Having a Purpose in Life Can Be Healthy

first_img(Visited 11 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享 Who spends more time in the hospital?  People with nothing to live for.Another study shows the value of having a purpose in life.  Published in PNAS, the study by psychologist Eric S. Kim of the University of Michigan and two colleagues found a correlation between health and purpose in life regardless of age, sex, or social status.  “‘Purpose in Life’ a boon to your health,” a summary on Medical Xpress says.  This was one of the first studies to examine “whether the benefits of purpose vary over time, such as across different developmental periods or after important life transitions.”  The results correlate well with an earlier study reported in May (Medical Xpress).Why would the correlation be strong?  “We hypothesized that people with higher purpose would be more proactive in taking care of their health, as indicated by a higher likelihood of using preventive health care services,” the abstract states.  “We also hypothesized that people with higher purpose would spend fewer nights in the hospital.”  To measure health habits, they researched which individuals took proactive health exams (such as mammograms or prostate exams), and how many nights they spent in the hospital over a six-year period.  The multi-year follow-up allowed for life changes that might result in loss of a sense of purpose, such as retirement.Purpose was measured on a six-point Likert scale based on responses to positive questions such as “I have a sense of direction and purpose in my life,” or “Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them,” and negative questions such as “My daily activities often seem trivial and unimportant to me.”  The researchers corrected for demographic factors, religiosity and positive affect (emotion).In the study of 7,168 individuals, both men and women, old and young, Dr. Kim found that proactive health habits were stronger from 6 to 30% depending on the measure, and hospital stays were 17% less in individuals with strong purpose scores.  Additionally, the study noted that “An increasing number of randomized controlled trials show that purpose in life can be raised.”  A purpose-driven attitude, therefore, is not a static trait, like a genetic characteristic.It’s only an association, Kim notes, but it appears to be strong and predictive. Dr. Kim believes these results “may inform the development of new strategies that increase the use of preventive health care services, offset the burden of rising health care costs, and enhance the quality of life among people moving into the ranks of our aging society.”Update 11/08/14: Another study shows that having a purpose can increase your lifespan, too.  A study at University College London reported on Medical Xpress showed a significant reduction in death rate for 9,050 seniors after an 8.5-year follow-up period who scored high on questionnaires for “eudaimonic well-being,” defined as “your sense of control, feeling that what you do is worthwhile, and your sense of purpose in life.”One thing studies like this cannot study is which purpose is a better purpose.  If your purpose is to blow up enemies with remote-controlled car bombs, to riot in the streets, or to cheat your way to riches, it doesn’t matter if you get a prostate exam and get out of the hospital sooner.  It would be better in such a case that you stay incapacitated as long as possible.  But it’s just as vain to feel happy pursuing a falsehood, like a false worldview.  Being delusional is not good, even if it increases your health.  A good purpose will involve truth and love.Biblical Christianity meets both requirements of strong moral purpose and truth.  One can have confidence in the claims of Christ since He demonstrated His truth by rising from the dead.  And personally, Christ followers see Him work in their lives with answers to prayer and joy in understanding His word.  For the community, Christianity promotes faith, hope, and love—three things the world could really use right now.Feel the joy of Barnabas in Acts 11:22-24 as the good news of Christ began to spread through Rome’s pagan culture:  “The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose,  for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.”  Would that Antioch (now in southern Turkey near the border with Syria) were that way today.I’ve heard countless true stories of lives turned from crime to love, from despair to hope, from weakness to power.  You could be one of them.  Are you drifting aimlessly?  Is your life worth living?  It could be filled with purpose like the life of the Apostle Paul, who turned from a life of hate to a life of sharing good news of God’s grace.  Hear the former persecutor of Christians feeling the joy of the Lord in his repurposed life as an ambassador of love after God saved him and showed him the way of truth: read Colossians 1 and II Corinthians 5.last_img read more

