4 Top Golf Courses in Florida

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)
(oped: I find it a bit odd that President Trump’s Key Largo course is not on this list being that the fee is now $1 Million dollars per year, also consider that before he became President the cost was a meer $100 thousand per year.)(oldpoet56)

4 Top Golf Courses in Florida

Golfing and Florida go hand-in-hand thanks to balmy year-round temperatures, days of endless sunshine, and some of the most creative and expertly-crafted courses in the U.S.  With over 1,250 golf courses in the state, it can be hard to know which one is worthy of your time. Below we’ve got four of the craftiest, cleverest, most beautifully designed courses that will inspire the Tiger Woods in all of you.

Streamsong Red, Bowling Green

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Sitting roughly 50 miles southeast of Tampa, Bowling Green is a sub-3,000 resident town that packs a big punch when it comes to the game of golf. This course has a much more rugged and slightly unkempt feel to it than the others on this list while still maintaining its distinguished reputation and a solid air of dignity. It’s these characteristics coupled with the dramatic landscape that make Steamsong Red a celebrated course. This course was designed with walking golfers in mind; strolling the course not only allows for some expansive views, but it’s also the best way to truly experience the course. In fact, the walking golf philosophy is such a centric part of this course that there are months when no golf cart riding is allowed at all!

Fun Fact: Streamsong Red is actually one of three epic courses rolled into the 16,000-acres of windswept prairies, sculpted lakes and towering dunes.

Calusa Pines, Naples

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The story behind the birth of this course is just as inspiring as the course itself. Gary Chensoff beat cancer against the odds and went on to develop a multi-dimensional golf course on a plot of land as flat as a pancake.  With the goal in mind to make the course as unique as possible, designer Hurdzan-Fry crafted slopes and ridges from the fill of lakes that were made by blasting great holes into the ground with dynamite.  In fact, they got so blast-happy on this site, they ran up a cool $1 million-dollar bill on dynamite alone! While the daring shape of the course entices golfers from all around the world, it’s the thoughtful touches like the planting of 100 mature oak trees that gives this course a sophisticated feel.

Fun Fact:  Membership at this ultra-exclusive club runs around $150,000 bucks a pop!

TPC Sawgrass, Ponte Vedra Beach

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As the permanent host of the PGA-tour, the location, layout and wickedness of this course were honed to perfection to deliver thrilling games to the fans who watch and professionals who play. With a style defined by its creator as “grenade attack architecture”, this course is full of lumps, bumps, divots and carved out spaces that challenge even the world’s best players. Most notorious of all, however, is the 17th hole. Ringed in water, the island green provides a “sink-or-swim” moment of anxiety as the golfer attempts to clear the lake and sink the putt. All this might sound a little overwhelming for a novice golfer, but designer Pete Dye insists he made this course for players of all levels.

Fun Fact: The on-site Marriott Resort and Spa ensures a golf holiday doesn’t have to be all about smacking balls around the green – it’s totally okay to indulge in a spa treatment, take a dip in one of the pools, or dine in one of the resort’s seven restaurants.

Seminole, Juno Beach

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Topping Golf Digest’s list of best golf courses in Florida, Seminole also earns our pick as the state’s top golf course for several reasons. There’s a lot to love about the Atlantic-coast facing course, but critics often praise it as one of the country’s most impressive examples of golf course routing. While it wasn’t designed solely to trick golfers, it’s certainly not for those just starting out; Seminole has got a few tricks up its sleeve. The relatively flat-looking green isn’t as innocent as it appears. Much of the deception lies in the angled sides of the greens that mimic an ever-so-slight saucer shape. We can’t decide if this golf course is on the players’ side on not, but one thing is clear – a keen golfer won’t forget a game played Seminole.

How McDonald’s took over the world

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

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How McDonald’s took over the world

Some say they love it, some say they hate it, and those raking in megabucks through franchises certainly say I’m Lovin’ It. Whatever your opinion of McDonald’s, there’s no denying its worldwide popularity and influence on the fast food industry. From a single restaurant in 1940, in 2018 the chain reported over 36,000 restaurants in 101 countries that collectively served around 69 million customers per day. The company has battled environmental criticismlawsuits and mass staff strikes, yet remain a leader in their field. Here’s how McDonald’s took over the world.

The McDonald Brothers and Early Years

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The rags-to-riches journey began in 1940 in San Bernardino, California when siblings Richard and Maurice McDonald had a dream to make $1 million before turning 50. They opened a drive-in restaurant with carhop girls delivering cheap sandwiches to a clientele of mostly teenage and young adult males. Eager to streamline the business, the brothers introduced the Speedee Service System in 1948, which featured 15 cent hamburgers, fries, and milkshakes. On the back of their newly-found success, the siblings launched their first franchising campaign, with new stands opening in 1953.

