Starbucks’ mass training after controversial arrests will focus on ‘implicit bias’

Posted on: April 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Starbucks(PHILADELPHIA) — Hoping to quell calls for a national boycott, Starbucks stands to lose millions of dollars by shutting down thousands of stores for one afternoon in May to train employees on how to avoid racial bias after two black men were arrested at a Philadelphia shop for doing nothing more than sitting at a table.

While the coffee giant has just started working to create a curriculum for the mass training of more than 170,000 employees, one of the advisers Starbucks has brought in to help said the coffee giant must swiftly show the world it’s serious.

“I can tell you that it is a very consequential decision to call all of those stores and provide all of those employees with training. There’s expense both in terms of the lost revenue and the resources required to train everyone,” Jonathan Greenblatt, director and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, told ABC News.

Kevin Johnson, Starbucks’ CEO, announced last week that the company will close more than 8,000 company-owned stores across the nation for several hours on the afternoon of May 29 to train 170,000 employees on how to prevent discrimination.

Given that Starbucks’ company-owned U.S. stores earned $17.6 billion in 2017, shutting down stores down for several hours in one afternoon will cost the company millions of dollars in lost revenue. But the company, which boasts of being one of the most progressive in the United States, stood to lose much more had it not acted so quickly.

In the wake the April 12 arrests of Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson at a downtown Philadelphia Starbucks, protesters called for a national boycott of the company, which quickly spread across social media.

Nelson and Robinson told ABC News’ Good Morning America that the white manager of the Starbucks called the police on them two minutes after they arrived at the store and Nelson was denied the access code for the restroom because he hadn’t made a purchase. The men said that, when police arrived, they were told they had to leave the store. When they refused to leave, they were arrested.

The unidentified manager who called police in the first place is no longer with the company.

Robinson and Nelson said they had gone to the Starbucks for a meeting on a real estate deal they had been working on for months.

Since Johnson’s announcement and his apology to Nelson and Robinson, talk of the boycott has calmed down. Starbucks also agreed to engage in mediation with Nelson and Robinson.

“Starbucks holds itself open as a place for people to meet and to have public conversations; those are words from their website,” Stewart Cohen, a lawyer for Nelson and Robinson, told ABC News. “The apologies are fine, but what we need to do is have some action by Starbucks with respect to this situation. There has to be real and meaningful discussions.”

Meanwhile, Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross apologized Thursday for initially defending the officers who arrested the men. He said he “failed miserably.”

“I should have said the officers acted within the scope of the law and not that they didn’t do anything wrong,” Ross said during a press conference Thursday. “Words are very important.”

Greenblatt, a former White House adviser to President Barack Obama on social innovation and civic participation, said Starbucks has taken significant measures to address the controversy.

“No. 1, the company turned on a dime. This happened, and within 24 hours, the CEO was onsite in Philadelphia,” said Greenblatt, who once worked for Starbucks as a vice president of global consumer products after he and his partners sold a company called Ethos Water to Starbucks in 2005.

“Within 72 hours, they’d announced this very ambitious program, where again they’re doing something very consequential from a revenue perspective and a resource perspective — about as consequential as you can get if you are in the retail business,” he said.

Along with former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director-counsel of the NAACP League Defense and Education Fund, Greenblatt is among a group of leaders providing guidance to Starbucks in developing its curriculum for the training, the company said.

“We have great reach, a lot of expertise and decades of experience” in combating hate, Greenblatt said.

He said the Anti-Defamation League provides anti-bias, anti-bullying and anti-hate training in schools throughout the nation and offers education to more than 15,000 law enforcement officers per year on how to deal with hate and hate crimes.

“Starbucks is in the early [stages] of putting together what they want,” Greenblatt said. “But when we deliver anti-bias training, it’s focused on helping people to understand the perspective of the other, recognizing implicit bias so that you can interrupt it before it happens, understanding stereotypes and why they’re hurtful.”

He said the potential training for Starbucks employees could include lectures, team-based activities and having employees re-enact scenarios on how to spot implicit bias.

“Each of us carries around certain bias views. So implicit bias is sort of the unconscious attribution of certain qualities to a person or maybe a group of people based on how you perceive the color of their skin, their religious faith, their gender,” Greenblatt said.

“The question becomes, why would a patron whose black and asks to use a bathroom is denied the key when you allow a white person to do it just a few minutes earlier? Implicit bias training is intended to identify those unconscious perceptions so that you can interrupt them before they happen,” he said.

Johnson said the company would require all new employees to go through the training as part of the onboarding process. Johnson also said the company will offer its racial-bias curriculum to other companies to use.

“I think more and more it is very constructive that companies recognize they have to model the kind of behaviors they want to see in the communities they serve and come forward as good corporate citizens,” Greenblatt said. “I think, as a society, we’re increasingly aware of these issues around — how do you confront bias, how do you confront stereotypes?”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Honeymoon-bound newlywed gets well-wishes from United passengers, thanks to sister

Posted on: April 22nd, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Kelli Shultz(AUSTIN) — When Kelli Schultz discovered that she’d be on the same flight as her newlywed sister en route to her honeymoon in New Zealand, she couldn’t resist the opportunity to give her an extra special wedding gift.

With help from United Airlines’ flight attendants, Schultz got the passengers on the 130-seat plane from Austin, Texas, to San Francisco to write well wishes to her sister, Briana DuPriest, and her now-husband, Robert, en route to New Zealand through a connecting flight.

When the two sisters discovered they were on the same flight leaving the DuPriest’s wedding on April 14, Schultz, 28, took it as a sign.

“The universe gives you gifts,” the maid of honor, who also officiated the ceremony, told ABC News. “And I thought, ‘OK, this is clearly like a smoke signal from God or the universe or whatever it is. I knew I wanted to do something a little extra, but I thought, ‘What can I do?'”

After consulting a friend who’s also a flight attendant, Schultz decided to bring goodie bags onto the flight filled with a single card and chocolates. The goodie bags included a note that read in part: “Hello fellow passenger, my sister Bri and her new husband Robert are on this flight on their way to their honeymoon in New Zealand. If you can write a piece of marriage advice or life advice and pass it up to Bri & Robert DuPriest in seats 8A and 8B.”

With help from flight attendants, who passed out the goodie bags and Sharpie pens for passengers to write messages, the surprise began to unfold.

A representative for United Airlines told ABC News in a statement that they were happy to aid in the heartwarming surprise.

“We know there is a special reason behind everyone’s journey with us, and we are happy to have done our part to make this trip that much more special for this couple,” a statement read.

Alisha Johnson, who was on board that United flight last week, was leaving a work trip in Austin when she received the card in her seat.

“I was listening to music and tuning out as I do when I noticed everyone around me was smiling,” Johnson told ABC News.

Johnson, 33, later caught on that there were newlyweds on the flight and was soon handed one of the goodie bags.

She said she is usually in a “bad mood and tired” when traveling, so it was “a nice moment of levity when everyone became human, writing and smiling and pensively thinking through what to write to the couple. Johnson said she advised the couple to let their New Zealand honeymoon be the first of a “lifelong series of adventures.”

Briana DuPriest told ABC News she and her husband were caught “totally off-guard” by the surprise.

“It’s so Kelli to find an incredibly personal and meaningful way to make us feel special,” the bride continued.

“People were coming up and handing us their cards with well-wishes. A flight attendant brought us glasses of champagne,” Briana DuPriest added. “Being in the middle of traveling, we were slightly overwhelmed by the attention, but so honored that so many people chose to contribute touching advice to us.”

