Monday, October 20, 2014

Woman Gets Trapped in Chimney Allegedly Stalking Her Online Date

Woman Gets Trapped in Chimney Allegedly Stalking Her Online Date

Woman Gets Trapped in Chimney Allegedly Stalking Her Online Date

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 11:30 AM PDT

A woman rescued from a chimney was arrested and charged with allegedly using the chimney to try and break into the home of a man she had met online.

The Ventura County Fire Department was called to a Thousand Oaks, California, home early Sunday morning, when it was reported that a woman was stuck in a chimney.

Firefighters used a jackhammer to break apart the chimney and lubricated the flue with dish soap in order to lift the woman out of the chimney. She was then placed in a basket and lifted off the roof by a ladder truck, according to Ventura County Fire Department Capt. Mike Lindbery’s tweets regarding the incident.

The woman, who remained conscious during the misadventure, was taken to the hospital for examination. Her condition was not immediately known, according to KTLA.

The so-called “entrapment patient” was later identified as Genoveva Nunez-Figueroa, 30, and the home’s resident, who did not wish to be identified, said he met Nunez-Figueroa online and had gone on several dates with her, but had recently ended the relationship, according to the local ABC news affiliate.

The woman’s “intent was unclear,” according to police, but as Christmas is still months away, she was probably not playing Santa Claus or chimney sweep, as this is the second time Nunez-Figueroa was found on the man’s roof. Two weeks ago, she was spotted, but disappeared when police were called.

Nunez-Figueroa was arrested for allegedly illegally entering a residence and providing false information to a peace officer, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department stated in a news release.

The home’s resident wanted other online daters to learn from his cautionary tale. “Before you have somebody come in your house really check them out … really give it some time before you let somebody in, because they might want to stay,” he told KTLA.

Amazon’s Kindles Compared: Voyage vs Paperwhite vs Standard

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 11:29 AM PDT

Amazon’s Kindle e-book readers are generally hot holiday items, so let’s explore the various differences between the three available models.

There’s the new $199+ Kindle Voyage, the $119+ Kindle Paperwhite and the $79+ standard Kindle to choose from. Here’s a closer look at what you’re getting.



Choosing by screen size is easy since they’re all six inches diagonally. Things change once we dig into resolutions and lighting technology.


The Kindle Voyage has the best screen, with a 300 pixels-per-inch resolution. The more pixels smooshed into an inch of screen, the better everything looks. The Kindle Paperwhite smooshes 212 pixels into an inch; the standard Kindle smooshes 167 pixels into an inch.

The big question is whether your eyes can discern the differences. I can tell you that when looking at the Paperwhite and the Voyage side by side, the difference is noticeable when looking at graphics and slightly less noticeable when looking at text. The standard Kindle looks… I wouldn’t say “the worst” because it doesn’t look bad. It just looks least good — let’s say that. I’d say the $40 jump from the standard Kindle to the Kindle Paperwhite is a much better value than the $80 jump from the Paperwhite to the Voyage, though.

Reading Light

The standard Kindle has no light; the Paperwhite and Voyage both have built-in lights. They both max out at nearly the same brightness, although the Voyage looks a little cleaner and whiter, and can automatically adjust its screen brightness to match your environment.


All three devices feature touchscreens, though the Kindle Voyage features squeeze-able side bezels that allow you to turn pages back and forth as well. There’s a nice little vibration feedback with each press when using the Voyage.

Video: Kindle Paperwhite vs Kindle Voyage

Here’s a closer look at the $119 Paperwhite up against the $199 Voyage:


Wondering which Kindle can hold the most books? The answer is yes. Yes to any of them: They all have four gigabytes of storage, good for over a thousand books.


The Kindle Voyage is the smallest, measuring 6.4″ long by 4.5″ wide by 0.3″ thick and starting at 6.3 ounces (the 3G version weighs 6.6 ounces).

The Kindle Paperwhite measures 6.7″ long by 4.5″ wide by 0.36″ thick and starts at 7.3 ounces (the 3G version weighs 7.6 ounces). The standard Kindle measures 6.7″ long by 4.7″ wide by 0.4″ thick and weighs 6.7 ounces (there’s no 3G version).

They’re all incredibly portable. I’m not sure buying one over the other based on a tenth of an inch here or an ounce there makes a whole lot of sense, but those are the measurements.

