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What we learned in Klay Thompson’s record-setting game

first_imgCLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile deviceThe Warriors beat a hapless Chicago Bulls team 149-124 Monday in a contest that wasn’t as close as that scoreline might indiucate.In the process, some history was made. Here’s what we learned in the Warriors’ most comprehensive victory of the young season.Records, (well, at least this record), are expected to be brokenAnyone with a cursory knowledge of the Warriors or Klay Thompson’s game knew that he …last_img

Eugenics Documentary Opens at Holocaust Museum

first_imgMichael Ollove at the Baltimore Sun reports on a new exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Museum entitled Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race.  The exhibit shows a 1937 Nazi propaganda film that invokes the law of natural selection as support for weeding out the unfit.  Ollove writes,The narrator declares that “we humans have sinned terribly against [the] laws of natural selection,” by coddling the genetically impaired and, even worse, by allowing them to reproduce, duplicating their defects in a new legion of offspring.  “We have not only sustained unworthy life,” he decries, “we have allowed it to multiply.”The title of the 1937 film is Victims of the Past, a reference to the idea in the disgraced genetic field of eugenics that illness, disability and delinquency were passed without deviation, gene by gene, from one generation to the next.  The film was a piece of Nazi propaganda, required showing in German theaters in support of the nation’s program for the compulsory sterilization of the “genetically unfit” to choke off undesirable human traits – and undesirable human beings.Ollove says that eugenics led directly to the holocaust: “Ultimately, the Third Reich arrived at a more comprehensive solution than sterilization, one that it would also choose for other ‘biological’ enemies, including Jews, Gypsies and other ‘inferior’ races: extermination.”Reviewing the displays, Ollove says “the exhibition stands as a frightening warning of where the corrupted use of science can lead.”  The marriage of eugenics with the Third Reich was “a marriage made in hell,” he says, and “lent Nazi ideology a whiff of scientific authority.”Francis Galton, the father of eugenics, was Charles Darwin’s cousin and an admirer of his famous relative’s evolutionary theory.  Janet Browne, in her biography Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (Princeton, 2002) made it clear that racism was a common fault of many British scientists, and was shared not only by Galton, but by Darwin and many of his defenders: Huxley, Haeckel and many others.  Charles Darwin himself believed that the white-skinned Europeans with their superior intelligence would eventually exterminate the “lower” races.Who was Hitler to stand in the way of the laws of nature?  The Reich took enthusiastic note of the work of eugenicists.  Ollove writes, “After Hitler took power, the eugenicists achieved an unparalleled primacy, the envy of counterparts elsewhere in the world.  Many were appointed to key positions at scientific institutions and received research funding.  Their critics were silenced, while their views were furthered in state propaganda and official policy.”  Yet Germany was not alone in supporting eugenics.  The United States passed forced sterilization laws even before Germany did, beginning in 1907 (see this book review by the NCPA).Ollove next describes the slippery slope that began with euthanizing children, to killing adults, and led to all the horrors with which we have become familiar from newsreels made after the war.  Just a dirty chapter in history, a shocking museum exhibit?  Ollove warns that “the exhibit’s continued relevance is unmistakable as present-day bioethicists wrestle with the policy implications of startling genetic research and the possibilities it presents.”  Already, genetic screening, the desire to breed super-athletes or super-intelligent children, sex selection and the rising costs of health care are creating pressures to weed out the unfit or “undesirable.”What is the lesson of this exhibit?  He concludes, “The underlying issue inevitably bears on the question of the worth of individuals, a question for which both German eugenicists and the Nazis believed they had answers.”  Their answers often leaned on the writings of Darwin, Haeckel, and Galton.See also a new book by Dr. Richard Weikart (UC Stanislaus), From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany (Palgrave McMillan, 2004).  The author shows in this book that “Hitler built his view of ethics on Darwinian principles.”Darwinists hate it when outsiders try to link evolutionary theory with the holocaust.  Their response is usually two-fold: (1) science, and evolutionary theory in particular, has nothing to do with how it is used (after all, benign nuclear physics led to the atomic bomb), and (2) Christians have been guilty of atrocities, too: why, passages in the Bible could be, and were, used to justify anti-Semitism, slavery, and genocide.  Go read Ollove’s entire article.  Then, come back and let’s examine these rebuttals in turn.First, can Darwin be exonerated from what others did with his theories?  