The couple is now completing their honeymoon in New Zealand after, thanks to Schultz, getting off to a festive start.

“I am so lucky to have her as my sister. Her quick wit and entertaining personality eliminate the possibility of there ever being a dull moment,” Briana DuPriest said.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

This company recycles event flowers and donates them to people in need

Posted on: April 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Rachel Scott/ABC News(NEW YORK) — Weddings and events often have the most beautiful floral arrangements, but after the event is over, the arrangements can end up in the trash.

Former event planner Jennifer Grove is working to end that with her company Repeat Roses, which gives event and wedding flowers a second chance by donating them to local nonprofits.

“We get handwritten cards from all of our organizations across the country that say, ‘You know what, we were taking flowers to someone who was getting ready for their cancer treatment. We brought flowers to a gentleman who hasn’t had a visitor in three weeks,’ and just knowing we made a small difference in someone’s life, that’s meaningful to us,” Grove said.

Repeat Roses doesn’t just donate floral arrangements to those in need, the company also makes sure the flowers are properly recycled. The company recollects the donated flowers and composts them locally.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

After Facebook scrutiny, is Google next?

Posted on: April 21st, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Chesnot/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Facebook has taken the lion’s share of scrutiny from Congress and the media for its data-handling practices that allow savvy marketers and political agents to target specific audiences, but it’s far from alone.

YouTube, Google and Twitter also have giant platforms awash in more videos, posts and pages than any set of human eyes could ever check. Their methods of serving ads against this sea of content may come under the microscope next.

Advertising and privacy experts say a backlash is inevitable against a “Wild West” internet that has escaped scrutiny before. There continues to be a steady barrage of new examples where unsuspecting advertisers had their brands associated with extremist content on major platforms.

In the latest discovery, CNN reported that it found more than 300 retail brands, government agencies and technology companies had their ads run on YouTube channels that promoted white nationalists, Nazis, conspiracy theories and North Korean propaganda.

Child advocates have also raised alarms about the ease with which smartphone-equipped children are exposed to inappropriate videos and deceptive advertising.

“I absolutely think that Google is next and long overdue,” said Josh Golin, director of the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google-owned YouTube’s advertising and data-collection practices earlier this month.

YouTube has repeatedly outlined the ways it attempts to flag and delete hateful, violent, sexually explicit or harmful videos, but its screening efforts have often missed the mark.

It also allows advertisers to avoid running ads on sensitive content — like news or politics — that don’t violate YouTube guidelines but don’t fit with a company’s brand. Those methods appear to have failed.

“YouTube has once again failed to correctly filter channels out of our marketing buys,” said a statement Friday from 20th Century Fox Film, which learned that its ads were running on videos posted by a self-described Nazi. YouTube has since deleted the offending channel, but the Hollywood studio says it has unanswered questions about how it happened in the first place.

“All of our filters were in place in order to ensure that this did not happen,” Fox said, adding it has asked for a refund of any money shared with the “abhorrent channel.”

YouTube said Friday that it has made “significant changes to how we approach monetization,” citing “stricter policies, better controls and greater transparency.” It noted it allows advertisers to exclude certain channels from ads. It also removes ads when it’s notified they are running beside content that doesn’t comply with its policies.

“We are committed to working with our advertisers and getting this right,” YouTube said.

So far, just one major advertiser — Baltimore-based sports apparel company Under Armour — had said it had withdrawn its advertising in the wake of the CNN report, though the lull lasted only a few days last week when it was first notified of the problem. After its shoe commercial turned up on a channel known for espousing white nationalist beliefs, Under Armour worked with YouTube to expand its filters to exclude certain topics and keywords.

On the other hand, Procter & Gamble, which had kept its ads off of YouTube since March 2017, said it had come back to the platform but drastically pared back the channels it would advertise on to under 10,000. It has worked on its own, with third parties, and with YouTube to create its restrictive list.

That’s just a fraction of the some 3 million YouTube channels in the U.S. that accept ads, and is even more stringent than YouTube’s “Google Preferred” lineup that focuses on the most-popular 5 percent of videos.

The CNN report was “an illustration of exactly why we needed to go above and beyond just what YouTube’s plans were and why we needed to take more control of where our ads were showing up,” said P&G spokeswoman Tressie Rose.

The big problem, experts say, is that advertisers lured by the reach and targeting capability of online platforms can mistakenly expect that the same standards for decency on network TV will apply online. In the same way, broadcast TV rules that require transparency about political ad buyers are absent on the web.

“There have always been regulations regarding appropriate conduct in content,” says Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys Inc., a New York customer research firm. Regulating content on the internet is one area “that has gotten away from everyone.”

Also absent from the internet are many of the rules that govern children’s programming on television sets. TV networks, for instance, are allowed to air commercial breaks but cannot use kid-oriented characters to advertise products. Such “host-selling” runs rampant on internet services such as YouTube.

Action to remove ads from inappropriate content is mostly reactive because of lack of upfront control of what gets uploaded, and it generally takes the mass threat of boycott to get advertisers to demand changes, according to BrandSimple consultant Allen Adamson.

“The social media backlash is what you’re worried about,” he said.

At the same time, politicians are having trouble keeping up with the changing landscape, evident by how ill-informed many members of Congress appeared during questioning of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg earlier this month.

“We’re in the early stages of trying to figure out what kind of regulation makes sense here,” said Larry Chiagouris, professor of marketing at Pace University in New York. “It’s going to take quite some time to sort that out.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

FAA orders emergency inspections of 352 engines following deadly Southwest incident

Posted on: April 20th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

WPVI-TV(NEW YORK) — The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order on Friday for airlines to inspect engines like the one involved in Tuesday’s fatal incident involving Southwest Airlines Flight 1380, according to an FAA spokesperson.

Engines with more 30,000 total takeoffs and landings must be inspected within 20 days.

CFM International, the maker of the engines subject to the order, estimated 352 engines in the U.S. are affected and 681 worldwide.

The inspections will focus on the fan blades, the FAA said. The National Transportation Safety Board said an engine fan blade on Flight 1380 suffered metal fatigue before breaking.

The woman who died was sitting over the wing on the Boeing 737 when the engine failed and she was partially sucked out a broken window. Fellow passengers pulled the woman back in and attempted to revive her.

She later died.

Southwest already announced it was starting an “accelerated inspection” of its fleet after the deadly failure, and other airlines have announced their own inspection plans. American Airlines said it started additional inspections of its 737s before Tuesday’s accident, while the directive was being debated.

In a letter to passengers obtained by ABC News, Southwest offered sincere apologies as well as a $5,000 check and the promise of a $1,000 travel voucher. The letter also states that the airline’s primary focus now is to assist the passengers who were aboard the flight in every way possible.

A Southwest Airlines official confirmed to ABC News that the letters were sent by the airline, but would not comment on the monetary compensation.

The NTSB investigation is expected to take 12 to 15 months.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US stocks close lower as Apple slumps

Posted on: April 20th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Wall Street closed in the red on Friday as technology stocks suffered from Apple’s sliding shares.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 201.95 (-0.82 percent) to finish the session at 24,462.94.

The Nasdaq sunk 91.93 (-1.27 percent) to close at 7,146.13, while the S&P 500 finished trading at 2,670.14, down 22.99 (-0.85 percent) for the day.

Crude oil prices remained flat at over $68 per barrel.

Winners and Losers: Shares of Apple tumbled 4.10 percent, dragging the tech-heavy Nasdaq lower. Morgan Stanley lowered the stock’s price target, predicting weaker iPhone sales this summer.