Battery Life

The standard Kindle lasts up to four weeks on a single charge, assuming a half hour of reading each day with the wireless connection turned off. It fully charges within four hours.

The Kindle Voyage lasts up to six weeks on a single charge, assuming a half hour of reading each day with the wireless connection turned off and the light set at 10 (the max is 24). It fully charges within three hours.

The Kindle Paperwhite lasts up to eight weeks on a single charge, assuming a half hour of reading each day with the wireless connection turned off and the light set at 10 (the max is 24). It fully charges within four hours.

So as we see here, the Paperwhite actually has the best battery life. That’s probably a factor of its screen not having to push as many pixels around as the Voyage’s screen. The Paperwhite being ever so slightly thicker than the Voyage might make for a slightly higher-capacity battery as well.

3G or Not 3G?

That is the question. Adding a 3G cellular connection to your Kindle Paperwhite or Kindle Voyage adds $70 to the price tag, but results in being able to download books anywhere you have an AT&T signal — over 100 countries and territories are covered (see this map). There are no monthly service charges for downloading books, though you might incur added charges for downloading magazines and other periodicals.

If you read a lot of books and want to be able to download new ones frequently — especially while you’re on the move — the 3G version of whichever Kindle you’re considering is a no-brainer. If you’re going to be using the Kindle at home a lot or you’ll be around accessible Wi-Fi networks, save the $70.

Best Bet

To be clear, the new Kindle Voyage is an amazing e-book reader. It’s super portable, its screen is gorgeous and the added haptic-feedback page turns are a nice touch. However, the $119 Kindle Paperwhite is still a dynamite e-book reader and is a very worthy upgrade for $40 over the standard Kindle because of its higher-resolution screen and its built-in light. Making the $80 jump from the $119 Paperwhite to the $199 Voyage is a much tougher sell.

Indiana Authorities ID Suspected Serial Killer in Custody

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 11:27 AM PDT

Authorities on Monday identified the suspect held in connection with seven bodies that were found across northwest Indiana over the weekend.

Hammond Police Chief John Doughty said in a press conference on Monday that Darren Vann, 43, of Gary, was detained after officers discovered the strangled body of a 19-year-old woman in a motel on Friday evening. Vann, who Doughty said was a convicted sex offender in Texas, had solicited Afrika Hardy in a “pay-for-service prostitution scheme” through a website.

“He admitted his involvement in the Hammond incident and had expressed an interest in notifying police of other criminal incidents he was involved with,” Doughty said, specifically about six more female victims in Gary.

One of those victims was Anith Jones, 35, who had been missing since Oct. 8 and whose body was discovered Saturday night. Five more bodies were discovered on Sunday, according to NBC Chicago, with two victims identified as Teairra Batey, 28, and Christine Williams, 36.

Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. posted on Facebook before the press conference that the suspect was an “admitted serial killer” and “convicted sexual offender,” who “admitted to a couple of homicides in Hammond back in 94 or 95.”

New Ryan Murphy Anthology Scream Queens Coming to Fox

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 11:13 AM PDT

Ryan Murphy really loves his anthologies.

Fox has announced a straight-to-series order for Scream Queens, a new anthology series with hour-long episodes from Murphy and his Glee and American Horror Story co-creator Brad Falchuk, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The 15-episode series will premiere next fall and focus on a college campus that becomes the site of several murders.

“We hope to create a whole new genre — comedy-horror — and the idea is for every season to revolve around two female leads,” Murphy said in a statement. “We’ve already begun a nationwide search for those women, as well as 10 other supporting roles.”

It’s the second new anthology series from Murphy coming to television soon. Earlier this month, FX, the home of American Horror Story, announced American Crime Story, which will devote its first 10-episode season to the O.J. Simpson trial.


Before We Embrace Gwen Stefani’s Comeback, She Owes Us An Apology

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 11:11 AM PDT

Gwen Stefani dropped her comeback song, “Baby Don’t Lie” today, and according to Pharrell (the unofficial arbiter of hits du jour), the follow-up album is on “another level.” And that’s all well and good, but before we embrace Stefani as a comeback queen, we should pause to remember that she perpetuated some extremely racist stereotypes when she debuted her first solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. 10 years ago.