After all, Charlie was unquestionably a pleasant chap who wouldn’t hurt a fly (he would study it for evidence of natural selection).  He had many friends and admirers.  He loved nature and was basically a kind-hearted gentleman.  It can probably be affirmed without contradiction that he would have been shocked and horrified at what Hitler did.  Nevertheless, look at his ideas and their logical consequences.  He set forth a worldview of competition, struggle, and survival of the fittest; a world that filtered out the “unfit” by ruthless, undirected processes.  No matter how much he tried to restrict the discussion to scientific terminology, others knew exactly what his ideas meant and where they would lead.  Reviewers from day one applied his views to the human race and to politics.  The horrors that could follow from his views was precisely one of the arguments leveled at Darwin by critics in 1859 and 1860.  Darwin’s admirers, on the other hand, immediately used The Origin of Species to attack Christianity and promote liberal socialism.  Haeckel practically worshipped Darwin (and Darwin thought highly of Haeckel in return); Haeckel returned to Germany to promote Darwinism and eugenics, fueling the very fires that culminated in Nazism.Janet Browne and other historians have pointed out how Charles Darwin’s views fit neatly into the 19th century political climate of British imperialism.  Herbert Spencer (originator of the term “survival of the fittest”) told Andrew Carnegie that his cutthroat capitalism was a normal and natural outworking of the laws of nature.  Karl Marx felt that Darwinism provided the scientific justification for his communist views.  Whether Nazism, communism, or laissez-faire capitalism, each view that promoted ruthless competition and survival of the fittest used The Origin of Species as a scientific justification.Second, is Christianity just as guilty?  Let Joseph Goebbels himself frame the debate.  Ollove quotes him as stating in 1938, “Our starting point is not the individual, and we do not subscribe to the view that one should feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, or clothe the naked.  Our objectives are entirely different: We must have a healthy people in order to prevail in the world.”  Now, pray tell, who taught that we should feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, and clothe the naked?  Who treated each individual as precious in the sight of God?  Who healed the infirm, sought out the poor and needy, and lifted up those who were humble?  The lines could hardly be drawn more boldly than Goebbels drew them: Jesus valued the individual; Hitler, the eugenicists, and ultimately the Darwinians, valued the race.Speaking of race, the Bible has the antidote to the false concept that some races are superior to others.  Creation teaches that we are all descended from Adam, a principle reinforced in the New Testament by Paul and Jesus.  There are no races; there is only the human race.  Answers in Genesis is one creationist organization that has recently promoted this Bible doctrine as the cure for racism.  The Bible also denies that some individuals are less fit to live.  The weak, the sick, the lame, the blind, the poor were often the ones to whom Jesus showed the most compassion.It cannot be denied that Europeans did some ugly things in the name of Christ (including persecuting other Christians who believed people should follow the teachings of Jesus).  But these actions were opposite both the letter and the spirit of the Bible.  What about, then, the Old Testament commands to exterminate the Canaanites?  We must remember that the rights of life and death belong to God alone.  He who gives life has the sovereignty and authority to destroy it, as He did in the flood, and as He will do at Armageddon.  God takes full responsibility for His judgment.  In some cases, he delegated His judgment to humans.  But Moses and Joshua and the prophets had direct revelation from God on these matters (a luxury not afforded us today, nor to the medieval popes).  These were specific orders from God, to God’s chosen people, at specific times for His specific purposes, and are never mentioned in the Bible as normative for individuals or kings; in fact, the opposite is taught in both Old and New Testaments –care for the alien and sojourner, orphan and widow, and mercy toward all who are weak or afflicted.  Would Hitler or Mao have taught “love your enemies”?  Jesus said that the two greatest commandments were to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself.  These are commandments to individuals, not to “the race.”The Bible’s position on individual human dignity does not rule out all killing.  God has instituted government to protect the rights of individuals, by means including police protection and national defense.  War can be just.  It can prevent further killing, or destroy those who are about to kill, as in the war against terrorism.  This is a far cry from genocide.  Neither does the Bible rationalize keeping the fit in their weakness, as if it is their fate.  The Biblical values of health, healing, cleanliness and industry should promote medical research into finding cures for genetic diseases and improving health – for individuals, because each person bears the image of God.  Even the benevolent competition of athletic games is spoken of favorably in the New Testament.  