General Electric’s quarterly earnings topped investors’ expectations and its stock climbed 3.93 percent.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

New York’s Central Park will be car-free this summer

Posted on: April 20th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — One of the nation’s most iconic urban spaces is kicking out cars.

For a trial period that starts in June, vehicles will no longer be allowed to drive through New York’s Central Park, save for cross-town transverses at 97th, 86th, 79th and 65th Streets.

“This park was not built for automobiles. It was built before there were automobiles,” New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.

Cars have been allowed on a loop drive shared with pedestrians and cyclists south of 72nd Street during certain hours. Loop drives above 72nd Street were closed to vehicular traffic permanently in 2015.

“For more than a century, cars have turned parts of the world’s most iconic park into a highway. Today we take it back,” de Blasio said.

Central Park without cars, the Parks Department said, would be cleaner and safer.

“Central Park is not just one of New York’s favorite parks – it’s one of the most-beloved, most-recognized parks in the entire world,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver. “Now, we’re making history by demonstrating just how clean, accessible, and safe an urban park can be.”

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Wells Fargo agrees to pay $1 billion to settle customer abuse claims

Posted on: April 20th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Wells Fargo agreed Friday to pay $1 billion to settle with two U.S. regulators who accused the nation’s third largest bank of abusing its customers.

The settlement comes two years after Wells Fargo was found to have opened millions of accounts in customers’ names that they did not know about or want.

The amount of the settlement is the largest imposed on a bank under the Trump administration. It will be split between the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“It’s a serious matter and I think the amount of the settlement reflects that,” CFPB interim director Mick Mulvaney told ABC News. “While the CFPB will be working to try to reduce unnecessary regulations on the industry that doesn’t mean that folks will be free to abuse consumers.”

Wells Fargo charged improper fees and imposed other unwanted expenses on customers in its auto and home lending divisions, CFPB and OCC said. By some estimates more than a million customers were affected.

“For more than a year and a half, we have made progress on strengthening operational processes, internal controls, compliance and oversight, and delivering on our promise to review all of our practices and make things right for our customers,” Timothy J. Sloan, president and chief executive officer of Wells Fargo, said in a statement.

The settlement represents CFPB’s first enforcement action under Mulvaney, a critic of the bureau who requested zero additional funding for it.

“Anybody who was concerned that we may not be interested in enforcing the law should probably get a different message from this settlement,” Mulvaney said. “We’re going to enforce the law and there may be places where I interpret that differently than my predecessor in terms of pushing the envelope but I don’t think anyone would contend the action against Wells was pushing the envelope.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $1 billion to settle customer abuse claims

Posted on: April 20th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

A million customers may have been impacted by the bank’s actions.

Wells Fargo agrees to pay $1 billion to settle customer abuse claims

Posted on: April 20th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

A million customers may have been impacted by the bank’s actions.

Kushner Cos. subpoenaed by feds after AP report

Posted on: April 20th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

The Kushner Cos. is confirming it was subpoenaed by federal prosecutors for information related to an Associated Press report that the company filed dozens of false documents about its buildings in New York City

ZTE protests US penalty, says it is seeking solution

Posted on: April 20th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Chinese tech giant ZTE Corp. has warned a ban on access to U.S. technology threatens the company’s survival and said it is looking for a legal solution

Anne Wojcicki, CEO of 23andMe, shares advice for entrepreneurs and overcoming setbacks

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Anne Wojcicki isn’t a typical CEO.

The 44-year-old mother of two who runs the consumer genetics and research company 23andMe, reportedly valued at over $1 billion, prefers a uniform of Lululemon shorts, bikes to work every day — unless it’s raining — and didn’t exactly set out on the executive path.

“I was in college. I didn’t know that there were real jobs. I think about how naive I was on the job development process,” Wojcicki says on an episode of ABC Radio’s “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis” podcast.

Wojcicki says she grew up in an “academic environment.” Her father was the chair of the physics department at Stanford University and her mother, Esther Wojcicki, is a renowned journalism teacher.

Her parents raised three successful daughters: Susan Wojcicki is CEO of YouTub and Dr. Janet Wojcicki is an anthropologist and epidemiologist at UCSF.

Growing up they were taught “to just be curious and to problem solve.”

As a child, Wojcicki loved science and recalls a definitive moment from Kindergarten when she first learned about DNA.

“My sister was talking about genes and I kept staring at her. I was like, ‘But you have shorts on,'” she recalled. “It was because they were talking about DNA. And that was the first time I ever heard about DNA and I was fascinated. Absolutely fascinating that there’s like this thing inside you and you could discover it.”

When it came time to apply for jobs after college, Wojcicki, who studied biology at Yale University, didn’t have a clear idea of what she wanted to do.

“My mom was like, ‘Just interview for a bunch of stuff and see.’ And I very randomly got this job offer for the Wallenberg family in Sweden as an analyst,” she said. “I had no idea what it was.”

“And I kind of took the job mostly because I wanted to wear Ann Taylor clothing, like I thought it would be fun to dress up,” Wojcicki told Jarvis, laughing at the memory.

She spent nearly a decade working in healthcare investing, focusing primarily on biotechnology companies. She says the information she learned on the job was invaluable.

“In some ways, as an analyst on Wall Street, I couldn’t have asked for a better training because here I was at 22 and I had this opportunity to study every single healthcare company out there. I always felt like my 10 years on Wall Street was like getting a Ph.D. and then a postdoc,” Wojcicki said.

She loved some aspects of the job: studying healthcare companies, learning the science behind the work they were doing, and speaking to CEOs and even Nobel Prize winners. But she became disillusioned about the healthcare industry as a whole.

“The big conclusion that I learned was, this was a system that does not reflect what’s in my best interest. I loved the research and that element but I also just started to feel like this is a system that was taking advantage of people,” Wojcicki recalls.

Keeping her day job, she began to volunteer in hospitals at night and she saw firsthand how patients struggled with astronomical medical bills. Her tipping point? A conference about insurance reimbursement.

“All these people were at this meeting just to figure out how to optimize billing. How can you bill more for every procedure? And I just realized, I’m done. It was that moment where I was like, ‘The system’s never going to change from within, [and] so many people make money on the inefficiencies of health care,'” she said. “And I felt like that was the end. I know how the system works. I’m going to try to make a difference.”

Wojcicki left her lucrative career on Wall Street to launch 23andMe, a genetic testing and research company that offers affordable, home-based saliva collection kits to provide customers with access to their genetic information. This includes reports on traits, wellness, carrier status and genetic ancestry.

They also offer customers the option to opt into research participation.

“23andMe was intentionally set out to be very different than every other company I’d ever researched because I wanted to reflect what’s in the best interests of the customer, the consumer and to actually try and help people be healthy,” Wojcicki said.

Now 12 years old, 23andMe has built one of the largest databases of individual genetic information and has raised almost $500 million in venture capital funds, according to the company.

But it wasn’t without setbacks. In 2013, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) demanded that 23andMe stop marketing their kits, citing “potential health consequences” resulting from “false positive or false negative assessments.”

The FDA had classified 23andMe’s Saliva Collection Kit and Personal Genome Service as a “medical device” and claimed it had not been “analytically or clinically validated” for the intended use. Some experts worry that people get the genetic advice without enough interpretation about what to do with the information.

“I always argued we had the right intentions but … I realize now we didn’t know how to communicate,” Wojcicki said of the FDA controversy. “So it was a moment, it was definitely a shock.”

