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How tech is shaking up the retail investing scene

Investors can check the price of stocks whenever they like, read associated stories, access balance sheets, and generally have all of the tools at their disposal to work out whether a company is a good buy. It’s fair to say that tech is shaking up the retail investing scene in more ways than one.

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Retail investors used to have to make a stark choice. Either they bought and sold equities through a broker – somebody who would buy shares in companies on their behalf – or they’d pile all their capital into a mutual fund and wait. Without the internet, investors usually had to wait for their statements in the mail before they found out about the performance of their investments. It wasn’t always good news.

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Technology has changed all that. Retail investors now have information that is nearly as good as top hedge funds. Investors can check the price of stocks whenever they like, read associated stories, access balance sheets, and generally have all of the tools at their disposal to work out whether a company is a good buy. It’s fair to say that tech is shaking up the retail investing scene in more ways than one.

Software Advisors

It was only a matter of time before somebody applied new artificial intelligence software to the retail investing scene. In the past, retail investors had to do their research if they wanted to understand how markets worked. Investing is a technical discipline, as well as an art, and an understanding of key terms is essential. But robo advisors take some of the edge off the otherwise steep learning curve. People new to finance can quickly get up to speed with all the relevant concepts and jargon. Robo advisors can give information about complicated investment plans, 401(k)s and many other things.

Retail investors can also put their faith in machines too if they see fit. The world’s first AI-powered investment ETF launched last year. The ETF is a collection of funds managed by a computer based on all available data. The software takes data from the market to predict which firms will perform best over a 12-month horizon. So far, the software hasn’t convincingly beaten the market, but it’s early days.

Trading Apps

In the past, if you wanted to buy shares in a company, you had to physically visit your broker, give the order, and then get them to buy the shares on the open market. Things have moved on a lot since then. Thanks to smartphones, the average investor can now just fire up an app on their phone, place an order, and take ownership of shares on the same day. Apps are usually linked to major trading houses, so be careful which you choose

High-Frequency Trading Products

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IMAGE SOURCE: PIX1861 from Pixabay

The market is continually looking for new ways to create profit opportunities. A controversial method of doing this is the so-called high-frequency trading where an automated trading system makes dozens of trades per second. High-frequency trading is shaking up the retail investment scene because it is changing the strategy that regular traders should use.

Retail investors can either invest in funds that take advantage of automated, rapid trading or they can adopt a value-investing approach, ignoring all the short term fluctuations in the market. The good news is that there are now products that cater to both. Some funds use high-frequency trading, while others attempt to follow companies with value potential.

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Research from Lenovo & Intel finds that tech could be great equalizer among different cultures

More than half of global respondents say that a company’s diversity and inclusion policies are “extremely” or “very” important when deciding where to apply and whether to accept an offer.

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Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels.com

The first chapter of a new global research report by Lenovo and Intel finds that technology will play an integral role in achieving diversity and inclusion (D&I) in the workplace of the future.  With the power to bridge accessibility gaps, connect people who are otherwise divided, and expand the impact of upskilling and progressive training programs, tech already facilitates the ability to work in more dynamic, flexible ways than ever before.

The joint global study explores how people around the world view D&I in their personal and professional lives, and their perspective on the role technology plays to address systematic inequities, create more access, and enable growth.

“We know that when organizations prioritize diversity and inclusion, financial performance, innovation, and talent acquisition and retention flourish,” says Lenovo’s Yolanda Lee Conyers, Chief Diversity Officer and President of the Lenovo Foundation. “As the makers of devices that enable connectivity across cultural and geographic boundaries, tech companies like Lenovo have an obligation to ensure that products are created with diverse consumers in mind, and that can only be achieved with a diverse and inclusive workforce.”

“Intel has a long-standing commitment to diversity and inclusion. We believe that transparency is key, and our goal is to see our representation mirror the markets and customers we serve. Just as we apply our engineering mindset to create the world’s leading technological innovations, we do the same with our D&I strategies, using data to inform our decisions and sharing it transparently to drive clear accountability and deliver results across the industry,” says Barbara Whye, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer and VP of Social Impact and Human Resources at Intel. “We know that to truly progress D&I, it takes companies working together and being a global company, this work can’t be limited to the US only. That’s why with both companies sharing a rich history of collaboration, we decided to extend our partnership and conduct a global survey.”

“We know that when organizations prioritize diversity and inclusion, financial performance, innovation, and talent acquisition and retention flourish.”

