' found out during an immigration meeting that his dad wasn't his biological father. Now he could be trapped in Mexico for a decade.

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 10:20am
  • A DACA recipient is stuck in Mexico after traveling to Juárez for an immigration interview in August.
  • Jaime Avalos is trying to get home to his wife and son but was barred from the US for 10 years.
  • Avalos and his wife spoke to Insider about their fight to reunite their family. 

Jaime Avalos had a bad feeling about his impending trip to Mexico. For weeks leading up to the immigration interview in Juárez, he was plagued with premonitions of irrevocable consequences. 

"It was really nerve-racking," Avalos told Insider, describing the unshakable feeling in his gut. "I feel like if I go to this appointment, I'm not going to come back." 

Nevertheless, Avalos, accompanied by his American wife, traveled to the US Consulate in Juárez, in August 2022, for the interview, a necessary step as he began the process of trying to secure US residency, and eventually, he hoped, citizenship.

Avalos, 28, was born in Mexico but spent nearly his entire life in Texas after his mother brought him to the United States when he was just a year old. The August interview marked the beginning of his effort to become a citizen of the only country he had ever called home, after a decade shielded by his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival, often referred to as DACA, status, which prevented him from being deported despite being undocumented.

The meeting quickly deteriorated into a nightmare, though, when Avalos learned that his mother had briefly taken him back to Mexico when he was 7 years old — a trip he says he doesn't remember — before he was able to establish permanent residency in the US. The revelation that he had illegally reentered the country not only dashed his immediate dreams of becoming a resident, but saddled him with a 10-year ban on returning to the US.

Now stranded in a foreign country far from his home, wife, child, and life, Avalos remains at the whims of an overwhelmed, oft-callous US immigration system as the months keep passing by. 

An uneasy pursuit of citizenship

Growing up in Houston as an undocumented immigrant, Avalos was constantly looking over his shoulder, he told Insider, always afraid he might be snatched up by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

That anxiety dissipated when he secured DACA status at the age of 18. The Obama-era policy grants certain undocumented immigrants who were brought into the country as children temporary reprieve from the threat of deportation as well as eligibility to work in the country. 

Avalos graduated high school. He got a job. Every two years he diligently renewed his DACA status ahead of the deadline, and in 2019 he married his adolescent sweetheart, Yarianna Martinez. The couple bought their first home that same year.

Avalos and Martinez said they started talking more seriously about seeking citizenship for Avalos as the political climate turned increasingly hostile toward immigrants.

Several Republican-led states this week asked a judge to end protections for DACA recipients, who are known as "Dreamers." Former President Donald Trump repealed the program in 2017, before the Supreme Court blocked his decision three years later.

"DACA is never really protected," Martinez, 22, told Insider. "It's always being threatened to be revoked."

The couple had big plans for their future and wanted to eradicate any risk to their dream life. Avalos applied for residency in March 2020, just days before the COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside down. Amid a global outbreak and a mounting crisis at the border, the couple didn't expect to hear about Avalos' application anytime soon.

It took more than two years, but in the summer of 2022, Avalos finally received word that his preliminary immigration interview in Juárez was set for August.

By then, the stakes had heightened significantly. 

"We had just had a baby," Martinez said. The couple's child, Noah, was born in December 2021. "Our perspective had changed a lot. This is serious. It can either make us or break us," she said.

Avalos was apprehensive. If, for any reason, he failed to secure a visa during the meeting, life as he knew it would be forever changed. But with assurances from his lawyers that his papers were in order, Avalos quieted the nagging voice in his head, and embarked on a cross-border journey fated to be a one-way trip. 

"He found out a lot of truths at that interview," Martinez said. 

Jaime Avalos, Yarianna Martinez, and their son, Noah.Disaster on the other side of the border

Before his August interview, Avalos said he was under the impression he never left the US after he and his mother arrived in the country in 1996. Halfway through the most important interview of his life, immigration officials in Juárez revealed otherwise. 

According to Martinez, who recounted the doomed meeting in an interview with Insider, immigration officers quickly zeroed in on Avalos' Mexican birth certificate, which included an amendment from 2002 — six years after he and his mother first entered the US.

In Mexico, she said, a person has to be physically present to make changes to an official government document, such as a birth certificate. The registration date on Avalos' birth certificate indicated that he and his mother had briefly returned to Mexico in 2002, meaning both mother and son would have then had to illegally reenter the US a second time — six years after their first unlawful crossing.

Left without answers to officers' probing questions, Avalos called his mother mid-interview, hoping she might be able to explain the discrepancy. She dropped a heart-wrenching bombshell: Avalos' mother told her son and the immigration officials that she brought her child back to Mexico when he was 7 years old so her husband — the man Avalos always believed to be his biological father — could legally adopt him.

"It affected me a lot," Avalos said of the revelation about his parentage. "If I had known, I wouldn't have come out to Juárez and done the interview."

Left to process this new information about his father, Avalos was immediately hit with another devastating blow. He was not allowed to return to the US; he couldn't go home.

Because he and his mother briefly left the US after illegally entering, thus unlawfully crossing the border not once, but twice, Avalos' application for residency was immediately denied and he was issued a 10-year ban on reentering the US — his home country, where his wife and son remained. 

"My world was ending," he said. "I should have trusted my gut and never left." 

ICE declined to comment on Avalos' specific case, but told Insider that DACA recipients who leave the US without first obtaining an advance parole document run a "significant risk" of being unable to reenter the US, given that their period of deferred action is halted once they leave the country. 

Martinez said she thought her husband was joking when he emerged from the interview dazed and in disbelief. Even as he explained what happened, Martinez said she struggled to comprehend the vast consequences of the meeting. 

It only became real as she boarded a plane back to Houston, alone. 

Martinez and Noah have been able to visit Avalos in Juarez a couple of times since August.The ongoing fight to bring Avalos home

Avalos and Martinez hoped their separation from one another would be brief. The reality has been beyond disheartening, they both said.

"The first month was horrible, really horrible," Avalos said. "I was in my head. We have a house payment, a car payment, phone payments. I'm not going to see my kid or wife until next year."

Martinez jumped into action, seeking solutions to bring her husband home even as she continued working part time as a medical assistant.

She shopped Avalos' story around to several new immigration lawyers in the Houston area but said attorneys were hesitant to take the difficult case — until she met Naimeh Salem, who quickly went to work raising public awareness and outrage about Avalos' exile.

Salem secured heavyweight support in the form of the couple's congressman, Rep. Al Green of Texas, who introduced legislation to amend the Immigration and Nationality Act last year and filed a private bill requesting resident status for Avalos in November, framing the crusade as a "mission of mercy."

"He is not being held by a hostile nation. We are the ones preventing him from returning," Green said of Avalos in a statement to Insider.

The lawmaker said he has also sent letters to President Joe Biden and the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas about Avalos' case.