Wojcicki became committed to working with the FDA, following their guidelines and, in 2015, 23andMe received authorization for its first genetics test for Bloom syndrome. In 2017, the FDA approved 23andMe’s offer of 10 genetic health risk reports, including late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and celiac disease.

And earlier this year, the company received the first-ever FDA authorization for direct-to-consumer genetic test for cancer risk for its BRCA1/BRCA2 report.

For Wojcicki, her success and the success of her company is about determination.

“There’s very few cases where there’s overnight success. We’ve been working on all of our approvals. Like BRCA … we’ve worked on this for years. So sometimes it just takes a lot of work to get something done,” she said. “And one thing I advise to entrepreneurs is you have to stick with it. Success comes from actually, like really sticking with it.”

And her advice to those just starting out?

“Everything when you’re 22 is interesting. It doesn’t matter what job you take. Just take a job where you’re going to learn something and then keep learning. And the minute you stop learning get a different job,” she advised. “Every job I ever had contributed to who I am today and what I’ve learned.”

Hear more of Anne Wojcicki’s interview on “No Limits With Rebecca Jarvis,” available on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play Music, Spotify, TuneIn and the ABC News app.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Gender equality in the sciences is improving, but more work is needed

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Female representation in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) has improved somewhat, but a new study looked at the authors of millions of articles and found there is still more work to be done in promoting women in academia.

“Of the gender-biased disciplines, almost all are moving towards parity, though some are predicted to take decades or even centuries to reach it,” Dr. Cindy Hauser, senior research fellow in mathematics at the University of Melbourne and one of the authors on the study, said in a statement.

Women were significantly underrepresented as senior authors on studies, according to the study published Thursday in the journal PLOS Biology.

The fields with the lowest amount of female representation were: Physics, computer science, mathematics, surgery and chemistry.

The study, conducted at the University of Melbourne, found 87 out of the 115 identified STEM disciplines had fewer than 45 percent of authors who were female.

Researchers used a computer algorithm to search through almost 11 million academic publications listed on 2 major science databases, PubMed and arXiv, which track more than 6,000 STEM journals. They identified 50 million authors — and the computer assigned a gender to almost 37 million.

From that data, they produced a series of gender ratios: The percentage of women who were lead authors of research or senior authors of research, which publications published research and how often women were invited to write editorials, conduct reviews or provide commentary.

The team projected how long it would take to reach gender parity by field.

Physics, for instance, showed only 13 percent of senior positions held by women — a gap that they forecasted to take 258 years to close.

The team chose to focus on academic publications, since they are currently the primary means of disseminating scientific knowledge and the principal measure of research productivity, thereby influencing the career prospects and visibility of women in STEM, said Dr. Devi Stuart-Fox, an author on the study and evolutionary biologist at the University of Melbourne.

The gender gap was noted to be even wider at more prestigious journals, such as Nature, Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine and the British Medical Journal. The calculations showed the higher the journal’s stature and impact, the less women were represented.

The authors think this could be for several reasons: Prestigious journals receive numerous submissions, so editors reject many publications without blind peer review, disadvantaging women as names are visible on the first review.

Women may be less likely to be mentored or encouraged to submit their work to more prestigious publications. Prestigious journals also publish more invited submissions, which in this dataset showed men were 1.7 to 2.1 times more likely to be invited to submit work for a publication.

The authors hope their research promotes more reforms in academic STEM to move closer towards gender parity. To help in the process, the researchers have also made their data and findings free and publically available to access online — and suggested the data could help find ways to change the selection process.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Gender equality in the sciences is improving, but more work is needed

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Female representation in the sciences, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) has improved somewhat, but a new study looked at the authors of millions of articles and found there is still more work to be done in promoting women in academia.

“Of the gender-biased disciplines, almost all are moving towards parity, though some are predicted to take decades or even centuries to reach it,” Dr. Cindy Hauser, senior research fellow in mathematics at the University of Melbourne and one of the authors on the study, said in a statement.

Women were significantly underrepresented as senior authors on studies, according to the study published Thursday in the journal PLOS Biology.

The fields with the lowest amount of female representation were: Physics, computer science, mathematics, surgery and chemistry.

The study, conducted at the University of Melbourne, found 87 out of the 115 identified STEM disciplines had fewer than 45 percent of authors who were female.

Researchers used a computer algorithm to search through almost 11 million academic publications listed on 2 major science databases, PubMed and arXiv, which track more than 6,000 STEM journals. They identified 50 million authors — and the computer assigned a gender to almost 37 million.

From that data, they produced a series of gender ratios: The percentage of women who were lead authors of research or senior authors of research, which publications published research and how often women were invited to write editorials, conduct reviews or provide commentary.

The team projected how long it would take to reach gender parity by field.

Physics, for instance, showed only 13 percent of senior positions held by women — a gap that they forecasted to take 258 years to close.

The team chose to focus on academic publications, since they are currently the primary means of disseminating scientific knowledge and the principal measure of research productivity, thereby influencing the career prospects and visibility of women in STEM, said Dr. Devi Stuart-Fox, an author on the study and evolutionary biologist at the University of Melbourne.

The gender gap was noted to be even wider at more prestigious journals, such as Nature, Lancet, New England Journal of Medicine and the British Medical Journal. The calculations showed the higher the journal’s stature and impact, the less women were represented.

The authors think this could be for several reasons: Prestigious journals receive numerous submissions, so editors reject many publications without blind peer review, disadvantaging women as names are visible on the first review.

Women may be less likely to be mentored or encouraged to submit their work to more prestigious publications. Prestigious journals also publish more invited submissions, which in this dataset showed men were 1.7 to 2.1 times more likely to be invited to submit work for a publication.

The authors hope their research promotes more reforms in academic STEM to move closer towards gender parity. To help in the process, the researchers have also made their data and findings free and publically available to access online — and suggested the data could help find ways to change the selection process.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

This California restaurant uses a color-coded system to help their staff combat sexual harassment

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Homeroom Restaurant(OAKLAND, Calif.) — Chrissel Orcino had a “code red” at one of her tables.

When Orcino, a server at the Oakland, California, restaurant Homeroom, went to pick up the check for her table of three — two men and one woman — something alarming happened.

A man was eager to pay for the tab of the entire table, Orcino said and reached into her apron pocket with his credit card.

“I could, like, feel his, like, hand move all the way down to the bottom of the pocket with his card,” Orcino, 28, recalled.

Orcino was in total shock.

“He could’ve just handed me his card or went up to the register and paid for the whole table,” she said. “It was pretty traumatic to have somebody touch me out of nowhere.”

But instead of explaining to her manager the details of what happened, Orcino told him she had a code red, and he knew what to do.
That’s because, at Homeroom, the staff has a system in place to categorize different types of customer behavior, like Orcino’s experience.

The Management Alert Color System, known as MACS because they’re a mac and cheese restaurant, has three tiers: yellow, orange and red.

“Yellow is just where someone gets a creepy vibe. Nothing has happened. An orange is where they’ve said something that’s a little bit borderline — like it could be sexual harassment, it could not be. Like, ‘Hey I love your shirt.’ Right? It could sort of go either way,” Erin Wade, co-founder and chief executive of Homeroom, explained. “And a red is something that’s overtly sexual, like, ‘Hey, you look super sexy in that.’ Or where someone touches someone else.”

A staff member doesn’t have to explain the experience to their manager. All they have to do is report the color, and there’s an automatic action that the manager must take.
In the case of a code yellow, the server can choose if they want a manager to take over the table, and if they report an orange, the manager will automatically take it over. With a code red, the customer is asked to leave.