The findings within the technology chapter suggest that, if a more diverse and inclusive workplace is the goal, technology has the potential to get us there, as it facilitates human connection, understanding, and ultimately, empathy.

The study shows the potential of technology does not come without apprehension, though. Many respondents indicated they worry about whether technology, including AI, could potentially silence or leave behind those historically marginalized or underrepresented. Although participants expressed concerns over the harmful potential of AI, those in emerging markets are most optimistic, with more than 8-in-10 participants across Brazil and China agreeing that AI can be used to make the workplace more diverse and inclusive.

Lenovo and Intel’s Diversity and Inclusion in the Global Workplace study explores the attitudes of approximately 5,096 respondents across five key geographic markets of China, the United States, Germany, the United Kingdom and Brazil between December 19, 2019 and January 7, 2020. This chapter focusing on the theme of technology is the first of four total installments. Additional chapters regarding “What Workers Want”, “Modern Mentorship”, and “D&I as a Workplace Trailblazer” are to be announced throughout the remainder of the year.

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Health & Wellness

Text messaging as the next gen of therapy in mental health

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many people’s schedules have been upended, which may prevent individuals with mental illness from having routine access to a therapist, such as parents who have children at home. Texting can bridge the gap.

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Photo by @nordwood from Unsplash.com

In the US alone, it is estimated that approximately 19 percent of all adults have a diagnosable mental illness. Clinic-based services for mental health may fall short of meeting patient needs for many reasons including limited hours, difficulty accessing care and cost.

In the first randomized controlled trial of its kind, a research team investigated the impact of a texting intervention as an add-on to a mental health treatment program versus one without texting. A text-messaging-based intervention can be a safe, clinically promising and feasible tool to augment care for people with serious mental illness, according to a new study published in Psychiatric Services.

Ninety-one percent of participants found the text-messaging acceptable, 94 percent indicated that it made them feel better and 87 percent said they would recommend it to a friend.

“This study is very exciting because we saw real improvement in those who utilized the text messaging-based intervention on top of normal care. This was true for individuals with some of the most serious forms of mental illness,” explained co-author, William J. Hudenko, a research assistant professor in the department of psychological and brain sciences at Dartmouth, and an adjunct assistant professor of clinical psychology in Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. “The results are promising, and we anticipate that people with less severe psychopathology may even do better with this type of mobile intervention.”

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many people’s schedules have been upended, which may prevent individuals with mental illness from having routine access to a therapist, such as parents who have children at home.

“Texting can help bridge this gap, by providing a means for mental health services to be continuously delivered. A text-messaging psychotherapy is an excellent match for the current environment, as it provides asynchronous contact with a mental health therapist while increasing the amount of contact that an individual can have,” explained Hudenko.

For the study, the research team examined the impact of text-messaging as an add-on to an assertive community treatment program versus the latter alone. Through an assertive community treatment program, those with serious mental illness have a designated team who helps them with life skills, such as finding a job and housing, managing medications, as well as providing daily, in-person clinic-based services. People with serious mental illness are likely though to experience symptoms each day for which they may need additional therapy.

The study was a three-month pilot, which was assessor blind. There were 49 participants: 62 percent had schizophrenia/schizoaffective disorder, 24 percent had bipolar disorder and 14 percent had depression. Assessments were conducted at baseline, post-trial (three months later) and during a follow-up six months later.

A text-messaging psychotherapy is an excellent match for the current environment, as it provides asynchronous contact with a mental health therapist while increasing the amount of contact that an individual can have.

Licensed mental health clinicians served as the mobile interventionists. They received a standard training program on how to engage effectively and in a personal way with participants. The mobile interventionists were monitored on a weekly basis to ensure that they were adhering to the treatment protocol. Throughout the trial, over 12,000 messages were sent, and every message was encoded, monitored and discussed with a clinician.

The results demonstrated that 95 percent initiated the intervention and texted 69 percent of possible days with an average of four texts per day. On average, participants sent roughly 165 or more text messages and received 158 or more messages. The intervention was found to be safe, as there were zero adverse events reported.

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Lifestyle & Culture

Top 5 ways to get a guy’s attention on Instagram

Keep reading to find out some of the creative ways to gain traction on Instagram and how to use it to lure the guy of your dreams.

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So you found yourself attracted to a guy who does not seem to know you even exist. Don’t worry – you are not the only person this happened to. Many people complain about not being able to draw their crush’s attention, despite all of their best efforts. 