Darwinism Animalizes Human Values

first_img(Visited 323 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 What could be more noble than striving for peace and avoiding conflict? Well, now the Darwinians say that peacemaking evolved by natural selection, too.Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To scientific materialists, there are no heavens, and Jesus was just a teacher at a certain time and place. And yet something within us knows that peace is better than conflict. How do they explain it with their only tool, Darwinian evolution?In “The Evolution of Conflict Resolution” (Phys.org), evolutionists at Northeastern University admit that animals don’t resolve conflicts the way humans do. But since animals evolved (in their thinking) to develop territoriality, battle and hierarchy, human peacemaking must have evolved differently. But it evolved nonetheless. Having come up with a model of “host-guest behavior,” the Darwinians explain human peacemaking:“This is especially interesting in the context of human biological behavior because in the animal kingdom, territoriality or ownership norms are ubiquitous.”And so, how and why did the host-guest norm evolve into the more socially accepted conflict resolution in human beings, and how might that affect the future? The research suggests that this is due to the dynamic nature of the social network which allows actors to choose their interaction partners. This entails that insofar ownership and territoriality are probably widespread due to the intrinsic importance of holding resources or the value of owning a territory rather than as a convention for avoiding conflict. Riedl and his fellow researchers are hard at work to unveil additional details about the evolutionary dynamics of when or where certain conventions may arise.In recent days, we are witnessing major peacemaking efforts around the world. Jared Kushner spoke today in Jerusalem about peacemaking efforts between Israel and the Palestinians (YouTube), surrounded by eminent leaders who applauded these values. President Trump is working to avoid nuclear conflict by meeting next month with the North Korean communist dictator. To the Darwinists, these are simply biological networks that have reached a temporary equilibrium. Peacemaking efforts are mere conventions that work out for a time, but are dynamic measures of what organisms prefer under evolving circumstances. Ultimately, they have no meaning or content. They are just natural manifestations of the Stuff Happens Law (natural selection).Of course, Darwinians of yesteryear thought that conflict was the means of evolutionary progress. Survival of the fittest required the strong to dominate the weak. We all know where that led. In today’s kinder, gentler Darwinism, cooperation is valued. This shows that evolutionary theory itself evolves. Either way, human behaviors have no ultimate meaning. Neither does reasoning about evolutionary theory. If today’s cooperative Darwinism evolves into something vastly different, such as deeper conflict or extinction, so be it.To any Darwinians reading this who object to our characterization of natural selection as the “Stuff Happens Law,” listen to population geneticist Andrew Jones on ID the Future 25 April 2018. He affirms that many of today’s Darwinians discount the role of natural selection, favoring genetic drift instead. And what is genetic drift? Random chance! Stuff happens.last_img read more

Becknology Days brings products, research to farmers

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The annual Becknology Field Days ran through Saturday, August 27th at the company’s headquarters in Atlanta, Indiana. Thousands of farmers and members of the agricultural industry turn out to the event each year to learn about the latest innovations, hear from company leadership, and enjoy fellowship among fellow producers.Ohio Ag Net’s Joel Penhorwood visited with many involved in the leadership of Beck’s Hybrids.Listen to Beck’s President Scott Beck comment on Becknology and the state of the seed industry.160825_ScottBeck_BecknologySonny Beck, CEO of Beck’s160825_SonnyBeck_Becknology_IntvAgronomist Brent Minett on the Ohio crop vs that of the surrounding region.160825_BrentMinett_Becknology_Intv Joel talks with Scott Beck. Sonny Beck Ryan McCallister talks about PFR researchlast_img read more