New hires are introduced to MACS at their orientation and are empowered to bring up potentially problematic behavior and situations in or around the restaurant with their manager, whether it’s involving customers, vendors or a delivery driver.

Watch “My Reality: A Hidden America,” a special report by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer for “20/20” airing on Friday, April 20 at 10 p.m. ET

“All they have to do is come up to me and say, ‘I have a code yellow at a table, and I just don’t feel comfortable serving them.’ And I don’t even have to ask them questions about what happened. I just say, ‘ Not a problem. I’m happy to step in and take over that table so you don’t have to deal with it,’” said Kale Irwin, a Homeroom manager.

The anti-harassment system was started a few years ago when the staff felt they were having a hard time communicating to management when an experience with sexual harassment or other problematic behavior was occurring.

Since the introduction of MACS, Wade says, Homeroom has had fewer code reds, because, “It seems to stem harassment at a really early level.”

For Orcino, the system helped her in a moment she was too distressed to explain her own emotions, let alone what happened when that male customer reached into her apron.

“In any other situation, if we didn’t have the system, then I would have to explain the whole thing and go through the whole process, and in a time when we’re really busy and I can’t even process my own emotions,” Orcino said. “This incident with this guest happened so fast, so abruptly, that I was completely in shock.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

This California restaurant uses a color-coded system to help their staff combat sexual harassment

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Homeroom Restaurant(OAKLAND, Calif.) — Chrissel Orcino had a “code red” at one of her tables.

When Orcino, a server at the Oakland, California, restaurant Homeroom, went to pick up the check for her table of three — two men and one woman — something alarming happened.

A man was eager to pay for the tab of the entire table, Orcino said and reached into her apron pocket with his credit card.

“I could, like, feel his, like, hand move all the way down to the bottom of the pocket with his card,” Orcino, 28, recalled.

Orcino was in total shock.

“He could’ve just handed me his card or went up to the register and paid for the whole table,” she said. “It was pretty traumatic to have somebody touch me out of nowhere.”

But instead of explaining to her manager the details of what happened, Orcino told him she had a code red, and he knew what to do.
That’s because, at Homeroom, the staff has a system in place to categorize different types of customer behavior, like Orcino’s experience.

The Management Alert Color System, known as MACS because they’re a mac and cheese restaurant, has three tiers: yellow, orange and red.

“Yellow is just where someone gets a creepy vibe. Nothing has happened. An orange is where they’ve said something that’s a little bit borderline — like it could be sexual harassment, it could not be. Like, ‘Hey I love your shirt.’ Right? It could sort of go either way,” Erin Wade, co-founder and chief executive of Homeroom, explained. “And a red is something that’s overtly sexual, like, ‘Hey, you look super sexy in that.’ Or where someone touches someone else.”

A staff member doesn’t have to explain the experience to their manager. All they have to do is report the color, and there’s an automatic action that the manager must take.
In the case of a code yellow, the server can choose if they want a manager to take over the table, and if they report an orange, the manager will automatically take it over. With a code red, the customer is asked to leave.

New hires are introduced to MACS at their orientation and are empowered to bring up potentially problematic behavior and situations in or around the restaurant with their manager, whether it’s involving customers, vendors or a delivery driver.

Watch “My Reality: A Hidden America,” a special report by ABC News’ Diane Sawyer for “20/20” airing on Friday, April 20 at 10 p.m. ET

“All they have to do is come up to me and say, ‘I have a code yellow at a table, and I just don’t feel comfortable serving them.’ And I don’t even have to ask them questions about what happened. I just say, ‘ Not a problem. I’m happy to step in and take over that table so you don’t have to deal with it,’” said Kale Irwin, a Homeroom manager.

The anti-harassment system was started a few years ago when the staff felt they were having a hard time communicating to management when an experience with sexual harassment or other problematic behavior was occurring.

Since the introduction of MACS, Wade says, Homeroom has had fewer code reds, because, “It seems to stem harassment at a really early level.”

For Orcino, the system helped her in a moment she was too distressed to explain her own emotions, let alone what happened when that male customer reached into her apron.

“In any other situation, if we didn’t have the system, then I would have to explain the whole thing and go through the whole process, and in a time when we’re really busy and I can’t even process my own emotions,” Orcino said. “This incident with this guest happened so fast, so abruptly, that I was completely in shock.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Furniture-building robot assembles IKEA chair in less than nine minutes

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(JURONG WEST, Singapore) — Taking hours to set up IKEA furniture or fearing losing all the screws and fixtures could be a thing of the past, sometime in the near future.

Scientists at the Nanyang Technological University’s School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering in Singapore said they have created a robot designed to do the job — and it’s already built an IKEA chair.

In just over eight minutes, the robot set up IKEA’s Stefan chair, the research team at NTU said in a statement.

“For a robot, putting together an IKEA chair with such precision is more complex than it looks,” Pham said in the statement. “The job of assembly, which may come naturally to humans, has to be broken down into different steps, such as identifying where the different chair parts are, the force required to grip the parts, and making sure the robotic arms move without colliding into each other. Through considerable engineering effort, we developed algorithms that will enable the robot to take the necessary steps to assemble the chair on its own.”

The robot includes a 3D camera and two robotic arms with fingers, or “grippers,” that give it the ability to pick up and put down objects, according to Assistant Professor Pham Quang Cuong and his team.

Sensors on the robot can “precisely and consistently detect holes” on the chair, allowing for “tight insertions,” according to the release.

Looking into the future, the team said it hopes to take the successful technology of the chair-building robot to other industries, including automotive and aircraft manufacturing.

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

‘Fearless Girl’ is leaving ‘Charging Bull,’ moving to new home

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Xinhua/Wang Ying/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The “Fearless Girl” is moving.

The popular statue is done staring down the “Charging Bull” on Broadway and will take a stand in front of the New York Stock Exchange, Mayor Bill de Blasio and State Street Global Advisors, the firm that commissioned the statue, announced Thursday.

“Since Fearless Girl’s placement, more than 150 companies have added a female director to their boards,” State Street Global Advisors Chief Cyrus Taraporevala said. “Our hope is that by moving her closer to the NYSE, she will encourage more companies to take action and, more broadly, that she will continue to inspire people from all walks of life on the issue of gender diversity.”

Created by sculptor Kristen Visbal, “Fearless Girl” was originally installed on Wall Street on the eve of International Women’s Day in 2017, accompanied by a call on the companies in which State Street Global Advisors invests to increase the number of women on their corporate boards.

“We are proud to be home to the Fearless Girl,” Mayor de Blasio said. “She is a potent symbol of the need for change at the highest levels of corporate America — and she will become a durable part of our city’s civic life.”

The city thought the statue, currently on the Bowling Green median, needed a safer home because visitors often spill out onto crowded Broadway. It is also considering whether to move the Charging Bull as well because of pedestrian safety concerns.

“Fearless Girl” has not been without controversy. The artist behind the bull statue complained that it infringed on his work. But State Street said it has seen results from its campaign –152 companies have added a woman to their corporate boards, Taraporevala said.

A spokesman for Mayor de Blasio said the girl and the bull may be reunited soon.

“The Bull will almost certainly be moved and will very likely wind up reunited with Fearless Girl,” de Blasio’s spokesman, Eric Phillips, wrote on Twitter. “It’s tricky and some things still need to be sorted out.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

 

(NEW YORK) — The “Fearless Girl” is moving.

 

The popular statue is done staring down the “Charging Bull” on Broadway and will take a stand in front of the New York Stock Exchange, Mayor Bill de Blasio and State Street Global Advisors, the firm that commissioned the statue, announced Thursday.