Remember the Harajuku Girls? No? Here’s a refresher:

After dropping the album, Stefani used four backup dancers known as the “Harajuku girls” in all her performances and as an entourage offstage. They followed her everywhere and were reportedly contractually obligated to only speak Japanese in public. She renamed them — as if they were pets — “Love,” “Angel,” “Music” and “Baby” after her album title. As you can see in the video for the song “Harajuku Girls” above, the women are basically puppets. The lyrics of her actual songs aren’t much better. In “Harajuku Girls,” Stefani calls their culture, “A Ping-Pong match between Eastern and Western.”

At the time, comedian Margaret Cho compared the Harajuku girls to blackface and lamented how few portrayals of Asian culture there are in popular culture:

Even though to me, a Japanese schoolgirl uniform is kind of like blackface, I am just in acceptance over it, because something is better than nothing. An ugly picture is better than a blank space, and it means that one day, we will have another display at the Museum of Asian Invisibility, that groups of children will crowd around in disbelief, because once upon a time, we weren’t there.

MadTV even mocked Stefani’s racism with a skit:

But other than those critiques, the pop culture world wasn’t vocal enough on Stefani’s appropriation of Asian culture for personal gain. Sure, 2004 was a different time — but it isn’t localized to that era: Stefani has a Harajuku Lovers line of fragrances and a Harajuku Mini fashion line for Target. Her obsession with the culture walks a very thin line between admiration and appropriation. It’s easy to wonder if Stefani had a hand in inciting what has now become a common cultural practice of white female pop stars using other races as props.

Last year, Miley Cyrus’ use of twerking black backup dancers at the Video Music Awards launched 1,000 think pieces on whether Cyrus was playing on black stereotypes to prove that she was now a rebel. Critics have also blasted Katy Perry for dressing up like a geisha with makeup that made her eyes look slanted during the 2013 American Music Awards. Earlier this year, Avril Lavigne released an extremely racist music video for “Hello Kitty.” Stefani’s behavior a decade ago set the precedent.

And it doesn’t look like Stefani learned her lesson: just two years ago, her band No Doubt had to pull the music video for their song “Looking Hot,” which featured band members playing a game of Cowboys and Indians. (In it, the very white Stefani dressed up like a Native American.) When Native American groups predictably called the video racist, the band apologized, saying, “Our intention with our new video was never to offend, hurt or trivialize Native American people, their culture or their history. Although we consulted with Native American friends and Native American studies experts at the University of California, we realize now that we have offended people.”

Stefani has not issued any such apology for her Harajuku girls. Maybe it’s time she does.

What Hurricane Sandy Teaches Us About the Warnings We Can’t Hear

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 10:58 AM PDT

8:40 a.m.

National Weather Service Forecast Office

Mt. Holly, New Jersey


Barometer: 30.13 inches (rising) Winds: Calm

Skies: Overcast

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Meteorologist Gary Szatkowski was reconsidering. He hadn’t slept well that night, and when he walked into the forecasting room that morning, he could tell his staff hadn’t, either. Even from his office, he could hear the ceaseless ringing of the phones at the public affairs desk. Calls to the office were increasing, and they weren’t just from concerned residents anymore. Some of the state’s emergency management teams had begun to phone as well, wondering if they needed to start initiating storm plans. “Something was definitely cooking,” says Szatkowski. “Things were beginning to spin up.”

And with that spin-up would come an inevitable pile of growing rumors that would turn into extreme or even ridiculous stories of Armageddon. That’s the last thing Szatkowski wanted. But he didn’t want an erroneous forecast, either. If there’s anything that gets the general public distrustful, it’s telling them about a storm that never manifests. Any effect Sandy might have on the mid-Atlantic was still seven days out—further than had ever been forecast before. Still, the ECMWF was remaining constant in its prediction. And the meteorologists on his listserv were inclined to believe it.

It’d be a big risk to make any kind of definitive statement so early in the game. He quizzed his staff: What did they feel confident about? What could be said in a storm briefing at this point? What was too big a risk?