At CES 2013, Nvidia Project Shield & Valve Piston Offer Peeks At Gaming’s Future

first_imgNvidia Shield: A Handheld With Big PotentialWhen Nvidia began to see its role in traditional console gaming slowly squeezed out by rival chipmaker AMD, whose Radeon processors have steadily captured more of the market (including the Xbox 360 and the Wii U’s Graphics Processing Unit, or GPU), the natural response was to develop a fully packaged product targeted at a specific gaming niche. Shield is that device.Marketed as a handheld, but with big-screen potential, it will be able to wirelessly stream games to your television. That puts Nvidia in the somewhat precarious position of having to market the device somewhere between casual handheld gaming you can do on the go and the HD, graphics-heavy gaming you do on a big screen. So there is no telling yet how well it will perform, or if will come even close to competing with the next- or even current-gen consoles.There is reason to wonder whether the Shield’s insides are up to the task. Using the Android Jellybean operating system, it will run a custom 72-core (72-core!) Nvidia GeForce GPU and a quad-core A15 CPU, the newest additions to the company’s Tegra processor line, while the touch-screen with be able to push 720p visuals. That sounds great for high-end Android games currently running on tablets, but who knows how far Nvidia will push the envelope. The possibility of Shield being used to play games equivalent to those on of current-generation game consoles remains up in the air.There’s no word yet on whether the screen is detachable, though it would certainly make for an interesting move if it became a second screen while you gamed on your television, effectively bringing Nvidia into Wii U territory.As for Shield games, Nvidia lags a bit  in terms of the breadth and quality offered by its TegraZone, which right now mainly offers up solid old-school ports and Android favorites. But if the company can create the right kind of developer interest in the device’s hardware capabilities, Project Shield has the potential for great handheld games – and maybe even some console-quality titles. Just don’t get too excited: Nvidia did not announce a release date for Project Shield. nick statt Valve Plans To Extend The PC Gaming EcosystemWhile Nvidia focuses on the handheld market, Valve is carefully crafting a full-blown overhaul of the PC gaming ecosystem. What’s being thrown around the Internet as the “Steam Box” is known as “Big Foot” inside the company, said Valve founder Gabe Newell in a recent interview. And at CES this week, prototypes showed up of an intriguing new device – though not officially confirmed to be the same as what Newell discussed.Codenamed Piston and developed with Xi3, the small, blue rectangular console was built to port Steam to bigger screens using Valve’s Big Picture TV streaming service. It’s also pitched as a “development-stage computer game system,” so there’s really no telling where it stands in Valve’s Steam Box vision.Piston could be the first in a long line of many prototypes Valve works up with a number of different hardware partners. But one thing is for sure: Newell and crew aren’t banking on just one device to compete with the Xbox and PlayStation. Instead, Valve will keep tinkering until it knows it’s ready to make a move beyond the PC.Despite the mystery regarding the Steam Box, Xi3’s Piston, “Big Foot” and so on, Newell did offer some concrete details in his CES sit-down.After struggling with the consumer issues and philosophy behind open and closed systems, Newell says, the company decided on a Linux-based device that hands a huge amount of freedom to the consumer. Users will be able to install Windows – or any kind of software – if they want.And there is in fact a “Little Foot” mobile component, Valve’s take on what mobile and tablet gaming need to succeed in a seamless gaming ecosystem. As for controllers, Valve is staying away from motion and trying to incorporate what Newell believes is the future of innovative gaming philosophy: biometrics, including the possibility of wearable devices.Valve could release a whole suite of devices that route the Steam ecosystem on multiple screens in the next two years. Newell was bold enough to suggest that the next-generation GPUs could support as many as eight simultaneous screens!“So you could have one PC and eight televisions and eight controllers and everybody getting great performance out of it. We’re used to having one monitor, or two monitors — now we’re saying let’s expand that a little bit,” he said. The ambitious effort is already generating some skepticism, but it will take this kind of effort to push the boundaries and once again give the term “next-generation” some legitimate weight. 5 Outdoor Activities for Beating Office Burnout 4 Keys to a Kid-Safe App Tags:#CES 2013#gaming#Mobile Games center_img Related Posts Everyone in the gaming industry currently has their eyes on two companies that have long been major players in hardware and software, but have never made an official foray into gaming platforms until now.Graphic processor maker Nvidia and gaming developer Valve have begun outlining their visions for the future at this week’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES), giving the world a peek under the hood of forthcoming devices they hope will someday become entertainment mainstays.Nvidia is in the late stages with codename “Project Shield,” a portable Android-based device fitted with a mishmash of the company’s hardware. Resembling an Xbox controller connected to an HD touch-screen display, Shield is bound to shakeup the lackluster handheld market that is being slowly crushed by the rise of mobile gaming on smartphones.On the other hand, Valve, the creators of the Steam distribution network and the Source engine that powers Half-Life and Counter Strike, is taking its time, and for good reason. The company is aiming to not only give consumers an all-powerful living room console, known on the Web as the “Steam Box,” but also a seamless way to tie together every device in the home using screen-mirroring technology like Miracast.No such Steam Box will hit shelves in 2013, says Valve’s Ben Krasnow, but the company is at CES to meet with hardware developers. And the team has brought along a few prototypes that have spurred the rumor mill and led them to drop a few details.Both companies have big ideas, and if there are any two players in the industry that can pull off revolutionary changes, it’s Nvidia with its hardware track record and Valve with its Steam network. Either way, video games — and where and how we play them — will only get better as two of the biggest names in PC gaming move beyond the mouse and keyboard. 9 Books That Make Perfect Gifts for Industry Ex… 12 Unique Gifts for the Hard-to-Shop-for People…last_img read more

