get some peace

You can't really fault a show for not being faithful to the novel Swiss Family Robinson. The original tale is fairly dull going, a useful manual if you really are stranded on a desert island and want to read descriptions of farming and building tools and the such (mixed in with a lot of praying and piety) but rather dull in general. But the "family shipwrecked on an isle" story is too engaging a concept and so Swiss Family Robinson has been expanded and contracted over the centuries, dumbed down for kids (who might be shocked at the constant slaughter of animals in the original; hey a family's gotta eat!), stripped of its moralizing, juiced up in the action by Disney and so on.

Still, this new musical by the brothers Kennedy does lose sight of the basic appeal of this story: a family surviving and learning to depend on each other on a deserted island. (Patrick and John did the book, John did the music and lyrics, Walter did the choreography and Patrick directed.) Their island is bursting with so many characters -- from French sailors who are NOT pirates to school girls who are being raised in an Amazonian-style by their mistress -- that the poor Robinsons might well search out another more deserted island to get some peace.

The minimal staging and choreography add little to the story, but the story is less isolated survival and more Gilbert & Sullivan romp. The Robinsons are stranded on an island after their ship is capsized in a storm. It's lucky in a way since they were being threatened by dread French sailors, who have a young man in captivity they hope to ransom. That young man is actually a girl (the very appealing Jessie Shelton), who has been adventuring with her father all over the world and isn't about to let some French fools stop her from getting away.

They're all on the island where schoolgirls are running around in odd native garb, encouraged in their heathen ways by a mistress who has taken advantage of their earlier shipwreck (this island is quite the busy way station) to teach the gals independence and a forthright disdain of the male species. Men. Who needs 'em? That lasts about one second after the girls get their first glimpse of the Robinson lads.

the new fall season

The New York Musical Theatre Festival is celebrating its 10th anniversary in typical fashion: by hosting more than 50 events ranging from showcases and readings to dozens of fully staged new musicals in a three week period. Running through July 28, NYMF is always sure to offer one or two shows that rank among the best of the year, along with numerous works in progress that show promise and if nothing else the chance to see some of New York's most talented actors sink their teeth into a brand new show. They've launched several Broadway shows, a clutch of Off Broadway hits and literally countless productions around the world. Best of all, at $25 for tickets, it's also one of the best bargains in town and a great way to fill the summer void between the Tony Awards and the new fall season.

As a bonus, this year most of the shows are being performed at the handsome Signature Theatre Company (which has four different stages) and their original home now proudly boasting Pearl Theatre Company. So most of the shows are literally one block away from each other on 42nd St. Here's my first report on this season's offerings.

the Nationals so far

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bryce Harper says he played "terrible" in the first half of the season.

He and the rest of the Washington Nationals need to do better if they're to make a run at the Atlanta Braves in the NL East.

The Nationals are one game above .500 as they resume play following the All-Star break with a home series starting Friday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Manager Davey Johnson says the Nationals are lucky to be only six games behind the Braves.

Harper had a whirlwind trip to New York for the All-Star festivities, finishing second in the Home Run Derby and getting a spot in the starting lineup in the All-Star game.

But he says he doesn't think he's played well for the Nationals so far.

