22,000 years of climate change, captured by a cartoonist

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Deniers, prepare to get all riled up!

Randall Munroe, a one-time NASA employee who now runs the popular XKCD blog, posted a captivating graphic this week tracing climate change all the way back from 20,000 BC to the present.

Along the way, he took a whimsical tour of history’s major — and some not-so-major — events in an easily digestible comic strip with a clear message to those leaning on the “climate has changed before” mantra: No. Not like this, it hasn’t.

 

His graphic starts out by showing how much colder it was back then:

From there, Munroe touched on other moments, like the completion of Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids, while keeping an eye on the steady temperature relative to where averages stand now:

After his entertaining journey through time, he eventually landed on the punchline — The “current path” is alarming and unlike anything we’ve seen before:

 

Source: 22,000 years of climate change, captured by a cartoonist 

The Difference Between ‘Type A’ And ‘Type B’ People In One Hilarious Comic 

The difference between “Type A” and “Type B” people is basically night and day. Type A people typically have difficulty relaxing, while Type B peopleare laid back. Type A people generally can’t stand being slowed down, while Type B people prefer a more relaxed pace.

But nothing has summed up the contrast between Type A and Type B personality types so accurately as this illustration from Owl Turd Comix.

SHENANIGANSENOWL TURD COMIX

While we should clarify that Type A people are not actually this unhinged, this comic does nail three things about the Type A/Type B divide:

  1. Type A people tend to be hypersensitive to time, because they hate to waste it.
  2. Type B people typically enjoy the journey, while Type A people are extremely goal-oriented. “[Type A’s] are certainly more occupied with achieving outcomes,” John Schaubroeck, a professor of psychology and management at Michigan State University, previously told HuffPost. “And given that they’re so occupied with achieving their goals, it makes sense that they would be more likely to do so.”
  3. Type A people are often competitive. There’s no such thing as losing gracefully. So when Type A individuals set their mind to something, they want to be the best at it, hands down.

Of course, there are plenty of people who show characteristics of both personality types. You might be “Type A-minus,” for example. And these personalty types should be taken with a grain of salt, because there’s no hard science on the subject. But no matter what type you feel defines you, we think anyone can see a bit of themselves in this spot-on comic.

Source: The Difference Between ‘Type A’ And ‘Type B’ People In One Hilarious Comic 

Miley Cyrus Pauses Performance To Comment On Fallon’s Trump Controversy 

Miley Cyrus just can’t be tamed.

Jimmy Fallon’s been under fire over the way he handled Trump’s appearance on “The Tonight Show” this week. Rather than ask hard-hitting questions, he engaged in banter with the GOP presidential nominee, even messing up his hair. Miley Cyrus let everyone know she was well aware of it during her “Tonight Show” performance on Friday.

While performing Bob Dylan’s “Baby, I’m in the Mood for You,” Cyrus took some time to acknowledge the controversy:

There is nowhere that I would rather be than right here in New York City playing this song with The Roots, and being here on Jimmy Fallon. Let’s all give it up for our host, who is always so much fun, unless you’re Donald Trump. And then don’t even think about messing with my hair, I’m serious.

Cyrus is vocal about her opposition to Trump. One time she even called him a “fucking nightmare,” so, yeah, she doesn’t like that guy. If Fallon tries to tousle Trump’s hair again, she might come in like a wrecking ball.

“The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” airs weeknights at 11:35 p.m. ET on NBC.

Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar,rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims — 1.6 billion members of an entire religion — from entering the U.S.

Source: Miley Cyrus Pauses Performance To Comment On Fallon’s Trump Controversy

The College Application Advice I Wish Someone Had Given Me 

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So your high school senior is in the throes of preparing his college applications. He’s retaking the SATs for the umpteenth time, hoping to squeeze out a few extra points there. He’s collapsing under the weight of the multiple AP classes that he felt compelled to take. And you honestly don’t see how to narrow his college list down from 25 schools, even though you know that applying to so many would be the definition of insanity.

Here is a list of eight things I wish I had known when my daughter was applying to schools last year.

1. The word “fit” gets bandied about quite a bit. It doesn’t mean what people tell you it means.

Fit, you will be led to believe, is whether the vibe of the campus matches up with your student’s goals and personality. Some campuses are perfect for save-the-world peaceniks like my daughter; others are better suited for the future engineers of the world. Fit is also sometimes interpreted as “don’t apply to schools in New York City if you find cities overwhelming.”