The young family's best chance at reunification is the pending humanitarian parole request Salem submitted on Avalos' behalf three months ago, she said. The parole status allows an individual who is ineligible for entry into the US to be allowed in on humanitarian reasons. 

DACA recipients who leave the US without first obtaining advance parole, as Avalos did, but who are later paroled back into the country are eligible to resume their DACA status after their parole expires, according to ICE.

The government doesn't consider Avalos' request for humanitarian parole an urgent or emergency case, Salem said, so the couple could have to wait seven to 10 months before receiving a final decision on his application.

Those possible solutions have given the family a glimmer of hope amid the heartbreak, they said. But should Avalos' parole application be denied or Green's letters go unanswered, Avalos will be stranded indefinitely, Salem said. 

"These are his only options," Martinez said. "After that, there are no options, no plan B."

Martinez traveled to Juarez in December 2022 to celebrate Noah's first birthday with Avalos.A family torn apart

Both husband and wife try to remain positive, if only for each other and their son, they said.

"I went from being in a marriage where I woke up every day seeing my husband to feeling like I'm a single mom," Martinez said. "If it wasn't for Noah, I don't think I'd be able to handle it."

The couple video chats frequently and communicates through texts and phone calls, Martinez said. Avalos' US phone number still works because Juárez is less than 10 miles from the US border, though nearly 800 miles from his family in Houston. 

"When this happened, Noah was only 8 months old. Now he's 13 months," Martinez said of her son. "He's starting to realize, why am I seeing my dad on FaceTime when he was just in person playing with me?"

Avalos, meanwhile, is still trying to acclimate to life in a foreign country. He's living with an uncle in Juárez, but he's had difficulty mastering the Spanish slang spoken in the city and is still adjusting to driving in Mexico. He finally secured a job in the country last month, working at a computer-chip company after an extensive hiring process, he said.

He sometimes speaks with his mother on the phone, though not about the revelations he learned during his immigration interview.

"We haven't touched that subject," he told Insider. "When everything clears over, we'll talk about it."

Martinez and Noah have been able to visit Avalos in Juárez a few times over the past 4 ½ months, including once with Green, but the cost of flights and time off from work make frequent trips impossible. 

As life goes on around them, there is little left for the family to do now but wait.

"He's trying to keep his head up really, really high," Martinez said of her husband. "But it's starting to weigh heavy." 

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An ex-Romney presidential campaign strategist says Nikki Haley 'embodies the collapse' of the Republican Party

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 10:14am
Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.
  • Ex-Romney strategist Stuart Stevens on MSNBC blasted Nikki Haley for her expected White House bid.
  • "No one else really embodies sort of the collapse of the party as well as Nikki Haley," he said.
  • Haley, a former South Carolina governor, served as the US Ambassador to the UN under Trump.

Mitt Romney's former aide blasted Nikki Haley in a recent interview over the former South Carolina governor's decision to enter the 2024 GOP presidential primary, saying she "doesn't have anything else to do" and arguing that she is actually seeking a vice presidential slot.

Stuart Stevens — who was Romney's chief strategist for his 2012 White House run and also a senior advisor for the anti-Trump group the Lincoln Project — questioned Haley's motivation for running for the presidency during a February 2 interview on MSNBC. 

Haley has not yet formally announced her campaign but is reportedly set to do so on February 15 in Charleston, South Carolina.

"Why is Nikki Haley running? I don't think she's really running because she thinks she's going to be president of the United States," Stevens said. "First of all, she doesn't have anything else to do. She's raised some money here in her PAC and she'll run. And I would say she's running to be vice president. I don't think she's going to go out there and attack Donald Trump."

He continued: "No one else really embodies sort of the collapse of the party as well as Nikki Haley. She was what the party was supposed to be. She went out and said that Donald Trump was everything that she taught her children not to be, and she went from that to saying that she wants to carry on the Trump legacy. It's just so sad. She's already broken before she gets in the race."

Haley, a former state legislator, was elected governor of South Carolina in 2010 and reelected in 2014.

In February 2016, she endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio's presidential bid, slamming former President Donald Trump at a rally as "everything I taught my children not to do in Kindergarten."

"I taught my two little ones — you don't lie and make things up," she said at the time. "I taught my two little ones that you don't push people around and just tell them what you think should happen. And I told my two little ones to do exactly what Marco Rubio did in the last debate. When a bully hits you, you hit that bully right back."

Shortly after Trump was elected that November, he nominated Haley to serve as his Ambassador to the United Nations, a position that she held from January 2017 until December 2018.

In April 2021, Haley said that she wouldn't run for president in 2024 if Trump decided to launch a presidential campaign, just weeks after telling Politico that his conduct after his 2020 election loss would "be judged harshly by history."

However, in October 2021, Haley told The Wall Street Journal that the Trump administration had left behind a "strong legacy."

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Prosecutors worried they'd have to prove Donald Trump was not 'legally insane,' lawyer's memoir says

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 10:06am
  • New York prosecutors investigating Trump feared they would have to prove that he was not "legally insane."
  • The revelation is made in an upcoming book by Mark Pomerantz.
  • He said lawyers discussed whether Trump could tell the difference "between bullshit and reality."

New York prosecutors feared they would have to prove that Donald Trump was not "legally insane" as they investigated his business practices, according to an upcoming memoir by a lead attorney on the team.

"To rebut the claim that Trump believed his own 'hype,' we would have to show, and stress, that Donald Trump was not legally insane," lawyer Mark Pomerantz writes in the memoir, seen by The Daily Beast.

"Was Donald Trump suffering from some sort of mental condition that made it impossible for him to distinguish between fact and fiction?" he queries in the book.

Pomerantz said that lawyers advising the Manhattan District Attorney's office "discussed whether Trump had been spewing bullshit for so many years about so many things that he could no longer process the difference between bullshit and reality."

Pomerantz, a former special assistant district attorney, was recruited by then-Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance Jr. to work on the criminal investigation into Trump and his family businesses. He joined the team in February 2021.

He and another lawyer Carey Dunne quit in protest a year later, with Pomerantz citing his frustration with Vance's successor Alvin Bragg Jr. indicating he had doubts about plans to indict Trump.

Bragg has since ramped up the investigation into Trump's businesses and has revived an investigation into hush money paid to porn star Stormy Daniels in 2016.

The Daily Beast received an advance copy of the book "People vs. Donald Trump: An Inside Account," which is due to be released on Tuesday.

According to The Daily Beast, the book provides insight into how investigators put the case against Trump together and considered how to proceed with charging the former president.

In the book, Pomerantz says that he believes evidence proves Trump lied on financial documents and that he and Dunne believe this was the best way to prosecute Trump, according to The Daily Beast.