Individuals are encouraged to do their best.  This is a far cry from eugenics.Crusading popes corrupted the teachings of Jesus, but the eugenicists and the Nazis carried the teachings of Darwin to their logical applications.  Could figures be accurately known, the body count of those killed in the name of Christ to those killed in the name of Darwinism would differ by orders of magnitude.  In the 20th century alone, some 100 million deaths can be traced to communism and Nazism, regimes that banned Bibles and closed churches but exalted Darwinism, promoting survival of the fittest as the governing principle of society.  Most Darwinians are “nicer” these days (e.g., not overtly racist) but their core beliefs have not changed.  Some already support euthanasia and infanticide in the name of natural selection.  Many have no qualms about the ongoing holocaust of abortion.  As we approach difficult 21st-century ethical questions about genetic engineering and cloning and other cutting-edge technologies, respect for the individual must be the pole star in our deliberations (for example, see this Breakpoint commentary by Amy Michelle DeBaerts).Given that racism is a perpetual fire in the human heart, from ancient times to the present, which book – the Bible or the Origin of Species – is like water on the flames, and which is like gasoline?  Let history be the judge.  We must never forget.(Visited 37 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Pick n Pay, BP in fuel retail venture

first_img“In addition, our agreement paves the way for extensive enterprise development through the building up of existing and new franchisees, particularly in small and medium-sized business development, and it holds great promise for the advancement of black economic empowerment,” he said. “Our research has shown that our shoppers want more convenience, both in terms of ease of shopping and location – and Pick n Pay Express, in conjunction with our other small store formats, will give them just that. As petrol is regulated by the government, it will continue to be sold at the prevailing price until such a time as the government loosens its control on fixed prices. Focus on fuel “This is one of the most exciting retail initiatives in which Pick n Pay has become involved in many years, and will be an important part of our plans to increase our convenience offering to our customers, which is an area of great potential growth,” Pick n Pay CEO Nick Badminton said in a statement this week. Roll-out will be dependent on success of the model, but both companies are confident the joint venture will bring multiple benefits not only to the two companies, but also to South African customers increasingly pressed for time and in search of efficient and affordable convenience retailing. “And in these times of skyrocketing fuel prices, we believe that motorists will leap at the opportunity to buy discounted diesel.” “This agreement, therefore, represents a win-win situation for all stakeholders – Pick n Pay and BP can maximise their business opportunities, consumers benefit in terms of convenience and fuel prices, and entrepreneurial development gets a welcome shot in the arm.” 22 October 2008 Discounted diesel The two companies, which signed a memorandum of understanding in July, will open two pilot sites in the Western Cape by the end of 2008.center_img BP South Africa chief executive Sipho Maseko said that the partnership with Pick n Pay would enable BP to expand their convenience offering while focusing on BP’s core function as a leading fuel retailer in South Africa. “BP is South Africa’s most admired fuel retailer, and by entering into a partnership with them, we will be able to offer our customers the essentials they need, where they need them – in a one-stop offering,” Badminton said. The roll-out would involve further expansion concentrated on BP’s top national sites, with the existing BP Express stores being phased out. The new convenience stores will be known as Pick n Pay Express, and will stock just over 1 500 lines, staying open 24/7. As part of their efforts to lure more customers, the Pick n Pay Express stores will sell diesel at discounted prices. According to the retailer, Pick n Pay chairman Raymond Ackerman has for decades promoted the idea of selling discounted fuel. While agreements between fuel and convenience retailers are not new in South Africa, the new venture will see Pick n Pay not only selling convenience goods on the service station forecourt, but also fuel. As part of the agreement between the two companies, BP will act as landlords and fuel wholesalers, with Pick n Pay acting as the franchisee. Convenience retailing South African food retailer Pick n Pay has teamed up with multinational petroleum company BP in a pilot programme which, if successful, could change the face of both petroleum retailing and convenience shopping in the country. SAinfo reporter Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Best Practices for Using Push Notifications