[Interview] Industry Experts on Choosing Your IoT Network

first_imgTags:#5G#edge computing#featured#LTE-M#NB-IoT#network#networking#Nokia#top ReadWrite: When we talk about networking around IoT there’s a lot of smaller networking models e.g mesh networks and protocols. Everything from that to large networks talking about 5g deployments. So, there’s a lot of issues for large enterprises to plan around IoT. For you two, what are the biggest issues to consider for an executive that’s choosing the network for their own IoT deployment?Jason: It depends on the business need.  You need to ask yourself questions such as:Do you have an immediate business need such as a one plus year time frame?Are you looking at a strategy type decision over the next five years?Do you want to build expertise?What’s your investment model?When thinking about digital automation and connectivity and automating your enterprise your enterprise, do you want to control the entire set of infrastructure?Are you actually building your staffing resources and infrastructure to control and manage the network yourself?In terms of spectrum, are you going to build it yourself or are you going to partner with a wireless provider to do that?These are critical, strategic business decisions that you need to address and then you decide upon the underlying technology that will help you realize the individual use cases.There are existing technologies that can be used today that could meet certain business requirements at a limited scale, which can then be expanded and extended to include more mission critical functions when you deploy 5G.You definitely want to apply the right piece of technology for that particular business case. And then there’s different types of investment cycles.  For example, obviously there’s a lot of mature technologies out there today that may be mid to lower cost that you could invest in.  This decision may yield shorter term operational savings that you are looking for.  However, for longer term needs such as providing new use cases that increase revenue it may be necessary to invest in a bigger and better technology such as 5G.Samuele: There are major things that executives should take into consideration before planning connectivity for an IoT project and in fact, it isn’t easy. The first consideration is the type of use case you want to enable because they are all different and require different levels of reliability and different types of latency.  For example, say you want to connect your parcel which is traveling the world and you want to know where it is, this is different from connecting an autonomous vehicle in a factory or maybe in a harbour.  They are both IoT use cases but completely different.The next consideration is what connectivity networks are available in your area? The key questions to ask yourself are: Do you have a public IoT cellular network available (eg. NB-IoT or LTE-M), or will/can you purchase/lease spectrum so that you can build a licensed LTE private network, or do you have to use some unlicensed /shared spectrum LTE based technology (e.g. Multefire and CBRS)?The final consideration is about the existing ecosystem. If you want to use a very new technology which has not been associated with that many devices yet, you have to have a plan. Maybe you need to galvanize your local ecosystem into action to speed up things. You have to be aware of how long it might take for you to get the pieces that you need to build your use case.I would say these are the three key steps to think about (use case, connectivity and ecosystem), but of course, there are many sub items And details associated with them. ReadWrite: Do you know what the percentage is now?Samuel: I do not have the latest figures but it is negligible.  Also, a number of cloud providers are now rolling out solutions working at the edge clouds.  It’s a big growth area and the EDGE concept may mean something different depending upon who is talking about it. Nevertheless, we all agree it means we want to essentially minimize the distance from where the data is generated to where it is collected and processed. There are a few reasons why we do that:It’s related to the speed of light. Even if the speed of light is very fast, there are some applications where milliseconds delay, say a control system, might not be feasible. If you imagine something like a system control in a factory, you need a millisecond or less to make sure everything runs smoothly.When you think of the amount of data that is created, for example, an airplane creates a lot of data during each of its trips. It’s not very meaningful as most of that data is raw data.  The significant data may only be an outlier taking place, such as a warning, and that is the part you have to pay attention to. Edge computing provides the capability for the data to be analysed locally and only a small amount is actually transferred.  In the end, there is cost reduction in the transmission bill.Another aspect is related to the privacy of the data. Edge computing makes sure that data that is created locally stays local. There are many cases where regulators make data stay in the country where it was generated.  Also, certain companies may feel more comfortable when they know the data stays in the company and never goes out.For us, the edge is a data center because you need a lot of processing power available.  Not every IoT application needs this. Edge computing makes sense when one or more of the above 3 requirements exists. You hear a lot about Low Power Wide Area Networks (LPWAN) that are designed to minimize energy consumption of smart objects so that you won’t need to change billions of batteries every year.Not all IoT use cases aim at minimizing energy consumption. This might be a priority for a gas meter but not crucial at all for a remotely controlled vehicle.Jason: Back to the flexibility point of view, because with Multi-access Edge Compute (MEC) not only are you processing the data closer to the access network, it’s accessible and controlled by the enterprise, so deploying an application on a MEC server becomes simpler and faster.  Flexibility and local control is very powerful in the case of IoT when dealing with the type and quantity of data that gets collected and the applications that get hosted rather than having to go back to a centralized cloud that might be 3rd or hybrid owned.Samuele:  By the way, edge computing is the key component of what we call Future X network.  