Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers ended the New York Giants’ season with a 38-13 blowout on Sunday. As long as one looks no deeper than the final score, one might be tempted to consider the Packers the new NFC favorites.But the wiseguys in Las Vegas aren’t fooled: They watched the game more closely, and made the Packers four-point underdogs at Dallas next weekend. What did they see that the box score didn’t?For one, they saw Packers receiver Jordy Nelson carted off the field with a rib injury: “That’d be a huge loss for us,” Rodgers admitted in his postgame press conference, when asked about Nelson’s potential absence at Dallas. Nelson’s ability to get open and draw coverage sparked a midseason explosion in the Packers’ offensive effectiveness. Without a fully healthy Nelson, the Packers’ second game against the Cowboys this season might go the way their first did, in Week 6 — when according to Football Outsiders, the Packers’ offense posted their second-worst single-game offensive DVOA (defense-adjusted value over average) of the season (-25.1 percent).But the concerns run even deeper than the Packers’ receiver depth: For much of the game, Rodgers and company struggled mightily to score. Before a short punt let them start a drive on the Giants’ 38-yard line with less than four minutes left in the first half, the Packers had been shut out entirely.Rodgers registered the fifth-longest average time to throw of any quarterback in the NFL, per NFL.com this season, and while he was also pressured on 29 percent of his dropbacks, according to ESPN Stats & Information, he adapted in the pocket and got his throws off. For the season, he had a QBR of 71.8 when pressured — the league average for such plays is 31.5 — with 10 touchdowns and 1 interception.The hard-to-contain combination of top-notch pass protection and elite pocket movement was on display against the Giants, as Rodgers extended plays as long as he needed to to make offense happen: But the mother of invention is necessity, and it quickly became clear Rodgers would have to wait ages for his receivers to get open against the Giants’ excellent secondary — too long, in fact, as Rodgers was sacked five times and forced into an intentional grounding penalty over the course of the game.But after the field-position gift that turned into the Davante Adams touchdown above, and a Hail Mary pass somehow found its way to Packers wideout Randall Cobb 132 seconds later, putting the Packers up 14-6. Before those two drives, the Giants had outgained the Packers 194-7. After halftime, Eli Manning and the Giants were the first to score. With less than 18 minutes left in the game, the Packers led by only one point.Of course, 20 minutes and nine seconds later, the Packers had outgained the Giants 406-365, and outscored them 38-13. Part of that production came from Cobb, who caught five passes for 116 yards and three touchdowns, including that Hail Mary. It was Cobb’s return from two missed games with an ankle injury, it was Cobb’s best statistical game of 2016, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.But the reality of the Packers’ path to the Super Bowl is inescapable: They have to go from Lambeau Field, where the Cowboys already beat them 30-16, to the toasty indoor track of AT&T Stadium. Should they win there, they’ll either have to win a shootout with the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome, or a slugfest with the Seattle Seahawks in CenturyLink Field.Without Nelson it’s hard to see how the Packers win one, let alone both, of their subsequent contests. Rodgers will need open options against the Cowboys defense — whose fifth-ranked scoring defense allowed just 1.38 more points per game in 2016 than the Giants’ second-ranked scoring defense.Of course, the Packers won’t roll over and forfeit if Nelson isn’t fit to play. But the impression a casual fan might get from the box score is that the Packers are ready to roll over the rest of the NFL — and unless Nelson is healthy enough for defenses to respect, that’s just not true.
Skamania County sheriff’s deputies say a missing Stevenson woman and her baby have been found safe. In a bulletin issued at about 10 p.m. Monday night, officials thanked Kelly Ann Hill’s friends, family members and news outlets for helping find the 34-year-old woman.According to Jacqueline Garrity, assistant public information officer for the Skamania County Sheriff’s Office, the well-being of both the woman and her son, five-week-old David Zachary Barresse, was verified by law enforcement officers.No other information — including where Hill and her son had been — was available at press time.Hill and her five-week-old son had been reported missing from the Stevenson area in a sheriff’s news release issued Sunday evening.On Saturday, Hill apparently sent text messages indicating she’d been involved in a domestic violence incident with her boyfriend, James Barresse, the baby’s father, said Undersheriff Dave Cox.Deputies went to the couple’s home and the three were gone.Cox said deputies called Hill’s and Barresse’s mobile phone numbers, including trying to “ping” them via cell towers. Deputies knew the phones were active, but got no response.Cox said he didn’t know if Hill wanted police to be involved. The couple’s older children were safe with a grandfather, Cox said.The couple has no known vehicle, Cox said.