Ray Kroc and the First Official McDonald’s

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In 1954, the Chicagoan Ray Kroc, who was a distributor for a milkshake machine used by the McDonald brothers, visited the San Bernardino stand. Impressed by the potential of the business, Kroc convinced the McDonalds to let him become their franchising agent. He opened the first official McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois and had plans to expand nationwide and globally. By 1959 he had inaugurated 102 locations and bought the brothers out in 1961.

The Big Mac and the Golden Arches

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The 1960s was a time of great change and development for McDonald’s. The Filet-O-Fish debuted in 1962 and helped combat falling hamburger sales on Fridays in areas with strong Roman Catholic communities. Ronald McDonald replaced the Speedee chef as the company mascot in 1963. He was later joined by characters such as Hamburglar and Mayor McCheese, who helped to increase the chain’s appeal to children. Today’s legendary Big Mac appeared on menus in 1967 and some five billion were consumed in the first two years. At the end of the decade the iconic golden arches started to spring up. The colors were chosen because red is said to trigger hunger and yellow happiness.

The Drive-Thru and International Expansion

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With soldiers from Fort Huachuca prohibited from getting out of their vehicles in uniform, McDonald’s opened its first drive-thru in Sierra Vista, Arizona in 1975. This proved to be a catalyst for drive-thru restaurants across the USA and fast food fans relished in the company policy of delivering orders in 50 seconds or less. Having already successfully opened restaurants in British Columbia and Puerto Rico, the company entered 58 new countries by the early 1990s. In China the name has been adapted to Mai Dang Lao to fit with the phonetics of the language. Kosher food is served in Israel, and halal products are offered in Arab countries.

McDonald’s Today

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Today the McDonald’s brand is omnipresent the world over. Restaurant designs have changed from a kids’ focus to a family environment. There’s braille and picture menus specifically designed to aid customers with hearing, speech, and vision difficulties. There’s table service at some, self-service kiosks, mobile ordering, and home delivery. The menu has moved with the times, expanding from hamburgers and fries to include options such as breakfast, coffee, gluten-free items, ice creams, juices, and salads. What’s more, avid fans can relax knowing that the Big Mac, Happy Meal, Quarter Pounder, and other classics are all here to stay.

China to investigate FedEx for suspectedly damaging rights of Chinese clients

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY SHINE)

 

China to investigate FedEx for suspectedly damaging rights of Chinese clients

Xinhua

Xinhua

The shadow of a pedestrian is projected on a van of FedEx in Hangzhou City, capital of east China’s Zhejiang Province, October 18, 2011.

China’s relevant government department has decided to file a case for investigation of FedEx on suspicion of undermining the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese clients.

The US company has recently failed to deliver express packages to designated addresses in China, seriously damaging the lawful rights and interests of its clients and violating laws and regulations governing the express industry in China.

What Company Boards Need To Know About AI

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW)

 

What Boards Need to Know About AI

MAY 24, 2019

C. J. BURTON/GETTY IMAGES

Being a board member is a hard job — ask anyone who has ever been one. Company directors have to understand the nature of the business, review documents, engage in meaningful conversation with CEOs, and give feedback while still maintaining positive relationships with management. These are all hard things to balance. But, normally, boards don’t have to get involved with individual operational projects, especially technical ones. In fact, a majority of boards have very few members who are comfortable with advanced technology, and this generally has little impact on the company.

This is about to change, thanks to machine learning and artificial intelligence.

More than half of technology executives in the 2019 Gartner CIO Survey say they intend to employ AI before the end of 2020, up from 14% today. If you’re moving too slowly, a competitor could use AI to put you out of business. But if you move too quickly, you risk taking an approach the company doesn’t truly know how to manage. In a recent report by NewVantage Partners, 75% of companies cited fear of disruption from data-driven digital competitors as the top reason they’re investing.

The questions boards are going to have to ask themselves are similar to those they would ask in the face of any large opportunity investment: Why are we spending all this money? What’s the economic benefit? How does it impact our people and our long-term competitiveness?

INSIGHT CENTER

Answering these questions requires expertise in technology. But you can’t just add a tech expert to the board and count on him or her to keep the rest of the board up to speed. Having served in that role, I have found it to be at best a useful half-step. Relying on a single techie is no replacement for having a full board mastering at least a basic understanding of AI and its disruptive potential.