But “fit” in the truest sense of the word should probably mean “financial fit.” Can you afford it? If you can’t, don’t let your kid apply. Yes, it’s that simple. Would you book a vacation that you couldn’t pay for? Buy a car with no way to make payments on it? Rent an apartment that costs more than you bring home each month?  No, you wouldn’t do those things. So don’t do them with colleges either.

Shop in your price range. There is no point in applying just for the hell of it if you can’t afford it. The chances of your kid getting a “hail Mary” scholarship are pretty much zero to nil.

2. Getting accepted to schools is very affirming, but ultimately meaningless.

My daughter was admitted to pretty much every school she applied to, except one.

Sure, it felt great to open the email or envelope and read the news that she’s been selected. She certainly worked hard and earned those good grades and community honors. But do you know what they say about college acceptance letters? “That and $5 bucks will buy you a cup of coffee at Starbucks.”

Colleges are businesses. They sell you an education and a degree that will hopefully lead to a job and a means to a livelihood. A college acceptance is Bloomingdale’s telling you that you can shop there. Open your wallet wide. And if you don’t have enough in that wallet, the acceptance letter is just something to get the fire started in the fireplace.

3. Colleges have hidden costs.

With so much disclosure, I was shocked to learn about the hidden cost of health insurance. While it makes sense — and is the law — that every student carry health insurance, many colleges are quick to reject the idea that your son is still covered under your employer-provided family plan. Instead, some schools adapt the default position that they are going to provide Junior with health coverage — to the tune of about $2,000 or so a year — and will charge you for it upfront! Then you have to jump through hoops and prove to the college that he’s covered under your plan — with the same coverages as the school plan — and appeal to get your $2,000 back. Meanwhile, the school has your money.

Oh, and $2,000 may be a bargain. Stanford University’s Cardinal Care program costs $4,680 per year. Given that college students are probably the healthiest segment of our population, how is this even remotely right?

4. Scholarships are the cherry on the cake, not the cake itself. 

When a school costs $60,000 a year — or even $30,000 — getting a $500 scholarship really isn’t going to make much of a difference in your ability to afford it.

My daughter spent countless hours tracking down and applying for scholarships ― and she did pick up a few grand in outside money. Some scholarships require multiple essays, financial forms, and letters of recommendation from teachers, counselors and spiritual leaders. A few of them require as much effort to complete as the college applications. Others are so crazy narrow in who qualifies for them that it becomes a joke. We actually found one scholarship that was for “Undergraduate Jewish students who are orphans and preparing for graduate study in aeronautical engineering.” For real. And what’s the big prize? With the exception of a few national competitions where students can earn $10,000 a year, the vast majority of scholarships are in the $200 to $2,000 range. For a chance at winning $200, your kid’s time may be better spent babysitting.

The real scholarship money comes in the form of merit aid. A school will look at the student’s GPA and test scores and determine how much they want them to attend. Kids with really high scores get offered more aid. It’s that simple. So if affordability is a concern, it’s smarter to apply to schools where your kid is at the top of the class. Reach schools aren’t going to give you as much financial help as the ones where your student is a top applicant.

5. Love and merit aid may not last forever.

Merit aid is a college’s way of enticing the best students to accept their admissions offer. But it behooves you to read the fine print. It could mean they love your son now, but plan on breaking up with him next year. Merit aid is sometimes just a one-year deal. Sometimes, it is dependent on a student maintaining a certain grade point average, which seems reasonable enough. But what will happen to your ability to pay for college if merit aid disappears at the same time tuition and expenses likely rise? Just think about it.

6. Beware of Tuft’s Syndrome.

Colleges want to appear highly selective and don’t want to be rejected by those who they do admit. Having a high yield — meaning the percentage of the students who they offer admission to who actually chose to come to that school — enhances a school’s desirability. Tuft’s syndrome is when a school protects its yield by waitlisting or denying admission to over-qualified applicants. The logic is that the over-qualified applicant likely won’t wind up at that school, so why not skip him in favor of someone who has a keener interest in actually attending.

So Junior may get waitlisted or rejected by a safety school where his GPA and test scores vastly surpass the average — and yet get admitted to a much harder college. How do colleges know they were his “just in case Harvard says no” school? Well, for one, they actually gauge an applicant’s interest. Did the student come for a campus tour? Did they ask for an interview or stop by to introduce themselves when the college rep visited their high school?

And, college admissions officers have been around the block a few times. Unless there is some expression of interest or reason shared (mom is sick and I want to stay close to home), nobody likes to be the fourth person you asked to the prom.

As for why this practice is named after Tuft’s University, well, we can only guess.