It is very easy to get lost in the vicious cycle of hopeless attempts to get a guy to notice you. It can even become increasingly time-consuming, as you’re scouring the internet for advice on sites like Beyond Ages or Reddit, and constantly trying to make improvements to your appearance, hoping that your long eyelashes and pretty makeup will finally be the breakthrough you were looking for. 

While much of the advice you can find online can be really helpful, getting sucked up into the world of relationship advice can lead to your getting advice from doubtful online “experts” and even turning your infatuation into a creepy obsession. 

Thankfully, you don’t need to turn into a stalker or glue yourself to online forums in order to successfully get a guy’s attention. One of the best ways to approach this issue is through social media, thanks to its unique abilities to magnify an individual’s reach, as well as seemingly increase their social standing.

Keep reading to find out some of the creative ways to gain traction on Instagram and how to use it to lure the guy of your dreams.

Build a Follower Base 

The most wonderful thing about establishing a following on Instagram or any other social media platform is the fact that the only thing that counts in this regard are numbers. It doesn’t matter who follows you or what their backstory is (unless they’re bots or purchased follows – the algorithms can spot them quite easily, and it might diminish your reach), as long as enough people are following you, you will be more visible to everyone else, including your crush. 

There are a few ingenious ways to gain followers without resorting to paying for them. The most simple one is basically following loads of random people daily. The more you follow, the better (stick to the 150 per day limit, though, unless you want to get blocked from following others for a couple of days). Some, if not most of them will follow you back. If you do it for long enough, you’ll go into the thousands quicker than you thought possible. Remember to regularly unfollow a few accounts as well, to keep your followers-to-following ratio believable. 

Drop Hints in Posts 

When you post a picture, you can add a little something that’s meant to grab his attention. Things like references to his favorite movies or books in the post description can work well, and so can a poster of his favorite band in the background of your photo. There are plenty of ways you can play around with this method; just remember not to be too obvious. Keep some of your photos without these subtle digs, so that he doesn’t figure out that you’re doing it on purpose.

Show Your Best Self 

It might not be the most politically correct piece of advice out there, but if you really want to seduce a man via a visual medium, such as Instagram, you’re going to have to showcase your attractiveness on there. Publish photos that exhibit your best sides, and leave out the ones where the imperfections are obvious. Keep it PG-13, though, and don’t try too hard to alter your appearance to suit the guy’s preferences. 

Make Use of Stories 

Instagram imploded upon the developers’ addition of Stories to everyone’s feeds, and for a good reason – it diverted a lot of the attention from posts to these little byte-sized videos and pictures added at a moment’s notice and, for a lot of users, without much thought put into them. 

Stories are also your chance to shine. As opposed to posts, they are a place where you can showcase your awesome personality – you can publish pictures of the fun places you go to, goofy videos from parties and hangouts as well as snapshots of what music you’re currently listening to, or a movie you enjoyed. 

And if some of these pop-culture references just happen to fall right into your crush’s tastes, it’s just gotta be destiny, right? 

Slide into His DMs – but Tread Lightly 

Although the common sentiment is that it’s the man who should message first, you don’t need to follow that rule like it’s the Word of God. Guys actually like it when a girl shows initiative and texts them first – it lets them know she’s interested, and that she’s not afraid to take risks. 

Don’t be overly flirtatious, though! Just as much as men like when girls text them first, they can be put off by a woman who is obviously too “thirsty” for her own good. Keep the conversation casual, and keep a leeway open into something more serious, if he shows interest. 

Final Thoughts 

Even though you might be absolutely certain that the guy you’re crushing on is the one, and you can’t imagine just stopping being into him, sometimes you’ll just have to accept defeat. If he’s simply not interested, there might be nothing you can do to change that despite all of your efforts. Accepting it will be much healthier for you than altering your entire appearance and personality only to adapt to his preferences. Keep that in mind when chasing after him on Instagram.

*Maciej Grzymkowski

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Technology

Know thy history; revisit the first 10 years of San Francisco’s Pride

Even Pride gatherings are getting confused nowadays – e.g. Is it still to protest, or (even if the organizers claim it’s a “protest”) is it really just one big party? A revisit to Pride’s history – at least of San Francisco’s, in the US – has opened to help every-all see how everything was in the early days.