"The right way to proceed, we thought, was to bring felony charges based on the full panoply of false business records that Trump had helped to generate: the phony documents relating to the hush money payment and Michael Cohen's reimbursement, the false financial statements, the false accounting spreadsheets that were created to support the financial statements, and so forth," Pomerantz said.

In the book, Pomerantz also reportedly compares Trump to mob boss John Gotti, whose son Pomerantz once successfully prosecuted, according to The New York Times.

"He demanded absolute loyalty and would go after anyone who crossed him. He seemed always to stay one step ahead of the law,"  Pomerantz wrote of Trump.

"In my career as a lawyer, I had encountered only one other person who touched all of these bases: John Gotti, the head of the Gambino organized crime family."

A lawyer for Trump recently sent Pomerantz a letter threatening legal action over the book, according to The New York Times.

"If you publish such a book and continue making defamatory statements against my clients, my office will aggressively pursue all legal remedies," Trump lawyer Joe Tacopina said.

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OpenAI makes a ChatGPT-like tool called Codex that can write software. Here's why Codex won't replace developers and will instead create more demand for their skills.

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 10:05am
While programs like ChatGPT can imitate human responses relatively well, technology experts say there will still be a need for human expertise for the foreseeable future.
  • OpenAI's ChatGPT, which can answer questions with humanlike responses, is exploding in popularity. 
  • The same company is also behind Codex, a tool that automates writing software code.
  • Experts said software-development skills will still be necessary for the foreseeable future.

OpenAI is the talk of the town these days as the company's intelligent chatbot, ChatGPT, has sparked imaginations and made people ask what role artificial intelligence will play going forward. The same company has also been developing Codex, a less-popular service that could completely change the way developers work.

Using data it has collected from across the web, ChatGPT can answer just about any question thrown at it — though not always accurately — and with a response that looks like a human wrote it. Codex is similar, except that instead of writing English sentences, it writes software code. Tell Codex what type of software problem you're trying to solve, and Codex will suggest a solution with a string of code.

If an AI service can now write code for developers, it raises the question of how it will impact students studying computer science, and if highly paid software-engineering jobs will vanish. Still, software-engineering skills will continue to be in high demand, and AI services like Codex are just a natural step as programming becomes progressively easier over generations, according to academics and experts in computer-science education.

Codex has been available to developers since 2021 in the form of GitHub Copilot. And OpenAI, which has raised more than $10 billion from Microsoft and other backers, has been investing more in Codex of late, hiring more than 1,000 contractors to write code and associated descriptions that will help Codex learn to become a better programmer, Semafor reported.

Codex and ChatGPT are a "huge productivity enhancer," and many programmers are already using Codex in their day-to-day workflows, Christopher Manning, a professor of computer science and linguistics at Stanford University, said. Still, just because Codex can write basic functions to make an engineer's life simpler doesn't mean it can suddenly write entire applications all on its own, he added.

Each generation makes programming easier

In thinking about Codex, one must understand that programming has been getting progressively easier with each generation, Hadi Partovi, the CEO and a cofounder of the education nonprofit, which creates curricula for K-12 computer-science classes, said.

"Programming started with punch cards," Partovi said. "We don't use punch cards anymore." After that, programmers began typing with keyboards using a programming language called Assembly, a low-level language that communicates directly with a machine's architecture.

Similarly, Codex further simplifies certain software-engineering tasks. Programmers don't have to spend as much time on rote work as others have done a million times over, but they'll still need to understand the code that a tool like Codex produces, Partovi said. Developers using Codex or a similar tool who can't explain what their code is doing aren't going to become productive engineers.

Codex can fill in lines of code, but developers still must fundamentally understand how to solve a technical problem in the first place.

"I'm confident it'll make engineering easier," Partovi said. "Then we'll have more engineers, and more software engineering. Demand for technology is only limited by the supply of engineers."

Creating the next big thing

For the next generation of programmers, a major concern is that students will use programs like Copilot to write some code for them, then feel deflated by the idea that the program can do the work all on its own, Cynthia Lee, a senior lecturer of computer science at Stanford University, said. She said she has already received assignments from students she's certain they completed with Codex.

Lee worries that Codex may demotivate students who are struggling to figure out assignments. Tools like Copilot are "an exacerbation of a problem that we've always faced, which is: How do you get people to do the tasks that they need to do to learn?" she said.

"It just requires having a lot of conversation with students about the real basics of, 'Why are we here?'" Lee said.

Codex is a force multiplier that can speed up programming work, but it mostly spits out code that people have already written by gathering data from existing software packages. Still, Lee is optimistic about the technology overall, and she highlighted how important it is for students to continue learning software-development skills.

"There will always be a frontier of new creation," Lee said.

Codex can speed up innovation

The benefit of tools like Codex is that they can replace the manual searching developers usually need to do on the internet to figure out ways to debug their code and find software packages that support the code they're writing, Manning said.

For example, programmers may use the Python programming language to analyze text from a webpage. With Codex, they can just write a comment asking for a piece of code to complete that task, and the service will return it.

"Even for people who are in the field, the speed at which these models have gotten better and the success they have is frankly surprising," Manning said. "But these models absolutely aren't perfect, and if you aren't capable of noticing when something is wrong and it's generating the wrong code, or there's still a bug, then you're not going to be a productive software engineer."

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George Santos' first House race took days to call in 2020. So he came to DC for new member orientation and had a blast before finding out he lost.

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 10:00am
  • In 2020, Santos ran his first campaign and lost — but still went to DC for new member orientation. 
  • Before he was caught in a web of lies two years later, he made a splash as an almost-member.
  • Asked about the experience this week by Insider, he flatly declared: "I was invited."

It was November 26, 2020, and George Santos was apparently feeling nostalgic.

"I miss this crew!" wrote Santos in an Instagram post that showed him beside Republican Reps. Beth Van Duyne of Texas, Kat Cammack of Florida, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Pat Fallon of Texas, Andrew Clyde of Georgia and Byron Donalds of Florida. "Can't wait to get ready to join them again in 2022, and STAY with them!"

Before Santos became known for his seemingly-infinite stream of lies, the myriad investigations he faces, his past as a drag queen in Brazil, or the headaches he's causing his House Republican colleagues, the embattled congressman played the role of almost-member of Congress in 2020.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by George Santos (@santos4_congress)


Following his first campaign for Congress, Santos traveled all the way down to Washington, DC in November 2020 to attend new member orientation — a series of training sessions and tours held immediately after each election to give victorious House candidates a crash course on the job they've just won.

Back home, election returns still showed Santos leading Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi of New York, though a trove of tens of thousands of mail-in ballots that were widely expected to favor Suozzi had yet to be counted. 

"We all knew that Tom was going to win that race," said former Democratic Rep. Mondaire Jones of New York, who also attended the orientation, on a recent podcast episode. Jones also said Santos "asked the most questions" of any of the members-elect present. "We're all like, dude, you're not even gonna be part of this Congress."