Every board’s comfort level is going to differ depending on the industry. Manufacturers well understand how robots can free up people to do higher-order work by taking on repetitive and potentially dangerous jobs. Hospitals and health insurers are starting to deploy AI widely, but big successes have been elusive. By contrast, the financial services business is ripe for disruption by AI. Lenders have massive amounts of data and the potential to free up billions in cash flow by finding new efficiencies through applications that will, for example, help bankers make smarter lending decisions and create new revenue opportunities by offering customers better, more tailored products.

That said, here are four guideposts that board members in any industry can use to orient themselves when they begin the journey:

It’s math, not magic. Boards shouldn’t be intimidated by AI. Members don’t need to have degrees in computer engineering to understand the technology behind AI, just like they don’t need to be CPAs to understand the company’s balance sheet. Any good use of ML or AI is going to be an outgrowth of what the company is already doing, not some kind of universal all-knowing Skynet type of AI. Keeping that perspective at the forefront and gaining a basic understanding of AI will help boards better decide how to direct AI use.

Well-run AI projects should be easily understood. When evaluating if a project is right for their company, boards should feel confident enough to say when something doesn’t make sense. The best-run AI projects should be explainable in plain English. It should be clear how real groups of people, whether employees, customers or management, will be affected. If a vendor or internal team can’t explain how an AI project works, it may not be the right fit for your company. This is not unique to ML — it used to be true for ERP implementations — but ML is moving more quickly through the corporate world than ERPs did. For example, when I presented an ML-underwriting project to the board of one top credit-card issuer, I started with the economic impact to their business, the timeframe for delivery, what the roadblocks might be for IT and compliance, and who would need to get involved.

You don’t have to get creepy to get value out of data. Too often, companies assume that in order to make the most out of AI, they need to be like Facebook or Google and pull in every last bit of data they can find. But that can get creepy fast and, usually, there’s no need for that level of data. Our work developing machine learning-based credit underwriting models with banks and lenders has shown that social media data doesn’t provide such strong signals, anyway. Most companies are already sitting on a ton of pretty banal data that’s full of signal and insights that can be unlocked using ML.

AI is an operating expense, not a capital investment. If management’s plan for getting on the AI bandwagon revolves around a big one-time investment, chances are they are going about it wrong. AI has the potential to enhance the bottom line by boosting revenue and cutting costs, but budget needs to be put aside to ensure the algorithms and models are functioning properly and are being rebuilt or refit as macro factors change and new sources of data emerge. Think of AI as you would a Formula 1 race car, which performs best when its support team has a real-time view of the vehicle’s health as it’s zipping around the track.

Widespread adoption of AI in business is still in its infancy. Boards that fail to get in front of this trend will pay the price.


Douglas Merrill is the CEO and founder of ZestFinance, a Los Angeles-based financial services technology company. He was previously CIO and VP of Engineering at Google.

Total Trade Stoppage With China Could Be A Good Thing For American Workers

Total Trade Stoppage With China Could Be A Good Thing For American Workers

 

I know that many people here in the U.S. will in the short term be hit financially if this ‘trade war’ with China continues. The American companies on the U.S. Stock Market has taken a hit with these tariffs the White House is talking about, I know this is hurting some American businesses like WalMart who import a huge amount from China, so be it, they need to be hurt, badly.  There is a reason for my view, I just hope you can see what I am talking about.

 

American businesses need to be hurt because of their treason toward the American Nation and her people. How many thousands of businesses have been shuttered because of companies like WalMart who for a penny or two lower price per product will buy from other countries like China (whose Leaders hate us) instead of buying from U.S. Companies who have their factories here in the U.S. giving jobs to American workers. Companies like WalMart cater to low income people yet how many of these people are poor because of these companies ‘buy foreign first’ business practices? The rich, especially the super rich like to complain about the poor as people who suck away their profits and produce nothing and how they say the poor don’t pay their fair share. If an owner of a company moves their operation out of the States thus firing all their American workers it should be the Companies Leadership who should be punished, not the workers. These companies should have to pay a tariff of about 90% on all goods they import back to the American market. Make it not worth their bottom line to close American factories and fire their American workers. In the business world everything is always about profits, the money that goes to the top is the only thing that has mattered for decades not. Most businesses and government officials should be charged with treason against the the American Flag and Her people, not profit from their demise that they themselves are causing! Rebuild America’s factories and infrastructure now, create jobs for American workers first. Our exports like grain and soy beans can easily be sold to other world markets. There is no logic besides greed that dictates us selling anything to or importing anything from other countries like China whom is trying to wipe us out. But then again, these words to you today are just the opinions of an old poet.