Once we get to 5G, cCore edge cloud it’s a natural evolution of Nokia Edge Computing. ReadWrite: I think we’ve dovetailed into number 2. Can you elaborate on the types of use cases that you see and how those networking use cases might start out? Jason: We’ve been talking a lot about the industry 4.0 because that’s where we see the potential for a lot of transformation. If you look at it, there’s different types of industries such as: manufacturing, construction, power generation, and distribution. . Let’s look at a new possible business model for the ‘process’ industry like chemical manufacturing. Instead of taking raw materials and just creating a final product that is sold, they could provide tighter integration into their customers operations. Allowing them to make tailored products or offer analysis services.  The ability for a business to interact with partners and customers at different parts of the value chain is important. Building flexibility into the infrastructure allows you to be able to do that. It is critical.Today proprietary systems are in place because a business has one specific part in the value chain. However, what should be done is take a big step back and ask yourself, ‘OK how could I sell my product or my services that I create at any part of that value chain. What do I need to do with my infrastructure to be able to enable that and become a much more flexible and agile business?”  Once these are addressed, then the conversation changes to things like building a flexible network architecture, using fundamental technologies like NFV and SDN, being able to automate all those processes using advanced analytics (AI) and ensuring security. Looking at the problem from a business perspective is the first step and then identifying the right set of technology tools comes next.Samuele: You also need to take into account whether you are going to ask your network operator for a dedicated piece of their public network, or will you build your own network. Think of when you do speed tests.  Your “score” does not really depend on you, does it? Basically, if your business model is that you want to use the mobile network so that you can easily deploy whatever use case or device whenever you feel like, you have two choices.  You can either make the wireless network a part of your IT infrastructure so you have full control over it (e.g., you go and place your access points and you provision the devices, and so on) or you can ask a communication service provider to do it all for you.You need to start playing in IoT today and gain some experience with the technologies that are available now (eg LTE based technologies + edge computing) in order to be ready to capture the full potential of the 4th industrial revolution that will be powered by 5G. Jason Elliott, 5G market development managerSamuele Machi, marketing manager, 4th industrial revolution ReadWrite: What should you expect from your provider and what are the main concerns they should address as a partner?Samuele: A few things to think about are:Spectrum coverageThe types of interference you might encounter in your IoT deploymentWhat capacity is the operator providingWhat level of security is guaranteedThese are the key parts I would want to ensure with an agreement with a connectivity provider.Check coverage: check if the service is everywhere for everything you want to connect to. For example, can you get every corner of your factory connected? Is there some kind of connectivity hole? You might need to go and check with the right tools on the field. Interference or poor connectivity will jeopardize your IoT applications. Also, you want to check if the bandwidth you need is available at any time you need them.  If you don’t have a (semi or fully) private network, it means that anyone could be using the some of the uplink capacity you need.Then, finally, security is extremely important, connectivity as well as every endpoint needs to be secured. You want to avoid data manipulation or loss.Jason: I’d add the management of the device as well. Can you do diagnostics on it, firmware upgrade, getting information out of it. How that device is managed and how you extra that data from it is also very key. ReadWrite: We talked about edge computing. We know that around IoT everything seems to be covering at the edge and it’s not just connectivity or compute capacity but also energy as well. When you think about an IoT network, you think of them meeting all these utilities. I use the example of an autonomous vehicle because it happens to be the largest, sexiest appliance in an IoT network that everyone likes to talk about, but it’s also one of the biggest consumers of all of those three things, those utilities if you deploy a network. How do you see energy and compute capacity factoring into a connectivity network of choice for an executive? Samuele: Regarding mobile edge computing, we see more and more IoT data being processed at the edge and this is estimated to reach around 40% of all data within the next couple of years. ReadWrite: Networks require constant upgrading to keep up and that requires investment from whoever your partners are going to be or new participants to come in and disrupt the services or technology but those all have time frames as well. Will today’s IT technology look dramatically different in 5-10 years?Jason: From my perspective, we’ve had cellular IoT out for a while.  What you’re seeing now is some wireless providers turning off their 2G networks and it is taking a long time to get there. Previously, networks were designed for different specific purposes. So, if you think about 2G, it was designed for voice, 3G for web and data, and 4G for video. When you make an investment in IOT, you’re making an investment for a number of years. Particularly when you’re deploying large number of devices and they’re embedded in the ground. In those individual use cases, you will use the existing technologies that you have today and they will serve their particular use case within their lifecycle.In terms of 5G, we see the fundamental design criteria differently from before. We are going from just a few bits per second to gigabits per second. We see 5G as more of a unifying technology in the longer term. So you might deploy IoT using today’s technology and once that’s served its lifecycle you can swap those devices out using 5G.  By the time we get to a certain point, we might see maturity in a 5G environment where you would have that capability and you start to transition those devices piece by piece and that’s just purely from the radio access side.Instead of having a separate networking technology environment, the goal would be to have this underlying access technology that could cope with all of them. Once we get to a critical mass to scale from a cost and overage perspective that’s when it becomes very powerful.  However, critical mass acceleration and adoption won’t happen overnight.  It takes a while.center_img How a Modern Gaming Engine Can Supercharge Your… Aramco, Holder of the Largest IPO in History is… ReadWrite Sponsors Related Posts Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Is Voice Search the Next Big Travel Technology …last_img read more