The orientation took place during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and spanned November 12 to November 21. Santos would ultimately leave before the end of the session, conceding his race to Suozzi on the 17th. 

Nonetheless, according to a series of posts on the Long Island congressman's Instagram from that night in late November, his brief time in Washington for orientation was a blast. 

He was in the White House with Rep. Burgess Owens when he got to experience the "awesomeness" of the Utah Republican's race getting called. He took a tour of the "absolutely stunning" Washington Monument. But the "highlight" of his time in DC, according to Santos himself, was listening to a phone call from then-President Donald Trump while dining in Statuary Hall with other new Republican members.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by George Santos (@santos4_congress)


But it all came crashing down at the Lincoln Memorial, where he says he got a call notifying him that he'd been "ambushed" by mail-in ballots. "I didn't become upset because I channeled Abe's energy," he wrote, already vowing to run again in 2022.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by George Santos (@santos4_congress)

He eventually came back to Washington just before January 6, 2021, claiming in a since-unearthed video the day before the Capitol riot that his election had been stolen from him.

"Who here is ready to overturn the election for Donald J. Trump?" he asked a crowd. Santos has said that he saw Trump's speech at the Ellipse on the day of the riot, but that he never entered the Capitol.

—Robert Mackey (@RobertMackey) January 13, 2023'He seemed nice'

In cases where a congressional election takes more than a few days to fully determine, both candidates are sometimes invited to take part in new member orientation. 

Adam Frisch, a Democrat who almost unseated Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert this past year, attended the orientation sessions in November as the vote-counting in Colorado dragged on. In 2018, current Republican Rep. Young Kim of California attended as well, despite ultimately losing her race that year.

"I was invited," Santos flatly stated in a brief interview at the Capitol this past week, declining to get into details about his time in Washington in 2020.

"Ask Young Kim about it, she had the same experience," he added. "Ask somebody with a little bit more relevant of an opinion on it."

Today, Santos seems to be having trouble managing his own office, faces a lack of cooperation from local Republican officials with even the basics of constituent work, and has chosen to renounce his committee assignments due to the "media fanfare" surrounding his lies.

But back then, other lawmakers described a man who was friendly, if a bit quirky.

Santos at 2020 new member orientation, seated near Republican Rep. Ronny Jackson of Texas and Democratic Rep. Sara Jacobs of California.

"He seemed nice, and pleasant, and likable," said Rep. Nancy Mace of South Carolina, one of a handful of Republicans who's called for Santos to resign. "I texted him a couple times over the last few years, but nothing of consequence. I didn't donate to him — thank God!"

"He was a very jovial, very outgoing guy, just like he is now," said another House Republican elected in 2020 who was granted anonymity to speak candidly about her colleague. "The Bible says that we're all sinners, and I believe that people make mistakes. I'm not one to judge anybody. I leave that up to God Almighty."

Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia also struck up a friendship with Santos, sending him a package that included a cookie made to look like the far-right congresswoman.

—George Santos (@Santos4Congress) November 30, 2020


"Miss you George!" Greene replied to a photo of the cookies that Santos posted on Twitter. 

Two gay members of Congress who attended the orientation — Democratic Reps. Ritchie Torres and Mondaire Jones, both of New York — have recounted "odd" interactions they had with Santos, the first non-incumbent openly-gay Republican ever elected to Congress.

"At some point, he approached me to tell me that he is a gay Republican," said Jones on a recent podcast appearance. "Which I imagine is something that he did because he knows that I'm gay."

But Santos, despite his apparently boisterous personality, apparently left less of an impression with other Democrats. 

Rep. Sara Jacobs of California, who was photographed sitting near Santos during one session held in the Capitol Visitor Center, said she had no recollection of meeting or seeing the man.

"Everyone was wearing masks," said Jacobs. "There were so many people, and we didn't know anybody yet."

And Rep. Jamaal Bowman of New York, also elected in 2020, said he didn't recall meeting Santos but was amused to learn that he was there.

"This Congress is a fascinating place, man," said Bowman. "You want to work in an exciting, fast-paced industry, with unlimited storylines and twists and turns? I mean, this is the place."

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The Phoenix housing bubble spectacularly popped in 2008. Countless signs point towards a similar struggle now. Here's how bad it really is.

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 10:00am
  • Phoenix's housing market is deteriorating quickly as a drop in demand triggers home-price declines.
  • Goldman Sachs forecasts that home prices in the desert metropolis could fall by as much as 25%.
  • Experts are divided on whether Phoenix is facing a housing crisis on par with the 2008 crash.

"Like most bubbles, the longer it goes on, the worse the crash will be," Michael Burry, the fund manager and inspiration for "The Big Short" who famously predicted the 2008 housing crash once said about the danger of overly speculative, high-stakes market conditions.  

Indeed, booms do often end in busts. And as Phoenix's housing market performs an about-face from the dramatic rise it witnessed from spring 2020 to summer 2022, experts across the country are debating the possibility of the whole market imploding.

According to sale-price data from, the Phoenix market saw a median peak price of $470,000 last May, but subsequently fell by nearly 13% to $410,000 by December. And as of January 2023, area home sales are down 74% year-over-year, according to John Burns Real Estate Consulting. 

Phoenix — a sprawling desert metropolis that's home to nearly 5 million people — is no stranger to speculative real-estate bubbles.

In 2008, when the US housing market crashed, bringing the entire global economy down with it, the Phoenix area was a poster child for how real-estate bubbles can burst spectacularly. 

While Phoenix's economy and market fundamentals are much stronger today, countless signs now point toward a similar struggle. In 2022, the hot pandemic boomtowns — cities that saw significant housing demand during the pandemic — turned cold as higher mortgage rates spooked prospective buyers, leading to a downturn in home sales, new construction, and prices. Experts and journalists alike have speculated for months about whether the metro is doomed to repeat history. 

It's a bearish outlook that Goldman Sachs deems likely. In a recent note to its clients, the global finance giant forecasted home prices in the desert metro to experience a boom-and-bust, 2008-esque crash of 25% or more.

But experts are split on whether Phoenix's housing market is on track to normalize after a few years of unprecedented home-price growth and robust demand.  

"There are headlines we read and then there's what's actually happening in the market," Rick Sharga, the executive vice president of market intelligence at ATTOM Data, told Insider, showing skepticism toward the more extreme predictions of a market crash. He said he sees demand remaining strong and that a shortage of housing supply is likely to "prevent prices from declining too far."

This isn't the first time Phoenix has seen a housing downturn

Phoenix wasn't the only US city that saw its housing market come crashing down from great heights during the mid-aughts — but it was among the metros that the crash hit the hardest

Before 2008, a combination of cheap debt and loose lending practices led to many US borrowers taking on mortgages they could not afford. When the situation finally hit its breaking point during the Lehman Brothers meltdown, the nation witnessed a widespread foreclosure crisis among homeowners and a credit crunch among the investors who owned bonds that defaulted mortgages now backed.