“We have a way of forgetting what storms can do,” says Szatkowski. And that makes him really frustrated. “People lose sight of the damage tropical systems have already done to this region.” A massive hurricane hit New York in 1821, bringing with it flooding so high that the Hudson and East Rivers converged across much of lower Manhattan. Since then, a series of storms have wreaked havoc on the Big Apple. In 1954, not a single hurricane struck Florida, Georgia, or the Gulf states. But an unprecedented three hurricanes swept across New York and other North Atlantic states, collectively resulting in more than $500 million dollars in damage (about $4.8 billion dollars today) and the deaths of 229 people, most of whom drowned. Carol, the worst of the three storms to hit the New York region, brought storm tides of fifteen feet; many parts of Providence, Rhode Island, were left with ten feet of standing water. “Considering past experience, which indicates normal expectancy of only five to ten hurricanes per century in New England, two in one year is extraordinary,” wrote Walter R. Davis of the Miami Weather Bureau office.

Less than a year later, Davis and other hurricane specialists watched, dumbstruck, as Hurricanes Connie and Diane battered southern New England and flooded large portions of Connecticut and New York. With just days between the two storms, the hurricanes not only called into question just how unlikely an appearance they were in northern latitudes, but also how prepared the region was to deal with them. Diane soon earned what Davis called “the unenviable distinction of ‘the first billion-dollar hurricane.’ ” In the year-end report he authored with other meteorologists from the Weather Bureau, Davis also deemed the storm “undoubtedly the greatest natural catastrophe in the history of the United States.”

It was a distinction that would soon be eclipsed by more than a dozen other storms. And, like Diane, several of them would leave a path of destruction across the North Atlantic region. In 1960, Hurricane Donna flushed New York Harbor with eleven feet of storm tide. Nearly forty years later, Tropical Storm Floyd forced massive evacuations as 60-mile-per-hour winds battered New York City, bringing with them more than a foot of rain. The Great Atlantic Storm of 1962, quite possibly the worst storm to hit the region, brought forty-foot waves off the coast of New York and New Jersey, along with torrential rain and flooding for much of the region. More than forty-five thousand homes were destroyed in New Jersey alone.

Most Americans either don’t remember these storms or never heard about them in the first place. That makes it next to impossible to learn any lessons from them. And that makes the otherwise unflappble Gary Szatkowski mad.

“When it comes to dealing with risk, we need a lot of improvement as a society. I get passionate about that.” True to his Midwestern upbringing, Szatkowski gets passionate by tapping his hand on his desk and smiling. That, and putting down his head and getting to work.

The best solution he had at his disposal was the creation of a storm briefing. But no one had ever made one of those for a hurricane that might make landfall seven days later.

“A week out, you can’t be talking in any level of detail,” says Szatkowski. “The best you can say at that point is, ‘Yes, there’s a storm out there. It might be impacting us.’ ”

Maybe, he thought, that will be enough—enough to at least get people thinking.

“It takes a while to get people to the right place to make the right decision,” he says. And even then we tend to make the wrong decision when staring a natural disaster in the face. Szatkowski didn’t want to see that happen.

An hour later, he was pretty sure he had a plan. So, sitting at his computer desk, he began to write what would soon become a historic report. “Tropical Storm Sandy is expected to reach hurricane strength on Wednesday,” he began. “It will continue to move northward. This storm system will bring multiple potential threats to the region.

Szatkowski paused. This was the kind of statement that ratcheted up panic levels. It’d be all the emergency management teams needed to shift into high gear. Yet, for all he knew, it could be totally wrong:

With days to go before landfall, the storm could just as easily peter out or make a beeline for Europe. He looked at the data again. He thought about the worst-case scenario. And then he decided that he didn’t want to be responsible for anyone living that scenario. He included the map of the computer model tracks—twenty of them, in fact. He pointed out that there was still an enormous spread—thousands of miles, actually—between them. But the European model, while still in the minority, was no longer alone in its prediction that Sandy was destined for the Eastern Seaboard. The effects of that track, he said, could be disastrous. The entire region could be assaulted by very strong winds. The slow, lumbering pace of the storm meant that total rainfall amounts would cause major flooding. “The takeaway message is that our region could be close to the path of a very dangerous storm. Our region is clearly at risk.”

Szatkowski printed out the draft and returned to the forecast room. He handed out copies to all the meteorologists there and then sat down, waiting for his staff to read it. He watched them carefully.

“Does this make you uncomfortable?” They shook their heads.

“Is the emphasis right?”