 

 

“Since Fearless Girl’s placement, more than 150 companies have added a female director to their boards,” State Street Global Advisors Chief Cyrus Taraporevala said. “Our hope is that by moving her closer to the NYSE, she will encourage more companies to take action and, more broadly, that she will continue to inspire people from all walks of life on the issue of gender diversity.”

 

 

Created by sculptor Kristen Visbal, “Fearless Girl” was originally installed on Wall Street on the eve of International Women’s Day in 2017, accompanied by a call on the companies in which State Street Global Advisors invests to increase the number of women on their corporate boards.

 

“We are proud to be home to the Fearless Girl,” Mayor de Blasio said. “She is a potent symbol of the need for change at the highest levels of corporate America — and she will become a durable part of our city’s civic life.”

 

 

The city thought the statue, currently on the Bowling Green median, needed a safer home because visitors often spill out onto crowded Broadway. It is also considering whether to move the Charging Bull as well because of pedestrian safety concerns.

 

“Fearless Girl” has not been without controversy. The artist behind the bull statue complained that it infringed on his work. But State Street said it has seen results from its campaign –152 companies have added a woman to their corporate boards, Taraporevala said.

 

A spokesman for Mayor de Blasio said the girl and the bull may be reunited soon.

 

“The Bull will almost certainly be moved and will very likely wind up reunited with Fearless Girl,” de Blasio’s spokesman, Eric Phillips, wrote on Twitter. “It’s tricky and some things still need to be sorted out.”

 

‘Fearless Girl’ is leaving ‘Charging Bull,’ moving to new home

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Xinhua/Wang Ying/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The “Fearless Girl” is moving.

The popular statue is done staring down the “Charging Bull” on Broadway and will take a stand in front of the New York Stock Exchange, Mayor Bill de Blasio and State Street Global Advisors, the firm that commissioned the statue, announced Thursday.

“Since Fearless Girl’s placement, more than 150 companies have added a female director to their boards,” State Street Global Advisors Chief Cyrus Taraporevala said. “Our hope is that by moving her closer to the NYSE, she will encourage more companies to take action and, more broadly, that she will continue to inspire people from all walks of life on the issue of gender diversity.”

Created by sculptor Kristen Visbal, “Fearless Girl” was originally installed on Wall Street on the eve of International Women’s Day in 2017, accompanied by a call on the companies in which State Street Global Advisors invests to increase the number of women on their corporate boards.

“We are proud to be home to the Fearless Girl,” Mayor de Blasio said. “She is a potent symbol of the need for change at the highest levels of corporate America — and she will become a durable part of our city’s civic life.”

The city thought the statue, currently on the Bowling Green median, needed a safer home because visitors often spill out onto crowded Broadway. It is also considering whether to move the Charging Bull as well because of pedestrian safety concerns.

“Fearless Girl” has not been without controversy. The artist behind the bull statue complained that it infringed on his work. But State Street said it has seen results from its campaign –152 companies have added a woman to their corporate boards, Taraporevala said.

A spokesman for Mayor de Blasio said the girl and the bull may be reunited soon.

“The Bull will almost certainly be moved and will very likely wind up reunited with Fearless Girl,” de Blasio’s spokesman, Eric Phillips, wrote on Twitter. “It’s tricky and some things still need to be sorted out.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

 

 

(NEW YORK) — The “Fearless Girl” is moving.

 

The popular statue is done staring down the “Charging Bull” on Broadway and will take a stand in front of the New York Stock Exchange, Mayor Bill de Blasio and State Street Global Advisors, the firm that commissioned the statue, announced Thursday.

 

 

“Since Fearless Girl’s placement, more than 150 companies have added a female director to their boards,” State Street Global Advisors Chief Cyrus Taraporevala said. “Our hope is that by moving her closer to the NYSE, she will encourage more companies to take action and, more broadly, that she will continue to inspire people from all walks of life on the issue of gender diversity.”

 

 

Created by sculptor Kristen Visbal, “Fearless Girl” was originally installed on Wall Street on the eve of International Women’s Day in 2017, accompanied by a call on the companies in which State Street Global Advisors invests to increase the number of women on their corporate boards.

 

“We are proud to be home to the Fearless Girl,” Mayor de Blasio said. “She is a potent symbol of the need for change at the highest levels of corporate America — and she will become a durable part of our city’s civic life.”

 

 

The city thought the statue, currently on the Bowling Green median, needed a safer home because visitors often spill out onto crowded Broadway. It is also considering whether to move the Charging Bull as well because of pedestrian safety concerns.

 

“Fearless Girl” has not been without controversy. The artist behind the bull statue complained that it infringed on his work. But State Street said it has seen results from its campaign –152 companies have added a woman to their corporate boards, Taraporevala said.

 

A spokesman for Mayor de Blasio said the girl and the bull may be reunited soon.

 

“The Bull will almost certainly be moved and will very likely wind up reunited with Fearless Girl,” de Blasio’s spokesman, Eric Phillips, wrote on Twitter. “It’s tricky and some things still need to be sorted out.”

 

Men arrested at Starbucks were there for business meeting hoping to change ‘our lives’

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(PHILADELPHIA) — The two black men who were arrested at a Starbucks in downtown Philadelphia last week and accused of trespassing said they were there for a business meeting that they hoped would change their lives.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson came forward Thursday morning on ABC News’ Good Morning America to publicly share their story for the first time.

The entrepreneurs and longtime friends said they were waiting to meet a potential business partner at the Starbucks in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square neighborhood when they saw police officers enter the store and speak with the manager.

“I was thinking, ‘They can’t be here for us,'” Robinson said in the interview with GMA Co-Anchor Robin Roberts.

The pair didn’t think anything of it until the officers approached their table and told them they needed to leave, they said.

“It was just, ‘Get out. You have to leave. You’re not buying anything, so you shouldn’t be here,'” Nelson told GMA.

They calmly told the officers they were there for a meeting, and Robinson said he even called the person they were waiting for. But the officers repeatedly insisted that they leave, they said.

“This is a real estate meeting. We’ve been working on this for months,” Nelson said. “We’re days away from changing our whole entire situation, our lives, and you about to sit here telling me I can’t do that? You’re not doing that.”

The officers ultimately handcuffed Nelson and Robinson, and escorted them out of the Starbucks and into a squad car before taking them to the police station. An onlooker captured the incident on video, which went viral and prompted Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson to release a statement saying the “reprehensible outcome” should have never happened.

Robinson said police never read them their Miranda rights when they were handcuffed and they were held in custody for eight hours.

“There was no reasoning,” he said. “They had nothing. They just kept using ‘defiant trespassing’ as their excuse for putting us behind bars.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Men arrested at Starbucks were there for business meeting hoping to change ‘our lives’

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(PHILADELPHIA) — The two black men who were arrested at a Starbucks in downtown Philadelphia last week and accused of trespassing said they were there for a business meeting that they hoped would change their lives.

Rashon Nelson and Donte Robinson came forward Thursday morning on ABC News’ Good Morning America to publicly share their story for the first time.

The entrepreneurs and longtime friends said they were waiting to meet a potential business partner at the Starbucks in Philadelphia’s Rittenhouse Square neighborhood when they saw police officers enter the store and speak with the manager.

“I was thinking, ‘They can’t be here for us,'” Robinson said in the interview with GMA Co-Anchor Robin Roberts.

The pair didn’t think anything of it until the officers approached their table and told them they needed to leave, they said.

“It was just, ‘Get out. You have to leave. You’re not buying anything, so you shouldn’t be here,'” Nelson told GMA.