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Third World Gay Caucus contingent, San Francisco Gay Freedom Day Parade, 1977; photograph by Marie Ueda, Marie Ueda Collection (2006-12), GLBT Historical Society.

Even Pride gatherings are getting confused nowadays – e.g. Is it still to protest, or (even if the organizers claim it’s a “protest”) is it really just one big party? Should events highlight the not-that-pretty/sexy yet still ongoing struggles, or just focus on the glamour (and while at it, earn organizers big bucks)? And part of this confusion stems from the lack of awareness, if not appreciation of Pride’s history.

A revisit to Pride’s history – at least of San Francisco’s, in the US – has opened to help every-all see how everything was in the early days.

Organized by the GLBT Historical Society, with the support of San Francisco Pride, “Labor of Love: The Birth of San Francisco Pride, 1970–1980” showcases how San Francisco’s LGBTQIA community in the 1970s forged the annual celebration that would come to be known as the San Francisco Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Parade.

On June 27, 1970, a small group marched down Polk Street, and the following day staged a “gay-in” picnic in Golden Gate Park. Over the course of the decade, Pride became an annual San Francisco event, growing by leaps and bounds. Initially referred to as Christopher Street West — to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall Riot on that street in New York City — and then as Gay Freedom Day, Pride drew some 250,000 participants and spectators in 1980. 

“Labor of Love” revisits the first 10 years of San Francisco Pride using historic photographs, ephemera, artifacts, and film and sound recordings from the archives of the GLBT Historical Society and from community members. The exhibition explores the goals, the controversies, the hard work, the desires and the sometimes-competing spirits of struggle and celebration that laid the foundation for one of the city’s best-known public festivals. 

The exhibition is co-curated by Gerard Koskovich, a public historian and rare book dealer; Don Romesburg, professor of gender and women’s studies at Sonoma State University; and Amy Sueyoshi, dean of the College of Ethnic Studies at San Francisco State University. They emphasize that Pride has traditionally deployed both frivolity and protest to promote a positive cultural shift in how society views LGBTQ people. 

The exhibition is organized around four themes.

“Why Pride?” considers how organizers and community members explained the purpose of the annual gathering.

“The Work of Pride” explores the ever-increasing commitment to planning, fundraising, volunteer support and governance that the event required.

“Pride Fights” grapples with the debates over what Pride should be, who should be included, who should make the decisions and how they should be made.

Finally, “Big Gay Family” highlights how the creation of San Francisco Pride brought diverse people into a collective, yet often contested kinship. 

POSTER 1: “Christopher Street Liberation Day Gay-In,” offset flyer, 1970; Charles Thorpe Papers (1987-02), GLBT Historical Society.
POSTER 2: San Francisco Gay Pride program, 1972; Ephemera Collection, GLBT Historical Society.

The interactive final section of the show, “Pride: From Past to Future,” invites visitors to reflect on the history, then look ahead by submitting their responses to two questions: “How will the future of Pride be shaped? How should it be shaped?” The answers will be posted in the online gallery to spark an ongoing dialog about the heritage of Pride.

“Labor of Love” will also be installed as a physical exhibition at the GLBT Historical Society Museum at 4127 18th Street in San Francisco’s Castro district at a future date.

For more information, visit the GLBT Historical Society website at www.glbthistory.org.

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Lifestyle & Culture

The best slot games you can play at online casinos

Finding the top titles can be tricky and that’s why I’ve highlighted three leading ones for you, to save you a bit of time and give you a few great options to pick from.

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Playing the best slots games is a great way to have fun at the best online casino games. Slot games are quick to learn and offer you the chance to win some real money from your gambling sessions. 

Finding the top titles can be tricky and that’s why I’ve highlighted three leading ones for you, to save you a bit of time and give you a few great options to pick from. 

Image source: PxHere.com

Read my mini-reviews, decide which game(s) you like best, and then head over to an online casino to give them a try. 

Starburst

Starburst is perhaps the most popular slots game that you can play at online casinos. It’s in the catalog of most gambling sites and with good reason – it’s fast-paced, fun to play, and features some great graphics. 

Alongside its great gameplay, Starburst also has a competitive RTP of 96.1%. This means that £96.10 of every £100 wagered is returned to players over time. So, not only is Starburst great fun, but it’s also a slots game that gives you a great chance of winning some cash. 

You can play Starburst at many leading gambling sites, such as 888 Casino. You can find out what other great slots games are at 888 by heading to OnlineCasinos.co.uk and reading the review of this top site. 