They said it was. So their supervisor went back into his office. But he didn’t publish the briefing right away. Instead, he sat for a while, his hands resting on the keyboard. He thought again about the consequences of this briefing—the way it would undoubtedly turn the country’s biggest metropolitan area into a bluster of storm preparations. This storm could turn out to be nothing, a voice said somewhere inside his head. And that statement of doubt held sway—but just for a few moments.

“Our job at the NWS is to make sure people know what they need to know when they need to know it,” says Szatkowski. That time, he decided, was right now. He took a deep breath and hit send.


Kathryn Miles, author of Superstorm: Nine Days Inside Hurricane Sandy, is an award-winning science writer whose work has appeared in Best American Essays. She is currently writer-in-residence for Green Mountain College and a faculty member in Chatham University’s MFA program.

From Superstorm: Nine Days Inside Hurricane Sandy by Kathryn Miles. Published by arrangement with Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA), LLC. Copyright © 2014 by Kathryn Miles.

Why So Many Women Are Crying at the Gym

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 10:53 AM PDT

“Let it out! Let out the sludge!”

It’s 7am on a Tuesday, at a small dance studio in Manhattan’s Tribeca neighborhood, and Taryn Toomey is stomping her feet into the floor like thunder. “Get rid of the bullsh*t!” she shouts. “Get rid of the drama!”

Two dozen women in yoga pants and sports bras sprint in place behind her, eyes closed, arms flailing. Sweat is flying. The Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage” is blaring in the background. There are grunts and screams. “Hell yes!” a woman bellows.

When the song ends, Toomey directs the group into child’s pose, torso folded over the knees, forehead on the floor, arms spread forward. Coldplay comes on, and there is a moment of rest. “Inhale. Exhale. Feel your center,” Toomey says. Heads slowly come up, and suddenly, tears are streaming down the faces of half the room. A woman in front of me is physically trembling. “I just let it all out,” a middle-aged woman in leggings and a tank top whispers.

This is “The Class”—one part yoga, two parts bootcamp, three parts emotional release, packaged into an almost spiritual… no, tribal… 75 minutes. It is the creation of fashion exec turned yoga instructor Toomey, and it is where New York’s high-flying women go for emotional release (if, that is, they can get a spot).

“During my first class I didn’t just cry, I sobbed,” says McKenzie Hayes, a 22-year-old New Yorker who has become a regular in the class. “Whether it’s your job or your relationships, I literally picture my emotional problems being slowly unstuck from my body and moved out.”

Toomey calls that “sludge”: it’s the emotional baggage we carry in our muscles that has nowhere else to go. She’s not a doctor. But week after week, she encourages participants to sweat, scream and cry out those emotions, in the company of a group of mostly women who are doing the same. “I’ve had classes where people are literally on all fours sobbing,” Toomey says. “But it’s not just my class, it’s happening everywhere. Emotional release in public can feel very uncomfortable. But I think there’s a growing movement of people who want to find a space for it.”

Indeed, the message to women has long been to hide your tears lest you look weak. (Among the tactics: jutting out your jaw. Breathing exercises. Chewing gum. Drinking water.) Yet while crying in the office may remain a feminine faux pas, tears at the gym seem to have lost their stigma — to the extent that there are a bevy of fitness courses that even encourage it.

For Asie Mohtarez, a Brooklyn makeup artist, it began in hot yoga. The music was on, the floor was warm, the instructor was standing over her encouraging her to let go. “I was in child’s pose and I just lost it,” she says. Then, two weeks later, it happened again – this time at Physique 57. The Dirty Dancing soundtrack came on and it was waterworks again. “There’s something about these classes that feel safe,” says the 33-year-old. “I can’t cry at work. I’m not emotionally distraught enough to cry in the shower. I can’t just burst into tears in front of my husband. So, what does that leave you with?”

You could go to therapy – or you could hit the gym. Women are getting teary in SoulCycle, and misty-eyed at Pure Barre. They are letting out wails in yoga and rubbing the shoulder of the weepy woman next to them at CrossFit. “I think people have started to notice that their clients are just showing up to class and just unloading, and so they’re tailoring their classes to create space for this,” says Hayes, who is a pilates instructor by day. “When I take private clients I end up feeling like a therapist for them.”

These fitness instructors aren’t trained in that, of course. But they’ve probably been there.