Australia, Sri Lanka battle today in WC

10 months ago​Gabbiadini put up for sale by Southampton

first_imgTagsTransfersAbout the authorAnsser SadiqShare the loveHave your say ​Gabbiadini put up for sale by Southamptonby Ansser Sadiq10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveSouthampton want to sell Manolo Gabbiadini this winter.The Italian striker does not fit into Ralph Hasenhuttl’s plans.And Sky Sports reports the Saints want to see a deal done this winter.AC Milan are one of the clubs interested in acquiring his signature.The striker’s agent flew into London for talks with Southampton about his client’s future.Sky Italia suggest that Fiorentina and Bologna also have an interest in the attacker, who has a solitary Premier League goal this season. last_img read more

Video: Syracuse Players Go Crazy When Team Finds Out It Made The NCAA Tournament

first_imgIt looked extremely unlikely that the Syracuse Orange would make this year’s NCAA Tournament after losing five of their last six games, including a one-and-done showing in the ACC Tournament. As it turns out, SU made the tournament as a 10-seed, avoiding the play-in games. Because of the bracket leak, some of the Syracuse players may have known their tournament fate ahead of time, but when the team was officially announced as ‘in,’ the team still had a pretty fantastic reaction.The MVP here has to be walk-on Doyin Akintobi-Adeyeye, who broke out a few dances after the news came in. Congratulations to the Orange on the tournament berth.last_img read more