7. Waiving the application fee should not be interpreted as interest in a student.

Silly you, for thinking a college wants your daughter so much that they waived the $65 application fee for her. In most cases, what the college really wants is to be able to say it got a large number of applicants. And there is no better way to do that than to plant the idea that since this is now free, you have nothing to lose. And maybe you don’t.

8. At the end of the process, it’s best to just go Zen.

For real. The college application process is one of those things where the best laid plans of mice and men may just lead you in circles. Try not to worry about it too much. There are lots of paths to get to a goal. The beauty of picking a college is that if your student winds up not being happy there, the world won’t end; he transfers and you revisit the idea of community college which continues to make great sense.

Source: The College Application Advice I Wish Someone Had Given Me

This Is What The Emmy Awards Looked Like In 1986 

Television in the ‘80s was a far cry from our current era of “peak TV,” but it was decade filled with some real classics.

Thirty years ago, shows like “Cheers,” “Family Ties,” “Hill Street Blues,” and “Murder, She Wrote” were among the nominees at the 1986 Emmy Awards.

With this year’s awards from the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences airing live on Sunday, let’s take a quick look back and remember the year when “Golden Girls” and “Cagney & Lacey” took home the night’s top awards and Michael J. Fox, Betty White, William Daniels and Sharon Gless were honored for their acting abilities.

  • Michael J. Fox
    Ron Galella, Ltd. via Getty Images
  • Malcolm-Jamal Warner and mother Pamela Warner
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Barbara Eden, Rhea Perlman and Gene Barry
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Bob and Ginny Newhart with their children
    Ron Galella, Ltd. via Getty Images
  • Kirk and Anne Douglas
    Ron Galella, Ltd. via Getty Images
  • Shari Lewis and Lambchop
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Diahann Carroll and Vic Damone
    Walter McBride via Getty Images
  • Edward Herrmann
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Whoopi Goldberg with husband David Claessen and her daughter Alexandra Martin
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Vanna White
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Ali MacGraw
    Ron Galella, Ltd. via Getty Images
  • Tina Yothers
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • David Letterman
    Ron Galella, Ltd. via Getty Images
  • Howie Mandel and Michael J. Fox
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Betty White
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Joan Collins and Peter Holm
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Bea Arthur
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Cybill Shepherd
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Rue McClanahan, Estelle Getty and Betty White
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Tyne Daly and Georg Stanford Brown
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Gary Coleman
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Tom Selleck, Marlo Thomas, and Robert Wagner
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Linda Gray and Paul Constanzo
    Ron Galella, Ltd. via Getty Images
  • Justine Bateman and Robert Anderson
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Philip Michael Thomas with his mother Lulu McMorris and girlfriend Dhaima Matthews
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Joanna Kerns
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Bronson Pinchot and Mark Linn-Baker
    Ron Galella, Ltd. via Getty Images
  • Betty White and Michael J. Fox
    Bettmann via Getty Images
  • Joan Rivers
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • John Lithgow and Mary Yeager
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Ted Danson and Casey Coates
    Ron Galella via Getty Images

Source: This Is What The Emmy Awards Looked Like In 1986

This Is What The Emmy Awards Looked Like In 1996 

Oh, the ‘90s. What a time it was for TV.

Shows like “Friends,” “Seinfeld,” “The X-Files” and “3rd Rock From the Sun” ― starring a young, long-haired Joseph Gordon-Levitt ― were just a few of the classics ruling primetime.

To get ready for this year’s awards, which are set to air Sunday, we’re taking a virtual trip back to 1996, aka a year of spaghetti straps, tinted sunglasses (we see you, Ellen DeGeneres) and Matt LeBlanc’s leather arm cast.

It was also the year when “Frasier” and “E.R.” earned top honors at the awards show, and John Lithgow, Helen Hunt Dennis Franz and Kathy Baker took home golden trophies for their outstanding acting talents.