“I usually just go over to the student after class and quietly ask how they’re feeling,” says Kristin Esposito, a yoga instructor in Los Angeles who sees criers often. “My classes are focused on release so it feels pretty natural.”

Physiologically, it is: Exercise releases endorphins, which interact with serotonin and dopamine, the chemicals that impact mood. In yoga, deep hip openers – like the “pigeon pose” – are meant to stir emotions (yogis believe our emotional baggage lives in our hips).

But many of the newer courses are specifically choreographed to release emotion, too – making it all that much more intense. The lights are dim, candles flicker in the background. It’s not an accident that just as you’re starting to relax, coming down from the adrenaline, you’re blasted with a throaty ballad. Those playlists are meticulously constructed. “I’ve been teaching for almost 20 years, so I’ve basically seen it all: crying, laughing, throwing up, overheating,” says Stacey Griffith, a Soul Cycle instructor. “There are moments in the class that are directly programmed for that reason – but it’s not like we’re trying to get people to cry. We’re giving them the space to step outside of themselves.”

And indeed, that may be necessary. We’re busier, more stressed and more connected than we’ve ever been. Simply finding the time to have that “space” can be near impossible, making the release that these courses offer – packaged neatly into an hour – a kind of fix. “The night before, I can’t wait,” says Hayes of Toomey’s class. “I already know what will be the flood that I’m working through. And sometimes conversations with friends just don’t cut it.”

Getting those emotions out is a good thing – at least in moderation. Emotional tears contain manganese, potassium, and a hormone called prolactin, which help lower cholesterol, control high blood and boost the immune system. Crying reduces stress, and, according to one study, from the University of Minnesota, actually improves the mood of nearly 90 percent of people who do it. “You really do feel lighter after,” says Hayes.

“To me, it’s a sign of being present, it’s a sign of feeling your feelings, of being in the moment,” says Toomey, just after “the class” has ended. Plus, shoulder to shoulder in a hot room, there is almost a sense of communal release. Of high-charged emotional camaraderie. “I so needed this,” a woman tells her on the way out, with a hug. And, of course, with that much sweat, the tears are almost hidden anyway.



Let’s Fix It: The H-1B Visa Process Needs Improvement

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 10:28 AM PDT

This Influencer post originally appeared on LinkedIn. Kevin Chou shares his thoughts as part of LinkedIn’s Influencer series, “Let’s Fix It” in which the brightest minds in business blog on LinkedIn about how they would fix what’s broken in this world. LinkedIn Editor Amy Chen provides an overview of the 60+ Influencers that tackled this subject as part of the package. Follow Kevin Chou and insights from other top minds in business on LinkedIn.

Sometimes, when trying to make a point, it’s better to tell a story than rattle off a series of statistics. This approach is useful for me when talking about why our current H-1B visa process is something I’d fix.

I’ve written before about how, as the son of immigrants, immigration reform is personal to me. We know that the number of H-1B petitioners far surpasses the number of visas available. I don’t want to rekindle a debate about how many H-1B visas should be given, or whether ornot there is a STEM worker shortage in the U.S.

I’m here to tell a story about one of my employees that illustrates why we at my company, Kabam, likes to hire foreign workers to augment our talented U.S. workforce.

Always be learning
Jill is originally from Taiwan, where she had already graduated from college and held a master’s degree. She came to America on a student visa to study computer science at Carnegie Mellon where she earned her second master’s degree.

At Kabam, we place a high value on education and feel it’s important to always consider yourself a student, even after school. Through her extended education, Jill showed the desire to continually expand and deepen her skills, even if that meant doing so in a second language in a completely different country.

The Nitty-Gritty
Foreigners that want to work in the U.S. display another attribute that we value at Kabam — grit, or the ability to make it happen. Nothing was handed to Jill on her journey; all that she’s done was achieved through her own force of will.

Each step of the way from student to intern to full-time student had its own level of regulatory paperwork, including documentation (and more documentation) that had to be perfect in its presentation every time. Yet, she always met the bureaucratic criteria while still studying and working full-time.

Sweating the Small Stuff
Navigating the visa process also shows a remarkable ability to pay attention to detail, another trait highly valued at Kabam. As you can imagine, there is little margin for error with Jill’s paperwork when it came to government regulators.