Brookfield Property Partners makes offer to buy GGP banking on future of

first_imgTORONTO – Brookfield Property Partners LP offered $18.8-billion in stock and cash to fully acquire U.S. shopping mall owner GGP Inc. in a deal announced Monday, doubling down on the future of bricks-and-mortar retail even as many merchants face increasing pressure from e-commerce.The Toronto-based company (TSX:BPY.UN), a publicly-traded real estate subsidiary of Brookfield Asset Management, already holds a 34 per cent stake in GGP (NYSE: GGP).The Chicago-based mall owner, which has 126 retail properties in 40 U.S. states, said it has formed a special committee of its non-executive, independent directors to review and consider the offer.The acquisition is an opportunity to leverage Brookfield’s expertise to grow, transform or reposition GGP’s shopping centres, “creating long-term value in a way that would not otherwise be possible,” said Brian Kingston, chief executive officer of Brookfield Property Group.“Brookfield’s access to large-scale capital and deep operating expertise across multiple real estate sectors combined with GGP’s high-quality retail asset base will allow us to maximize the value of these irreplaceable assets,” he said in a statement on Monday.Brookfield is offering $29, or US$23, in cash or 0.9656 of a Brookfield Property Partners unit in exchange for each GGP share. The amount of cash offered is capped at $9.4 billion, while the number of shares offered is limited to 309 million, worth roughly $9.4 billion.Brookfield Property Partners said the offer is a premium of 21 per cent to where GGP shares were trading before reports of a possible offer last week.Shares of Brookfield Property Partners were down more than three per cent in midday trading in Toronto on Monday to $29. Shares of GGP in New York, however, were up more than seven per cent to US$23.77.However, GGP shares are down nearly five per cent year-to-date, including Monday’s lift, as its retail tenants increasingly come under pressure from e-commerce sellers competitors, such as Amazon.But Brookfield’s Kingston sounded bullish on American shopping malls on its third-quarter earnings call earlier this month. He said that its U.S. mall business — which consists of 126 regional malls containing roughly 11.4 million square metres — saw positive financial results, with occupancy rising 80 basis points to 95.4 per cent.“Well-located, high-quality, retail real estate in the United States continues to perform well, despite negative perception in the public markets,” he told analysts on Nov. 2.“While many retailers continue to face significant challenges in growing their businesses, those retailers that are focused on the intersection between bricks and mortar retail and online sales channels continue to expand and grow.”He added in a letter to unitholders that it has continued to acquire big-box anchor spaces in malls and reposition them, calling it “one of the best opportunities in U.S. retail today.”John Williams, a partner at retail consulting company J.C. Williams Group, said there is “deep concern” in the U.S. about a “potential retail apocalypse” amid pressure on traditional retailers and shopping centres, some of which are overleveraged.However, he added, premier shopping centres in prime locations continue to draw in shoppers. And the shopping centres being revitalized — such as by using food as opposed to department stores as anchor tenants — to improve the shopper’s experience will be rewarded, he said.“The mall is nowhere near dead, and the good tenants are still very vital,” Williams said. “And I think it’s a matter of reinvention, to some degree, the tenant mix.”Mark Rothschild, a real estate analyst with Canaccord Genuity in Toronto, said Brookfield has signalled its interest in GGP for several years.“It’s only really been the last couple of years that GGP’s stock price has not done well, which created the opportunity for Brookfield to do this,” he said.However, Rothschild said it was surprising that Brookfield made the bid without partners, using its own expensive capital for the transaction.The offer comes after Brookfield in 2010 invested $2.5 billion for a 27 per cent stake in GGP as part of a deal for its emergence from bankruptcy. Brookfield has since moved to increase its stake, and in November 2013 Brookfield Property Partners invested another US$1.4 billion.last_img read more

Syracuse profits by handwriting thousands of latetax notes

first_imgALBANY, N.Y. — A city in New York state has found a novel way of motivating residents to pay their back taxes: personal notes handwritten by city officials.The idea stemmed from an experiment on late-tax payments, in which the city of Syracuse partnered with researchers at Syracuse University. City officials wrote and signed thousands of notes by hand, rather than sending standard legal letters demanding payment.The result was the city collecting nearly $1.5 million more than it predicted traditional methods alone would have brought in. University researchers estimate that the personal approach brought in 57 per cent more revenue from delinquent property owners than the city could expect from using more traditional letters.The notes took a less threatening approach, focusing on steps the resident could take to avoid late penalties or legal action. Instead of being addressed “dear property owner,” the notes were all personally addressed to the resident. Each had a brief, handwritten message on the outside of the envelope as well, researchers said.“It’s the kind of positive outcome that occurs when you aren’t afraid to try something new,” Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said in a statement.Collecting late taxes is a big challenge for many cities, which often use computer-generated letters to residents threatening action if the money isn’t paid. The researchers said the experiment could have broad applications to a number of different government services. The researchers said they aren’t aware of any other city in the U.S. using the personalized note method to collect taxes.“These are small, simple changes that can have huge payoffs,” said Leonard Lapoo, a Syracuse professor and director and co-founder of Maxwell X Lab, a behavioural research centre at Syracuse University’s Maxwell School.The lab’s managing director, Joe Boskovski, called the experiment common sense, saying treating people as humans can yield results.The findings were first reported by The Associated Press. City officials announced them publicly on Tuesday.David Klepper, The Associated Presslast_img read more