  • Celine Balitran and George Clooney
    Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images
  • Jonathan Taylor Thomas
    Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images
  • Whoopi Goldberg and Frank Langella
    Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images
  • Gillian Anderson
    Ron Galella, Ltd. via Getty Images
  • Ellen DeGeneres
    Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images
  • Matt LeBlanc and David Scwhimmer
    Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images
  • Lisa Kudrow
    Jeff Kravitz via Getty Images
  • Tyne Daly
    KIM KULISH via Getty Images
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus
    KIM KULISH via Getty Images
  • John Lithgow
    Vince Bucci via Getty Images
  • Tony Bennett
    KIM KULISH via Getty Images
  • Ray Walston
    Barry King via Getty Images
  • Quentin Tarantino and Mira Sorvino
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Julianna Margulies and Ron Eldard
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Helen Mirren
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Fran Drescher
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Lisa Kudrow and Courteney Cox
    Jim Smeal via Getty Images
  • Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny
    Ron Galella, Ltd. via Getty Images
  • Ron Livingston and Molly Ringwald
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Jeremy Kagan
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Gloria Reuben
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Eddie Cibrian and Lisa Anderson
    Ron Galella via Getty Images
  • Helen Hunt
    KIM KULISH via Getty Images
  • Cybill Shepherd, Christine Baranski and Alan Rickman
    Vince Bucci via Getty Images
  • Lisa Canning
    Ron Galella, Ltd. via Getty Images

Source: This Is What The Emmy Awards Looked Like In 1996

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Seating secrets: How airlines decide what fare you pay

Anyone who’s lost an evening researching flight deals knows that airfare pricing can seem pretty random — high one week, low the next and long-distance often cheaper than short-haul.

There’s a method behind the madness, though.
It’s called airline revenue management: the science of adjusting fares dynamically and in real time so that airlines can maximize their revenue.
And it’s not just a case of simple supply and demand.
Airlines now rely on ever-more sophisticated software that takes into account a broad range of factors, from overall conditions across their global networks, right down to the individual preferences of their passengers.
The evolution of airline pricing techniques
It hasn’t always been like this.
For most of aviation history, airlines operated in a tightly regulated, uncompetitive environment, where air fares usually cost a small fortune.
Discounted tickets weren’t unheard of, but usually came with lots of strings attached, such as having to spend a certain number of nights at the destination.
International routes were usually operated by the flag carriers of the countries involved, who would take a gentlemanly approach to competition and fare-setting.
Deregulation — a global liberalization trend which began with the US Deregulation Act of 1978 — swept everything before it, from the industry structure to the way we think about air travel and airline fares.

Fiercely competitive

It’s now all about revenue management, says Robert W. Mann, a consultant and former airline planning executive.
And that’s something, he says, has become increasingly complex and fiercely competitive in the past few decades.
“The growth of the network airline and the drop in the cost of computing has brought revenue management to whole new levels of sophistication,”
“Techniques such as Expected Marginal Seat Revenue (EMSR) look at the best ways to optimize fares in real time, not only on a given route, but taking into account revenue-generating opportunities across the whole airline network”.
This is why, for example, flying from London to Dubai may cost pretty much the same as flying all the way to Manila, also via Dubai.
That’s because the airline may prefer to keep seats on the London-Dubai leg for higher-value passengers that fly longer onward journeys, and will use pricing to discourage those aiming to fly shorter trips.

Customer profiling

But how does the airline know who the higher-value passengers are and how much to charge them?
Stuart Barwood, founder of Travercial, an airline consultancy firm, says airlines can make a number of reasonable assumptions about the profile of traffic on a certain route and then adjust their prices accordingly.
“The London to Majorca route, for example, has a marked leisure profile. This has implications not only for fare levels but also for the way pricing changes over time.
“If the airline assumes that leisure passengers will tend to book relatively early, months before their holidays, it may be tempted to start pricing seats on that route relatively high. It would then adjust them according to the market response.
“Meanwhile on a typical business route — let’s say London to Frankfurt — the airline may start with low prices to fill a minimum of capacity, then raise prices steeply for business travelers that book at the last minute.”
In fact, those last-minute high-value passengers are so precious that some airlines go the extra mile to make room for them.
For example, a service developed by Barcelona-based company Caravelo helps airlines identify those passengers most likely to accept a flight swap in exchange for compensation, such as vouchers or frequent flier miles, and offers to rebook them on a later flight.
With space then cleared, the high-fare passengers are then booked onto the previously full flight.

Towards total customization

You might think of fare classes in terms of economy, business and first class, but the reality is airlines have dozens of subdivisions.
The airline will adjust the number of seats allocated to each fare class. When one class has been sold, the sale price will leap to the next one.
This is how most fares are currently set, but it’s still some way off from the ultimate goal: Airlines want to know their clients so well they’re able to offer fully personalized pricing.
Loyalty programs, registered users and cookie tracking can give airlines some valuable clues, but even when an airline has gathered a lot of data about its passengers they still might not be putting it to profitable use.