Additionally, Jill had to time things just right. She had to balance looking for and accepting any kind of internship or job offer with the timing constraints of her visa, as well as obtaining the necessary paperwork.

These are skills that serve her well in her current role at Kabam.

Luck — both good and bad — also plays a role Jill’s story. She was fortunate enough to have graduated in 2009, a time when H-1B visas were still plentiful, so getting one was not as much an issue back then.

But she encountered her share of bad luck, like the Friday when she was told, out of the blue, that her H-1B visa transfer had been denied (because of an external clerical error) and she had to leave the U.S. that day and return to Taiwan.

Rather than succumb to defeat at this shocking development and give up, Jill returned to Taiwan, kept her cool and was able to legally get back in the country in a decent amount of time, get a new visa and rejoin us at work.

Worldly Wise
To be truly successful in this always-on, interconnected world, companies need to be globallysuccessful. Employees from other parts of the world bring with them an international view that is indispensable when looking to expand into new markets.

For Kabam in particular, we are looking to grow dramatically in Asia. Jill brings with her knowledge of the region and is fluent in both Chinese and English, making her a valuable asset in that expansion plan.

To be clear, I don’t see H-1B visa workers as replacements for American workers, nor am I saying that American workers don’t have these skills. As we become more of a global company, H-1B visa workers have the characteristics we look for and that can help the company grow and produce even more jobs for more American workers.

We’d like to tell more success stories like J’s, but with the H-1B visa process being a lottery, we can’t go after qualified non-U.S. citizen candidates because it’s too risky for us to make them an offer, make plans for their arrival and then be denied the ability to actually on-board them because of a lack of visa availability.

That’s something I’d like to fix.

In this series of posts, Influencers explain what they wish they could fix — and how. Read all the stories here and write your own (please include the hashtag #FixIt in the body of your post).

Planned Parenthood Thinks It Found a Way to Stop Middle Schoolers from Having Sex

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 10:24 AM PDT

Planned Parenthood is touting a new study that found its middle school sex education program successfully delays sex for both boys and girls by the end of 8th grade by encouraging more talk about the subject between students and their parents outside the classroom.

The study, conducted by the Wellesley Centers for Women in partnership with Planned Parenthood, evaluated the Get Real program in 24 schools in the Boston area over the course of three years. The curriculum spans sixth through eighth grade and has students pair lessons in school with take-home assignments designed to start dialogues between them and their parents or caregivers. Of the 24 schools in the study, half used Get Real and half used their usual sexual education curriculum; 16% fewer boys and 15% fewer girls had sex in the schools using the Get Real curriculum. The study was published in the Journal of School Health.

“Awkward as this might be for some, Get Real makes it a little less awkward and easier to have these conversations,” said Lisa Grace, a parent in a Massachusetts school district using Get Real.

Along with highlighting parents as the primary sexual educators for their children, Get Real also focuses on relationship skills as an avenue for sexual health.

“If kids are able to negotiate relationships, they will be better able to negotiate sexual relationships,” said Jennifer Slonaker, a vice president of education and training for the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.

Get Real is currently taught in 150 schools in Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island and Texas. Planned Parenthood representatives hope the program’s success can be replicated on a larger national scale, even in more conservative states.

“The curriculum does not espouse values,” said Grace, the mother in Massachusetts. “It makes it very clear that the parents should continue to be the primary sexual educators for their kids. So that reassured a lot of folks.”

“This is a program for older elementary and early middle school students that helps young people to delay having sex,” said Leslie Cantor, a vice president for education at Planned Parenthood. “So even states that stress abstinence… might be very interested in this type of program since it actually gets to these abstinence kind of outcomes.”


Death Toll Linked to GM Ignition Switch Defect Rises to 29

Posted: 20 Oct 2014 10:21 AM PDT

The number of deaths linked to a faulty ignition switch in General Motors vehicles rose to 29 on Monday, according to a new report, after two new death claims were approved by the program that will compensate victims and their families.

The fund has received more than 1,500 claims since its establishment on Aug. 1, including 184 submissions for death claims, Reuters reports. All 29 deaths, and another 27 injuries, have been determined to be eligible for compensation so far, finds the report released by the office of Kenneth Feinberg, who is heading the compensation effort.

GM launched the fund amid withering criticism for its failure to address the defect after several employees within the company noted the problem at least 11 years before any action was taken to resolve it.



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