The Goonies: Jackpot King

One of the reasons that so many gamblers like to play slots games is that they borrow from pop culture. The Goonies: Jackpot King is one such example, using a beloved film as its source of inspiration. 

There’s much to like about The Goonies: Jackpot King. It’s simple to play, has a good range of bet sizes, and has a good RTP. But the main reason it’s one of the best slot games is the storyline – if you like The Goonies then you’ll adore its references to the film’s characters.

The Goonies: Jackpot King is available at the top online casinos, including PlayOJO. You can learn more about the game by visiting PlayOJO.com, selecting the “?” icon on the game, and absorbing PlayOJO’s introduction to The Goonies: Jackpot King.  

Royal Mint: Megaways

Royal Mint: Megaways is made by the excellent Big Time Gaming, guaranteeing that it’s a slots title with great gameplay. It draws its inspiration from the organisation responsible for mining coins in the UK and money is a feature that runs strong through the game. 

Royal Mint: Megaways takes its storyline from money but there’s a much more enticing cash feature to the game – its paylines. Royal Mint: Megaways has a phenomenal 117,649 paylines, meaning there’s an extraordinary number of ways that you can win some cash. 

You can play Royal Mint: Megaways at the very best slot casinos and LeoVegas is one of the top choices for many gamblers. LeoVegas.com has over 1,000 games, with an enormous number of slots titles for you to choose from. 

Recommended reading: Best Microgaming blackjack games in the UK

Starburst, The Goonies: Jackpot King, and Royal Mint: Megaways are three of the very best slot games you can play at online casinos. 

Each offers you something slightly different and I suggest you give them all a try, so you decide which one you like best

Just check the bonuses available at the online casino you’re betting at first, as it may be that it has a free spins offer for the game you’ve picked. 

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Technology

Run a business? 5 Reasons why contactless payments make sense

One of the great things about the digital payment revolution in the 21st century is how people don’t even need a physical card to buy stuff. Android and Apple smartphone users can use their NFC-enabled devices to make contactless payments.

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If you run a retail business, either permanently based in commercial store premises or as a “pop-up” store, one thing’s for sure. You’re going to need to accept card payments from your customers.

Sure, you could run a cash-only business. But, you’d be cutting out a significant customer base that wants to buy your goods. For example, the U.S. Federal Reserve states that only 30% of consumers use cash for their purchases. 65% pay with debit and credit cards.

Image source: Pixabay.com

What’s more, most debit and credit cardholders use the contactless payment feature of their cards regularly. These days, virtually all retailers that accept card payments also accept contactless payments.

But why do contactless payments make sense for retailers like yourself? Well, it turns out there are five distinct advantages of offering this payment option to your customers. They are as follows:

1. Contactless payment limits are high

In some countries such as the United Kingdom, contactless payment limits are around $57 (£45 GBP). However, in nations such as the United States, there are no limits.

If you want to give your customers the quickest yet most convenient shopping experience, offering contactless payment options is a good idea. All consumers need to do is hover their card over the reader, and they can go once the transaction gets approved.

2. Contactless payments are a necessity during COVID-19

There’s no denying that the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic has affected everyone globally. Everyone is adjusting to a new way of living their lives, and one such change is the reliance on contactless payment options.

Contactless payment terminals allow your customers to purchase your goods and services without needing to touch anything other than their cards. They also ensure customers don’t have to queue for long when they get to your checkout tills.

3. Smartphone owners use contactless payments

One of the great things about the digital payment revolution in the 21st century is how people don’t even need a physical card to buy stuff. Android and Apple smartphone users can use their NFC-enabled devices to make contactless payments.

As with physical debit and credit cards, all smartphone owners need to do is hover their smartphones over a compatible card reader. If you chose the best credit card reader for your business, it would offer contactless payment functionality as standard.

4. Contactless transactions are secure

Another advantage of contactless payments is each transaction is secure. Card issuers (i.e., banks and credit card companies) have fraud detection systems in place to minimize contactless card fraud.

For instance, such systems might include requiring users to enter their PIN on the keypad for high-value items or every 10th contactless transaction. What’s more, if a cardholder reports their card lost or stolen, thieves can’t make contactless payments on their accounts.

5. You’ll increase your sales

It should come as no surprise that making it easier for your customers to pay will result in higher sales figures for your business. Contactless payments are convenient for consumers and businesses alike and improve efficiency in retail stores.

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