first_imgTags:#apps#How To#mobile A question many developers ask is “what’s the right amount of push?,” says Urban Airship. Unfortunately, some developers just try to figure out how many push notifications they can get away with instead of thinking about giving users the best experience with their app.Optimizing for the right amount of push involves aligning the feature with the purpose of the app and user preferences. For example, a “word of the day” app would send out an update daily. News apps may deliver push notifications for “breaking” news stories, though the nature of what’s actually considered “breaking” may be determined editorially.Another best practice for implementing push notifications is allowing users to control how often they receive these messages. In the case of the news app example, users could configure it so they only received alerts for breaking news in particular categories (e.g. sports and business, but not entertainment).Social app users could tell it they want to know when friends check-in somewhere. But instead of providing that as a global setting, the app could ask every time they add a a new friend if they wanted alerts for that person.Step 3: Track EngagementDevelopers should also track the engagement levels of app users regularly and often. When thinking about push, it’s not the same as losing an email or SMS user, explains Urban Airship. It’s not just a “-1” to your marketing list, but has much greater consequences. It means your app is being under-utilized, is less effective than you intended and is offering a poor experience.Of course, Urban Airship offers a tool that tracks who’s opting out of push notifications by allow app developers to compare active device tokens (ADT) with total device tokens (TDT). An inactive token means the user has either deleted the app or turned push off. By comparing ADT with TDT, you can track changes to the Push Retention Ratio, specifically observing how the rate changes after push notifications and how it changes during dormant times.Remember that once a user opts out of push notifications, sending them messages is a violation of Apple’s Terms of Service. Although the BlackBerry and Android platforms don’t have this spelled out in their guidelines, Urban Airship recommends following Apple’s suggestion on those platforms, too.Note: This blog post is a summary of Urban Airship’s white paper. The complete document is available here. What it Takes to Build a Highly Secure FinTech … Mobile services company Urban Airship has compiled a white paper detailing the best practices for the implementation of push notifications in mobile apps. Push notifications, a feature on many mobile operating systems, allow app developers to send short messages to users via a badge update, sound or text-based alert. When used correctly, end users will engage more with the app, the brand, the organization or the service. And that leads to more opportunities for monetization, explains Urban Airship.However, figuring out how to implement this feature wisely takes some work. The guidelines below may help.Step 1: Get Users to Opt-InBefore you can take advantage of push notifications in your app, you need the app users to opt-in to accept them. Before blindly implementing the pop-up asking for permission, it’s important that your users understand why they would want to receive these messages.If you want to make it clear why users should say “yes” to notifications, Urban Airship recommends that you explain in the app’s description (both inside the app store and upon install) how and when you’ll use the push notifications feature.To make sure users don’t later opt-out, you should make it easy for them to manage their push preferences within the app. For example, let them set up “quiet times” when they don’t want to be bothered and let them configure what types of notifications they receive (audio, badges, etc.) and even what types of messages deserve a push notification (more urgent vs. less urgent, for example).After the set up process is complete, you should track carefully the number of active users and opt-outs. If you see a decline in the former and increase in the latter, you’re either pushing too often or without enough value.Step 2: Determine the Right Amount of Push The Rise and Rise of Mobile Payment Technology sarah perez Role of Mobile App Analytics In-App Engagement Why IoT Apps are Eating Device Interfaces Related Posts last_img read more

The Blockchain Talent Shortage May Be Nearing Its End

first_imgBlockchain – Impending Revolution in Glob… If you’ve been wondering why the past few years have been ripe with discussion about the enormous potential of blockchain technology, yet we haven’t seen much investment or progression from major tech companies, you’re not alone—but the discrepancy may be coming from a massive talent shortage that has been plaguing the blockchain community.Without available, affordable developers, even the best conceptual projects are forced to stay on the backburner, and companies that might otherwise be incentivized to explore the new possibilities of the technology are forced to lay in wait. Thankfully, we may be nearing the end of this massive, industry-spanning shortage.Why the Shortage ExistedEven companies that don’t like the idea of cryptocurrency can make use of the blockchain in one way or another; they could use it to secure their communications, streamline transactions, or interconnect their users. But without the right people to design, implement, and oversee new blockchain systems, companies can’t make progress.These are just some of the reasons why that talent shortage has existed:Fringe status. Despite the near-limitless applications of the blockchain, blockchain