The subprime mortgage crisis was the catalyst to devastating the US economy and housing markets throughout the country, particularly in Phoenix. 

The area's once-thriving housing market crumbled as job losses piled up and caused both normal buyers and investors to walk away from underwater mortgages. Phoenix home prices tumbled in the years following the crash, falling by 50% from the peak in 2006

Despite Phoenix's turbulent past, John Wake, an Arizona-based real-estate analyst and broker, said that the area is unlikely to experience another dramatic collapse. This is largely thanks to stricter lending standards implemented after the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act, he said.

"Focusing on foreclosures is key because that is what really killed the market here," he told Insider. "It was insane. Just in the Phoenix area, we had 50,000 foreclosures in 2009 — it won't even approach that today."

Phoenix leads other US metros in home sales and price declines 

While Phoenix — and much of the US — may be off the hook for a tidal wave of foreclosures during this cycle, its housing market is weakening faster than nearly any other city.

For one, homes listed for sale are staying on the market longer. According to the real-estate brokerage Redfin, in December 2022, homes sat on the market for a median of 61 days before selling. That's a 30 day increase — double the amount of time on the market — from the same time period in 2021.

Another factor at play is the sheer number of home-builder cancellations in Phoenix. Data from John Burns Real Estate Consulting shows that as of January 2023, 44.7% of homebuilders' net sales had been canceled, up a whopping 496% from January of last year.

"For builders, unsold inventory costs them money every day they're sitting vacant on the lot," Barry Cox, the vice president of consulting at John Burns Real Estate Consulting, told Insider. "So we've seen price declines on new home sales in a number of markets since mortgage rates ballooned last year." 

There's a glimmer of hope, however. Buyer demand across the country is beginning to thaw as mortgage rates fall.

Sindy Ready, the vice president of the Arizona Association of Realtors, told Insider that lower mortgage rates are giving agents hope for the spring homebuying season — a time when buyers typically flood the real-estate market. 

"Every year right around the fourth or fifth of January, the phones start ringing after everybody's done with the holidays," Ready told Insider. "We weren't really sure if that was going to be the case this year with interest rates being a little higher, but it was the case. We started seeing more activity in the market in early January."

Phoenix's housing market could be on track to normalizing 

Despite the numerous indicators of a weakening housing market, Phoenix may simply be facing a correction instead of a crash, several experts told Insider.

A major difference between the 2008 bubble and today is the fact that the Phoenix area's economy has diversified and become more resilient, attracting employers and their workers who need someplace to live. In terms of overall output, Phoenix's GDP has nearly doubled between 2009 and now, Fed data shows.

"Phoenix remains attractive to buyers because it is expanding and the population is increasing," Wake said, adding that "homes are appreciating and there is a stronger market as people move in." 

In 2023, the Phoenix metro area is poised to see several large projects developed throughout the region, including the construction of two factories by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing, which plans to eventually employ 4,500 workers, the Phoenix Business Journal reported.

"Most of the experts that the association relies on are all thinking that we're going to be appreciating in value this year — somewhere between 1% and 3%," Ready said of the expected price growth for the area. "I've heard no one other than Goldman Sachs say that our market is going to be crashing, especially similar to 2008."

Ready said the market isn't in peril — it's just "normalizing" as buyers and sellers become more "realistic" about their expectations.

"I wouldn't be afraid of the market right now," she said. "I'm recommending to my buyers that it's a great time to be a buyer because they can negotiate a little bit again, and from a seller perspective, they just have to be realistic on their pricing."

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The millennial boss' guide to managing Gen Z, based on 5 stereotypes of the younger generation

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 10:00am
Gen Z is shaking up the workplace.
  • Gen Z, who the pandemic, constant war, and the climate crisis have shaped, is hitting the workplace.
  • Gen Z will make up 27% of the workforce by 2025 — and they're already reshaping it.
  • Millennial bosses might find these new reports daunting, but they can learn a lot from Gen Z.

What happens when you take a generation of young people, add a seemingly endless war, a climate crisis, and a pandemic on top for good measure? 

You get Gen Z, a new crop of workers born from about 1996 to 2012 who are determined that something's got to change. 

Not only is Gen Z the most diverse generation in US history in terms of race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation, its members are also by and large, progressive, pro-government, and activist-minded. And their voices will be heard: This group, coming of age at a time of mass worker burnout, is set to make up 27% of the workforce by 2025 and they're not satisfied with the status quo

While the oldest members of Gen Z haven't been in the workforce long at age 27, they're already ruffling feathers. They came into the workforce during a tight labor market, where unemployment was low, and opportunities were high. And they know the power they hold.

Their reputation precedes them, and stereotypes abound. They're pegged as entitled and overly demanding; they're seen as sensitive snowflakes with zero job loyalty. And they're labeled as TikTok obsessed and known for drawing firm boundaries in their work lives.

That may be why some millennial managers think of Gen Z as, erm, high-maintenance.

Emily Tsitrian.

"The expectations that younger generations are bringing into the workplace — and, specifically, for their manager — are just really high," Emily Tsitrian, the CEO a and cofounder of Yeeld and the author of "Make Me the Boss: Surviving As A Millennial Manager In The Corporate World," told Insider. 

Millennial bosses, Tsitrian said, are in a unique — and, in some ways, unprecedented — position. They're managing a generation that's demanding more of employers, while still balancing the needs of the business. "It's not enough to operate the machine and give people generic career advice like, 'Work hard and you're going to make it,' and 'Just show up and crush it every day,'" she said. "That's not resonating with younger generations." 

So, what will resonate? Insider spoke with management experts, career coaches, and members of Gen Z themselves to reframe the narrative around how Gen Z is changing the workplace. Here are some of the biggest misconceptions about this generation — along with advice and ideas on how to lead them.

Gen Z demands to do things their own way

Gen Zers see vast potential for change in society and in the workplace — and think that their generation will be the one to drive it

But this belief sometimes leads to one of the most common criticisms of this generation: Gen Zers' insistence on — and, some say, entitlement to — doing things their own way. 

Kimi Kaneshina, a 24-year-old associate-product manager, told Insider that Gen Z workers are willing to question the norm — and are confident in doing so.

Kimi Kaneshina.

But that confidence can be off-putting to older bosses and colleagues. "A lot of young people have this idea that, 'I should be able to be entirely myself and offer my opinion to anyone at any time,'" Anthony Nyberg, a professor at University of South Carolina's Darla Moore School of Business, told Insider. 

And as much as you, the manager, want to encourage your young report's authenticity and enthusiasm, you also know there are certain behaviors, actions, and modes of communication that come across as rude or impractical.

"Organizations say they want to be inclusive and that they want people to bring their whole selves to work — but there's a caveat: They want your professional self," Nyberg said.