Free choice must be free

Facebook recently came under fire for allegedly targeting at-risk youth in Australia. A 23-page leaked document details the power of the company’s algorithms to approximate the emotional state of users as young as 14 years old by monitoring their interactions and uploaded content. Advertisers can then learn when users feel “worthless,” “silly,” “overwhelmed,” “nervous,” “defeated,” “stressed,” “stupid,” “useless” and other moments when “young people need a confidence boost.”
Even though Facebook has rigorously denied these allegations, many have accused the company of offering a best-selling product to its advertisers — young teens in vulnerable moments to whom temporary happiness in mindless shopping would be highly appealing.
It’s hard to know at this point whether Facebook did or did not offer a manipulative targeting product to its advertisers. What matters, however, is that it could. Facebook has all the required capabilities to turn such a dystopian scenario into an entirely plausible reality. With more than two billion monthly users, a comprehensive data collection scheme, first-rate data analytics and aspirations to, literally, read our minds, Facebook can not only make inferences about personal details we did not disclose, but also become better familiar with us than we are with ourselves.
The manipulation scenario also sounds plausible because we’ve seen other companies use their massive data repositories and the users’ profiles they generated to subtly encourage a certain course of action. This is how Netflix, by automatically starting to play the next episode, nudges us to indulge in binge-watching, even when we should prioritize other tasks.
The same applies to Amazon’s customized recommendations, which attempt to prompt users into buying more stuff that they, more often than not, do not need. Similarly, Uber was incentivizing drivers to take on more rides by showing them their next fare opportunity while still at a current ride, and sending reminders as to drivers’ pre-set income goals. Facebook was also able to boost voter turnout by showing users a “go vote” message, and Google prides itself on redirecting potential ISIS recruits toward content that counters and undermines ISIS’ messages CHINESE MEDICENT.
In a way, there is nothing new about such attempts to architect individual choices through subtle changes to their environment. As Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein showed in their book and articles, people have always used design models to impact consumer decision-making through the presentation of choices.
Think about the way your local supermarket is organized. It makes sense that goods located at your eye level are more likely to be consumed and that the bakery should be placed at the far end of the store — because nothing will bring you there better than the smell of freshly baked pastries. Realizing the power of choice architecture, some have advocated for nudging individuals toward choices that are in their best interest, and some governments have followed suit by employing nudging methods.
Indeed, nudges have been used since the dawn of humanity. Moreover, because any given choice must be presented, and because the presentation is likely to influence the ultimate choice, nudges are practically unavoidable. Yet, something feels profoundly different in data-driven nudges. The limitless amount of data turns the scale of online nudges to something that we have yet to encounter.
The ability to map humanity into particularized boxes based on an ever-growing list of interests, personalities, opinions and, even undisclosed thoughts and emotions with a relatively high level of accuracy is unprecedented. And while in some mediums we expect a certain degree of nudges, like in the context of online shopping, targeted nudges in other mediums catch us completely off guard.
This is why the possibility that Facebook offers to capitalize on teenagers’ mental state invokes so much rage — when teenagers interact with their friends on Facebook, they are unlikely to recognize nudges as such. Similarly, the power of Google’s search algorithm to surreptitiously shift voting preferences of undecided voters by 20-80 percent is highly troubling — and not only because it could potentially threaten the basic principles of democracy. The power to interfere with political views is immensely alarming and so effective for the same reason — because it can be used when and where we least expect it cloud computing service.
In a way, nudges have been so appealing to policy makers and corporate players alike because they provide a perfect mechanism for directing behavior while respecting individual’s autonomy: they left room for real individual choice. But in the move from traditional nudges to data-driven nudges in fully controlled digital platforms, the autonomy-respecting aspect seems to be wearing away.
It is time to have a serious conversation about the limits of choice architecture online. We should acknowledge legitimate business interests alongside the long-established practice of choice architecture. At the same time, we should put restrictions in place to prohibit the use of nudges when they act as mere exploitation of weaknesses for the sake of profit-making. Rules should detail who can be part of the choosing game, and who is off-limits wigs short hair.
Children, the elderly and people with mental and cognitive disabilities must be protected against manipulative nudges. Additional classifications, such as individuals who have recently experienced the loss of a loved one, should also be considered. Data-driven nudges, and especially interactive nudges that correspond to changes in individuals’ mental state, must be curbed to reflect the original quality of the nudge — guiding behavior while safeguarding individual autonomy. Whenever the latter is lost, the former should not be pursued.

Olympic gymnast Shannon

Olympic gymnast Shannon Miller and her husband, John Falconetti, are celebrating the arrival of a baby girl, E! News confirms Unitech cherson

According to her publicist, the 36-year-old gold medalist and cancer survivor gave birth Tuesday morning at approximately 11:49 a.m. ET to a little bundle of joy the couple named Sterling Diane Falconetti.

"Shannon and John are thrilled to welcome Sterling into the world and mom and baby are healthy and doing well," read a statement from the pair, who already have an infant son Dream beauty pro

Miller won hearts as a member of The Magnificent Seven after she and her team earned gold medals at the 1996 Atlanta Games. She also made headlines after a successful battle with ovarian cancer in 2011 for which she had an ovary removed and endured several rounds of intensive chemotherapy. She has since been given a clean bill of health teco brushless dc motor

"They call it the little miracle baby," the athlete's rep tells E! News.

Miller is now president of Shannon Miller Lifestyle, a firm dedicated to the health and fitness of women company and also devotes time to a foundation she created to help fight childhood obesity, while Falconetti is president of Drummond Press.


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