They calmly told the officers they were there for a meeting, and Robinson said he even called the person they were waiting for. But the officers repeatedly insisted that they leave, they said.

“This is a real estate meeting. We’ve been working on this for months,” Nelson said. “We’re days away from changing our whole entire situation, our lives, and you about to sit here telling me I can’t do that? You’re not doing that.”

The officers ultimately handcuffed Nelson and Robinson, and escorted them out of the Starbucks and into a squad car before taking them to the police station. An onlooker captured the incident on video, which went viral and prompted Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson to release a statement saying the “reprehensible outcome” should have never happened.

Robinson said police never read them their Miranda rights when they were handcuffed and they were held in custody for eight hours.

“There was no reasoning,” he said. “They had nothing. They just kept using ‘defiant trespassing’ as their excuse for putting us behind bars.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Girls Make Beats trains girls in music production to help close the gender gap

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC(NEW YORK) — When recording artist and audio engineer Tiffany Miranda walks into a studio, she’s used to standing out.

“As a woman, some of the challenges I faced were just people walking in the door and asking where the engineer is while I was sitting right behind the mixing console,” said Miranda, whose work has appeared on American Idol and X-Factor. She has collaborated with many artists and producers, including Rick Ross and DJ Khaled.

“A lot of guys weren’t really used to seeing girls behind the boards,” she said.

But Miranda didn’t want to accept that as the status quo. Instead, she decided to work toward correcting the gender disparity in music production by founding Girls Make Beats, an organization dedicated to helping young girls interested in becoming music producers.

The group hosts educational seminars, summer camps and networking events — all with the goal of helping girls further their careers in music.

“Girls Make Beats came about because of my own personal story and struggles in the music industry,” Miranda said. “I found out very early on that it was tough for girls to break into music technology fields, and there’s actually never been a woman to win a Grammy for their music production — ever.”

The numbers back up Miranda’s experience. Female songwriters and producers are outnumbered by men, according to a University of South Carolina Annenberg report conducted between 2012 to 2017. Female songwriters and producers made up only 12.3 percent of songwriters for the top 600 songs of the last six years. Also among the findings: Two percent of producers across 300 songs were female, translating into a major gender ratio of 49 males to every female.

“When I was growing up, there were literally no women that I could look up to and aspire to be — the next big audio engineer, that next big music producer,” she said. “So with Girls Make Beats, we’re out there — we’re bringing the program to these girls and their schools. We’re introducing them to these really cool and fun fields like DJing, music production and audio engineering, and getting them excited about it from an early age.”

The organization started in Miami, but recently opened a chapter in Los Angeles and is organizing programs in several major cities across the United States.

The program aims to help young girls such as 11-year-old Bella Villa, whose nickname is DJ Bella.

“I knew there wasn’t a lot of female DJs, and I wanted to finally become one,” she said. “My favorite part was learning how to mix songs together.”

Working alongside other young girls with the same goals has helped 16-year-old Jerica Hatcher, also known as DJ Blessed, gain confidence in her skills.

“My favorite part of the program is just being here with the girls, coming together to make music that people will want to hear,” she said.

Miranda believes that the benefits of the programs extend beyond music production. Regardless of what career the girls pursue, she said she hopes they will carry the sense of accomplishment from Girl Makes Beats with them.

“It’s really about the confidence that they build and knowing that they can tackle anything that they put their minds to,” she said.

Miranda’s advice to young girls is to be persistent and don’t take “no” for an answer.

“Never wait for your opportunities, but create them,” she said. “When you hear ‘no,’ that’s OK. That means ‘not now.’ That means go work on your craft. Make another beat. Go do something that’s going to be proactive in getting you to the next step.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Girls Make Beats trains girls in music production to help close the gender gap

Posted on: April 19th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC(NEW YORK) — When recording artist and audio engineer Tiffany Miranda walks into a studio, she’s used to standing out.

“As a woman, some of the challenges I faced were just people walking in the door and asking where the engineer is while I was sitting right behind the mixing console,” said Miranda, whose work has appeared on American Idol and X-Factor. She has collaborated with many artists and producers, including Rick Ross and DJ Khaled.

“A lot of guys weren’t really used to seeing girls behind the boards,” she said.

But Miranda didn’t want to accept that as the status quo. Instead, she decided to work toward correcting the gender disparity in music production by founding Girls Make Beats, an organization dedicated to helping young girls interested in becoming music producers.

The group hosts educational seminars, summer camps and networking events — all with the goal of helping girls further their careers in music.

“Girls Make Beats came about because of my own personal story and struggles in the music industry,” Miranda said. “I found out very early on that it was tough for girls to break into music technology fields, and there’s actually never been a woman to win a Grammy for their music production — ever.”

The numbers back up Miranda’s experience. Female songwriters and producers are outnumbered by men, according to a University of South Carolina Annenberg report conducted between 2012 to 2017. Female songwriters and producers made up only 12.3 percent of songwriters for the top 600 songs of the last six years. Also among the findings: Two percent of producers across 300 songs were female, translating into a major gender ratio of 49 males to every female.

“When I was growing up, there were literally no women that I could look up to and aspire to be — the next big audio engineer, that next big music producer,” she said. “So with Girls Make Beats, we’re out there — we’re bringing the program to these girls and their schools. We’re introducing them to these really cool and fun fields like DJing, music production and audio engineering, and getting them excited about it from an early age.”

The organization started in Miami, but recently opened a chapter in Los Angeles and is organizing programs in several major cities across the United States.

The program aims to help young girls such as 11-year-old Bella Villa, whose nickname is DJ Bella.

“I knew there wasn’t a lot of female DJs, and I wanted to finally become one,” she said. “My favorite part was learning how to mix songs together.”

Working alongside other young girls with the same goals has helped 16-year-old Jerica Hatcher, also known as DJ Blessed, gain confidence in her skills.

“My favorite part of the program is just being here with the girls, coming together to make music that people will want to hear,” she said.

Miranda believes that the benefits of the programs extend beyond music production. Regardless of what career the girls pursue, she said she hopes they will carry the sense of accomplishment from Girl Makes Beats with them.

“It’s really about the confidence that they build and knowing that they can tackle anything that they put their minds to,” she said.

Miranda’s advice to young girls is to be persistent and don’t take “no” for an answer.

“Never wait for your opportunities, but create them,” she said. “When you hear ‘no,’ that’s OK. That means ‘not now.’ That means go work on your craft. Make another beat. Go do something that’s going to be proactive in getting you to the next step.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Starbucks manager told 911 of 2 men ‘refusing to make a purchase or leave’ before their arrests

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Mark Makela/Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) — The former Starbucks manager whose telephone call initiated the controversial arrest of two African-American men at her downtown Philadelphia store told 911, “I have two gentlemen at my cafe that are refusing to make a purchase or leave,” according to the taped audio of the call released by police Tuesday.

Responding to the 4:37 p.m. call last Thursday, the operator said she would send police to the location at 18th and Spruce Streets and, about three minutes later, a radio dispatcher can be heard in the audio saying, “1801 Spruce at Starbucks a group of males” was “refusing to leave.”

After police arrived, they requested an additional officer and supervisor, according to the audio.

Police then radioed at 5 p.m. that they would be transporting the two arrested men to police headquarters.

The incident has prompted widespread condemnation, protests, an apology from Starbucks’ CEO and a plan to close all the U.S. company-owned stores for an afternoon of racial-bias education. The manager is no longer employed there.