Nyberg recommended managers frame the issue to their Gen Z team members as one of influence. Remind Gen Zers of their audience. Don't lecture, but rather show them that if they're trying to sway corporate leaders, they'll have more success if they speak the leaders' language. Advise them to listen to the way senior leaders talk — including the words they use, the way they present ideas, and even how they dress. 

Explain to Gen Zers that they can be more influential if they deliver their message in a way that appeals to older colleagues and executives, he said. "You don't talk to the CEO the way you talk to your friends on Saturday night."

Gen Zers overvalue their personal lives

Whatever else you say about Gen Z, one thing is true for many: This is a group that works to live, not lives to work.

Gen Zers are, after all, credited with ushering in the era of quiet quitting, which is, in essence, doing only what's in your job description and otherwise maintaining firm limits. Even for career-minded Gen Zers, boundaries and work-life balance are key. Your company is not your family, as recent tech layoffs have shown.

For Gen Z, "it's really important to respect people's boundaries," Kaneshina told Insider. For example, she said, managers should schedule meetings during the workday, not later, and they shouldn't email or Slack their team members outside of those hours. 

If they do, they shouldn't be "expecting an immediate response."

While Gen Zers maintain that these boundaries are a way to make work more sustainable in the long term, the lines can sometimes frustrate their managers.

Lacey Leone McLaughlin, an executive coach and management consultant in Los Angeles, advised managers to "ditch past constructs" and outdated ideas of "how things have always been done."  

"Do you care about people sitting in their seats from 9 to 5 or do you care about them delivering the work that's pushing the business forward?" she said. "Gen Z wants to own how their time is spent. Good managers leverage that, and bad ones are intimidated by it."

It's only when your workers aren't getting their jobs done that you have a problem, she added. "And that's Management 101," she said. "Make sure they're clear on priorities and expectations; make sure they understand what success looks like; and make sure you're communicating and giving a regular cadence of feedback."

Gen Z has no job loyalty 

The rap on Gen Z is that they're all a bunch of job-hoppers with no loyalty. 

And that's not entirely off-base. Gen Zers spend an average of two years and three months in a role and change jobs more frequently than any other generation, according to 2021 data from CareerBuilder, a jobs site with the largest market share among online-employment websites in the US. Meanwhile, a new study by Oliver Wyman, which surveyed 10,000 Gen Zers aged 18 to 25 in the US and the UK, found that responding Gen Zers don't stigmatize job-hopping, and that they're perfectly prepared to leave unfulfilling jobs without having a backup plan

As a generation, they won the Great Resignation, landing bigger raises when they switched from one role to another. Many won't even apply to a role unless the salary is listed. All in all, it's good news for Gen Zers, who were particularly battered by the pandemic economy — but maybe not so much for their employers. 

Avery Monday, a 21-year-old influencer-marketing manager, told Insider that managers shouldn't take it personally if their Gen Z employees are leaving. Gen Z sees staying put as an outdated norm, she said. "Our parents' generation — you stick with a company for 20 years, due to loyalty. Gen Z simply just doesn't have that type of loyalty to a company anymore."

Besides, people in their 20s are apt to move around from job to job more because they have fewer commitments and looser ties. Many, for instance, don't yet have a mortgage — will they ever? — or a family. As they get older, their tendencies might change. Recent tech layoffs have only served to reinforce the idea that work is not your family

"Managers need to chill out about the length of time their Gen Z employees are going to stick around," Clare DeNicola, a principal at the10company, a management- and communications-consulting firm, told Insider. "It doesn't matter if they stay for years."

Gen Zers are job hunting, and that's not a bad thing.

What matters, she said, is whether they're engaged while they're there.

And it's your job, as the manager, to engage them. To do that, DeNicola has two recommendations: teamwork and purpose. "This generation is very team-oriented — they want to collaborate and work with others," she said. 

They also want their work to matter. "Make sure they understand the impact of their contributions. They don't want to feel like they're a number."

Gen Z lives online 

Yes, Gen Zers love TikTok and are internet obsessed, but while it's easy to blame kids these days, it's also understandable that they'd be bouncing from app to app.

After all, younger Gen Zers spent some amount of their formative schooling online due to the pandemic. And many older members of Gen Z had their entry into the working world disrupted by Covid. 

To be clear: Many Gen Zers do want to work in person. A survey by Dell of 15,105 people between the ages of 18 and 26 across 15 countries, found that while 29% of respondents said flexible- and remote-working arrangements are important considerations when choosing an employer, another 29% of respondents said they favor 9-to-5 office-based roles.

For Gen Z, being online is about expediency, Monday said. "Gen Z is a generation of working smarter, not harder," Monday said. "That can come across as a lack of work ethic or like, 'Oh, you're just not as dedicated as the generations before you.' But I don't always think that that's true."

A lot of Gen Z and millennials get their financial literacy from TikTok and Instagram.

Managers, meanwhile, need to be flexible and have some compassion, according to DeNicola. If they want to encourage more real-life interactions with their Gen Z reports, they need to be smart and thoughtful in how they go about it.

"Don't make them go through the paces," just for the sake of it, but rather "make an effort to integrate Gen Z into the workplace as early as possible," she said. 

Find ways for Gen Z to feel more connected to the organization. "Give them more visibility. Give them a project or initiative that they can own and where they can shine. Think about who could mentor them," she said. 

Be creative in how you lure them into the office. Host social events and parties; offer in-person training opportunities to develop their skills; invite them to high-level meetings and lunches to give them exposure to senior executives. "Make it fun, but with a purpose," she said.

Gen Zers are sensitive snowflakes

One of the more insidious stereotypes about Gen Zers is that they're overly sensitive, a critique that's been lobbied against several generations. For as long as there've been the new kids on the block, there've been complaints that they can't handle the heat.

But Gen Zers say their approach to work and life is more about respect — and experts think that managers can learn from it.

"When people think about Gen Z, there's a lot of discussion about the generation being very sensitive. I think it's important to challenge that assumption," Kaneshina said. "It's not necessarily that the generation is sensitive, but I think it's more that the generation is really aware of what's happening in the workplace, what's happening in the environment, and outside of work." 

What might come off as oversensitivity is more about ensuring that everyone feels safe, comfortable, and respected at work, Kaneshina said. 

Monday agreed. It's important for managers "to be in tune with how their Gen Z employee is feeling about certain things and give them positive reinforcement that other generations didn't necessarily always need," she said.

And Tsitrian said it's mischaracterization to ascribe greater sensitivity and awareness to just Gen Z. Both millennials and Gen Z have done "a lot more" to destigmatize mental-health challenges and normalize counseling and therapy. Those are lessons that everyone can learn from, she said.

"You can harness that into a superpower in the workplace," Tsitrian said. "Showing up and really deeply understanding yourself from a psychological and just social, emotional perspective can make you a superstar facilitator."

