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tech champs

Facebook, Google Back Prize to Put Scientists in the Spotlight

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 25, 2013 11:10 AM

Six tech stars have banded together to create the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences, rewarding scientists “who think big, take risks and have made a significant impact on our lives,” said Anne Wojcicki, founder of genetics company 23andMe and married to Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google. 

Wojcicki along with Brin, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan, Russian entrepreneur Yuri Milner and Art Levinson, chairman of Apple and former CEO of Genentech created the foundation in an effort to bring scientists and researchers to the forefront. “I think that our society needs more heroes who are scientists and researchers and engineers," said Zuckerberg. 

The foundation plans to reward five individuals or teams every year, however in its inaugural effort this year, 11 recipients were awarded the honor. 

The 11 scientists, most of them American, will each receive $3 million—more than twice the amount of a Nobel Prize—making it the world’s richest academic prize for medicine and biology.Continue reading...

cause celeb

Matt Damon Goes on Strike - a Toilet Strike - for World Water Day

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 14, 2013 11:02 AM

Matt Damon, looking for a way to “persuade people to give a shit about toilets,” staged a press conference in anticipation of World Water Day, March 22. The actor's latest move pushes the continuing efforts of his non-profit, water.org, which educates people about the lack of basic sanitation and clean water for 2.5 billion people around the world.

At the faux press conference, Damon announced that “in protest of this global tragedy … until everyone has access to clean water, I will not go to the bathroom,” and he’s asking everyone to join him at Strikewithme.org.

The aim of the tongue-in-cheek campaign is serious: to move people to click on a link enabling water.org to "occasionally" use their social media accounts such as Twitter and Facebook for six week (because physically relieving yourself is comparable to the mental relief felt after posting a status update?) 

Damon—who might consider refreshing the campaign for World Toilet Day—added that “Six billion people have cell phones, but only 4.5 billion have access to improved sanitation.”

"Welcome to the petri-dish," said Mike McCamon, water.org's chief community officer. "The idea is you sign in and give permission to us for a finite period." Content will be generic yet personal, "so it looks like you posted it."Continue reading...

super bowl

Ram Truck Ad Wins Praise, But That God-Made Farmer Looks Awfully Familiar

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 4, 2013 05:42 PM

Chrysler's Super Bowl ad for its Dodge Ram truck, which features a lengthy paen to farmers by the late radio commentator Paul Harvey over gripping photos of their lives, has been received warmly across the twitterverse.

You may have seen something quite like it on the web long before Sunday, however.Continue reading...

doing good

Fendi to Pour Millions Into Rome's Treasured Fountain, Restoring Its Luster

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 29, 2013 12:22 PM

About $4,000 worth of coins are thrown into Rome’s massive, gorgeous Trevi Fountain each day. Making the gesture is said to guarantee your return to Rome.

Now Fendi is throwing a lot more than a few coins into the Trevi’s waters. The Italian fashion house has announced it will hand over $2.9 million to help keep the centuries-old fountain, featured memorably in Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita,” in good shape.

Fendi, founded in Romein 1925, announced the 20-month project Monday along with two of its big-name designers, Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi.Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Amstrong Interview to Air Over Two Nights as Livestrong, Others Weigh Its Impact

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 15, 2013 04:40 PM

The Lance Armstrong saga is turning into a miniseries.

The OWN Network announced Tuesday that Oprah Winfrey's interview with the tarnished cyclist, taped on Monday in Austin, Tex., will air over two nights — Thursday and Friday — instead of one.

Winfrey calls her "no-holds barred" interview the biggest of her career "in terms of its exposure." 

During the interview, Armstrong is said to confess to Winfrey that he used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France. Both he and Winfrey have not spoken publicly about the specific details revealed, but Winfrey told "CBS This Morning" on Tuesday: "By the time I left Austin and landed in Chicago, you all had already confirmed it."Continue reading...

celebrity brandmatch

Lance Armstrong, Ready to OWN Up, Admits to Doping in 'Emotional' Oprah Interview

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 14, 2013 05:33 PM

Strange bedfellows, Lance Armstrong and Oprah Winfrey, but their "emotionalinterview that was taped on Monday and will air on OWN and run on Oprah.com on Thursday, may be the million dollar ticket back for the struggling former queen of daytime as she returns to what she does best.

Oprah’s Midas touch for grabbing celebrities remains golden at her own cable network, including an exclusive with Whitney Houston’s daughter following the singer’s death, then the artful dodger, David Letterman, and now Armstrong, the iconic super-athlete dragged down by a doping scandal of unprecedented proportion that saw sponsors including Nike pull their support.

The Armstrong interview will set a record for the Discovery-backed OWN and for Oprah.com, also a vindication for Brand Oprah, whose OWN has struggled since launching two years ago.Continue reading...

retail watch

At Retail Summit, Successful CEOs Call for Broader Corporate Citizenship

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 14, 2013 05:04 PM

The leaders of Whole Foods Market, Starbucks and The Container Store on Monday exhorted fellow retailers to increase transparency, stand on principle and to see themselves as part of a "wider circle of responsibility" to ensure their success.

Speaking sequentially to an audience of 27,000 at the National Retail Federation's BIG Show in New York, the CEOs offered a combined keynote address that advocated lifting up employees and valuing vendors as the major brands assume heightened global leadership in a time of government retrenching.

Kip Tindell, CEO of The Container Store, said retailers should strive to create an environment of "conscious capitalism."

"Charity alone won’t do it," he said. "We need business and capitalism, purpose and profit.”

Tindell said focusing on the well-being of employees "pays off and reflects on customers. It’s not what you sell, it’s what you stand for. Customers and employees become your evangelical supporters. We want our vendors to think of us as their favorite customers, and this causes the universe to conspire to assist you.”

Whole Foods Co-CEO Walter Robb agreed, saying that “business is making a wider wake in the world, not just doing the minimum, but part of a wider circle of responsibility.” The company's approximately 75,000 employees comprise a 40 percent ownership stake in the company, and 86 percent have health insurance.Continue reading...

doing good

From 12-12-12 Concert to American Red Cross, Storytelling Drives Compassion

Posted by Sheila Shayon on December 13, 2012 12:11 PM

The two billion people who watched the 12-12-12 concert for Hurricane Sandy relief at New York’s Madison Square on Wednesday night may have tuned in (or streamed) for the chance to see music legends — Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, Billy Joel, Eric Clapton, the Who, Roger Waters, Chris Martin, Michael Stipe, Dave Grohl, Alicia Keys, Eddie Vedder — but the heart of the show was the stories of people whose lives were impacted by Sandy, and who were asking the world to care and help.

As the Los Angeles Times commented, “Critiquing the broadcast of the 12-12-12 Sandy benefit concert on Wednesday night is like assessing the food at a bake sale: Maybe the muffins are oversalted or the cookies are stale, but that's not the point. The point is charity and drawing attention to the cause.”

So  kudos to Madison Square Garden (and New York Knicks) owner Cablevision, not to mention Clear Channel, Miramax's Harvey Weinstein, Chase, State Farm and other sponsors and volunteers for putting on a story-driven night of music and social compassion (the #121212concert hashtag is still lively on Twitter) to raise proceeds for the Robin Hood Relief Fund.

And in a similar (if less glitzy) vein, the American Red Cross has some stories it would like to share with you, too.Continue reading...

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