tech has still existed mostly on the fringe for the past several years. While many developers took it seriously, they didn’t hold it in the same esteem as basic skills and languages like Python or C++. Its association with Bitcoin, and Bitcoin’s esoteric community, didn’t help in this regard. Developers haven’t wanted to invest months of effort in a technology that’s only useful to certain, niche projects. Instead, they want to broaden their skillsets and be as practical and far-reaching as possible.High costs. There are hundreds of highly-skilled, experienced blockchain developers out there. The problem is, they’re ridiculously expensive. They’re either making a ton of money working on one of the major cryptocurrencies in circulation, or they’re earning lucrative salaries working for major tech companies. With no one else to turn to, this has driven up the average cost of hiring a blockchain developer, making it extremely hard for small- to mid-sized companies to enter the game.High stakes. Blockchain developers tend to work with tech products with high stakes. They may involve financial transactions, or the exchange of sensitive information. That means they’ll either need to work with legal and security experts, or become legal and security experts in their own right. That scares away some promising blockchain developers, and increases the price of development even further for companies that would otherwise like to pursue these types of projects.Future uncertainty. Developers are also thinking about the long-term future. While some recognize blockchain as a fundamental technology for almost every industry in the next several years, others are thinking about the flaws inherent in the system; for example, while blockchain works extraordinarily well for a limited number of users, its cost-saving potential doesn’t scale when you start dealing with millions of transactions happening at once. These developers may recognize that the blockchain can’t be used for everything, and may soon be replaced with an even better ledger-based p2p system.Why It’s Coming to an EndFortunately, this talent shortage may soon be coming to an end. These are just some of the motivating factors:There are more ways to find blockchain developers. For starters, there are more ways to learn blockchain-related skills, and more ways to find people who have those skills. Platforms like Coursera are offering courses in blockchain basics, due partially to high demand, while platforms like CodementorX are allowing businesses to hire freelance blockchain developers with greater ease. Plus, the blockchain community is getting more robust, so it’s easier to find a recommendation or a referral if you’re in the market to hire a full-time blockchain developer.The blockchain has proven itself. As mentioned previously, the blockchain isn’t perfect. It isn’t as scalable as other technologies, and it may not last forever as our standard for secure, decentralized exchanges. But in the past several years, it has proven that it’s much, much more than just a gimmick for cryptocurrency. The blockchain has proven that it’s here to stay, and more companies have begun taking it seriously. That status has incentivized developers to invest more in their blockchain skills—or in some cases, switch career trajectories altogether.There are more bounty opportunities. Learning blockchain basics isn’t enough for most companies—they want people who have real, demonstrable experience in solving blockchain problems and/or building new systems. Thankfully, there are more opportunities to earn those credentials in the form of bounties and open problems. For example, for much of its history, Ethereum has offered a “bug bounty” program that has encouraged any developer with blockchain knowledge to find, recognize, and offer solutions for bugs in the system in exchange for a coin-based reward. Now that cryptocurrencies have become more valuable and more commonly accepted, these rewards are even more attractive.Developers see the demand. The high price tag associated with blockchain talent has drawn the most opportunistic developers to learn more about the career opportunities in the blockchain. A few years ago, investing time and energy into blockchain skills was a gamble that wasn’t sure to pay off, but now, it’s a path to a potential goldmine. If you have the skills and experience, there’s nothing keeping you from a high-paying job in this field. With thousands of developers in training, the talent shortage should gradually fade away over the next few years.Other Challenges on the HorizonSo with the talent shortage in the process of course-correcting, there should be a flood of companies investing more in blockchain and developing new projects, right? Unfortunately, there are a few more challenges to overcome before that can happen, including:The “everything at once” paradox. The blockchain offers a number of advantages over similar technologies—namely, it’s fast, it’s cheap, and it’s decentralized. The problem is, it can’t have all three of these qualities at once. For example, if you want a fast and decentralized platform, it’s not going to be cheap to develop. This makes the blockchain less maneuverable than some would like, and makes even the best problem-solving developers scratch their heads. At some point, you have to make a compromise and