Read the original article on Business Insider

With a recession looming, layoffs are in full effect. Here are some of the safest and most at-risk jobs, according to economists.

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 9:59am
US employees are worried about their jobs amid a looming recession.
  • US employees are worried about their jobs amid a looming recession. 
  • While a truly recession-proof job is elusive, some industries are safer than others.
  • Insider spoke to economists to identify some of the safest jobs, and the ones most at risk.

A recession is most likely on the cards for the majority of the world, according to a December report from the investment management company BlackRock. 

James Morton, chief investment officer at Santa Lucia Asset Management, recently said that Americans should brace themselves for a near-certain recession this year, despite recent optimism from the Biden administration. 

The grim economic rhetoric has caused employee concerns about layoffs to skyrocket, Lauren Thomas, a UK-based economist for Glassdoor told Insider. 

She said that on the company review website, "October mentions of layoffs doubled, discussion of inflation tripled, and talk of recession increased nearly tenfold from last October."

Workers have been wary about how an economic downturn may affect their employment opportunities for some time. This summer, almost 80% of US workers surveyed by Insight Global said they were worried about losing their employment if the country entered another recession.

While a truly recession-proof job is elusive, some industries are typically safer than others. Insider spoke to labor experts and economists to identify some of the safest and most-at-risk jobs. 

Most at-risk jobsTech jobs

After a pandemic-inspired hiring boom, layoffs have been spreading across the tech sector in recent months, with major job cuts hitting tech giants such as Meta, Twitter, and Amazon.

Tech companies are suffering an early economic hit sparked, in part, by a slowdown in online ad spending.

However, Glassdoor's Thomas says those in tech with highly specialized skills are still largely in demand across the board, and will likely be rehired quickly if they are laid off.


Much of the working-age population over the age of 16 isn’t returning to the workforce, and Americans over the age of 64 aren’t picking up the slack.

Construction, which relies heavily on borrowed funds, tends to get hit hard early on during a recession, experts told Insider.

Construction-sector jobs are not only vulnerable because of their reliance on debt, but also because they are often less flexible than other businesses when it comes to scaling back operations, Brian Greenberg, CEO and founder of insurance company Insurist, told Insider.

"For example, if you're a construction worker whose company lays off half its workforce during a recession, you may be able to find work elsewhere, even if your employer doesn't come back. But if you're an architect who specializes in designing buildings for new developments, there's likely nowhere else for you to go when your firm lays off staff," Greenberg said. 

E-commerce and social media

Experts are already starting to see a drop in demand for some digital-facing roles post-pandemic.

"Pandemic-induced demand for certain technologies like e-commerce or social media has fallen in the past year," Glassdoor's Thomas said, as e-commerce and social-media jobs are affected by a change in consumer demand following the COVID-19 pandemic that forced much of marketing and shopping online.

She said that "while the fundamentals of the industry are strong," companies that are still adjusting to the new post-pandemic normal may see a slight downturn in the short term.

The most recession-proof jobsHealthcare 

Professionals who have the most job security in a recession include doctors, physicians, and nurses but also, for example, pharmacists, physiotherapists, or carers for the elderly and disabled, Bartosz Sawicki told Insider.

Sawicki, a market analyst at currency fintech Conotoxia and macroeconomic forecaster, said the same was true for veterinarians, "as we care more and more for our dogs, cats, and other pets as our civilization develops."

LinkedIn senior economist Kory Kantenga also found that healthcare is a field that will likely be least exposed to business cycle fluctuations.


Teaching is an in-demand profession and teachers rarely work remotely, making them harder to recruit, Thomas said.

"The growing number of university graduates is likely to increase even further, which translates into a demand for lecturers, especially in the fields of technology, ICT, medicine, or law," Sawicki said. 

Public safety and social services

A Met Police officer

Public safety and social services jobs "tend to remain stable and sometimes even grow during recessions as governments spend more on programs like job seeker-training to stabilize downturns," LinkedIn's Kantenga said. 

These roles include governmental positions, law enforcement officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, correctional officers, security guards, and occupational health and safety specialists. 

"Withdrawing government, educational, and health and social services in a recession is generally unpopular," he added.

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London's $25 billion railway, which took 23 years to build, hits 100 million passenger journeys since opening in May. One station is big enough to fit the city's tallest skyscraper inside.

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 9:58am
Elizabeth line.
  • London's latest railway line costing $25 billion has clocked up more than 100 million journeys.
  • The Elizabeth line took 13 years to build and stretches 60 miles east to west across the city.
  • Insider got an early peak of the long-awaited line and a ride on the train in March 2022.
The Elizabeth line, built by Crossrail, is a highly anticipated railway that opened on May 24. It's the first new underground railway line in the city since 1979.An Elizabeth line train.Since opening eight months ago, more than 100 million journeys have been taken on the Elizabeth Line, Transport for London (TfL) said on Wednesday. About 600,000 journeys are made each day on the railway, making it one of the busiest lines in the UK, it added.

Source: Transport for London

I went for an exclusive tour around two of the central stations on the Elizabeth line in March, as well as a ride on the train. The first station I looked around was at Paddington — one of London's major train stations, which opened in 1854.Elizabeth Line at Paddington StationPaddington Station on the Elizabeth line is so big that London's tallest skyscraper, the Shard, could fit inside if laid flat, Crossrail CEO Mark Wild said during the tour.Wild said the Elizabeth line was initially planned 23 years ago, and construction has taken 13 years. After missing several deadlines for its debut, it's finally open.To mark the launch of the Elizabeth line, Queen Elizabeth II visited the railway, which was named after her. She learned how to add money to an Oyster travel card at London's Paddington station.Queen Elizabeth visited the Elizabeth line for the first time last week.For the Queen's funeral on September 19, TfL offered cheaper fares and an extra hour of service on the Elizabeth line. It also created a flower memorial in Paddington station and announced a two-minute silence to passengers.

Source: Insider.