ARMED with a vision of publishing books for children, Sameena Shaikh opened her publishing house two months ago. She calls it Aisha after her daughter. Quite recently, the publishing house made a début with 21 New Beginnings, a compilation of true stories of ‘oddity, hope and change’ by Vivek Pandit. Why publishing and why children books particularly?While my two girls were growing up, I realised the vital role books play in the learning and nurturing of kids. Since then I have been possessed with the idea of a book series for children. Over years, the thought crystalised into a concept – colourful and vivid illustrations to trigger their imagination, small values that could inspire them to be sensitive souls and short stories that could improve their vocabulary and language skills – I finally found the courage to open my own publishing house. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’How difficult is it being an indie publisher? May sound clichéd, but I strongly believe ‘where there is a will there is a way’. I never doubted my mission. All I started with were confidence and a creative concept, both have helped my vision blossom into reality. And I know nothing can stop an honest vision, so I never think of the diffculties, just take one step at a time. When it gets tough, I just wait patiently for the cloud to clear.How do you go about choosing your authors? Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAny work that has depth, clarity, undercurrent of a message, positivity and humour would find space in my publishing house.What are your plans for the future?Innovation and creativity will be the USP of my publishing house. The first book has a new concept – short stories by a known author, plus stories of new writers, all inspired by true incidents (available in Flipkart). My second book would be the beginning of a series for children. Adventues of Donna The Dolphin will have beautiful illustrations and will be filled with the adventures of a Dolphin, which will introduce the children to a whole new world. The series will include a book for age group – 2+ , 5+ and 9+.
If you are in a process of learning new skills, then taking short breaks in between may help you grasp it better, say researchers. The study, published in the journal Current Biology, suggests our brains probably take short rest periods to strengthen memories. “Everyone thinks you need to ‘practice, practice and practice’ when learning something new,” said co-author Leonardo G Cohen from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke in the US. “We found resting, early and often, may be just as critical to learning as practice,” Cohen said. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfFor the study, researchers recorded brain waves from a group of right-handed volunteers with a highly sensitive scanning technique called magnetoencephalography or MEG. They were asked to type numbers as many times as possible with their left hands for 10 seconds, then take rest for 10 seconds and to repeat the cycle until they had typed the numbers 35 more times. The findings showed the volunteers’ speed at which they correctly typed numbers improved dramatically during the first few trials and then levelled off around the 11th cycle. This suggested volunteers’ performance improved primarily during the short rests, and not during typing, the team said. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveBy looking at the brain waves, researchers also found activity patterns that suggested the brains of participants were consolidating, or solidifying, memories during the rest. Specifically, they found the changes in the size of brain waves, called beta rhythms, correlated with the improvements the volunteers made during rests. The team plans to explore, in detail, the role of these early resting periods in learning and memory.
Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Register Now » Artificial intelligence and machine learning are often associated with tech giants like Google and Amazon that have created the most popular machine learning libraries and platforms. Since efficient AI/ML solutions require vast volumes of costly data to train, small companies are often reluctant to integrate AI into their business workflow. These worries are overblown though. These days, turning your small business into a full-fledged data-driven company might be easier than you think. To prove this, here are five easy tips on how to kickstart AI transition of your small company right now.Intelligent CRMsCRM systems are designed to compile information about consumers across different channels (e.g email, phone, social media) and to provide sales forces with an integrated environment to manage interactions with current and prospective consumers, and automate marketing and lead generation.Related: 5 Reasons Machine Learning Is the Future of MarketingThese days, small businesses can benefit from AI functionality embedded into popular CRM platforms like SalesForce. In 2016, SalesForce launched its Einstein AI, which allows developers to integrate AI functionality into their CRM applications on top of Salesforce. Einstein AI can help small businesses analyze consumer sentiments in recorded phone conversations, emails, social media posts and customer reviews, evaluate the customer feedback, and adjust marketing and lead generation activities accordingly. Sales persons of small businesses can get a better understanding of customer intents in inquiries to automatically route leads, personalize marketing campaigns and more. With AI-enabled CRM, small businesses can automatically get more insights from their customer data and make their marketing and sales teams more efficient and consumers more satisfied.Intelligent customer service solutionsCustomer service and support are one of the key components of efficient customer retention and satisfaction. However, the quality of customer service might deteriorate when support agents have to perform menial and repetitive tasks instead of focusing on unique support experiences for consumers.To make support agents more efficient, small businesses can integrate AI software into in-house customer services. Such AI solutions as Digital Genius, for example, can suggest or automate answers, and classify tickets and messages to quickly route them to the right team, freeing up your support agents’ time for dealing with issues which require human engagement. By using AI in their customer service, small businesses can radically reduce average handling time and automate repetitive questions to reach the ultimate goal of improving employee and customer satisfaction.Related: Artificial Intelligence Is Likely to Make a Career in Finance, Medicine or Law a Lot Less LucrativeAI for marketingManaging marketing budgets efficiently often requires deep domain expertise, which entails additional and often undesirable costs for small businesses. Fortunately, these days small enterprises can use even modest budgets effectively with AI solutions for marketing. Small businesses can entrust their marketing campaigns to such AI-powered platforms as Acquisio, which manages marketing operations across multiple channels (e.g Adwords, Facebook, Bing), analyzing advertising performance and making informed suggestions about the best budget distributions in terms of PPC (pay per click).Using AI marketing solutions, small companies can find the best marketing strategy and dramatically reduce their CPC (cost per click) thanks to the sentiment analysis algorithms that analyze customer engagement with their marketing campaigns. Automation of regular bids and efficient budget monitoring will also mean saving money on hiring additional marketing and advertising staff.Related: Want to Be More Like Amazon? Start By Making Your Startup More Data-Driven.AI for competitive intelligenceWhen your competitors produce gigabytes of content and hundreds of updates each day, it may be hard to keep track of their strategies. Knowing your competitors well, however, is crucial for reacting to market trends and staying competitive.Fortunately, AI-powered competitive analysis tools like Crayon can help you address this hard challenge. Crayon AI can track your competitors across different channels (websites, social media, web applications), identifying price changes and subtle modifications in messaging and PR activities. In pair with powerful natural language processing and business metrics, this functionality can give small businesses a better understanding of ongoing changes in their competitors’ strategy. In addition, AI-enabled competitive intelligence involves powerful analytical capabilities that allow for instant identification of competitors’ product gaps, weaknesses and strengths which can be used to adjust your own business strategy and be never blindsided by the competitor’s actions.Related: Top 10 Best Chatbot Platform Tools to Build Chatbots for Your BusinessAI-ready solutionsNowadays, small businesses can plug AI-ready tools into literally every element of their business workflow that involves data. Leveraging state-of-the-art sentiment analysis, classification and prediction algorithms small business can instantly draw useful business insights from any bit of their data.For example, with such AI-enabled tools as Monkey Learn, small companies can use sentiment analysis and entity extraction in their Google Sheets, CSV and Excel data without any coding. It’s easy to integrate, and the platform also enables automatic classification, tagging and processing of support tickets, and classification of inbound emails and other communications. The system can be also used to analyze product reviews and distill them into useful reports containing practical business insights. All these features will save small business the cost and time needed to review data flowing into their communication channels.As AI/ML market is booming, small businesses have more options to kickstart their AI strategy now. Instead of hiring additional data scientists and marketing specialists, small companies can use third-party tools with easy-to-use interfaces and efficient machine learning functionality to plug their data and workflow into intelligent platforms. Workflow automation coupled with business intelligence will save small businesses time and money while enabling them to stay competitive in the emerging data-driven economy. Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. 5 min read November 16, 2017