decide which weaknesses your system is going to have.Customers may not be ready for blockchain tech. The blockchain is more secure than many other technologies, but average, everyday customers may not be ready for the new requirements that come with it. For example, customers already have trouble remembering a basic username and password; in most blockchain applications, users are required to keep a signature cryptographic key—and it can’t be easily reset. This forces companies and/or blockchain developers to devise new ways to implement this technology without disturbing existing processes.Keeping up. Standards and features of blockchain technology are changing fast, as developers all over the world try to find solutions for blockchain’s inherent weaknesses (and ideally discover new approaches that forgo those weaknesses altogether). Just because you were experienced in the blockchain a few months ago doesn’t mean you’re up-to-date with the latest standards. Of course, this is a challenge for developers of almost any language or technology, but it’s still a hurdle for blockchain programmers (and the companies that hire them) to overcome before they can find success.The blockchain remains a highly promising technology for almost every industry, but it has some growing pains to get through before it reaches widespread adoption. Soon, the talent shortage will be a thing of the past, and there will be ample developers prepared to spend their time working on new applications for the technology. From there, it’s only a matter of time before its other hurdles get resolved. Why is Bitcoin Soaring? Related Posts Frank is a freelance journalist who has worked in various editorial capacities for over 10 years. He covers trends in technology as they relate to business. center_img ToyBox and PlayTable Partner Together For Block… Frank Landman How Blockchain Changes Nowadays Business Securitylast_img read more

Single bidder should worry IPL bosses

first_imgThere are several dimensions to the Deccan Chargers issue, most of them not to do with cricket and hence beyond the scope of this space. But the one thing which should worry the BCCI is not that the auction of the franchise failed to go through, rather that there was only one bid received.Prior to the auction day, there was speculation that three or four bidders were in the fray. But that turned out to be a red herring. Merely taking forms from the BCCI is far different from making an active bid.As it happened, the Chargers spurned the bid made by PVP, which means the problem for the BCCI remains.From the Indian cricket establishment’s point of view, the absence of more bidders is foreboding. Does this reflect the slowing down of the economy or erosion in the sheen of the IPL?As the last tournament showed, there seems to be no problem where fans are concerned. But the current episode throws up some contra-indications about the financial valuation appeal of the IPL which the BCCI must address ASAP and head-on.That the T20 format enjoys widespread popularity is without doubt. By all accounts, the best players in the world too are keen to play in the IPL – so much so that some, like Kevin Pietersen, are willing to risk their international careers.However, there is a task ahead for the minders of the IPL to set the house in order. Some solution is sought to be found to the Deccan Chargers matter today. Hopefully, it will be found acceptable to all parties concerned.advertisementMeanwhile, the T20 World Championship kicks off in Sri Lanka next week. With 12 teams in the fray, it’s going to be three weeks of high octane action. But it would be foolish to stick one’s neck out and predict a winner for this format is a veritable lottery.That different teams have won since the tournament came into existence in 2007 is sufficient evidence of this. If more was needed, it came through India’s one-run defeat against New Zealand in Chennai a few days back.The New Zealanders looked easy pushovers after losing the two Tests, and for most of the T20 game, India were in control till the run chase was messed up in the closing stages.Apart from making for a disappointing send-off to the T20 WC for Dhoni’s team, this match also exposed some of the problems that could hamper India’s prospects in the tournament.The bowling is not incisive enough. For the record, there is not a single Indian bowler in the top 20. Indeed, Harbhajan Singh, who has been out of the team for a while, is India’s highestranked bowler.Moreover, the fielding remains mediocre. In a format which thrives on high energy and supreme athleticism, a poor fielding side has to do 25 per cent better in the other departments to cover up.The form of some of the younger players – especially Virat Kohli – could be an antidote. Yuvraj Singh, too, was impressive in Chennai to show that he was not selected on sentiment alone. He could be the allrounder India needs.Since the spectacular victory in the 2007 WC, India’s performances have been iffy at best.But the West Indies now boast T20 specialists like Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo, which has prompted several bookmakers to tag them favourites.But I wouldn’t discount South Africa, perhaps the most balanced side in international cricket today, as well as Australia and England, who’ve done well in this format in recent weeks.last_img read more