Adding up the extras

“In reality, it is quite common for passenger data to be scattered throughout several functional areas within an airline, kept in data silos where it is of little use to the revenue management department,” says Barwood.
Airlines might be lagging behind the likes of Amazon when it comes to personalized marketing, but Barwood says many are getting up to speed with data management and this is already being felt in pricing and marketing.
Revenue management systems will increasingly take into account not only the air fare itself, but the total value a passenger can generate for the airline, including ancillary revenue.
That’s all the extras that can be added to your base fare, and it’s a growing source of profit.
Using seat choice as an example, many airlines now charge for the privilege of picking your seats in advance.
This could, in theory, be managed dynamically. Why not base seat prices on the occupancy of a given flight? Or charge less to members of your loyalty program?
This kind of profiling might be beneficial to the loyalty program customer in this instance, but what about when a frequent business traveler is then consistently shown higher fares when they’re trying to book a family vacation?
It could well prompt a backlash among the sort of high value customers that every airline hopes to retain.

Protecting the brand

The loophole letting passengers fly on the cheap

And while airlines may have good reasons not to overcharge their best customers, they also have to be careful not to undercharge the other classes of client.
The temptation is to aggressively lower prices when there are still empty seats left before a flight departs — but if this becomes the norm there’s a serious risk of undermining the brand and alienating higher-value passengers.
A number of companies, such as Bidflyer, Plusgrade and SeatFrog, have come up with applications that allow airlines to sell upgrades to the highest bidder through an auction mechanism — an efficient but anonymous way to get passengers to tell the airline how much they’re willing to pay for premium services.

Back to basics

The apparent randomness of airfares makes for an excellent conversation topic with friends and colleagues, but it can also be a source of anxiety for many travelers.
Perceptions that prices are immensely variable can add to the fear that customers may be overcharged for any extras they inadvertently purchase, or the worry that they might not be getting the best deal out there.
Which is why many airlines have opted for a different approach: go back to basics and offer branded fares — a bundle of services for a closed price.
This shouldn’t be confused with the rigid fare system that prevailed when the first low-cost airlines hit the scene.
This is more like an evolution of the low-cost fare system which lets customers choose the extras they want to add to the base fare.
This approach means re-bundling a bunch of services — from checked-in luggage to a wider, more spacious seat — into a number of fare package options of varying complexity, all selling for a set price.
Think of it as like the menu options at a fast food joint.

The airfare arms race

Airlines might have a whole battery of tools to help them extract the most revenue from their passengers, but travelers can also call on their own arsenal of technological countermeasures.
Companies such as Skyscanner and Kayak have introduced fare alerts which allow you to monitor fares for specific flights and get automated alerts the moment they change.
Some companies are also developing fare prediction technology that promises to help travelers book their flights at the optimal moment, when the fare is likely to be lower.
In order to do this they rely on their own algorithms, plus a heap of historical data on air fares.
California-based FLYR uses its own proprietary fare prediction technology to offer fare lock-in insurance in partnership with TripAdvisor.
This service is similar to buying a financial option where you pay a relatively small premium in advance, to make sure you won’t pay more than a certain amount at a later date.
It also works with travel agents and other distribution partners to optimize bookings.

Seizing the moment

FLYR’s founder, Dutch entrepreneur Alexander Mans, says that outside a 30-day window of a flight’s date of departure, there is a 60 to 70% chance that a specific air fare will drop in price at some point.
“It is practically impossible for someone to monitor this manually, but with our computing resources we can predict pretty accurately the chances of a fare coming down and advise on the best course of action.
“If we think a fare is going to be lower in the future, we recommend waiting, before hitting the ‘book’ button.”
Hopper is another company specializing in the field of airfare prediction. Its mobile app, which has been downloaded more than eight million times, uses big data technology to predict fares as much as 12 months in advance.
“Our system looks at six to eight billion air fares every day. Our database has five years of historical fares, that means trillions of prices!” Frederic Lalonde, Hopper’s founder and CEO, declares proudly.
He claims their algorithms are capable of accurately predicting an airfare within $5, up to six months before departure.
“We are confident enough in our system to predict actual figures and to tell our customers whether they are getting a good fare or not.
“We have tracked our accuracy to 95%. Whether people later follow our advice or not is another story…”
With this amount of computing power being thrown into the field of airline pricing and the expectation that artificial intelligence technology will go mainstream, it might ultimately be up to the robots to fight the airfare war.
This isn’t necessarily bad news — it may result in better choices and more efficient booking processes.
With virtually millions of different air fares — as many as the number of passengers airlines carry every year — what seems assured is that airline fares will continue to be a topic of conversation by the office cooler for years to come.

Source: Seating secrets: How airlines decide what fare you pay

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