Some stations on the Elizabeth line have artistic details inside. For instance, Paddington Station had clouds printed on the glass ceiling, representing every type of cloud in the sky, TfL Commissioner Andy Byford said on the tour in March.It cost £1 million, or $1.3 million, per meter to build this tunnel between the Elizabeth line and the Bakerloo line at Paddington Station, Wild said.Before the tour, there was a glitch in the radio system, which meant the trains had to stop running for two hours. Wild said there were still "niggles and quirks that need ironing out" with the railway.The tunnels are separated from the platform with glass paneling that slides open when a train arrives. This separates the cooler airflow in the tunnels from the air in the station. The trains are also air-conditioned, unlike most underground trains in London. More than 1,500 kilometers of cable supplies the new line with ventilation, power, and lighting, according to the Crossrail website.Compared to London Underground tubes and other trains I've been on in the UK, the Elizabeth line trains were bright and spacious. A TfL staffer told me the carriages were 1.5 times bigger than the city's tube trains.I was able to have a conversation with other people on the train because it wasn't noisy like other underground transport systems. It was also a smooth ride, unlike other journeys I've taken on the tube, which are often bumpy.I got a good view from the driver's cab of the journey through the tunnels, which are up to 40 meters underground, Wild said.Eight tunneling machines — each at 1,000 tonnes — were used to created 42km of new rail tunnels below London, according to Crossrail. Twenty-person "tunnel gangs" worked in shifts to create the winding routes between 2012 and 2015, per the company website.A tunnel on the Elizabeth line.The Elizabeth line serves around 250 million passengers every year, stretching 60 miles east to west across London, per TfL. There are 41 stations along the full route — 10 are newly built and 30 are refurbishments of existing stations.Elizabeth line trains run from towns east of London, passing through the heart of the city, and towards commuter hubs in the west.The route of the Elizabeth line.My journey on one section of the railway — from Paddington to Canary Wharf — took around 18 minutes. The same trip using the existing railway network would take around 30 minutes, according to navigation app, Citymapper.A journey from the financial hub of Canary Wharf to Heathrow Airport takes 38 minutes on the Elizabeth line, at the cost of a normal tube fare. According to Citymapper, the journey normally takes around one hour.A proposal to create a train running across London from east to west was first aired in 1830, but it has taken almost 200 years to come to fruition.The Elizabeth line train in an underground tunnel.Construction of the line hit £18.9 billion, that's $25 billion, but Byford said in March that £150 million was still needed to finish the project. Crossrail Ltd was still figuring out how to fund the additional costs, he said.During construction, nearly 100 million liters of water was pumped out of the station box, enough to fill 40 Olympic-sized swimming pools.A fragment of woolly mammoth jawbone and a piece of amber estimated to be around 55 million years old were also found and passed onto London's Natural History Museum.More than 63,000 sleepers and 51,419 meters of rail were installed as part of the line, while around 13,500 meters cubed of concrete was poured in when the tracks were installed. That's enough to fill several Olympic sized swimming pools, according to the Crossrail website.Parts of the new trains were tested in Vienna under extreme weather conditions, ranging from -25ºC up to +40ºC, according to Crossrail.Trial runs ended on March 28, Wild said. Ghost runs — journeys without passengers — took place before the line opened in May.Byford said in March that the Elizabeth line was "late and over budget" but promised "no further slippage.""Londoners have waited long enough," he said, adding: "This is a game-changer."Read the original article on Business Insider

Gautam Adani went from Asia's richest man to losing $60 billion after a scathing short-seller report. Here are the new top 5 wealthiest people on earth.

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 9:45am
Gautam Adani, Founder and chairman Of Adani Group.
  • Gautam Adani was the world's third richest person at the end of 2022, but that has changed.
  • Adani lost $60 billion after a scathing short-report from Hindenburg Research last month targeted his companies.
  • These are the new top five wealthiest people after Adani fell to the world's 21st richest person.

In a matter of weeks, Indian businessman Gautam Adani has lost $60 billion after a scathing short-report from Hindenburg Research targeted his web of industrial companies.

At the start of the year, Adani was Asia's richest man and was the world's third richest person. Now, he has fallen to the 21st richest person on earth as investors question the integrity of his various companies. Adani currently has a net worth of about $61 billion, according to data from Bloomberg. At his peak in September, Adani was worth $150 billion. 

The fall from grace for Adani has shaken up the Bloomberg Billionaire's Index, as has the remarkable year-to-date rally in the stock market.

The surge in tech stocks, with the Nasdaq 100 up 15% so far this year, has created more than $60 billion in wealth for some of America's tech founders, like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

These are the world's top five richest people, according to data from Bloomberg.

5. Warren BuffettWarren Buffett.

Net Worth: $108 billion
YTD Change: +$1 billion
Company Ownership: Berkshire Hathaway

4. Bill GatesBill Gates.

Net Worth: $115 billion
YTD Change: +$1.1 billion
Company Ownership: Microsoft

3. Jeff BezosJeff Bezos.

Net Worth: $136 billion
YTD Change: +$29.3 billion
Company Ownership: Amazon

2. Elon MuskElon Musk.

Net Worth: $174 billion
YTD Change: +$36.5 billion
Company Ownership: Tesla, SpaceX, OpenAI

1. Bernard ArnaultBernard Arnault.

Net Worth: $193 billion
YTD Change: +$30.7 billion
Company Ownership: LVMH

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A bull shark likely behind fatal attack of 16-year-old girl swimming in a river, say authorities

Sun, 02/05/2023 - 9:35am
Bull sharks often frequent river systems that brings them into contact with humans.
  • Authorities in Perth, Western Australia, believe that a bull shark is responsible for a fatal attack. 
  • 16-year-old Stella Berry was killed in the Swan River in Perth. 
  • Bull sharks, which can live in salt and fresh water, can be aggressive though fatal attacks are rare.

Authorities in Perth, Western Australia, believe that a bull shark could be responsible for the attack that killed a 16-year-old who went jetskiing with friends.

The Australian fisheries minister Don Punch said that it was too early to confirm the species of shark responsible for the fatal attack in the Swan River but told ABC News that he believes it may be a bull shark. 

"We do know that bull sharks, particularly, do enter estuaries and freshwater river systems, so it is likely that may be the case," he said.

Bull sharks are the most dangerous sharks in the world, according to many experts, because they hunt along shorelines where people gather to swim. The species also inhabits freshwater rivers increasing the chance of encounters with humans. They have been known to travel up the Mississippi as far up as Illinois, for example, a distance of  700 miles.

One or more bull sharks may have been responsible for the famous 1916 Jersey Shore shark attacks that inspired Peter Benchley's novel "Jaws."

One of the biggest bull sharks recorded was 13 feet long and weighed 990 pounds.

"A beautiful daughter who was a vibrant and happy girl"

High School student Stella Berry died on February 4 while jet skiing with friends in the Swan River. 

Speaking at a press conference, Western Australia Police's Inspector Paul Robinson said, "there was possibly a pod of dolphins seen nearby, and the young female jumped in the water to swim nearby the dolphins," per The Sydney Morning Herald.

"It's an extremely traumatic event for everyone involved and everyone who knew the young girl, so I won't be going into the extent of the injuries," he said.

A tribute from the Berry family shared with ABC News described the high school student as their "beautiful daughter who was a vibrant and happy girl with plans of living in Europe after school."

They said, "She had an infectious laugh. Stella loved creating art and spending time with her friends, particularly at the river and beach."

Fatal shark attacks are rare in Australia. Premier Mark McGowan of Western Australia said, "in terms of these events, they're very rare events, but when they happen, it's just awful," per ABC News. 

The Swan River had not seen a fatal shark attack since January 1923, when a bull shark killed a 13-year-old boy.

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