Melissa DePino, whose video of the arrest went viral on social media, told ABC News the men were doing nothing more than sitting at a table when police officers entered the shop, put them in handcuffs and hauled them away.

Starbucks released a statement Tuesday saying all 8,000 of its nationwide company-owned stores will shut down for a few hours May 29 for racial-bias education for about 175,000 employees.

In a supplemental video with the statement, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, who has zeroed in on “unconscious bias,” said the move comes as they are “committed to being part of the solution,” and that this training “is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Starbucks manager told 911 of 2 men ‘refusing to make a purchase or leave’ before their arrests

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Mark Makela/Getty Images(PHILADELPHIA) — The former Starbucks manager whose telephone call initiated the controversial arrest of two African-American men at her downtown Philadelphia store told 911, “I have two gentlemen at my cafe that are refusing to make a purchase or leave,” according to the taped audio of the call released by police Tuesday.

Responding to the 4:37 p.m. call last Thursday, the operator said she would send police to the location at 18th and Spruce Streets and, about three minutes later, a radio dispatcher can be heard in the audio saying, “1801 Spruce at Starbucks a group of males” was “refusing to leave.”

After police arrived, they requested an additional officer and supervisor, according to the audio.

Police then radioed at 5 p.m. that they would be transporting the two arrested men to police headquarters.

The incident has prompted widespread condemnation, protests, an apology from Starbucks’ CEO and a plan to close all the U.S. company-owned stores for an afternoon of racial-bias education. The manager is no longer employed there.

Melissa DePino, whose video of the arrest went viral on social media, told ABC News the men were doing nothing more than sitting at a table when police officers entered the shop, put them in handcuffs and hauled them away.

Starbucks released a statement Tuesday saying all 8,000 of its nationwide company-owned stores will shut down for a few hours May 29 for racial-bias education for about 175,000 employees.

In a supplemental video with the statement, Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson, who has zeroed in on “unconscious bias,” said the move comes as they are “committed to being part of the solution,” and that this training “is just one step in a journey that requires dedication from every level of our company and partnerships in our local communities.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Dick’s Sporting Goods announces it will destroy all unsold assault-style weapons

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Almost two months after Dick’s Sporting Goods announced they will no longer be selling assault-style weapons, the company announced it is destroying the unsold stock.

“We are in the process of destroying all firearms and accessories that are no longer for sale as a result of our Feb. 28 policy change. We are destroying the firearms in accordance with federal guidelines and regulations,” the company said in a statement to ABC News.

In late February, two weeks after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that they would no longer sell assault-style rifles or high capacity magazines. The company also said it would no longer sell firearms or ammunition of anyone under the age of 21 years old.

“Following all of the rules and laws, we sold a shotgun to the Parkland shooter in November of 2017. It was not the gun, nor type of gun, he used in the shooting. But it could have been,” the company said in February.

Dick’s Sporting Goods had already removed all assault-style rifles from all Dick’s stores after the Sandy Hook shooting but removed them from sale at all 35 Field and Stream stores following the shooting in Parkland.

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, Dick’s Sporting Goods Chairman and CEO Edward Stack said, “We’re staunch supporters of the Second Amendment. I’m a gun owner myself. We’ve just decided that based on what’s happened with these guns, we don’t want to be a part of this story and we’ve eliminated these guns permanently.”

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Dick’s Sporting Goods announces it will destroy all unsold assault-style weapons

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — Almost two months after Dick’s Sporting Goods announced they will no longer be selling assault-style weapons, the company announced it is destroying the unsold stock.

“We are in the process of destroying all firearms and accessories that are no longer for sale as a result of our Feb. 28 policy change. We are destroying the firearms in accordance with federal guidelines and regulations,” the company said in a statement to ABC News.

In late February, two weeks after the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, Dick’s Sporting Goods announced that they would no longer sell assault-style rifles or high capacity magazines. The company also said it would no longer sell firearms or ammunition of anyone under the age of 21 years old.

“Following all of the rules and laws, we sold a shotgun to the Parkland shooter in November of 2017. It was not the gun, nor type of gun, he used in the shooting. But it could have been,” the company said in February.

Dick’s Sporting Goods had already removed all assault-style rifles from all Dick’s stores after the Sandy Hook shooting but removed them from sale at all 35 Field and Stream stores following the shooting in Parkland.

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning America, Dick’s Sporting Goods Chairman and CEO Edward Stack said, “We’re staunch supporters of the Second Amendment. I’m a gun owner myself. We’ve just decided that based on what’s happened with these guns, we don’t want to be a part of this story and we’ve eliminated these guns permanently.”

Copyright © 2018, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Amazon partners with Best Buy on smart TVs, a "win-win"

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Amazon partners with Best Buy to get its burgeoning suite of tech products in front of customers

How to recreate royal wedding looks for less

Posted on: April 18th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

Chris Jackson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — With the royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle just weeks away, all eyes are speculating on what dress Markle will wear on her big day.

Good Housekeeping’s style director Lori Bergamotto appeared live on “Good Morning America” to break down some of the most popular royal wedding looks in the past, and share ways to recreate them on a budget.

Kate Middleton’s Alexander McQueen dress

The Duchess of Cambridge donned a custom-made, Victorian-inspired satin and lace gown designed by Sarah Burton, the creative director for Alexander McQueen, during her wedding to Prince William in 2011. The gown featured a nearly 9-foot train and is estimated to have cost more than $400,000.

She paired it with a Cartier halo tiara she borrowed from Queen Elizabeth, and wore a mid-length silk tulle veil with lace trim.

The royal steal

Bergamotto showed how you can recreate this look using a dress from H&M’s new bridal collection that many believe is heavily inspired by Middleton’s dress, and a tiara and veil from David’s Bridal.

Dress: H&M Long Lace dress, available on their website for $299.

Tiara: David’s Bridal mid-height tiara with pearls and crystals, available on their website for $149.95.

Veil: David’s Bridal lace edge fingertip veil, available on their website for $149.95.

Meghan Markle’s Suits Anne Barge wedding dress

Markle’s character on Suits donned an Anne Barge tulle gown with a plunging V-neck, beading and a sheer back that cost more than $6,800. Markle has said that her character’s style is similar to her own, as speculation mounts over what dress she will wear on her big day.

The royal steal, option 1

You can recreate this look for less than $100 by putting together a bodysuit from Asos and a skirt from Amazon, according to Bergamotto. She added that her big takeaway tip is that you can mimic a dress you love for less by thinking about it as separates, and you can also get more bang for your buck this way because you can re-wear the pieces individually.

Bodysuit: Asos Blair bodysuit, available on their website for $45.

Skirt: Amazon’s Tutu Tulle skirt, available on their website for $39.

The royal steal, option 2

Top: Jenny Yoo Sylvie top, available on BHLDN’s website for $180.

Skirt: Jenny Yoo Louise tulle skirt, available on BHLDN’s website for $220.

Princess Diana’s David and Elizabeth Emmanuel Dress

Diana’s iconic David and Elizabeth Emmanuel dress featured a dramatic silk taffeta gown with a 25-foot train and a veil that employed 153 yards of tulle. The dress cost approximately $16,000. Bergamotto said she found a replica of Diana’s dress from designer Rachel Zoe’s debut bridal collection that features the same feminine, romantic vibe with a modern twist.

The royal steal

Dress: Rachel Zoe Collection violet gown, available on Rachel Zoe’s website for $695.

Tiara: David’s Bridal regal tier tiara, available on their website for $149.95.

Veil: David’s Bridal single-tier raw edge 165-inch cathedral veil, available on their website for $149.95.

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